Dragstalgia! Great Britain’s Best Burnouts!
Dragstalgia at Santa Pod Raceway goes back to the way drag racing used be. It’s a full throttle weekend dedicated to drag racing, hot rods and bikes from a bygone era. Getting there is half the fun.
When you’re driving out of Podington in Bedfordshire, Great Britain you are in the middle of a picturesque countryside village on the outskirts of Wellingborough. You drive along the windy, curvy small road towards Hinwick and its there you’ll notice a small, inconspicuous sign on your left-hand side. A small sign with a big meaning: Santa Pod Raceway.
The “POD“ is the birthplace and the home of British drag racing. A former Word War II airfield, it was turned into a drag strip back in 1966 quickly becoming known as “The home of European Drag Racing“. The track, with its rich tradition, celebrated its 50th anniversary just two years ago in 2016.
In the recent off season, the track has been resurfaced to become Europe’s first permanent all concrete surface drag strip. The track is one of the last of its kind and definitely the biggest in Europe, hosting well over 50 events per year. Over the last couple of years, a rather new format has fast grown to one of the big yearly highlights in their schedule.
Dragstalgia is an event with Championship and “Run what you brung” sessions for all kinds of Nostalgia Drag Racing vehicles. It’s not primarily about the fastest time, being first or going home with a trophy. Dragstalgia is a big festival to honor the origins of the sport we all love. It’s an homage to the cackling pipes, the smell of nitro, the dry hops, the smoky burnouts, the cars which had names in colorful letters instead of sponsors on their sides and backup-girls in petticoats. And…the trackside announcers and a few other Santa Pod staffers wore jackets and ties!
It’s also a gathering of unique vehicles from show and shine muscle cars, rat rods, classically blown Hemi powered cars and small naturally aspirated 4-bangers. It’s an ode to the engineering, pioneering spirit which has made drag racing great.
No less than ten categories are being run at this particular event. From the “Slingshot Showdown“ for old style front engined dragsters, to the “Nostalgia Cannonball“ which mixes nitro as well as methanol Funny Cars and Fuel Altereds.
The E.T.’s of three qualifying runs are added together for a total qualifying time – kind of a cool format! The two racers with the lowest total will face off in the final. The “Wild Bunch“ runs a format where the winner is the racer who records the lowest average difference between ET and Dial-in and overall rounds completed. So basically, the most consistent car is the winner.
The popular “Outlaw Anglia“ category is a manufacturer-specific heads up class for Ford Anglia, and Prefect. There is the “Supercharged Outlaws“ – a class which welcomes any vehicle that is powered by a roots style supercharger with an index of 9.9 or quicker. The crazy “Gasser Circus“ is a class formed back in 2003 for all Gasser styled cars. Straight axles, classic body types and smoky burnouts, are the trademarks of this class.
Also, a fan favorite is the “Willys Wars“, which puts 1933- 41 Willys coupes, pickups and sedans in the mix. It’s a heads up, match racing format without eliminations, so it’s racing for bragging rights only.
Then there is “Nostalgia Super Stock“ – a class dedicated to the memory of old school muscle car machines from the 60s and 70s. This is where all the Dodge’s, Ford’s, Plymouth’s and Chevrolet’s can battle it out.
So, whether you’re into the old Drag Bikes, Hot Rods, Classic Cars, Gasser’s, Altered’s, Funny Cars or Slingshot Dragsters or you just want to listen to rockabilly bands and witness girls in petticoats, Dragstalgia gives it to you and then some.
It’s always worth the trip to the holy grounds in the middle of the fields of Northwest Bedfordshire. We will let the images do the rest of the talking!