It’s no secret that fans of nearly all disciplines of racing crave nostalgia.
Longing for racing of the past, no matter the style of car or the discipline, is a big selling point for most forms of motorsports. There is a reason NASCAR has enjoyed success with its annual throwback weekend at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and why the CARS Tour annually hosts a throwback event at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Vintage race cars draw crowds when displayed at events and they serve as talking points for fans young and old.
With that in mind, the Southeast Gassers Ass’n is a regional touring drag racing series that focuses on Gasser-style drag racing. The series hosts events in North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Alabama, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida.
Founded by Quain Stott, a former Pro Mod racer based in Columbus, N.C., the Southeast Gassers Ass’n is the ideal playground for those in search of that nostalgic feeling.
Stott, the 2006 IHRA Pro Mod champion, became disillusioned with how technology was changing the sport. He felt the advanced technology was making the ability of the man piloting the race car insignificant.
“I’ve always been more into racing from the ’60s, even though I was racing, and I made a good living racing the Pro Mod car,” Stott explained. “I always loved the history of it. Well, Pro Mod, as time went on, got so ridiculous with all the electronics and driver aids. The last three years I ran Pro Mod, I put ‘Rider’ on my window above the name. It just got to the point I felt that’s what I was doing.
“My 40 years of driving talent didn’t matter. I could put anybody in the car, and it would do the same thing because it was automated.”
Stott retired from Pro Mod competition in 2013, but even before that he’d begun to notice the popularity of nostalgia drag racing. It lit a fire inside him and he slowly began to build the Southeast Gassers Ass’n.
“Nobody had any rules to make the cars look like they did in the ’60s, make them act like they did in the ’60s. I sat down and said, ‘This is what I would like to see happen,’” Stott explained. “So for whatever reason, somewhere along in there, I said let me try it. I found another car in addition to the one I built myself, and we just match raced.
“At some point in time, somebody came along and said, ‘Hey, we want to race with you.’ And I said, ‘Well, you’ve got to make these rules.’ Fast-forward to 2014 and I had like 16 to 20 cars by then. Last year, we had more than 115.”
Each and every car that goes down the track at a Southeast Gassers Ass’n event is unique, and no two cars look alike. Most have unique paint schemes with matching names such as Bis-Quick, The Patriot, Moonbeam, Mercury Poison, Odd Rod or Carolina Flash.
“Each car has its own persona in this life,” said Todd Oden, a 53-year-old resident of Leeds, Ala., who races in two Southeast Gassers Ass’n classes. “It matches the driver and matches the family; and it matches the series and it matches the time that we’re from.”
Rules mandate that only cars built in 1967 or earlier are allowed to participate. Southeast Gassers Ass’n events typically feature four divisions — A/Gas, B/Gas, C/Gas and Super Stock. Each car is classified according to weight divided by the cubic inches of the engine.
“I have nine employees now,” Stott said. “We have a tech department that we keep increasing and making better every year. We check fuel, we do everything just like the NHRA did back in the ’60s. We just took it out of their playbook.”
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