Great day for a car show out in Irwindale, listen to the podcast to find out what happened with the drag racing video and pics as well along with new upcoming events.
Donald Galaz and Davis in the staging lanes.
William gets busy shooting Don’s Chevy on the starting line.
Camera batteries charged, zoom lens packed, lunch made the night before; it’s time for the annual Mooneyes Xmas Party and Drag Fest at Irwindale Speedway. This show is a must for anybody interested in hot rods, customs, custom bikes and vintage drag racing. Last year, this event was plagued with random downpours and we decided to pass on the parking lot beer fest with no racing. This year, the weather managed to work around the event and it went off without any problems. Gates opened at 6 a.m. and we recommend you get there early to get a parking spot even as a spectator.
Now it was time to stroll the aisles of customs and hot rods with the first hint of a rising sun. The crisp air with the smells of breakfast burritos and fire pits from the numerous car club canopies flowed through the whole lot. Sorta like the environment of a huge automotive swap meet without all the dirt. This show brings out something different each year, so it’s always worth going even for a few hours, but you’ll tell yourself you’ll be back next time earlier to see more.
This year also seemed to bring out more early model VW’s than we’ve seen in the past. Bugs and more vans with luggage racks and various auto décor. The amount of 1970’s vans is still strong even with the presence of the Vandoleros C.C. Shag, custom bubble side windows and metal flake with plush interiors can only provoke the imagination of hedonism. “Rolling Heavy” says it all. Vans and more long fork choppers with metal flake gas tanks and huge sissy bars. What goes around comes around and these relics are starting to gain more attention as they are more readily available and have a lower price tag. All good stuff in our book.
We met the winner of the raffled 1930 roadster from the Ventura Nationals back in September. Danny drives his winning car everywhere and doesn’t plan to trailer it anytime. Way to go! Roadster builder, Aaron Valencia from Lancaster, California is already building the next raffle car, which will be a 1936 Ford coupe. We look forward to an interview and some coverage with him in the next few months for the 2015 Ventura event. Danny spent $40 on raffle tickets. Save your cash for tax day, it’s still worth every penny.
Photographer, Mitzi Valenzuela from Mitzi and Co. was busy organizing her pinup girl contest and selling 2015 calendars. We had the opportunity to interview her for our podcast and its good to talk to others in the auto-culture industry making a living doing what they love and traveling across the continent. While conversing with Mitzi, we heard the live tunes from The Hot Rod Trio. Show bands consisted of Gamblers Mark, Dead Beat Daddies and the Dynatones. We’ve seen the Hot Rod Trio a few times in the past and they do a great line drive for rockabilly tunes. The Mooneyes booth was in full swing amongst the other vendors of apparel, hair product and culture lifestyle.
We made our way to the staging lanes for the drags. We met up with our friend, Donald Galaz, from San Pedro. He is the spokesperson behind Project Street Legal. His group, the Brotherhood of International Racers, is working with local city councils, the Long Beach Grand Prix, and even the Port of Los Angeles to reopen a drag strip on Terminal Island. This task as you can imagine, is a long road dealing with politicians, city officials, and established businesses. Donald is a great guy and believes in a safe location in the Los Angeles area for racing to help prevent illegal street racing.
Don drives a 1948 Chevy sedan fitted with a Small-block Chevy with a vintage Offenhauser dual-quad high-rise intake manifold with velocity stacks. No frills, no fancy paintjobs, it’s just a street racecar with race seats and slicks. We had the opportunity to “fasten” our GoPro camera to the dash for some in-car video footage as he made some 1/8-mile passes. Tie that with our starting line media privilege, we had a good plan for some killer video coverage. So we had planned.
The track crew managed to dry the end of the track and racing started a little later than scheduled, but safety does come first. As the first few cars made their pass, more and more spectators made their way to the retaining wall to shoot pics with their phones. Obvious to us this was not a good situation because there was no security checking wristbands at the pit lane exit. Then the start man got the call to stop staging and to verify all people at the wall had proper colored wristbands. No problem with us, then he received the call that our media wristbands now required a “photo” wristband. So off to the tower we went with other photographers. Upon entering the room we heard that there were no more liability forms for signatures for photo passes. Apparently, we were supposed to contact the track manager, Doug Stokes, weeks in advance to obtain the golden wristband for this event. This event sponsored by Mooneyes has never been a problem or required us to sign a waiver of liability like other track events we’ve attended. This left us in the awkward situation where logic failed and it was simply a matter of telling everyone to leave without the golden wristbands. Call it a “golden shower.” Too bad for us and especially bad for our subscribers as well as promotion of the show.
What to do? We made our way back through the staging lanes to Don’s car where he was hunting down ignition problems. At this point, it was clear our day was over. We still managed to get over 5 hours of show coverage and to say hi to some people we’ve met over the past few years. That was all good. Don did manage to get back on track with a best of 8.09 at 83mph.
We look forward to 2015…with proper wristbands, because those of us with the proper media credentials would never do this…