Leon's Car Care Center

Saturday Shootout and Nostalgia Reunion

August 19, 2006  

The Golden Anniversary may have passed last year, but more history was made in unforgettable ways at the Leon’s Car Care Center Nostalgia Reunion, Saturday August 19th.

            Several familiar faces from way out of town returned for the reunion for two Nostalgia classes – Slow and Fast. The Kucker family returned from Santa Rosa with the turquoise ’37 Ford coupe “Justin”. Eddie Kucker drove it well into Eliminations in Pro and Quick Nostalgia, often dueling against Livermore’s Jerry Christine, whose ’34 Ford pickup was once a show truck in the ‘60s, now a quick quarter mile hopper averaging mid-10’s. It met up with Mike Scoggin’s Pro/Super Pro ’46 Chevy pickup in the Quick Nostalgia Final, edging Scoggin out for 1st place, 10.49 (on a 10.49 dial in) at 115 mph, the purple Chevy with a 11.43 run at 117 mph.

            Earlier this season Don Kohls and his fenderless ’37 Chevy sedan were on the spectator side of the fence, started campaigning it mid-season, and got into the Slow Nostalgia Final against Brian Stone’s ’67 Firebird. Stone, running second in Sportsman points, took advantage of Kohls’ red-lit start with a 1st Place sprint of 16.59 at 88 mph over Kohls’ 13.68 charge at 102 mph. Stone and Christine weren’t done yet (recruit a “Woods” and they’ve got a new classic drag racing trio in the works). The two 1st Placers raced for Best of Show (as seen on the cover of Sunday’s Eureka Reporter), the prize going to Christine. All 1st Place winners received Redwood Wallys: a redwood-based trophy carved with a tree hanging over a big racing slick tire.

            The Junior Dragster ranks had a new entry: Mike George of Happy Valley, Oregon. George was an eighth-mile force, and it would take Mike Pettit in his sister Kara’s “She Devil” dragster – one of the field’s quickest – to keep up. Mike Pettit worked it all day to the Final in a tight race with George finishing first, 7.94 at 82 mph to Pettit’s 7.97 at 81 mph. In Consolation, Preston Daniels’ flamed ride took a win over Alyssa Masterson, 11.03 at 58 mph over her 11.78 at 55 mph.

            In Time Trials, the only one close to Kyle Skillings’ 8-second ’94 Berretta was Roger Johnson, and he was running the ’67 Nova in time-only runs (i.e., not in Top Qualifier contention). At first the stretched Berretta ran 8.36 at 160 mph – a personal best for the Eureka speed freak. In Session 3, he trimmed his time to 8.32, also at 160 mph, earning a fourth consecutive T.Q. paycheck. In Eliminations he would top that for a 8.319 flight at 165 mph.

            Some racers took home their first 1st Place finish of the season, such as Leif Magnusen in Sportsman Motorcycles against James Surber’s Buell drag bike, 9.73 at 132 mph to Surber’s 9.36 at 136 mph.

            Harlan Tucker in Pro, took his ’67 Barracuda to the finals putting him in top ten points.  Tucker took on Mike Salazar’s ’72 Chevelle, hole-shotting it to the quarter mile cones, 12.58 at 103 mph to Salazar’s 11.96 at 110. Salazar’s road to the Pro final was almost halted by his red-lit start time against Jerry Noales. Northeast Californian Noales wow’ed the crowd with a lowered, widened ’65 Chevy truck making fast passes. As it led Salazar, the truck swayed, crossing the centerline, the season’s first such disqualification, keeping the Eureka Chevelle in competition. Good karma for a racer that’s been helping local competitors with spare parts and extra wrench-time, outside of the track. Salazar’s runner-up finish put him second place in Pro points next to John Antongiovanni.

            Gordon Sjoquist kept busy racing in Sportsman Motorcycle, Slow Nostalgia and Sportman, getting his ’63 Studebaker Lark into the Finals to face Ana Toledo’s ’69 Mustang… which suffered inner tire problems before it could make it out of the pits. Sjoquist made use of the pass time, running 15.58 at 87 mph.

            Bob Hesterberg had strong runs in his ’71 Vega drag wagon, getting the Upper Lake-based car in Super Pro Finals against Fortuna’s Dale Waddell. The points leader’s ’27 roadster earned his first Wally trophy on August 6th, and with both racers crossing the Saturday Shootout finish line at 120 mph, Waddell’s 10.19 over Hesterberg’s 10.90 earned Waddell a second consecutive 1st Place finish. Could he do it again on Sunday? They would return the next morning for AAMCO Transmission’s Samoa Challenge Cup to work it out.

                  Follow me over to the next race results story…

                                                                                             -- Tim O’Brien