Few events are more celebrated than Great Lakes Dragaway ’ s Memorial Weekend Classics , which has been a staple for more than a half century at this iconic quarter-mile facility located in Union Grove , Wisconsin . The appeal of this event from a fan ’ s perspective is simple : All the good stuff is booked in for this special event , and the entertainment offered is incredibly diverse .
For fans of fast , heads-up doorslammers , the Chicago Wise Guys Match Race Circuit represents the quickest full-bodied cars on the property . Famously , this club was founded 27 years ago right here on the grounds of Great Lakes Dragaway when Pete Demos and a few friends began discussing with track owner Randy Henning the possibilities of launching a heads-up racing series that incorporated the area ’ s fastest doorslammers into a regular feature .
Naturally , the earliest proving grounds for this hot new act was at Union Grove , and Demos became the president of the club . He ’ s been a driving force through steady leadership ever since .
He ’ s kept things extremely simple on the rules front , basically by not having any that pertain to power adders or weight breaks . As a result , fans enjoy a diverse mix of 200-mph race cars utilizing nitrous , blowers , turbos , ProChargers , as well as normally aspirated powerplants , all propelling a wide assortment of entertaining vehicles .
If nostalgia is more your thing , the Brew City Gassers offer a ton of excitement , featuring bumperscraping , pre-1967 American muscle . This club also got its start right here at Great Lakes Dragaway , holding its first event in April 2018 . Despite being only a few years old , this club has grown fast and boasts a membership roll of 52 racers . The Brew City Gassers is a touring series that typically schedules 12-14 events per season . Fans enjoy everything from fat-fendered vehicles of the 1940s to vintage classics ranging from Plymouth Satellites , Ford Galaxies , Corvettes , Bel Airs and much more .
“ We visit Great Lakes probably 4-6 times a year ,” says series founder Mark Davis . “ We encourage our members to buy a season race pass at Great Lakes because the track does so much for us , and
since they ’ re open six days a week , it ’ s also a great value to our members .”
Another popular traveling series that ’ s been part of the Memorial Weekend in recent years is the Pro-E85 series . The mission of this group is to entertain fans with stock-appearing cars and trucks that perform insane burnouts and monster wheelstands , all while “ racing green ” on American-made E85 ethanol . The competition is close and utilizes the full quarter mile , racing on 8.90 and 9.90 indexes , as well as the brand-new 10.0 class , which was introduced in 2021 . Fans are treated to a wide array of vehicles , including Camaros and Mustangs , as well as 1950s model Chevrolets and even late model pickup trucks .
“ Mopar John ” Zafran campaigns the only Chrysler in the club with his beautiful 1968 Barracuda , which he ’ s owned since 1990 . “ I ’ m the underdog in the group with my stock suspension drag radial car that weighs 3,200 pounds !”
Roughly 15 members were in attendance this weekend and put on a great show for the fans .
The Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association
62 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 169