The seventh annual Return to Kingdon drag races were a major draw for gear heads and speed demons alike. Hundreds of spectators and racers turned out for the weekend of racing, car shows and an automotive swap meet presented by Arnaiz Companies and Chase Chevrolet.
It’s a packed scene of semi-organized chaos. Bands of onlookers made camp in RV’s, trucks and shady canopies along the track to watch souped up cars trucks, and even one motorcycle battle it out on the drag strip.
Two long lines of cars and dragsters are waiting for their turn to race, revving their engines to keep the fuel moving and to build adrenaline.
The air is overwhelmed with the scents of high octane fuel, burning rubber, smoke and endless dust.
Janette Goonan was picking her favorites out of each lineup, usually favoring the older, more worn-looking cars.
Goonan recalls growing up just around the corner from the track, and sneaking out on weekends to watch her cousins race.
She’s a supporter of these informal races because it promotes racing in a safer, more organized environment.
“I think they should do it every week,” she said. “They’re out there doing it anyway right down this road.”
Ted Petersen and Eddie Lucchezi, both of Lodi, staked out a great view just behind the starting line.
“40 years ago, this was a major racetrack,” said Petersen. “All the old-timers raced then, and now they still race, and watch and bring their cars out. They’ve done it all their lives.”
Mitch Arana Jr, and his father, Mitch Arana Sr., both of Lockeford, came out to watch their friend George Anderson race his nostalgia dragster.
“We’re here for the fumes, the high octane fuel, and all the cool cars,” said Arana, Jr.
The only people having a better time than the audience were the lucky few who had a seat behind the wheel.
Lori Peterson, of Lodi, and Annette Bauer, of Folsom, were cracking jokes and trading stories as they waited in the line of cars for their next turn to race.
Bauer is way more into racing than her husband, she said. She first came out to the races at seven years old with her father, and was a goner.
“It’s over the first time you see it,” agreed Peterson, who used to dream about racing at Kingdon before they began the annual event.
Bauer races a 175 inch junior composition frame car, and her best time in it was 8.54 seconds at 152 mile per hour.
“You don’t come out here to get your personal best time. There’s tracks in Sacramento for that,” said Bauer. “You come out here to have a good time. There’s a ton of people, no stress, and you can race anyone. I dig it.”
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.