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Drag racers end season among friends

1999 twin engine Gran-Prix

1999 twin engine Gran-Prix

Photos and story by Bill Samuel
Armdrop Drag Racing closed off another season at Picton’s historic airfield with perfect weather, great racing and camaraderie.

Though the action was fast and furious Sept. 24th with more than 260 participants, it was all for fun. The common bond is drag racing, but the day is filled with seeing old rivals and friends.

Armdrop Drag Racing is one of the most popular events in the Quinte region, it is also know throughout the drag racing community-at-large as the go-to-event. The premise is simple. Pay $20, go through a safety inspection, and you are off to the races.

Started as an option to illegal street racing, Armdrop Drags has morphed in to much more. Vintage front-engine dragsters, muscle cars, sports cars, street machines from the subtle sleepers to over the top custom builds like George Watson’s, Belleville Ont. 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air American Graffiti tribute and Cromier Auto Repair, Trenton Ont., 1999 twin engine Pontiac Gran Prix all come out to play.

George Watson with-his 1955 American-Graffitti Tribute 1955 Chevrolet Bel-air.

George Watson with-his 1955 American-Graffitti Tribute 1955 Chevrolet Bel-air.

George Watson has been drag racing since he was 16 years-old and working on customizing cars just as long. His first (legal) drag racing experience was at the Shannonville Drags and has raced at many tracks in Canada and the USA. Like many of the Armdrop competitors, George makes a point to come out to Armdrop as often as possible.

“I like drag racing out here,” said George. “There are no politics, everybody is equal, it keeps it fun.”

Team Cormier - Peter-Kasala, Shawn Sousa, Daniel Ruttan.

Team Cormier – Peter-Kasala, Shawn Sousa, Daniel Ruttan.

For many, Armdrop is the only drag racing event they attend. Peter Kasala, Cormier Auto Repair, Trenton, shares much of the same thinking as George. His 1999 twin-engine Gran Prix was started as a project by his staff and himself to see just how far they could push the limits. As often as not the car surprises fans and competitors alike at the finish line.

The latest muscle car on the scene is the Dodge SRT Hellcat. At a pavement riping 707 hp it has come to dominate its North American rivals, the Ford Shelby GT and Chevrolet Camaro at drag strips everywhere.

Team Hellcat came out in force at Armdrop. The team was originally formed for Dodge SRT Hellcat owners to swap stories, talk a little trash, and have fun. They formed a Facebook group and soon found a small and dedicated following from all over the world. Some of the members of the group travel over three hours (each way) to attend Armdrop.

Team Hellcat

Team Hellcat

“I love coming out here,” Said Christopher Bolt a Team Hellcat member from Erin, Ontario. “We race who we want, ball bust, and socialize.”

Team Hellcat has its own logo they created for hats, shirts and jackets. It was originally for team members but interest in their swag convinced them to offer sales to the public. Proceeds are going to epilepsy research. So far the group has raised more than $2,000.

Keep track of local events at Bill Samuel’s website


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