Friday, August 14, 2009
590 MIGHTY MEMORY #538
PHOTO INDEX: POCONO DRAG LODGE CIRCA 1960s.
POCONO DRAG LODGE REUNION
In the 1960s WARM Radio’s music personified fast cars and fast music. The station’s bell shaped signal provided great booming coverage into the Pocono Area. It was a natural for the participants in the Pocono rag Lodge to listen to WARM as their station of choice. And WARM Radio, the Mighty 590 seeing a promotional opportunity used to provide information on the events. Night time jocks Joey Shaver, Bill Stuart, T.J. Lambert III and the late Tim Karlson used to promote the races on their shifts during the 60s and 70s.
On Saturday 8/15/09 there will be a Pocono Drag Lodge reunion. For those that remember, it was a great track in the 60's and 70's. The hours are 9-5. That's where Joe Amato got his start. Pocono Drag Lodge was a 1/4 mile NHRA drag strip located in Bear Creek, Pennsylvania, near Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The strip has been idle for decades, but was once a major NHRA site. A plan to revive the track for a 1998 opening fell through the cracks but a reunion, long planned for this weekend will be a chance to reconnect with some of the drivers and their cars. For those of you not able to attend, here’s some information on a DVD produced in time for the reunion.
DRAG RACING - WHEN IT WAS FUN!
This one hundred and twenty-three minute original movie production includes Drag Racing action from the 1960’s at various drag strips: Pocono Drag Lodge, Pocono International Raceway, Kel-Rica, Wind Gap, Vargo, Numidia, Island, Forty Fort, Tri Cities and Maple Grove. The video has an assortment of Gassers, Altereds, Dragsters, Super/Stockers, Funny Cars and Stockers. The big names of the sport appear as well as some of the regular racers and their cars. I started off doing this video for the first annual Pocono Drag Lodge Reunion but as I got into it I realized that the people who went to PDL also traveled to several other drag strips within the same geographical area. It was common for many of the same cars to tow into Island, Tri Cities (NY track) or Vargo on the same weekend. Of course they also went to Numidia and Maple Grove on a regular basis. Wind Gap Drag Strip was one of the first tracks in the area and we have a short story about racing there in 1961. I have also included a story on the Kel-Rica track and you have to see it to believe it. Some of the track is still visible today and I had a chance to talk to the owner about it. I believe you will really enjoy this story. I have also included some very rare footage of drag racing at the Pocono International Raceway. They ran two drag races there in 1969 and we are able to show you some of the action in both of them. Jungle Jim and Brutus ran the first match race there and you get to see the action. I have also included some interviews with people who competed at these tracks: Joe Amato talks about his early years in drag racing, Bob Chipper does the same for his career. Both of these super stars of the sport got their start at PDL. We also talk to Jerry Hotchkiss about the ’63 Z-11 Chevy he bought from Malcolm Durham. We show a best of three-match race with Al Joniac and his A/FX Mustang against Fast Eddie Schwartman’s ’65 A/FX Mercury Comet at Vargo Dragway then talk to Al about it. Tom Sneeden talked to us about running the Bob Banning Funny Car at Pocono International Raceway. We also talked to Wally Bell about his ’57 Chevy Gasser and his role as Manager of PDL. Bob Strunk raced at both PDL and Numidia back in the 1960’s and he gives us a history report regarding Numidia. This video has several stories about Gassers. Included are: Joe Amato (5 time Top Fuel Champion) ‘32 Chevy, Fiat AA/A, 40 Chevy; Bob Chipper ‘55 Chevy, 40 Willys, 33 Willys, 70 Cuda BB/GS; Wally Bell 57 Chevy; Tony Durso C/MP 55 Chev. In addition we show numerous gassers at all the tracks. If you are a fan of gassers this will surely appeal to you. For Super Stock fans we have a match race between the Lawman Plymouth and the Tasca Tbolt at Island Dragway in 1964. Cool stuff. The Joniac vs. Schwartman match at Vargo is killer. The close up shots on the return road will knock you out. We also follow Wally Bell, Jack Schaffer, George Whalen, Tim Richards, Jerry Hotchkiss, Lee Malkemes, Bob Harrop and others to match races at Tri Cities, Island, Numidia and PDL. As always we have taken the time to dub real car sounds on to the movie footage in order to give you the most realistic sights and sounds available of the golden era of drag racing. We have also included relative narration in the video so you can follow all the action that takes place. Get your copy today on DVD or VHS. Our DVD includes 30 Chapter markers so you can quickly navigate to your favorite part of the video. Cost is $19.00.
Here are two videos from YOU TUBE on the Pocono Drag Lodge.
From Jan and Dean: "Bucket T:"
Then there was Jan and Dean's "Drag City". Heard on WARM many, many times during drag racing season.