Eagle Field Runway Drags – Grassroots Green Flag Racin’
The Eagle Field Runway Drags held on the old 1942-era WWII military airstrip in Firebaugh, California, is yet another extension of the grassroots drag racing popping up across the Golden State. The Kingdon Reunion and Eagle Field drags are a throwback to the 1950s and 60s when dragsters, gassers, stockers and altereds filled staging lanes across America. From slingshots, straight-axle gassers, and even a few jet dragsters, the eighth annual gathering was a hoot. It even brought out legends like Rich “Pure Hell” Guasco, John “Rocket Man” Paxon and the Cam Father himself – Ed Iskenderian.
The charm of amateur drag racing is in full effect here. For the most part, there is no structured class racing in the traditional sense. Basically, the entire field of entries are loosely divided into these categories (Street Legal Cars, Race Cars and H.A.M.B. Gas Rails). Furthermore, a panel of judges selects “class favorites” in five divisions including Stock, Modified, Muscle Car, Open Comp, Hot Rod (pre’48), Gasser, Mini Bike and Top Eliminator. The same NHRA tech and safety procedures apply just like anywhere else however to keep things from getting completely out of hand but the racers have gone to great lengths to keep their machines period correct.
The racing format is grudge style which is not only refreshing, it keeps things from getting overly competitive. This is a relaxed environment where running your car, bonding with friends and having a few cold ones is more important than taking win lights.
While the starting line was busy and fogged in with tire smoke for much of the day, strolling the grounds of this iconic patch of land was equally rewarding. Gow jobs filled the dirt pits. When you come here to race or to watch, you’re going to get a little dirty but that adds to the appeal in our opinion. Everyone seemed happy.
The highlight for us was seeing Eves “Tall-Chief” bring out his green starter flag to wave the entrants down track. Tall Chief was a fixture at Fremont Dragstrip in the 1960s and only brings out his flag twice annually and only here at Eagle Field. The races are run here each May and October and the Chief is in command of the starting line.
If you’re looking for a vintage drag racing fix without the high prices and congestion of more widely publicized nostalgia drag races, then Eagle Field is the spot. Check out the website to see how you can get involved.