The History of “StangRey”
There I was sitting in my man-cave(the basement) staring at my dragster trying to figure out how to get that 1.4 that has eluded me……….the phone rings …….its Brian(Big Squid). We talk for a while and he explained that he needed little help and if I would be interested in contributing a small column on the website that would keep people informed on about the weekly races or meets. I thought about it for a couple of seconds and agreed to do it, then I remembered I didn’teven know how to use spell check on the puter and had never done anything like this before.
I hung up the phone and felt a cold chill go up and down my spine, what did I get myself into I thought. I sat there for a while with a hundred different ideas running thru my head and realized I think I ca do this——sooooooo guy’s and gals here it go’s.
When I spoke with Brian He suggested I introduce myself in the first article. Kinda let people know how I got interested in RC and Drag Racing. So folks get comfortable and let me take you for a ride down memory lane.
I believe that most of us(rc drag racers) have a deep seeded love and appreciation for muscle cars, hot rods and generally anything that go’s fast. Lets use the time machine that Tim Smith a few months ago to go back to my teenage years. I’m 16 and have been saving and saving all my money and its time to get my first car. I searched the for sale adds for weeks and then I found it……….a ’71’ Dodge Challenger. I told my dad about it and we went to go look at it……………….there it was ……….it was orange with the black RT stripes, big block with a pistol grip 4 speed. I WAS IN HEAVEN!!!
Then it happened………….my dad noticed the rear tires—-what he thought were bald tires were M/H slicks on American Racing alumn. slot wheels. There was US30Dragstrip decals all over the rear windows, a big Holley double pumper on the 383. Yes my friends it was a drag car. Well I was short about $500.00 and my dad said no way–not for that car. He said it had to be a Ford, you see my dad’s a Ford guy with blue blood running thru his body and all.
Let me fast forward a few years. I’m on top of the world, I’m in my ’71’ Mustang Mach I. Yeah buddy with a 351 Cleveland-TRW 12 1/2 pistons, Hooker headers, a NOS nitrous kit, Holley carb, 4 speed and a 4:86 out back. All built with help from my lil brother and my high school sweetheart Liz who by the way is my wife of 23 years, and myself. Picture this my friends………..My sweetheart and I are in the Mach I on the way to a local hangout called the Lakefront. The Lakefront is nestled between the Indiana Harbor Steel mills and Lake Michigan. It’s a huge parking lot with a beachfront and it get full of Hot-Rods on Fridays and Saturday nights. Anyway were sitting in the Stang on the corner of Michigan and Gutrie waiting on a stoplight…………who pulls up besides me…….my lil brother in his 65 Fairlane with the Hi-Po 289 and dual quads sticking out of his hood. He revs his lil screamer and I turn to look at my girl…………..She knows what about to happen and she has a nervous smile on her beautiful face……………..The light turns GREEN and we lit that intersection up.
Yes sir folks it was a DRAG RACE. What happened next is straight out of a movie. We were just into second gear when I heard the SIREN!!!!!! A policeman had witnessed the whole thing and was right behind the heavy cloud of tire smoke. I pulled over and the Fairlane jumped on the expressway ramp and disappeared………….My heart was POUNDING and my hands were shaking when the policeman pulled up besides me and yelled : WHO WAS THE OTHER GUY? I shrugged my shoulders and he replied don’t let me catch you doing that again and sped off after the Fairlane.
I smiled at my girl and she smiled back…………all was good again and we went to the Lakefront. My lil brother showed up a little later in his other car. LOL He had made it home and put the Fairlane in the garage. After that I only drag raced at US 30 Dragstrip.
Fast forward a few more years and I married my high school sweetheart–bought a house–we had a beautiful daughter Raquel– a son lil Rey…………………and I sold the Mach I. I needed a fix for the desire to go fast and I discovered RC racing in the late eighties. I raced off-road for a few years and while reading a RC magazine I found an add for Lazer-Lite drag cars…………..I had to have one. I ordered the Pro-Stock and painted it like Bob Gliddens Probe. I had learned that a group of guys were racing the drag cars in nearby Harvey, IL .
I went to Harvey and met a great bunch of guys who, as a matter of fact, I reunited with this past summer when I read about the Lynwood RC Dragstrip on the Big Squid website. I ‘m talking about Big Will, Jerry, Butch, Keven and a few other gentlemen. It had been 18-19 years since I had drag raced a RC car and I was HOOKED once again. The excitement of racing combined with all the great people in the hobby makes it so enjoyable that it’s infectious. I know of a few off-road buddies that are going to drag race this coming summer as a result of visiting both the Lynnwood strip and the Big Squid website.
Some of you may be wondering if I ever built another Mustang. The answer is YES. You see I work on cars for a living along with my brother……….Yes the one with the Fairlane. I built with the help of my family a ’65’ Mustang G.T. 350S, its a Shelby replica with a few evil twist. It has a 331 stoker with a Vortech supercharger and small nitrous kit because I’m crazy and a host of other goodies. We built this Stang with cruise nites and car shows in mind and have been rewarded with a cover shoot on Hemmings Muscle Machines magazine(June2004)-Calendar shoot and even on a t-shirt that Hemmings sells on there Website. It also graces the cover of a Jegs type catalog for a midwest warehouse called VSI , Racepages and a few other publications.
Well my fellow drag racers I hope you get an idea of who and where I’m from. I hope that you click on my column and catch up with what going on in our neck of the woods with this thing we call……..RC DRAG RACING.
Rey Perez “StangRey”