Memorial Day weekend gives us many reasons to celebrate. While our American freedoms provided to us by those men and women who have sacrificed their lives is our key reason, this holiday also gives families a chance to celebrate time spent together. RacingJunk.com caught up with a few of those families who make our entertainment possible at Farmington Dragway during the holiday weekend’s 6th Annual Clemmons Concrete Stick Shift Nationals.
This popular event, which features old school stick shift Classic Gear Jammers, is organized by long-time drag racer and family man Ken Regenthal.
“This is actually one of my favorite races of the season,” said Regenthal (better know as the Carolina Hooker). “While I normally enjoy competing, stepping into the shoes of event organizer is so much more rewarding because I have a chance to give back to those families who continue to support us throughout our racing season.”
As the gates opened, over 71 Gear Jammin’ competitors and their families rolled in ready to showcase what real drag racing is all about.
“Both the guys who race as well as those who support them are amazing, even on a holiday weekend,” said Classic Gear Jammers President and Marketing Director Sherri Gerringer. “Every year events like this one seem to grow, which proves that old school drag racing isn’t dying, but growing and becoming more popular. Why wouldn’t it anyway when you can come and hang out with both of your families, home and series wise?”
A few of these family competitors included opening race, Dash for Cash, winner Ronnie Courtney. “I won this race because my fellow competitor red lit,” said Courtney. “I was really bad on the tree, but I was lucky and ran as close as I could to my predicted dial in, which resulted in a 5.46 to win this first race.”
Despite picking up the first win of the day, Courtney’s luck eventually ran out and this Gear Jammer and NHRA Super Stock competitor wouldn’t take home the stick shift trophy on Saturday.
Following this opening race, the most important reason for this weekend of remembrance was celebrated with both the national anthem as well as a parachute jump by Vietnam War Air Force veteran and returning former Gear Jammer Gene Fulton. Following his graceful landing onto the hot surface of Farmington Dragway, Fulton returned to his racing ways by substituting for Ken Regenthal in his Carolina Hooker machine.
As competition resumed, former 2015 Stick Shift Nationals winner and former IHRA World Champion Mike Boyles, better known by his nicknamed car – Charlie Brown, was hoping that he and his family’s holiday weekend would begin with a second title, but his top speeds just wouldn’t prove to be enough against the hard charging field.
“Last year seemed so much easier,” said Boyles. “While I wasn’t quite as fast, these stick shift cars were pulling the track up due to the added heat, which made this race much more challenging.”
While the luck of the draw wouldn’t quite be with these two Gear Jammin veterans, the same can’t be said for race winner Ronnie Flynt. As the 71 car field drew down to the final two competitors, the river of the 9X42 would line up his machine alongside the newest generation in the Regenthal racing family, Kenny Regenthal, Jr.
Despite this young gun feeling he had this heated track beat more than most, Flynt’s veteran skills would prove to be more dominant as his final time of 6.10 at a speed of 110 mph over Regenthal, Jr.’s 6.49 at 105 mph would bring home the win.
“I have been running with the Gear Jammers since 2003 and this decision is one of the best that I have ever made,” said Flynt. “I have loved stick cars since I was a young boy and always knew that I wanted to compete in this type of series and have now racked up championships as well as today’s win.”
Despite missing out on this year’s trophy, the younger of the Regenthal racing clan made his family very proud on Saturday.
“It was a great race with a tiny margin of victory,” said fellow race coordinator and Regenthal racing matriarch Lisa Regenthal. “Kenny raced very well and both Ken and I couldn’t be any prouder of him. We have also known Ronnie Flynt since 1978 and he is also like a member of our family, so we are happy that he picked up this win.”
Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com as we continue to bring you racing coverage from weekend warriors throughout the country all season long.