Hot Rods On The Mississippi Gulf Coast – (1953-1957) The Early Years

Hot Rodding was a new sport where anyone with a car could prove how fast they were, if you loved cars this was the place for you! The American public was no stranger to Hot Rod Racing. Hot Rod Racing first became popular in California after World War II with newly coined words such as “stripped-down” and “souped-up”. This was a time for strictly thrills, not any more than that. These were serious young men, and some not-so-young men who spent hours rebuilding motors and listening to safety lectures and watching films on safe driving. On the Mississippi Gulf Coast during the 1950s car enthusiast and teen-aged kids formed Hot Rod Clubs such as the Chariots, Coasters, Road Rebels, and Pace Makers. What was the difference between the Chariots & Coasters? The Chariots were organized in January 1956, with the purpose of providing directed activities in the maintenance and operation of hot rods. The Coasters organized Oct 4, 1954. Holding a charter with the National Hot-Rod Association made up of Keesler Field Men. The club was organized for on-the-base military personnel and their dependents.

1955

Before there was a drag strip nearby were one could find the Keesler Auto Club (Coasters) running on drag strips, such as state-wide drag races held at Jackson’s William’s Airport and in Florida. On July 30, 1955 the Keesler Auto Club entered five cars in the competition, and took first, second, and third places in the stock class, first place in sports car class, and first place in the modified class.

1956

Drag Strips were needed for the increasing popularity of the sport. Also it is possible the Keesler Auto Club was tired of traveling such far distances. So what did they do? They liked what they saw at Jackson and did the same thing. On December 29, 1956 the first drag racing event in the Biloxi area was staged at Keesler Air Force Base. Quarter-mile speed runs were held on the Northeast-Southwest Runway. The event was a success pulling in as many racers as the Jackson races, and more. On February 23, 1957 a second drag race was held at Keesler with a 1903 Cadillac, and 1900 McIntyre entered by George Ohr of Biloxi.

1957

A push for a permanent home for a drag strip had been in the making for years. Culminating four years of combined and united efforts by many Gulf Coast citizens, organized automobile, and motorcycle clubs a Drag Strip was constructed. The Gulf Coast Drag Strip was sanctioned by ministers, public officials and civic clubs. Earl C. Nolan lead the project as president of the drag strip and within two months the Gulf Coast Drag Strip was built for 30,000 dollars.

On Aug 18, 1957 the first event took place.

September 8, 1957 the Grand Opening took place, won by J.D. Gagliano of New Orleans, LA in his flame ’34 Hot Rod Coupe.

Ray Butterfield, manager of Radio Station WLOX, served as master of ceremonies, and Beat One Supervisor Dewey Lawrence cut the ribbon to officially open the racing program. Brig. Gen. John R. Sutherland, Keesler Air Force Base commander, Brig. Gen. John R. Fowler, Keesler AFB, Mayor Laz Quave and Commissioner Dominic Fallo of Biloxi, Deputy Sheriff George Rosetti, and Earl Nolan, president of Gulf Coast Drag Strip. Inc., were among those introduced to the crowd with a message about the facility.

Earl C. Nolan president, Gulf Coast Drag Strip, Inc. said: “Hundreds of boys in the State of Mississippi are overwhelmed with the desire to create and build their own car. This new Drag Strip was built for these budding young mechanics and engineers. Their skilled hands and scientific minds have created and produced machines which show outstanding ingenuity in action. They have desperately been searching for an organization or group of individuals to represent and assist them in their struggle for a Drag Strip and for acceptance of drag racing as the Newest of Sports. Boys can now safely drive to any speed within their capabilities with a feeling of confidence, on our new Standing Start Quarter-Mile Drag Strip. I wish to thank the many Coast residents and many others throughout the state for their great interest and unlimited assistance that they have given me and my colleagues.”

Little did they know what they were building… or the history they were creating, which all lead up to racing some of drag racing’s biggest stars, and many of the most legendary Hot-Rod machines of all time on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This is the story of the birth of drag racing in Mississippi, and the Biloxi Dragway, a stepping stone to Today’s Classic Cars and Hot Rod Popularity!

Motor Racing on TV: Formula One and Indycar

The global reach of television has given motor racing enthusiasts an opportunity to view both the traditional European-based Formula One competition as well as the Indy series long popular in the USA. Formula One racing has always been on tracks that include most of the features of ordinary motor roads, especially tight bends and moderate inclines, whereas Indy racing was for many years confined to special race tracks formed in an oval with banked curves at each end. Since 2005, however, Indy racing has increasingly included some events on road and street courses and these have come to predominate with only about one-third of races now taking place on oval tracks. In this respect, the two motor sports seem to have become more alike, but the contrast between Formula One and Indy racing on the oval track remains.

