What is gray and white and goes 65 to 19 in 6 seconds? That's easy. A "Baby Boomer" in their hot rod at the Flashlight Drags. Of course the "Boomers" are not the only ones racing there however. The young and old, men and women of all ages have made the Greene County Airport the Mecca of drag racing on chosen Sundays in Western PA. Although the races are not sanctioned by any organizations, no points are earned and no money prizes given, it is as close to the early days of drag races as you can get. Those old enough to remember the dawning of drag racing may remember that old airports were offered up as drag locations to young racers in an attempt to keep them off the streets and out of harms way or "street racing without the jail time" as Mike Schindel and the folks down at the Flashlight Drags like to say.
On August 4th the organizers at Flashlight Drags planned a reunion, with the help of Jim Senkewitz and others, for the racers from the old P.I.D. drag strip. Pittsburgh International Dragway which was in its' prime in the 1960's - 70's was also an old airport located just outside of Bridgeville, PA. This event was a perfectly planned "deja vue" for some of the original P.I.D. racers, a time travel like a scene out of "Back to the Future", back to the glory days when they were 19 and racing back at their home track. Unfortunately the stars of the show were unable to perform at this, the premiere of what will become an annual event. The Ford / Chevy grudge match which was to be one of the highlights of the day was canceled because of mechanical malfunctions, not unlike the old days. No worries, there were plenty of cars to watch. If you still craved the smell of burning rubber and the ear thumping sound of raw horse power, you were in the right place.
The event was held on a beautiful day, unlike July 7th when it was originally scheduled, and the beautiful day was eventful. Things started off with the D.J. "The Greaser", Doug Wilson spinning the oldies to entertain the early crowd. A little later there was a welcome by Mike Schindel, the flag salute followed by the singing of the national anthem, and a blessing of the racers by Ray Gossett of the "Race to Victory " youth ministry. Following the brief opening festivities there was a parade of all the participating cars and drivers and after a few laps the cars paired off to hit the strip in a continuous line with Hersch, of TalkHotRods.com, doing the play by play. After each race the drivers would pair off with someone new and continue the cycle, and the beat goes on-all day. At the end of the day there was an elimination of all cars in four classes: Street Competitors,Top Tuners, Big Dogs and Trucks, with unique "Turk" trophies given to the winners of each class and the newly founded "Jake" trophy going to the best performing P.I.D. car. I am pleased to say I had my fill, my senses satisfied with the sights, sounds and smells of a long day back to the future.
I plan to call my car buddies and tell them what a blast it was but I'm gonna have ta wait till my hearing comes back.
Hey, be safe out there....see yinz at the stoplight - Rich
PID Day Events At the Line
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