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Drag racing roars into new season for Armdrop

Picton’s Lori Dulmage with Peter Kasala, of Trenton

Story and photos by Bill Samuel

The annual spring ritual known as Armdrop Drag Racing roared into a new season at Picton’s historic airport.

Engines roared and tires burned as the faithful came to renew rivalries, meet friends and take it to the strip last Saturday. More than 500 races were enjoyed by a record crowd. The hard work of volunteers paid off as racing continued uninterrupted, except for a couple of minor instances during day.

George and Dave Watson of Belleville

Custom car fabricator and Belleville native George Watson has been drag racing all his life. George’s father, Dave Watson, has been drag racing for years and George was always in-tow.

Father and son rivalries are as old as mankind itself. Great epics stories have been written as far back as Homer’s , “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey”. Dave and George would play out their battle on the drag strip – Dave in his 1938 Ford coupe squared up against George in his 1934 Ford coupe.

“I didn’t even see Miss Mandy drop her arms. Next thing I noticed was George starting go,” chuckled Dave Watson. “So I just hit!”

Despite having custom built both cars and being the younger of the two, George was easily put in his place by Dad.

Lori Dulmage in the twin-engine Grand Prix

The drag racing world of Armdrop is often filled with surprises.

Peter Kasala, Cormier Auto Repair, Trenton has surprised many competitors with his twin engine 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP. The car has, on occasion, run a fast 11.1 seconds in the quarter-mile. Up until now, only staff from Cormier Auto have driven the car. Peter wanted to work out all the bugs. This time out, Peter had Lori Dulmage of Picton pilot the twin-engine beast for a couple of runs.

“I wanted to be sure it was right before I let Lori drive the car,” said Kasala. “She is a great girl and a mother of four. I couldn’t live myself if she got hurt.”

With a little pre-run instruction, Lori was able to manage a best time of 12.5 seconds.

“It was so exciting to launch down the strip,” she said. “I am so grateful to Peter and the people at Armdrop for the chance.”

Lori had already drag raced at Armdrop with her own car a couple of years ago, and had expressed a desire to try her hand with the twin-engine car. She suspects drag racing is in her DNA. Her uncle Don Dulmage, of Ameliasburgh, is no stranger to drag racing and Armdrop. He retired from racing only a couple of years ago but has been drag racing and working on cars since the early 1960s.

Miss Mandy Mae Douglas with art by Dannö Drouin

Known at Armdrop Drag Racing at the starting line and around the pits, Miss Mandy Mae Douglas took up the cause of raising $520 in a silent auction for a young girl from Selby named Sophie. Two and half years ago Sophie was diagnosed with high risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Selby, her mom, and five siblings packed up and moved to London after learning Kingston General would not be able to provide the care Sophie needed. Contributors for the silent auction included Danno Drouin, Reggie Smith, Mike St Pierre, Bill Smith, Chris Toombes, Matthew and Christine of Tattoo Lounge, Sherry Grimmon, LeeAnne Bradley, David Coombs, Chris Carslake, Hailey Fisher, and Malcolm Crawford. Miss Mandy plans to continue fundraising in future.



The fun continues this weekend with the first Horsepower at Huff’s Fine Wines and Fine Lines Car Show, Sunday, May 28 at 10 a.m.

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