By John Bombatch
XENIA — When you get him talking about the ‘Good ‘ol Days’ of drag racing at Kil-Kare Dragway, Ed Crowder’s eyes light up with excitement. It’s that love for the sport, and for the history of fun and exciting racing at the famed Xenia drag strip, that Crowder holds a drag racing reunion of sorts each year called the “Gathering of the Geezers.”
The 8th annual event will take place Saturday at Kil-Kare Dragway, and Crowder has lined up some racing celebrities from the past.
Patty Flannery Stephens, the original Miss Hurst Golden Shifter in 1965, will be on hand, as will famous Dayton-area gasser pilot and engine builder “Ohio George” Montgomery, who may have copies of his new book for sale.
“This is our eighth year of holding this event, and it promises to be a fun day of nostalgia and drag racing,” Crowder said on Monday. “An old-time drag race will take place for cars dating back to 1983 or older, and a car show will be available for cars of any year. Last year, we had 536 entries! And we’ll also have our annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.”
Crowder says time trials will get under way at 10 a.m., the latest Hall of Fame inductee class will be recognized at 2 p.m., and eliminations are expected to start at 3 p.m. Awards will be handed out to the top-50 show cars.
Fairborn high performance engine mechanic and fabricator Timmy Ferrell is this year’s Grand Marshall. Ferrell has worked with some of the National Hot Rod Association’s very best, including Connie Kalitta, Jim Head, Teri & Lori Johns, Brad Anderson and Tony and Frank Pedregon among others.
Ferrell’s father passed away this past Fall. Keith Ferrell was famous for racing a 1933 Willy’s Panel truck called “The Dogcatcher.”
The 2016 Kil-Kare DragwayHall of Fame class inductees are: Vern Pop Ault; Ralph Bray; Dick and Barb Chrysler; Dan Connaughton; Tom DeCamp; Donnie, Terry & Bob Richards; Ron Hous; Roger Jenkins; Dave Jones; Rick LeValley; Jim Miller; Don Rettick; Jeff Sexton; Homer Stacy; Don Wilbur; and Dell, Whitey and Wendy Marshall.
According to Crowder, Kil-Kare will host Geezer Sportsman races for 1950-1983 year model cars only, a Modified category for cars of the same age, Street Rod racing for cars 1949 or older, a Nostalgia Eliminator category for front-engine dragsters and gassers only, and a “Grandpa (and Grandma) Eliminator event for drivers aged 50 years and older.
“I won a race at Kil-Kare on Aug. 19, 1959 — the first day that they had a race at the drag strip, and I’ve really enjoyed the sport ever since,” Crowder said. “I think this year’s Gathering of the Geezers will be one of the best drag racing reunions, ever. And I’m so excited about it that I’m already working on plans for next year!”
Buckeye Stock and Super Stock qualifiers will be held at noon and 1:30 p.m. The Great Lakes Gassers organization will be making historic drag racing passes throughout the day as well.
Gates open at 9 a.m. Admission is $20 for car show, swap and race entrants, $15 for general admission, and kids 15 and under can get in free with a paid adult.
If you have any questions about Saturday’s event, feel free to give Ed a call at (937) 409-3087.
John Bombatch can be reached at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.