Hot Rod Dirt Drags – Mile High Magic
The Hot Rod Dirt Drags drive home so many emotions, feelings and visuals. There’s nothing quite like reminiscing about the “good ‘ole days,” and if given the opportunity to relive some of the greatest moments in history, most people would jump at the opportunity. For traditional hot rodders young and old, that’s exactly what the annual Hot Rod Dirt Drags in Monte Vista, Colorado offers every summer – a chance to relive the early days of drag racing!
Started by Mike “Nick” Nicholas in 2015 as a sister event to the ever popular Hot Rod Hill Climb, the Hot Rod Dirt Drags takes drivers and spectators alike back in time to when drag racing was just getting its start.
Held at the Movie Manor Hotel just west of Monte Vista, hot rodders and their traditional pre-1961 hot rods are invited to go head-to-head with other enthusiasts on an auxiliary World War II airstrip at the back of the hotel’s property.
The throwback-style dirt drags offer the bangs, pops and rooster tales while other hot rods, classics and muscle cars (all pre-1972 model years of course) can be entered into the car show portion of the event. With three days filled with nothing but old-school fun, this event is one to see when it comes to the vintage automotive theme.
This year, the Hot Rod Dirt Drags took place over the weekend of June 1st. Friday’s festivities kicked off around noon with plenty of dirt drag action, show cars on display and an overall air of nostalgia. The day culminated with drag races at dusk with classic vehicles of all types lining the airstrip illuminating it with their headlights. The barefoot flag girl, Mike’s wife Amy, threw the flag for every pair to hit the line.
After the dusk drags, guests were invited to enjoy movies on the two drive-in screens. Movie Manor is famous for the old school drive in set up and it was packed. Other enthusiasts took the opportunity to hang out with friends and look over the classic cars consistently trailing into the parking lot for a full day of racing on Saturday.
With over 50 cars registered to race, Saturday started off with a 9am drivers meeting directly followed by the playing of the National Anthem as a large flag was raised by crane over the airstrip in true Hot Rod Dirt Drag and Hill Climb style. Per tradition, Cal Kennedy, one of the original Hill Climb and Dirt Drag participants from the early 1950s took to the track for the first run of the day. Countless hot rodders followed suit with some calling out others for grudge races while some were content with the luck of the draw, running against whoever was up next.
Drivers were allowed unlimited runs until 4pm, then the strip was closed down to big cars so the kids could get out there and race go-karts, dirt bikes, a vintage quarter midget and other miniature gas-powered hot rods. Cool!
Sunday, participants woke up to cloudy skies and the threat of rain, a far contrast to the sunny 85-degree day they saw on Saturday. While many of the participants packed up and headed home, others stuck it out despite the weather and enjoyed some nostalgic racing in the mud.
Once again, the Hot Rod Dirt Drags delivered some mile high magic!