SENIORS TOUR TO BOISE: MASTERCAM AA/FD TO FAN THE FLAMES OF A NIGHT OF FIRE by Cole Coonce, NR August 12, 1999--Call it a drag racing corollary of professional golfing's Seniors Tour: Three survivors of Southern California's nitro wars of ...
SENIORS TOUR TO BOISE: MASTERCAM AA/FD TO FAN THE FLAMES OF A NIGHT OF FIRE by Cole Coonce, NR
August 12, 1999--Call it a drag racing corollary of professional golfing's Seniors Tour: Three survivors of Southern California's nitro wars of the 1960s are finally taking their show on the road again: This weekend Frank "Root Beer" Hedge (tuner), "Wild Bill" Alexander (driver) and Walt Stevens (motorman), collaborators on the Los Angeles-based Mastercam AA/Fuel Dragster, are poised to show the nitromaniacs in Boise, Idaho how much smoke, noise, fire and thunder can be generated from an old-style, fire-belching front-engine Top Fuel dragster.
Although the three cagey drag strip veterans have plied their trade at various points across North America thirty-odd years ago (Hedge as owner/tuner of the "A&W Root Beer Spl."; Stevens as the driver of "the Piranha," a successful, experimental rear-engined dragster that terrorized opponents back in 1966; and Alexander as the driver for a plethora of speed-record setting hot jobs), this is the first time the three legendary nitro mavens have campaigned a dragster together.
The catalyst for their partnership can be attributed to the resurgence of California's front-motored fueler wars, a venue which was a natural outlet for nitro warriors whose common bond is the fact that they all dropped out of racing in the 1970s.
As Walt Stevens explains the attraction of running a AA/Fuel Dragster: "I am back into the sport that I love," he said. "I started around 1960 and (drag racing) is something that has to be in your blood. I stopped racing for about 20 years, tried all kinds of other things (offshore racing ,flying). But this stuff that we call nitro (is what makes it) so bitchen to be part of this group."
"Wild Bill" explains the appeal of taking the nitro Seniors Tour on the road thusly: "This has let a lot do what we wanted to do when we were younger--and maybe a little more talented. But it is allowing us to fulfill maybe a dream, or maybe the reality of something we stopped doing then because of families, business or whatever."
In comparing the rides of yesteryear with the car they are campaigning this weekend in Boise, Stevens said: "All in all the guy in the driver's seat (nowadays) will walk away from almost any kind of bad deal that may happen." He then reveals that, "Want to know the truth? I sometimes think how lucky (I am to) be here today after driving some of the homemade cars back then. I will be 60 in a week or so and I never would have believed that I would make it to 40 back then." Firebird Raceway is located 5 miles north of Hiway 44 on Hiway 16, 20 minutes west of downtown Boise, Idaho .
In addition to four AA/Fuel Dragsters, the Night of Fire Features:
AA/Nitro Fuel Altereds Nationals West Coast Pro Modifieds Doorslammers AA/Nitro Funny Cars Nitro Thunder Trucks 280 MPH Jet Dragsters Ed "Outlaw" Jones Wheelstander
Friday, August 13th: Pro Qualifying 8 PM Saturday, August 14th: Pro Qualifying 8 PM Sunday August 15th: Pro Mod (round one) 5 PM Pro Eliminations 6 PM
Friday ...................$15 Pit Pass $5.00 Saturday ...............$20 Pit Pass $5.00 Sunday .................$20 Pit Pass $5.00
Children under 12 admitted free on spectator side of track