Click on the thumbnails for a larger image:
Shady Side Dragway in Shelby, North Carolina was the site of the 2021 Southeast Gassers Association season finale. An army of fans defied the brisk November temperatures to watch over a hundred cars close out the season in four categories.
In addition to the race itself, the points championship was yet to be decided in all of the eliminators. This led to some nail-biting contests to determine who would be crowned the 2021 Championship in each class.
Rocky Platt wins A/FX with the Dixie Twister
The Shady Side event featured an exhibition A/FX catergory that offers fans a glimpse of the original A/FX racing from the mid-sixties. Three A/FX machines made numerous poasses. Rocky Platt was behind the wheel of a Chevy II fastback that is a replica of the Bill Thomas Chevy his father Huston Platt drove in the early A/FX days.
Not to be outdone, Allen Platt arrived with the Georgia Shaker Falcon, a replica of the car that pushed Hubert Platt into the limelight in the days before the flip-top funny cars arrived. Allen is Hubert’s son and Rocky Platt’s cousin.
Todd Wimberly showed up with the Southern Comfort, another A/FX Falson.
The Dixie Twister Chevy looked like it was a real handful to drive, but Rocky Platt kept it between the lines and won the exhibition segment..
Ron Allison in Super Stock
In Super Stock, 77-year old Ron Allison swept the field and captured the 2021 SS Championship in the process. Driving his red and white Poppy’s Toy Nova, Allison entered the race second place in points, five points behind Mark Hackett.
Allison squeaked by Rick Varner in the first round, which set him up to face the points leader in round two. He advanced to the semi-finals over Hackett, opening the door for a chance at the Championship. He took out Robert Peffley to gain the final.
In the money-run, Allison staged against young KJ Phillips in the Street Legal ’64 Chevelle. Philips looked strong out of the gate, but the Chevelle’s engine came apart and discharged the contents of the sump on the track. Skating in his own oil, Philips did a masterful job of maintaining the car under control. He was completely sideways at one point and eventually tagged the right retaining wall with the rear quarter panel. By that time, Allison had already turned on the win light for the event win as well as the 2021 SS Championship.
C/Gas to Larry Floyd
C/Gas came down to a battle between the top two cars in points. Larry Floyd, driving the Stud-Muffin Chevy II wagon, came to Shady Side with a comfortable 15 point margin over second-place Tim Hall in the Scalded Dog Rambler.
Floyd’s path to the final saw him earning a quarter-final bye run, after earlier dispatching Seth Buff and Gary Milldantri.
In the Semi-Final Round, the Stud-Muffin took the measure of the Trouble Maker Studebaker pickup with Billy Wilson at the wheel.
Meanwhile, Tim Hall was advancing through the field with his Rambler. Hall’s first two victims were Don Baskin and Shannon High. He then drove around Larry Noel’s Crazy Horse in the Quarter-Finals. That earned him a bye run in the semis.
When the light turned green in the final, Floyd and the Stud-Muffin leaped to a multi-car length lead, while the Rambler trailed with traction woes.
Colby Welsh’s Moonbeam wins B/Gas
B/Gas was the largest eliminator of the weekend. Twenty-Five cars answered the first round call, meaning the winner would have to survive five rounds of competition.
Ken Rainwater entered the event with a nearly insurmountable 35 point lead over second-place TJ York. Once Rainwater showed up at Shady Side with his Nova, there was little York could do to prevent him from capturing the Championship.
Daniel Haynes in patriotic The Patriot Falcon secured a final round appearance with victories over Todd Oden, Art Copeland, Bill Revels and Wayne Swofford. Swofford had gained the semi-finals at the expense of Rainwater. While Rainwater went out in the quarter-finals, he had amassed enough points to secure the 2021 SEGA B/Gas Championship.
Meanwhile, 18-year-old Colby Welsh put on a great show with Moonbeam Ford Ranchero. The purple pickup took out Jason Roberts in the first round, then advanced to round three with a bye run. Welsh’s next victim was TJ York in the colorful Green Horn Hillbilly. In the semi-finals, Welch got around a very tough Charlie Lee in the Tennesse Charlie Chevy-powered Mustang.
That set the stage for a Ford against Ford battle for the trophy dash. Both cars sounded strong on their burnouts, but when the tree came down Welch leaped to a huge lead while The Patriot stumbled off the line. It was an amazing day for Welch and the Moonbeam. He dominated in B/Gas and made his victory seem easy.
Christopher wins A/Gas, Burrell takes Championship Crown
A/Gas brought together twenty-one entries and thrilled the crowd with close side-by-side passes. Going into the event, Leslie Horne sat on top of the points chase with his Chick Magnet ’55 Chevy. He was ten points ahead of Gabriel Burrell and twenty points up on third place Kenneth Phillips in the Silver Streak Corvette.
Burrell’s Southern Flyer Model A sedan ran just as good as it looked, halting Justin Moses in the first round and Rob Walden in round 2.
The crowd came alive when points leader Horne failed to advance past Todd Blackwell in round two, which opened the door for Burrell’s chance at the championship. Blackwell fell to Burrell in round three. Then Burrell’s Southern Flyer enjoyed a semi-final bye run.
Ben Christopher was also relishing the day with the Nova he calls Happy Daze. In the first round, he got an easy victory over Gary Cline, then prevailed against Dean Jonas in a similar Nova. The third round saw Christopher streak to a win over a trailing Terry Housley in the Mr. Quick ’55 Chevy.
The semi-final run was unique, as both cars encountered problems off the line. Christopher and opponent Rick Varner in the Dirt Man Chevy both coasted down the track in the slowest side-by-side A/G run of the weekend. Eventually, Christopher turned on the win light, putting Varner’s feared Chevy II on the trailer.
Going into the final, Burrell had already clinched the A/G Championship. A win would be icing on the cake, but Christopher had other ideas.
The cars left together, buy the Happy Daze driver soon racked up a clear advantage. Burrell’s Model A broke something in the third member and coasted down the track well behind the Nova. Burrell wasn’t too disappointed however, as he could lay claim to the 2021 A/G Championship.