Drag Strip Reunion's eighth year 'most successful ever'

Marysville's Don Abbott Jr. shows off the suicide doors on his 1933 Dodge Sedan, which won not only 'Best Classic Car,' but also 'Best in Show' at the Sept. 10 Drag Strip Reunion and Car Show at the Arlington Airport.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Eight years in, and organizers of the annual Drag Strip Reunion and Car Show at the Arlington Airport agreed that Sept. 10 marked their best show ever.

"More than 500 cars were on display for an audience of at least 2,300 spectators," said Bill Kinney, director of the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, who approached the Port Gardner Vintage Auto Club two years ago about partnering on the Drag Strip Reunion. "We probably generated about $12,000. This year is probably our most successful ever."

"After 2,400 people came through, we stopped keeping track on the clicker," laughed Jake Jacobsen, board member of the Port Gardner Vintage Auto Club and co-chair of the car show. "We had so many cars that we ran out of room to show them and had to take down one of the fences."

Kinney and Jacobsen agreed that the day's warm, sunny weather bolstered the show's turnout. According to Jacobsen, the show also benefited from a number of first-time attendees and returning sponsors and vendors alike, as well as its promotion in local newspapers.

"Just about all the businesses who were involved in 2010 said it was great and they wanted to do it again," said Jacobsen, who pointed out that the Port Gardner Vintage Auto Club had been putting on their own auto show to support local charities, including the Boys & Girls Clubs, for 29 years before being contacted by Kinney. "Even more of them jumped on board this year who liked what they'd heard about it and wanted to be a part of it. We had so many people who took the time to tell us how much they liked it as they were leaving, which was nice. I heard a lot of folks say, 'This was my first year here, but it definitely won't be my last.'"

From the 1950s to 1970, the Arlington Airport served as the site of the National Hot Rod Association-sanctioned Drag Strip event, which produced a number of national records in the early years of organized drag racing. The first Drag Strip Reunion came about in 2004, when the Arlington Boys & Girls Club revived the event to help raise funds for their programs.

Marysville's Don Abbott Jr. inherited not only his father's name, but also his 1933 Dodge Sedan, which won not only "Best Classic Car," but also "Best in Show" at this year's Drag Strip Reunion.

"It was originally my dad's, and he worked his butt off on it, morning, noon and night," said Abbott, whose father passed away five years ago from complications due to diabetes. "He and his brother-in-law restored it, and he had it for more than 20 years. It was an award-winning car when he had it, and all I've done since then is keep it shiny. I love showing it off."

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