CHECKERED PAST

Hot Rod Deluxe - - Roddin’ Scene -

The rus­tic Santa Mar­garita Ranch, in Santa Mar­garita, Cal­i­for­nia, played host to the very first RPM Na­tion­als flat­head drag races this past Oc­to­ber. The cre­ators of the event, Justin Baas, Ma­son Dyer, and Russ Hare, wanted to bring the ex­pe­ri­ence of post-wwii-era drag rac­ing to a new gen­er­a­tion. The ranch, with its own airstrip, was a per­fect set­ting, sur­rounded by grass fields, coastal moun­tains, and a few cows. The event was open to tra­di­tional flat­head four­cylin­der (four-banger) or V8 flat­head-pow­ered hot rods, cus­toms, belly tankers, and drag­sters, as long as they ran an un-nar­rowed rear axle.

The RPM Na­tion­als was not just a drag race. There was also an early Ford parts and speed parts swap meet and a large car show along the spec­ta­tor side of the strip.

The drag rac­ing at the RPM Na­tion­als was sep­a­rated into four classes: Street V8, Street Four-banger, Race V8, and Race Four­banger. For a car to qual­ify in one of the Race classes it had to run a power adder, such as a su­per­charger or nitro. The rac­ing was very ex­cit­ing through­out the day, with more than 50 cars run­ning against each other in a grudge-style for­mat. Af­ter the grudge races, elim­i­na­tions were held in each class, and by the end of the day a win­ner was crowned in each class.

For a first-time event there was ex­cel­lent spec­ta­tor turnout. That and the car count for the rac­ing and car show took some of the staff by sur­prise. With the suc­cess of the drags, the cre­ators of the event and the own­ers of the ranch are al­ready start­ing to plan for next year’s RPM Na­tion­als. —KLEET NOR­RIS

• PICS: KLEET NOR­RIS

CHECKERED PAST: Paul Gommi’s 1932 road­ster was built in 1947 by five G.I.S who put ev­ery­thing they had into the car to go dry lakes rac­ing. The car was orig­i­nally driven by Jack Ewell, who even­tu­ally be­came the head of Mickey Thomp­son’s Speed Shop. The...

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