We’re no stranger when it comes to looking over vintage reel-to-reel footage from long-gone raceways. We love it more than words can convey, if only because it transports us back to a time and place which we personally will never be able to venture, but more so for the memories and emotion that they hold for the people who were there.
We consider this when looking over this grainy and unintentionally shaky film from 1971. Capturing a night’s worth of drag racing at the now defunct Irwindale Raceway in Southern California (yes, there’s a standing Irwindale Raceway, but now an 1/8th mile track, having to share the property with a large banked circle track).
With a special thanks to Tom West and Steve Reyes who shot the Nanook stills, we were touched by a note from Dave Cook who wrote, “Go forward to 11:12 into the video. This last race shown on this home video is between my dad and Joe Smith. They were teammates and rode twin Harley factory drag bikes. This was probably a “match race” that they did at lot at tracks all over the USA. Joe is on the left, and my dad is on the right side.
“If you look really carefully, you can see a boy running behind the red Ford truck (that was my dad’s ’67 F100). My job was to follow behind the bike after the burnout, and pull a shop rag over the sticky rubber tire to knock off any lose rocks, gravel, etc. before the run. My dad smoked his tire on this run. This was my life as a kid until dad settled down and stopped racing in 1972.”