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Fall is when racers think about what they will do over the long winter months when bench racing and vehicle maintenance are all that occupies the time.  But before the temperatures drop and the skies tend to drop a more solid form of precipitation, there is the annual Fall Nostalgia race to brighten the mood and lift the spirits.  Old timers and new fans alike can spend a day watching a living history of the sport and celebrate its rich colors and sounds.

And so it was as a strong field of competitors brought out the iron of yesterday and patiently waited for the mist to lift and the track to dry.  By one in the afternoon the event finally took off, and it was soon evident that the wait was well worth it.

As with almost all of the nostalgia races, the gang from NETO was on hand as they put on their season finale event.  Broken into two groups, the Nostalgia class used a standard sportsman tree while the Competition bracket left against a four-tenths pro tree.  And after a long absence, the East Coast Gassers made a return to action and brought with them a fine field of old time “hot” cars that made us old timers swoon just at the sight of them.  Due to the late start all the racers had to dial in their mounts with just a single time trial.

Neto Comp took five rounds to complete and finished with Lou LaFerrara nabbing the title over Brian English.  English powered his Camaro past Gerard Milidantri in the quarters and the smoking 63 Vette of James Mullin to win the semis.  LaFerrara gunned down Ron Baker’s Chevelle and soloed his way to the final round.  And that final was a close one as the cars were separated by just .006 on reaction time and each ran close to the dial.  LaFerrara’s altered took the win light via a 7.62, 164.03 slip as English fell to runner-up on an 8.63 at 157.23.

Steve Consentino probably wishes that all the circuit races were held here as the Mopar pilot out of Dumont won for the second time and took a runner-up in four races this season at Island.  His Dodge wagon was better than Rich Mauceri’s Camaro for a QF victory and then he punched out the Fairlane of Frank Pisani in the semis.  Rick Arborio Jr advanced over Joe Puma’s heavy 61 Pontiac to get a bye run in the SF.  Consentino was vulnerable in the title race as Arborio took almost a tenth on the RT but the big Dodge ran right on his number at 10.57 and 126.93 that pushed the Camaro under the handicap for a loss at 11.73, 112.49.

The ECG brought out a wild mix of entrants from 1930s Fords and Chevys to Willys and Anglia bodied racers and everything in between.  It was like watching a car show in rapid animation.  Scott Hasko and his 40 Willys eventually took the title when he finished off the day against the 51 Olds of Gregg Grubel.  Hasko easily beat a red lighting Tommy Majors in a beautiful 37 Ford to move up to the semifinals where he ran unopposed.  Grubel ran alone in the QF while Pat Kelly took  the measure of Carly Boyer.  Grubel turned back Kelly’s 61 Falcon to line up with Hasko to decide the matter.  Grubel moved too soon and went red to lose the final with a shut off 14.84 and Hasko posted an 11.46 at 116.95.

Non-circuit racers had three classes of competition to show their stuff.  Two regulars, Bryan Mirsky and Robbie Boyd worked their way to the title dash in N1 with Mirsky’s 66 Chevy emerging with the win slip on a 10.12, 114.54 while Boyd was late on the launch and lost via his 9.28 and 146.78.  John Hanek took the N2 final against Pete Ianzano when his Chevy hit a 10.84 at 123 that was better than the AMX’s ticket of 10.90 and 123.  And Sam Neary was the best of the N3 group as his 67 VE bug needed only an 18.41 run to best the Challenger of Cory Albea, who fouled out on the starting line.

They say the old speak of the past because they have no future, and the young speak of the future because they have no past.  On a nostalgia day at the races, the old and the young find common ground to partake of the sport of drag racing in a mix that binds all groups together.  And perhaps that is the very best part of the entire sport that all can enjoy.

Until the skies clear and the temps go up, best wishes for the holidays and a safe off-season.  Already looking forward to the season opener that is just down the road.