When Mike Nicholas told me that he was starting another new event after the success of the Hot Rod Hill Climb, I was all ears. Unfortunately I missed that first Hot Rod Dirt Drags, but I’ve made all 4 Hot Rod Dirt Drags since.
The premise is simple, take the best aspects of the Hot Rod Hill Climb, and twist them a bit. Add in the stories of Colorado hot rod legends like Cal Kennedy, who told the tales of racing on dirt airstrips before the Air Force allowed hot rodders to use the paved runways for drag racing. The result is one of the best events that I attend, period.
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When people ask me to describe my favorite events I always seem to come back to, you just have to experience it. From the Best Western Movie Manor with it’s rooms named after Hollywood stars, twin drive in movie screens that can be watched from the hotel rooms, to the dirt track, the traditional hot rods and the people that own them, I just love this event.
This year I’d planned on leaving Thursday evening after work but I got the call on Wednesday that someone needed to deliver some parts to a job site on Thursday, and lucky me, the job site was basically on my way to Colorado. So after working half a day I loaded up the car and headed west for about 5 hours. After stopping to drop off the parts I drove another 5 hours and finally made it to Monte Vista!
I was pleasantly surprised at how many people were already at the hotel, we hung out and caught up on what everyone’s been up to, it was chilly but beers helped.
Early Friday a bunch of us were wandering around the parking lot of the host hotel, it wasn’t long before the sounds of flatheads, bangers, and Hemis filled the air. Throughout the day more and more cars rolled in, bringing the hot rod family from across the country to hang out and join the party.
Friday evening is the usual time to gather up the cars on the strip, running down the sides of the drag strip so that folks could have a great photo op for the Night Drags! Then all of the 33-34 Fords that were in attendance were allowed to make some 1st/2nd gear passes down the track. This is just for photo ops and is pretty cool to watch too. The real racing starts on Saturday.
Later that evening both drive in screens fired up to show the double feature, one movie on each screen. I ended up spending time with friends and didn’t catch any of the movies.
Saturday morning is much the same, get to the event if you didn’t stay at the Best Western, get some sunscreen on and get ready for fun. A driver’s meeting at 9:30 and the start of the racing at 10am! Amy is the flag girl and she jumps and yells and waves on every set of cars from 10 to 4pm. This year it was north of 400 sets of cars that she flagged off.
Saturday evening is the awards presentation, most of them coming from car clubs who are in attendance. This is not an even that you come to hoping for a trophy but if you get one, it’s probably pretty special.
Sunday is some more racing for those that can stick around, I had to roll out around noon to get home, with the drive and the time change I pulled into the house around 10:30pm.
You better put this one on your schedule. You should experience it at least once!
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