From a European perspective, sport in the USA in general seems to tend to the fast and spectacular, whereas Europeans, the British especially, take more interest in longer slower competitions with intermittent action. The contrast is perhaps most stark when comparing baseball with cricket. So it seems to be with motor racing, with the oval track in the USA allowing continuous near all-out speed, and the tight curves and chicanes of Formula One bringing the cars almost to rest, as, for example, at the Monaco Grand Prix event held annually around the narrow streets of the principality.

Indy racing on the oval track certainly presents a unique spectacle. The wide track allows several cars to race side-by-side and there is plenty of opportunity for overtaking. With the drivers maintaining almost flat-out speed, the race depends essentially on engine power. It all looks very dangerous, and this no doubt is the essence of its appeal. Crashes, when they occur, often involve multiple vehicles and are sometimes horrendous. Fortunately, with modern safety features, fatalities and serious injuries have been much reduced and this is an advance shared by Formula One.

Formula One is less visible to the spectator and the television viewer. Only at the start of the race can all the cars be seen together. For the rest of the race, the cars pass in and out of view in twos, threes and fours. Without a constant commentary it becomes impossible to know who is winning, as passing cars are soon found to be on different laps of the race. And whereas on the oval track the race leader is almost always in view, in Formula One the television cameras seem to ignore the leading car and concentrate instead on closely fought battles for fourth place or ninth place in the hope of recording a rare overtaking. Formula One presents a more difficult challenge to television, a challenge shared by Indy on-street races. For those who want shear spectacle on TV there is nothing to compare to the oval track.

Types of Tyres Suitable for Different Racing Conditions

Racing is an incredibly tense sport. It may not take a toll on you because you are always sitting but the car will definitely be affected. With all sports there are different types of sport equipment that could be used. For racing, tyres would be considered important.

Racing tyres always have a low profile. The lower the profile the faster and more stable the car will be able to move. During rainy weather conditions you might want to get a tyre with a small form of tread; provided there is some friction to keep it firmly on the track. The more water there is on the road the higher chances the car will skid.

In hot conditions a normal performance tyre will work well. The less tread the better. The only problem with extremely hot conditions is that with increasing heat the tyres could burst causing you to spin out.

It would be wise to not use all-seasons tyres for all types of races. Rather use the tyres that are specifically designed for each weather condition installed on your car before the race. When you have all-seasons tyres you don’t have a proper grip or you could have too little grip.

When deciding on performance wheels you have to look at where you may be driving. If it’s not inside an arena and just to show off to people on a normal road, the tread-less tyres are an absolute no. Normal roads are not designed for smooth rubber because of rain, snow and any other extreme weather conditions. Rather stick to the normal low profiles with the necessary tread depth.

There are three main types of tyres for racing conditions that you’ll find at a tyre supplier. Slick tyres have the most rubber in contact with the tar as they are the ones without treads. Rain tyres have an arrow-like tread pattern to guide the water away. Dry Asphalt tyres are perfect for the hot seasons with their slight tread as this can allow a small amount of cool air to pass through.

Tyres are made specifically for the different forces and weather conditions and they are designed to endure particular conditions. Make sure that you use the correct type for any driving circumstance whether it’s for racing or for normal day to day driving. Keep in mind that they need to be checked often whenever you have completed a tense driving session such as racing.

How to Prepare Your Car and Wheels for a Race

You will see that during any races on television the crew changing the tyres quite often. Racing puts a lot of strain on the car and the wheels. Why is that?

Speed causes most of the components to heat up quicker than during a normal drive. The pistons have to move faster pushing the crank to move faster. It is important to make sure that the right amount of lubrication is present between these mechanisms. The oil keeps the components moving smoothly. If there is no smooth movement present you are in danger of causing the components to wear out.

Anything that is worn away inside the engine has to be completely replaced. Always make sure that there is oil in the engine. It’s also important to make sure that the cooling parts are up to standard. If the engine does not cool down it could blow up or melt from the intense heat.

Have you never noticed that racers take a couple of laps before the actual race starts? The warming up of the tyres is an important part of racing. The hotter the tyres are during the race the faster the car will go because of the lack of friction present. It’s wise to make sure that when you start a race you change those tyres because of the wear they will endure. Wear will unbalance the car slightly making it difficult to handle.

Racing wheels don’t have a tread or have a very shallow tread with very low side walls. The suspension is low because of the small amount of air that has to surround it to make it aerodynamic. Getting the shocks checked is also important. Remember that with a lower suspension the car will less likely be able to drive over humps because of the lack of absorption of force.

