Thursday, July 9, 2015

Melting Down in July

But in this case it is a good thing.  On July 17, 18 and 19 Byron Dragway will be the scene of the 6th annual Meltdown Drags.  This event is one that you really need to attend to gain a full appreciation for the concept.  From the grandstands you will think you stepped back in time to a 1966 drag race!

Every year this beautiful dragstrip outside of Byron Illinois (near Rockford) becomes home to a weekend that reminds us why drag racing became such a popular sport during the '50s, '60s and beyond.  What make this particular event such a hit is a combination of things.  For one thing, all the vehicles must be 1966 or older.  Add to that, they need to be period correct as viewed from the stands.  That means no modern wheels or "snorkel" hood scoops.  Another key ingredient might be that the Meltdown Drags Crew has chosen to curb the natural inclination of racers everywhere to go faster and faster (translation: spend more and more money) by making it a "grudge racing" only event.  If you're not familiar with the term "grudge racing" it basically comes down to this: no trophies or even class eliminations -for every pass down the strip each racer is free to pair up with another similar vehicle that will provide for a good race.

This event draws in the neighborhood of 500 competition vehicles which includes everything from front engine dragsters to near stock looking sedans.  And gassers.  Lots and lots of wheel standing gassers.

Of course a 1966 drag race scene would not be complete without motorcycles, and the Meltdown Drags, true to its theme, includes them.  Last year's event included somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 motorcycles in competition.  I suspect that may be near the ratio of cars to bikes that one might have found at a typical mid '60s drag race. 

Rumor has it that this year we can expect to see Glen Kerr with his famous world's first twin engine dragbike, Dubble Trubble.  The boys from the AH Garage will likely be there with vintage Harleys ranging from a Knucklehead to a Shovelhead and pretty much everything in between.  Steve McGregor with his double engine Triumph may be there, not to mention Wayne Skinner and his single engine Triumph dragster as he continues to up the percentage of nitro.  Last I heard, John Endrizzi plans to run his supercharged street Knuckle, and I fully expect Jay from Fear No Evo Racing to show up with his Iron XL gasser.  No doubt there will be other bikes there as well, filling out the program.

As for the Knuckledragger, Lord willing we will put in an appearance with it.  I am finishing up a 4 speed transmission for it (built from mostly used parts) because the 2 speed was not really the hot set up combined with a modern slick without nitro: pretty hard on clutch plates.

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