Pomona Raceway Turns Back Clock

The National Hot Rod Assn. will come full circle Saturday when it holds drag races for street-legal cars and motorcycles at Pomona Raceway.

The project, designed to help curb illegal street racing, is similar to one that led to formation of the NHRA in 1951. Contestants will drive over the same stretch of asphalt where the season-opening Chief Auto Parts Winternationals and season-ending Winston Select Finals are held each year.

“It’s like turning the clock back more than four decades with the return of grass-roots racing at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds,” said Wally Parks, NHRA founder and board chairman. “It was here that the first police-sponsored dragstrip was introduced in the early 1950s. It seems only fitting that this new program for street-legal vehicles can be credited to support from the police departments of La Verne and Pomona.”

La Verne Mayor Jon Blickenstaff and Police Chief Ron Ingels spearheaded the campaign to return street racing to the Pomona strip.


“There is a street-racing problem in this end of (Los Angeles County), and I hope this will help,” Ingels said. “It provides an opportunity for young people to have some good, wholesome fun.”

Saturday will be the first time in 20 years that full-sized vehicles will compete at Pomona Raceway in other than the two NHRA national events.

In 1951, then-Pomona police chief Ralph Parker and then-Pomona police sergeant Bud Coons worked to take hot rods off the streets of Southern California with police-conducted drag races at the Fairgrounds.

The Pomona Police Department is distributing thousands of fliers containing details of the event to performance-car and motorcycle enthusiasts in the area.


The NHRA was also created to provide rules for drag racing and to set strict safety standards.

“It goes back to our roots, the original idea of the NHRA, to give people a place to race,” said Bernie Partridge, former NHRA vice president.

Competitors must race in either a street-legal car or motorcycle that uses street tires and mufflers. Side-by-side racing will be over one-eighth of a mile. Competition will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Motor Racing Notes


STOCK CARS--Saugus Speedway will conduct Winston Twin 50s, double-points races for sportsman cars in the Winston Racing Series, plus main events for Grand American modifieds and a train race Saturday night. . . . Cajon Speedway will feature sportsman, street and bomber stock cars, plus Grand Am modifieds Saturday night. . . . Street stocks and IMCA modifieds will race Friday night at Ventura Raceway. . . . Kern County Raceway will have street and pro-mod stocks Saturday night.

SPEEDWAY BIKES--The 25-lap Cirello Classic, longest race of the speedway season, is scheduled Friday night at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Lance King, the defending champion, is now racing cars, and Chris Manchester, winner of the first two Cirello races in 1991 and ’92, is racing in Europe. Robert Pfetzing, also a winner in 1992, is the favorite. . . . Lake Perris Speedway will run a program Saturday night, then switch next week to its regular Thursday night summer schedule.

SPRINT CARS--Rip Williams, leading the Sprint Car Racing Assn. standings, will try for victory No. 5 in Saturday night’s main event at Kings Speedway in Hanford.