Ed Crowder keeps racking up milestones at Kil-Kare Dragway. His next one comes Saturday at the quarter-mile strip in Greene County.
Crowder, who won a trophy the day the track opened in August of 1959, hosts the fifth annual Gathering of the Geezers. With 440 cars and about 2,500 people at the track in 2012 it’s Kil-Kare’s biggest event of the season. More cars and people are expected this time, especially with the buzz surrounding Kil-Kare’s new concrete racing surface and other major upgrades.
Gates open at 8 a.m.
“That new track is fabulous. It’s as nice as you’d want,” Crowder said. “I’ve been there 54 years and it’s the best I’ve ever seen it.”
That includes is victory on the track in 1959. He still has the trophy.
Crowder won’t be competing Saturday. He will be taking a trip down the strip, though, by finding a driver to hitch a ride with.
“I’m going to take a ride with somebody. It keeps it in your blood,” Crowder said. “I know when it’s time to quit and get on the other side of the fence. I love promoting the event.”
Among the highlights, Kil-Kare Dragway will induct 18 members into its Hall of Fame Class. This year’s class includes Bob Bach, Rex Calmes, Rich Ciarlatta, Jim Clinton, Earl Crouch, Ron Dehays, Burt Exman, Paul Frost, Jerry Goffinett, Greg Kane, Jerry Kane, Joe Klepacz, Jimmy Payne, Dale Peto, Dave Peto, Tom Rinsburg, John Schulte and Gene Smith.
As in past years a Grandpa Eliminators division will run. Drivers must be 50 or older and race door cars only. The division will use a flagman — “just like they did 50 years ago,” Crowder said — instead of a tree lighting system.
Other divisions include the Street Rod Eliminator (model year cars 1949 and older), Nostalgia Eliminator (dragsters, altered, gassers, etc.) and Street Eliminator (street and muscle cars). A car show and swap meet will also be held. Skip Peterson serves as the Grand Marshal.
“We have 12 hours we’re going to try and jam into 10 hours,” Crowder said. “The word is out there. I’ve had people come from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and a couple guys from Canada.”
Besides finding Crowder taking that run down the drag strip, he can also be found by the front gate.
“I’ll be shaking hands and saying thanks for coming by,” he said.
DARF update: The Dayton Auto Racing Fan club added Winchester Speedway to its list of events this weekend. Members can attend Old Timers Weekend on Saturday and Sunday for half off the general admission for one or both days. Also on the schedule are 35 Raceway (free admission), Anderson Speedway ($8 general admission) and Cridersville Speedway (half off general admission). Visit www.darfnews.com for more info.