The NSRA Nostalgia Nationals, July 3rd 2005

Report and Pictures by Richard Stirling

Full Picture Gallery 

Soundbyte Frank Bennett      Soundbyte Johnny Hall

The NSRA Nostalgia Nationals took place, again, in super weather at Shakespeare County Raceway. Due to commitments, I was only able to get the races on Sunday and I found, to my cost, that cutting the lawns, doing the hedges and washing Mrs. Topnitro’s car meant that I missed some super action on the Saturday. Blast!


Mickey Moore, with his Nostalgia Fuel Altered car “The Mob” leaned on his Nitro-guzzling altered a little too hard and after 30 (yes Thirty!) years of hard service, The Donovan motor decided that was quite enough and promptly threw in the towel. Well, actually, it threw rods, pistons and all sorts of expensive aluminium up to the heavens. Mickey was upbeat about it all and said he ought to ring up Donovan and check his warranty details….! Good luck Mickey! Seriously, it was a bit of a bitter pill for Mickey as he had the expense of a destroyed Lenco transmission just the week before at Santa Pod. I guess when you drop your ET to nearly 6 seconds at over 210 mph you can expect a bit more damage. I spoke with track preparation guru Jon Cross and he said that despite the destructive block-splitting blow up, that not a drop of oil made it onto the track. (Don’t ask about the return road, though…) 

Whilst I was cruising around the pits, it was a pleasure, at last, to make the acquaintance of that Outlaw Anglia fanatic and sometime colour commentator Jon Best. Knowledgeable well beyond his years, I enjoyed a good laugh with him and between us we predicted Paul Wright’s 7.5 second pass, hours before he did the business! Jon is a jolly good wag and he has a very professional web site dedicated to the cause. Check it out at Keep up the good work, Jon!


There was still more action taking place than you could shake a stick at and the previously mentioned Anglias took centre stage after the NFAA Altereds had undergone Saturday’s depletion. I couldn’t help noticing the improved performances of fellow Derby resident and pilot of the bright orange Popular,  Simon Barlow. I commented on this matter to a chum nearby just as he was to make his next run. I should have kept my mouth shut as a huge sheet of flame erupted from the motor and Simon’s Anglia was silenced for the rest of the day. Oops! Paul Wright is now the proud owner of the outright (and backed-up) Outlaw Anglia ET and Speed record and richly deserves the praise for achieving this goal. The previous holder, one Andy Carter, achieved the previous record in an Anglia powered by a blown Keith Black Hemi and fuelled by Nitromethane - a potentially much more powerful combination. Well done indeed, Paul!


The long awaited appearance of Frank Bennett in his revamped Topolino altered proved to be exciting on all counts. The new paint job looks absolutely superb and was lovingly applied by The Car Clinic. The rest of the family, I’m sure, have spent many hundreds of hours and thousands of pounds in the overall rebuilding process and all this effort looks to be completely worthwhile as the car looked so good and ended up going as well as it looked. When they came out for the first run, Frank did a huge burnout and rolled way down past half track before backing up. Just as he approached the line, the eagle eyes of track preparation guru John Cross spotted a small leak and the start marshal Tony Byng ordered Frank to shut it down. After the car had time to cool and Luke and the guys had discovered the source of dribbliness and generally tightened things up, Frank returned to the track and started off with a much shorter burnout. He quickly staged and launched pretty hard to a 1.09 second 60 foot and the pass to half track looked pretty jolly good to me. You can see the sequence of that run in my photo gallery.


Right after Frank’s run was the next round of Outlaw Anglia and as I knew I already had some good pictures of Paul Wright (in the other lane) I decided I would get a sequence from Paul Hensher in the dazzling Gas Attack Pop. At the hit, he hopped up a little, as one would expect and straight away I thought “He’s not running straight” and nevertheless, I kept my finger on the button right up to the point I could easily count Paul’s fillings and took two steps back. Believe me, if I’d been wearing a ‘syrup of fig’ that day, it would have disappeared in the rush of wind as Paul howled past and got extremely close to the barrier!


Frank Griffon was also out in his blown Anglia, a little later in the day. I couldn’t help noticing that Frank decided not to be quite as aggressive in the burnout procedure as he was at his last visit to SCR. Then he ended up all over the track and gave himself (and us) a huge fright in the process. This time (despite the fact I had carefully positioned myself to get all the action on camera!) he did a modest burnout and subsequently made a conservative run.


For the final run of the day, Johnny ‘Mental’ Hall returned with his beautiful Nitro-guzzling nostalgia slingshot dragster. Earlier in the day, Johnny had made a pass which had turned out to be very smoky at the top end. He had lifted to stop any further damage and loss of oil. Johnny commented that on investigation they believed that following the current US trend of wide gapping the piston rings was the culprit and they duly changed them for rings gapped less-so. Johnny started his run with his usually impressive burnout and he quickly returned to stage. When the tree gave him the green light, everything went wrong. The transmission and axle quit immediately with the effect that Johnny was forcibly halted a few feet off the line. So much so was the retardation that the blower belt was ripped off in the process. A trolley jack was needed to rescue Johnny off the line and I hope that any damage is inexpensively resolved and that he returns to the track to impress us again in the near future.


A brief word must be made of ‘Crazy’ Chris Hartnell. For ages, Chris has had this habit of hiking the front wheels of his slingshot Wild Bunch dragster away from the line. He seems now to have developed this into an art form! I wonder if he will be booked to replace the wheelie cars eventually when he can carry the wheels all the way down track. I love it! I managed to get a couple of decent sequences of Chris and his antics today.

All in all, a super day. Good weather, great racing and I had a great time. I would like to thank Lee Child, Jerry Cookson, Tracy Cowen, Darren Prentice, Jon Cross, Tony Byng and everyone at Shakespeare County Raceway for putting on a super show. Of course, thank you for taking the time to read this report and enjoy the picture gallery. Please come back soon!