Dragsters and other race cars revved their engines up at the Arlington Airport during the 15th annual Arlington Drag Strip Reunion and Car Show on Sept. 8.
The car show is meant to honor the Arlington Airport’s history as a drag strip race track in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
“This was one of the oldest drag tracks in the country,” said Jerry “the King” Ruth, one of the most well-known drag racers from the Pacific Northwest, who added he often comes down for the Arlington car show.
“I made a race down on this track when I was 14, which wasn’t illegal, I guess, or nobody seemed to care at the time,” he said.
“In those days we smoked the tires every time, so anytime we drove this route we would blow the tires out,” he said.
Many others at the car show have fond memories of the airport’s time as a race track as well.
“My dad used to race a quarter mile and used to race on this track, so this kind of always holds a special purpose for me here,” said car show participant Stephen Pielow.
The Arlington car show is meant as a reunion for many of those who used to race on the tracks, and therefore brings in a lot of race cars and dragsters.
“There’s so many cool cars, from the old ones to the nice ones and the really nice ones,” said Pielow.
Bill Kinney, organizer of the event, said many people like the race car theme of the car show.
“We do a little bit of the race car stuff and with the history that the drag strip race track was right there,” he said.
“Many of the race cars that show up here raced here, which is pretty neat,” he said.
There are people who come down each year to the car show and newcomers each year as well, said Kinney.
“We have a couple of new race cars, which we seem to get every year, which is exciting,” he said.
Spectators said they enjoyed seeing all the specialty cars.
“This is where the hot rods of restoration cars always seem to come, so that’s what’s good about this show,” said car show spectator Rick Monger.
“I usually bring my car down to this show, but I don’t drive it in the rain,” he said, but he still wanted to come down to talk with the other car owners.
Pielow said talking with all the other car enthusiasts is what he likes about the show.
“The cars, the people and talking about the cars with everybody that comes down. It’s just a fun thing to do,” he said.
“We’ve been doing it for quite a few years, but this is my first time bringing my car down here,” he said.
This is the 15th annual year for the car show.
“The first two or three years it rained every year and we thought ‘well, this thing is doomed,’” said Ruth.
However since then the car show has usually had good weather, “and they’ve had some huge crowds here during that time,” he said.
This year, however, was not one of the good weather years.
“It’s wet, so it was a slow arriving crowd, but we got a good turnout,” said Kinney.
“If the weather would have been nicer we would have had more vendors, but that’s part of the game,” he said.
Kinney, the longtime director of the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, started the event as a fundraiser for the local club.
The event is still completely volunteer run and continues to give proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club, but also give some funds to other local causes each year as well.
The car show has given “well over $100,000” to the Arlington Boys & Girls Club throughout the years.
“It’s still fun to do and we hope to do it again next year,” said Kinney.
More information about the local car show is available at www.arlingtondragstripreunion.com.