Pacific Raceways Party – Goodguys Bring the Friday Night Fun!
Since 1988, the Goodguys Friday Night Drags at Pacific Raceways has filled the sky with nitro, lots of fun fans and some great vintage racing. It’s more of a celebration than a real race but there were plenty of stout on-track performances of note. The event is held in conjunction with the Goodguys Pacific NW Nationals just down the road in Puyallup (cool town, funny name) so with 3,000 hot rods in town, the Pacific Raceways Party and the Friday Night Vintage Drags always rock.
Fans flock to this scenic dragstrip buried in the pine trees like it’s the 1970s. Back in the day, Pacific Raceways (then known as SIR) jammed the stands for some of history’s wildest Funny Car shows promoted by the late Steve Evans and Bill Doner – some of which you have read about here on Fuel Curve. Between the promotional savvy of Doner and Evans, a legacy was built that still exists today. You run an ad on the Seattle radio stations promoting Nitro Funny Cars and the greater Seattle gearheads make the pilgrimage. Simple as that.
Greeting the nitro-hungry fans were nine of the best vintage funny cars anywhere on the planet. Led by Tacoma’s Bucky Austin and the bright green Bardahl Camaro, the action was hot, heavy and loud! A contemporary “vintage” funny car makes anywhere from 4,000-6,000 horsepower. Multiply that times nine and you had over 50,000 nitro-fed horse power on grounds!
Throw in the usual assortment of killer sportsman racing and you have the recipe for an outstanding evening. This year’s weather was perfect and maybe even downright hot for the locals as the mercury edged towards 90 degrees until the sun went down. And way up here in the Northwest, it takes a good long while for the sun to set.
Along with the nine funny cars comes an army of crew members. The teams are larger than ever by necessity. Many of the teams have semi-trucks loaded with hardware and most all the teams tear down their nitro hemi’s after each run.
For the fifth year in a row, Bucky Austin’s Camaro found the winner’s circle, Bobby Cottrell doing the driving. The car blistered the track with a 5.703/250.37 mph blast over a tire smoking Gary Densham.
The other cars ripped it just as good with consistent runs in the 5.70 and 5.80 range with big speeds. Representing the Northwest and Canada were Mark “Mr Explosive” Sanders in his multi-colored Mustang, Spokane’s Chris Davis (Plymouth Arrow) and Tim Boychuk in the “Happy Hour” ’69 Camaro. Repping the Golden State of California were Wally Giava’s G-Men Dodge, Geoff Monise in the “Quarter Pounder,” John Weaver in the Cascade Automotive Dodge Omni, Justin Taylor in his dad’s “Evil, Wicked, Mean and Nasty” Ford Mustang and the grand old man himself, Gary Densham in his “Teacher’s Pet” Camaro.
When the funny cars weren’t running, the five sportsman divisions gave the fans door handle-to door handle action both in heads up and bracket competition.
Throw in big time pit side “feeds” with hundreds of folks lining up for barbecue and a car show in the pits and you get the idea – this Pacific Raceways party was one for the ages. After the track lights came on and the last cars went down the track, the party-hardened masses walked back through the pines to somehow find their cars and head home. This place is almost like a campsite making it cooler than any other dragstrip you will ever visit.
With that, the Pacific Raceways Party came to an end. Our ears are still ringing!