Drag races draw huge crowd; drivers top 120 mph

By Marlys good

The weather was ideal, sunny skies, not too hot, not too cool, the runway was in great condition, and spectators reached almost as far as the eye could see for the annual drag races held Sunday at the crosswind runway at the South Big Horn County airport.

Three drivers from Casper, members of a group of “Street Outlaws” from the windy city, reached over 120 miles per hour over the one-eighth of a mile course; one of them ruled the day when his car hit 124 miles per hour. The fastest time recorded last year was 99 mph recorded by a driver from Riverton.

Mike Howe, the driving force that brought drag racing back to prominence in the county, said there were 73 cars entered. With the number of cars, and a crowd estimated at over 600-strong, it was the “best response so far.”

Sadie Harper, last year‘s youngest driver, won the honor again Sunday. The oldest contestant was a man in his late 60s who “did good. He won his races,” Howe said.

Ten local drivers were in Sunday’s “fast lane.” The field included Kip McIntosh, Clint McIntosh, James Averett, Jerry Collingwood, Leroy Brown, Mark Michelena, Sadie Harper, Tracy Harper, Kyle McIntosh and first-timer Bill Hunt.

Hunt, driving a 1969 Chevelle, “had a blast,” as did his entire family – in fact his sons made up his pit crew.

Hunt said, “It was a great time. You show up with a car, they look it over and you are good to go.”

It was a long day for Howe and members of the Drag Race Committee who were onsite at 6 a.m. – and closed things down at 6 p.m. The initial planning began way back in January and culminated early Sunday morning with Howe on site at 6 a.m. as he and the committee made sure everything was set and ready to go.

Actual racing started at 10 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m.

Howe said airport manager Wes Huber was on site Sunday also and had heard nothing but “positive comments” from those he talked to.

Howe emphasized that any and all credit for the success of the “drags” goes to the committee of unpaid and unsung volunteers; his involvement is organizing, publicity, etc. “All the credit goes to the volunteers. We couldn’t do it without them.”