Drag Illustrated Issue 169, June/July 2021 - Page 63

was also represented in fine style with a great group of cars , including the STP Pontiac Trans Am of Josh Parks , which is reminiscent of Rickie Smith ’ s 1992 Trans Am Pro Stocker . Jim Park ’ s “ Red Rat ” Vega is another beautifully done race car within the Midwest series . The Williams family also brought out their “ Doc Holliday ” Plymouth Arrow , which continues to be a fan favorite .
The Bunny Burkett-tribute “ Cotton Pony ” Ford Pinto is another beloved Midwest car , with brand-new driver Jackie Cannon at the controls this year . The Pinto had fans on the edge of their seats with some wild wheelstanding launches on Saturday afternoon .
The Memorial event is also famous for its robust jet car show , featuring six fire-breathing jet cars running multiple times a day . Among the most unique jets in attendance this year was a pair of cars brought out by the Douthit family , who ’ ve been in the exhibition drag racing business for 46 years and counting . David Douthit was at the controls of possibly the only 1965 Ford Mustangbodied jet car in existence . He performed side-byside match races throughout the weekend with the other team car , a 1969 Chevy Nova-bodied jet named Black Pearl , piloted by George Whiteman .
It would be hard to imagine a Great Lakes Memorial Weekend without the iconic “ Chevy Rebellion ” wheelstander of Richard Hutchens , who ’ s been a featured attraction at this event since 1968 . Hutchens , at 83 years of age , still entertains fans as only he can , with multiple generations of race goers enjoying his performances at Great Lakes for well over 50 years .
If that ’ s not all , nitro and alcohol Funny Cars , both nostalgia and modern floppers , were making runs throughout the weekend , along with front-engine dragsters and Altereds .
It would be hard to pack more entertainment into a single weekend , and to close out another memorable show , Car Chix founder Jeanette Des- Jardins held her annual bracket race , dubbed “ Battle of the Belts , Battle of the Sexes .” The program featured three bracket classes on Sunday : Pro , Street and Jr . Dragster , with the guys and gals going head to head in eliminations , with a runoff to determine an overall victor .
All three category winners received a WWFstyle leather belt , while the loser was awarded a custom sandwich trophy on a pedestal . “ We advertised the whole thing as ‘ May 30 the kitchen is closed ... so make your own sandwich !’ We like to have fun !” laughs DesJardins .
While the competition is both fierce and lighthearted , this portion of the festivities is also credited with introducing many new participants to drag racing . “ This is the second running of the Battle of the Sexes race , and we started noticing that plenty of people who don ’ t normally race were entering this event , so we conveyed the message that there ’ s no need to be embarrassed , and we ’ re here to walk you through the whole thing , even if you happen to be a complete novice to drag racing . It ’ s getting more people involved in the sport , which is fantastic !” DesJardins beams .
With another Memorial Classics in the books , this event continues to be a gathering that ’ s celebrated for its longevity and remains tremendously entertaining on so many levels . DI
June / July 2021 DragIllustrated . com | Drag Illustrated | 63