Hi all from Southern California! I grew up in East Hartford, Connecticut, and got hooked standing on the fence at Connecticut Dragway. The first AA/FD I ever saw was Rapid Red Lang and the Deadend Kids. I considered myself a “professional spectator” doing Englishtown, Epping, Maple Grove and Gainesville countless times, and I also used to race with the Ruggiero & Roberts AA/DA. I helped Dale Hall at a few national events, too.
Since I hated winter more every year, things worked out and I moved to SoCal 15 years ago to become a high performance automotive photojournalist. I got my start at Street Rodder Magazine, became the Editor of Popular Hot Rodding, then took over Drag Racing USA during my 12 years at McMullen-Yee (which became Primedia and has recently changed hands again). After freelancing for a year and a half, Tom McEwen (yeah, that Tom McEwen) finally got his wish and I took over Drag Racer, where I’ve been for the last three years. For fun, I’ve got a ’32 highboy roadster that won its class at the 2003 Grand National Roadster Show (the last year it was in San Mateo).
Dino called me about a month ago and I finally got around to logging on and checking things out here. Nice job, Man! Anyway, a good friend of mine sent some photos from the recent Dover Dragway Reunion, so I’ll be on the phone to Dino to score a few historical photos to jazz up the story.
Anyway, that’s about it from SoCal. Oh, by the way . . . I spent a few hours at Steve Plueger’s shop last night. Leah Pruett was there being fitted in the Plueger & Gyger Nostalgia Funny Car, as she’s made a deal to drive it at the upcoming California Hot Rod Reunion. Plueger’s a gas! Take care, fellow diehards and keep the old flame burning!
[Edit-Dino; Randy IS putting together a STORY on the Reunion-and the website…For DRAG RACER MAGAZINE !! seems he had a former Conn. Dragway track photographer AT the reunion, and did phone me for the more info. and some older vintage photos !!! more when I get it ]
JANUARY ISSUE …ON SALE NOV.18 !
Well… Say hello to Paul Gommi when you see him out there. He used to race at both Conn. Dragway and Dover.
it was great meeting you at Indy hope you got my paper work may see you in Pamoma
Well there’s a name from the pass Paul Gommi & (Russell Gardy passed about two years ago) had a speed shop at the couner of West Ave & (Boston post road as it was know then)and i would ride my bike there all most every day and just hang out (that’s why my home work never got done)
The pleasure was all mine, Anthony. And yeah, your tech sheet came through fine. Please let me know if you’re coming to Pomona so I can look you up. I hope you bring the car, as it’s always cool to see D-1 hitters come to rock SoCal.
TEASER :about what Randy’s doing :as I added to his first post…the FIX is in ! like a 4 page article on the REUNION!!!. He has the photos his guy took and we’ve supplied a “few ” other things. So check out were it’s sold in your area or hit their website to subscribe. Probably the Nov. issue the way I figure…magazines have early deadlines & leadtime. MORE later.
Okay, so the word’s out. Thanks for the “shameless plug” Dino. Actually, it’ll be in my January ’09 issue, which goes on sale at the end of November. It was cool to see the Reunion photos sent by my Official Connecticut Photographer and the historical photos Dino supplied really helped make it a nice piece. New subscribers can get on the deal by calling (866) 368-5651 and your support would be greatly appreciated. It’s a labor of love for me . . . not just a job. Thanks all.
check it out ….dino-edit
Paul Gommi…… Now there was a guy with some scary cars!! The parts that were there (on the car), were usually loose and sometimes fell of going down the track. I remember fuel lines so slack they were dragging on the ground. The Bantam with I think a 4 cyl. Morris Minor engine was a sight to behold! Of course this was in the early sixties and his later cars were better.
Here’s a picture that I took of Paul out at the Bakersfield “Hot Rod Reunion” in October of 2004. He had a flea market set up just past the quarter mile, not far from the spot where he crashed in a FED about 10 years before I took this picture. The whole crash thing is double slow-mo documented in one of the Jackson Brother’s DVD videos. He never drove a dragster after that.
That’s him on the far left. And that is his ’32 Ford panel truck. He drove that out to Famoso… and overheated it. Evevrbody knows, you can’t drive a flathead on the Interstate… they will overheat every time. Henry didn’t know anything about Interstate highways yet, and the way the flathead scavages it’s exhaust from the inner cylinders puts heat right into the block. He found that truck with the lettering of “Paul’s Appliances” already on it…!!!
Paul went on to become one of Kieth Black’s best engine builders for several years. He has also done a very excellent resto-rod project of a ’34 Ford roadster that made the cover of “Hot Rodder’s Journal”
Here’s a picture that I took of Paul out at the Bakersfield “Hot Rod Reunion” in October of 2004.
Great photo! Yeah, guys, I knew Paul was out here, but I guess I never ran into him. I understand Bob Pulver made his way to SoCal, too. As you’ll remember, he drove some of the baddest Junior Fuelers on the East Coast. Anyway, the Mongoo$e and I will be heading to the California Hot Rod Reunion in about two weeks. Of course, I’ll be working and he’ll be hanging out. Cheers!
RANDY SAID THIS TO PAUL & VINCENT BAYARINAS (AA/GS WILLYS):
“Hey guys . . . Thanks to my intrepid Connecticut photographer, your Willys made it into my upcoming Reunion coverage. It’ll be in the January ’09 issue of DRAG RACER, which goes on sale 11/18/08. Nice piece!”