SPIRIT OF LIONS EVENT

Thanks for the Me­mories

Drag Racer - - CONTENTS - Text and Pho­tos by Rod Short

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.

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