The minute the world’s very second automobile was created, drag racing was inevitable. The need of man to compete is a primal instinct, one who’s natural progression has manifested itself in racing of all forms. Someone could probably tell us the exact scientific equation of how testosterone + ego = competition or something like that, but all of that is just window dressing, the plain and simple truth is – it’s a lot of FUN!
Jerry Titus knew this when he added the Run What Ya Brung Drags to the weekend’s activities of the Kustom Kemps Of America (KKOA) Leadsled Spectacular held for the last few years in Salina, Kansas. Heading into it’s 32nd year, the Leadsled Spectacular has moved around across the country but seems to have flourished in Salina, and we’re pretty sure the drags are a big part of that.
As the name implies, the Leadsled Spectacular was started to celebrate kustoms, but has grown to welcome hot rods of all types. With an emphasis on traditional built machines that call back to the 50s & 60s era of customizing and hot rodding, the show allows any vehicle “lowered and featuring some reasonable and noticeable amount of custom modifications.”
Any of those approved show entrants can run in the 1/8th mile flagman to flagman drags held on Salina’s old air strip east of town. Each year the show grows in numbers and each year the drags see an increase in participants. From full on kustom kreations like the bubbletop Roswell Rod to full-tilt drag machines like RC Williams’ twin engined slingshot dragster, all manner of rod and customs can be seen running on the track. There’s no tree, no timing lights, just a flagman, sometimes flag girl or occasionally Gene Winfield himself sending the cars off and a checkered flag pointed to the winning lane at the 1/8th mile mark.
As the name implies, the Leadsled Spectacular was started to celebrate kustoms, but has welcomed hot rods of all types.
One of, if not the only burnout it ever did was at the 2010 Run What Ya Brung Drags. You can’t forget the dragster with two Ford flathead motors mounted end to end that barely got shut down in time to miss the fence at the end of the old runway turned dragstrip.
The drags have proved affordable entertainment for locals and show-goers over the years, with just a $5 bill for each car load of spectators as the admittance. Spectators show up by the thousands and each year the city of Salina ups their hospitality with this year’s plans calling for bleachers for the entire 1/8th mile. What started as a simple orange plastic snow fence to keep spectators off of the track has yearly evolved into k-rails lining the track and burnout areas.
While not quite the all out throw caution to the wind days of the 50’s drag racing on airstrips across the country, the Salina experience is not nearly as far removed from the action as your typical NHRA event. There is still an air of intimacy with this racing, a feeling of being part of the action that keeps people coming back year after year.
We thought this would be the perfect time to give you a little motivation with this awesome compilation from the drags. With the 2012 KKOA Leadsled Spectacular quickly approaching this weekend (July 26-29th) featuring the Run What Ya Brung Drags on Friday the 27th, Salina, KS is about to get loud again. Come join the fun if you can, but if you can’t stay tuned as we’ll definitely bring you all of the action, right here on Rod Authority.
Special thanks go out to Travis Scanlan from Royboy Productions for the amazing photos and great story and what we hope will become a regular name in our magazine.