Third and final video documentary on sport’s most famous drag strip (Long Beach, Calif.); rare photos, film, interviews with leading pioneers.
Third and final episode (110-minutes) on historic Long Beach, CA drag strip features 40-plus interviews with top pioneers, including; Don Garlits, Ed Iskenderian, Hayden Proffitt, Gas Ronda, Bill Maverick Golden, Robert Balogh, Carl Olson, Sush Matsubara, Tom McEwen, Pat Foster, Tommy Ivo, Dale Pulde, Don Long, C. J. Hart, Larry Sutton, etc. Begins with nitro racings version of a heavyweight bout, as Top Fuel dragsters fight the growing trend of AFX and early Funny Cars. Huge meets ensued. Innovation led to quicker ETs and speeds. Funny Cars roared into the 7-second zone. Top Fuelers blazed past 220 miles-per-hour. With increased performance came danger. Straining clutches and superchargers resulted in spectacular fires, wheel-stands and crashes, with drivers in extreme peril. One of the more dramatic segments depicts the AHRA Grand American in early 1970, when Top Fuel legend Big Daddy Don Garlits lost part of his right foot in a horrific starting line transmission explosion. Graphic film of the accident surfaced only recently. Garlits recounts the incident, plus his equally stunning return months later with a rear-engine dragster that likewise changed the sport forever. Weekly campaigners included Jr. Fuel and Gas Dragsters, AA/Gas Supercharged, AA/Fuel Altered, Injected Funny Cars, plus wild exhibition vehicles. Manager C.J. Hart departed in 1971, replaced by innovator, Steve Evans, who switched from AHRA to NHRA sanction, and produced events like the giant Grand Premier, which saw the tracks largest number of incidents. When noise complaints spelled the end in December 1972, Lions held the racing equivalent of Woodstock, with The Last Drag Race, a colossal, fitting, yet tear-filled end to one of the sports most historic, and revered tracks.