Make sure that your wheels have been balanced and aligned. The forces the car goes through during a race are incredibly strenuous. An unbalanced tyre will cause you to lose control of the car. Around extreme turns the wheel and axle will end up failing on you thus causing the car to flip over.

Races tend to do ten times the damage a normal drive would do because of speed, heat and forces applied to the wheels. Your tyre and wheel wholesaler will be able to put the correctly fitted tyres and wheels on your car before a race along with the correct balancing and alignment.

The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motorsport

The emotional rollercoaster of motorsport can work on both long and short timescales. Sometimes, a team’s transition from the back of the field up to the podium can take months or years. Sometimes the transition back can take hours. The weekend just passed was certainly one that had its ups and downs.

The team entered the weekend with all three of its drivers in the top 5 of the championship, and one, currently leading it. The confidence in the car was at an all-time high, and reliability has been improving all season. The track, one of the fastest in the country, should favour the rear wheel drive BMWs, and the weather was looking good. This should be a good weekend. The leading driver was carrying maximum ballast as is mandated which wasn’t going to help his chances, but shouldn’t cause too much of an issue. He’s a talented driver who’s had ballast before – not a problem.

The rollercoaster reached its apex.

Free practice one was spent scrubbing tyres. No real testing as such was done until the end of the session, but a brake bias error meant a spin under breaking coming in to a heavily gravel-trapped hairpin. The time lost due to the red flag for recovery, and the clearing out of the huge amount of gravel, meant there was no time for any setup changes or refinement during the session.

The rollercoaster was over the top now.

During Free Practice Two, multiple setup changes of varying success and impact were tried, but there was very little marked improvement in lap times. The problem was simply that our driver had only two laps to test each setup change before pitting and trying the next thing on the list. Usually, these changes are spread out across two sessions. This weekend we had one. Not every change you make is going to improve the car, and unfortunately, as FP2 closed, the car was not on the pace we had come to expect by this stage of the season.

Down we go.

Next up was qualifying. Given the natural advantage of rear-wheel drive in wet conditions, the ominous rainclouds were actually a welcome sight. Rain would equalise the pack a bit more and give the BMWs a chance to make up any performance deficit. The first few laps were dry but the pace wasn’t there. Then the rain came, and boy, did it come! The rain was so torrential that the session was in fact red flagged due to safety concerns. By the time the session restarted, the cars were suffering from water ingress in the electronics and ended up at the very back of the grid for race 1. The back of the grid, 28th place, with 75kg of ballast in the car.

Where’s the bottom?

Following the disappointing qualifying session, the weather worsened. Something not seen frequently in Blightly, but a tornado (yes, a TORNADO) came through the paddock. This freak weather caused terminal damage to the hospitality awnings and the entire team was out in the (now returned) torrential rain, angle grinding, cutting, hammering and spannerring to get the remains of the awning safe. The entire team, still reeling from qualifying, were now drenched through, not to mentioned the damage done to team property or to relationships with sponsors and VIPs.

Is this it?

The engineers and drivers sat down and discussed an action plan. What could be done to recover the weekend? Was everything lost? Absolutely not! Decisions were made and changes to the car were done late in to the night. Everything adjustable was adjusted. Gear ratios were changed. Engine maps were tweaked. Like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster, the car was transformed. Untested, yes, but transformed.

When do we go back up?

Race one began in glorious sunshine. The team and cars had dried out overnight, but the long walk down to the back of the grid was not something the team often had to do. The untested car seemed solid on the outlap to the grid, but that is never a real test of performance. Final checks done, 75kg of ballast on-board, 28th on the grid. The race started.

Finally, up we go!

Our driver finished 10th. He made up 18 places, an incredible result and better than anyone had hoped for. The overnight transformation had worked wonders and the speed in the car was back. 10th also meant no more ballast, as well as starting in 10th for race two. An excellent result!

Things are looking up!

Race two started with a much shorter walk down the grid. No ballast on-board, and just a few minor tweaks to compensate for the 75kg lower weight. And you know what? He only went and won it! He drove like the professional he is and put the car at the front of the pack, winning by almost 3 seconds. Who would have thought after the dismal Saturday, that race day would include a victory. What’s more, another of our drivers was third, so a double podium. An excellent result!

I can see the end now.

All that was left was race three. Ballast back in the car due to winning race 2, and a reverse grid meant starting down in the middle of the pack. The unfavoured hard tyres were also required for this race. The result was a solid middle of the pack finish. Not terrible, but not on the scale of success of races one and two.

