SPIRIT OF LIONS EVENT
Thanks for the Memories
LIONS: THE GREATEST DRAG STRIP EVER? Many would shout, without a pause, “Hell, yes!” Operating from 1955 through 1972, Lions went by several names: Long Beach (even though it was actually in Wilmington), or simply The Beach. It was the home track to many of the most famous drag racers who ever turned a slick. When the atmospheric conditions were just right, the air at the track was magical, creating perfect conditions for producing big horsepower. Those fortunate enough to attend Lions witnessed what many consider the golden age of drag racing.
Recently, the legacy of this fabled racing facility was celebrated at the Spirit of
Lion Event. Hosted by Rick Lorenzen at his massive Price Transfer facility, close to the strip's original location, the event was a collaboration of efforts by Lorenzen, Dave Mandella, Steve Gibbs, Steve Davis and most specifically, Lorenzen's right-hand man, Rob Marchese.
Those 700-plus in attendance witnessed a period-correct car show and at least 30 Lions-era cackle cars that participated in a simulated push-start scenario. The fans ate it up. In close proximity to the festivities was Lorenzen's Price Automobilia Auto Collection, devoted to American iron (including race cars) from the '20s through the '60s.
Lorenzen, who as a kid was a Lions regular, is in the process of creating (for lack of a better term) a museum devoted to recreating “the spirit of Lions.” This is a long-term endeavor that will capture the essence of the drag strip, which at one time, was the epicenter of drag racing.
All in attendance say thanks for the memories to Lorenzen and everyone who brought this event to life.
Those 700-plus in attendance witnessed a period-correct car show and at least 30 Lions-era cackle cars that participated in a simulated push-start scenario. The fans ate it up.
At least 30 Lions-era cackle cars made beautiful music several times during the day’s festivities. Jerry Bivens, helming the Bivens & Fisher Checkmate T/F, was another Lions regular. ’Goo$e also spent considerable seat time in the Checkmate.
This is just a small portion of Lorenzen’s amazing Price Automobilia auto collection. The man of the hour, Rick Lorenzen, holding a rendering of one of Lions’ memorable races: The Mongoo$e vs. Snake, captured by artist James Ibusuki.
Kenny Youngblood did a rendering of Lorenzen’s upcoming tribute to Lions exhibition. It’s guaranteed to be a jawdropper.
The Yeakel Plymouth T/F fielded by Lou Baney and Vince Rossi and driven by the Mongoo$e was a Lions regular. Vince’s son, Paul, was in the saddle for the event.