Time to get off.

So the drivers leave the round with all three still in the top 10, two still in the top 5, and one still leading the championship. A result that although expected on Friday, seemed to fade away during Saturday.

The value in persevering, not giving up under hardship, and striving to win no matter how the odds are stacked against you cannot be understated. A bad practice or qualifying session, does not have to ruin your race. It doesn’t have to ruin your championship hopes. It doesn’t even have to ruin your day.

Keep your chin up, your head in the game and determination in overdrive, and as a team, great things will happen.

Please remain seated until the ride has come to a complete stop.

Time to Get KY Speedway Tickets Has Come

Fans of car races, lovers of speed, adrenaline seekers! This information will give you the desired delight! The time getting KY Speedway tickets for NASCAR racing series has finally come! The events will start in July 2017, lasting for three days of the month – July, 6th, 7th and 8th. Guys, following NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will watch the races personally when they come to the competition. They can visit NASCAR XFINITY Series 300 event this summer (July) and in autumn as well (September, 22-23). Visiting the official Kentucky Speedway site, you can print the events schedule to keep everything in your mind.

Visiting the official Kentucky Speedway site

The site will help you getting all the details concerning each day of the car races – the time when the event starts, its length, the vehicles models taking part in the competition. There you will learn “the whole caboodle” about the races’ policy, emergency information; watch track maps and whatnot. Many facts there are naturally devoted to materials, concerning getting tickets, including the time when box office works, the phone number to connect the operator and get more info about the interesting for you racing day. Each single person or even groups can purchase tickets for these races through the site (online) or visiting Corporate Offices placed in Kentucky. Write down the exact address of the office to buy the stuff the day, convenient to you (the site gives it).

Learn more about NASCAR racing series

Naturally, these Cup and Truck Series or simply cars’ races have millions of fans. However, there are always mates, who just learned about these events and wish to know more about NASCAR racing series. They will always read everything about these competitions online, in newspapers and on the official site. Meanwhile, the following information might raise an interest of these fellows. NASCAR racing series are held on the national level and conducted by the NASCAR association. These events always include the XFINITY Series (former Nationwide Championship) and the Camping World Truck Series, where riders compete on powerful trucks. When the next races season comes, NASCAR Sprint Cup racers participate in several stages on the traditional for America oval tracks. The so-called stock cars – specially constructed race cars with a spatial tubular frame, which is hung with steel outer panels, which approximately repeat the contours of the serial models are used in the championships. All cars have eight-cylinder lower engines and a suspension with a continuous rear axle. Earlier three cars brands participated in the Sprint Cup. These were Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota automobiles. The fourth player, Dodge, left the series in 2012.

New 2017 season starts in July 2017

The current season of 2017 is the fifth for the current stock-cars. However, this does not mean that the racing automobiles have remained the same – every year these vehicles undergo minor changes. This is done primarily to enhance the entertainment of the competition. For this purpose, the tournament organizers conduct a large amount of tests on the tracks and in the wind tunnel. This year persons responsible for the track promise that usual situation happening often in summer, when a significant number of fans face with traffic jams on the highway leading to the speedway, and the lack of sufficient parking spaces, will be successfully avoided. The needed changes in the infrastructure of nearby territories were already done. Each one, who wishes learning more about the Monster Energy, Camping World, XFINITY NASCAR Cup Series or General Tire Super Weekend, can dial the phone numbers he/she finds on the official site. There they will also find a convenient option of buying tickets online and even using PROMO code doing it.

The Pro Set Border Less Trading Card Design Of 1991 Used By Topps Shut Down Pro Set

I was doing some research on another article concerning Nascar Pro Set racing cards of the 1990’s and an old thought came back about “border less” sports trading cards. Of course “Mothers Cookies” produced the first all border less cards as inserts into their cookie bags but they were just as stated, “Inserts” and not full trading card production runs. If I remember correctly Pro Set was the first to release border less trading cards in 1991 followed by Topps “Stadium Club”.

The Nascar racing season begins in late January and Major League baseball starts in early April. The Pro Set’s 1991 border less Nascar trading cards would be released weeks before the late January Nascar season start which means Topps would have had to scramble to redesign their Major League baseball cards to meet the early April baseball season start. Topps had approximately 1 month to make the changes. While Topps was scrambling to match Pro Set with the border less card design they created a premium set out of the border less design cards and called them Stadium Club.

Topps Stadium club baseball when released in 1991 was a huge hit mainly because the photography was much better than Pro Set’s. The superb glossy photography along with the border less design and a blended name strip made Stadium Club the card other card companies had to go with or lose sales.

The 1991 Pro Set photography on their first Nascar racing card set is dull and the name strip clashes with the photography so bad the card is ugly. Was this first Pro Set Nascar set the very first border less production set? Sure seems like it could be since Topps bent over backwards to copy the border less design and create a premium set before the 1991 baseball season began between January and April of 1991.

Back in the 1990’s the fight to be the top sports card seller was the thing with so many card manufacturers jumping into the market to make millions off of pictures. The losers of the fight faced debt’s in the hundreds of millions trying to push their cards into popularity. The winners live in million dollar mansions and the collector value of the past cards they created are becoming forever collectible.

Topps won out in the fight with the new Stadium Club brand of sports cards. Topps did not produce Nascar trading cards but both companies did produce Baseball, Football and Hockey which were their paydays. Between 1989 and 1991 Pro Set took millions away from rival sports card companies. Pro Set finally had to give way to Topps Stadium Club cards and shut down in 1994 facing a debt in the hundreds of millions. Topps took Pro Sets border less design and came out on, “Topp”.

Of course the economy took a downturn in 2008 that brought the values of collectibles to nickel and dime prices along with the growing internet availability. But with a growing economy under a government that pushes growth the collectibles that lost value will again gain value as people have more to spend. Even the first border less cards may catch on as an epic event in collectible sport card history and be sought after which will grow the value of the cards people didn’t think to much about.

The Theory of Petrol Head

There is no point in driving a fast car slow as there is (almost) no point in driving an F1 in a racetrack asphalt. This is the 101 of driving a road illegal fancy machine in a straight line without using any maneuvering driving skill. Rather, the ridiculous speed at the race pit cracks the nervous system of most of the racers. This is the strutting catwalk of a nervous fashion diva in the weirdest dress who can never use it in other forms let alone in the street!

Formula One is the science at its best and a product of mad professors and genius engineers at whitewashed labs. It is the showdown of expensive engineering marvels of automobile industry, where the only fun lies in enduring frequent lateral 5G force in multiple left and right-hand turns. Any steel-nerve noob with 10-2 clocking can clutch a V8 or V10 in a drag race and beat a quarter mile, unless he blows off his piston by throttling to the redline! If speed and automotive engineering were everything in racing, then hyper cars and Bloodhound SSCs would rule the racetrack.

The real fun lies in the spec class/performance series. Only a veteran driver takes a stock or tuned car and master the art of driving formats – NASCAR, Rallycross, Gymkhana, and Le Mans.

NASCAR is the racing series that runs in highly-banked race tracks. The drivers require pure breed of driving skill and run their stock cars at 200 mph constantly to the left at 2G force – resulting the NASCAR chassis literally bent to the left thanks to the intense centrifugal force. Rallycross takes specially built road-legal cars that run in a point-to-point direction – unlike the F1’s circuit format. The NASCARs and Rally sports do not use any laptops or telemetry. Like the F1, the Rally drivers do not have the technological luxury to tune their cars on the go.

Gymkhana is time and/or speed event and all about acceleration, braking, drifting, which is essentially a first and second gear play. It takes hand braking, drifting and sliding, left-foot braking, and grip driving and most importantly strong mental concentration to master the gymkhana.

Dubbed as the “Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency”, the 24 hours of Le Mans is the epitome of driving endurance. It is a mix of closed roadways and racing tracks, where the drivers have to sustain maximum speed at the expense of running 24 hours without having any engine failure. This prestigious driving format takes brutal submission to endurance, flawless mechanical design and automobile innovation that requires cars that last long on the tracks and spend the least time in the pits.

These racing formats started at the same time but took different paths. Rally sports and NASCARs began with moonshiners running loops around mud and gravels, and the F1 with rich playboys and their fancy race machines in clean circuits. Still today, it was simply the race of cheap vs. elite, dogs versus hors d’oeuvres. Only Gymkhana events started with riding horse long before speed cars were invented – incorporating pylons and obstacles to exhibit horsemanship. The Le Mans on the other side, took more prestigious and well-grounded path – starting with the most reliable GT cars that can stretch performance, endurance and speed at the same time.

All of these racing types need spec matched to racing art, and performance complemented by years of endurance and driving skill set that no racing school/simulator can teach. Mastering the heel-toe downshifting at the hairpin and chicane, and delving into the symphonies created in between the clutch shifting and crankshaft banging – it’s all in the non F1 play. No wonder F1 drivers retire and join the rally sports and derby leagues!

F1 is the eternal mojo to those who see it just as a sport. Autosmiths know it is just the portal to the real racing.

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