You really can race an AMC Rambler

Posted Online: Sept. 03, 2014, 8:38 pm
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Roger Ruthhart, rruthhart@qconline.com
Back when I was in high school in the 1960s, my first car was a 6 cylinder Rambler with a push-button gear shift on the dash. It was considered a "sensible car" at the time but I always thought it was my parents' cruel joke since it had no real guts to it for racing.

While that may have been their plan, I soon found that the short wheelbase was pretty well suited to racing laps around the farm field with my friend. Many an afternoon was spent spewing dirt in every direction and somehow the transmission – and the push buttons – held up.

Later, the family graduated to another Rambler that at least had a V-8, so if you pulled up to the stoplight against a grandma with a V-6 at least you had a chance to beat her off the line. Another feature of the car that proved popular with teens was that the front seats would recline all the way – perfect for packing a lot of people in or for stretching out to watch a movie at the drive-in.

I went through life feeling I could never be considered a legit racer with my AMC Rambler. I lived those years vicariously through a friend who raced motorcycles and a Shelby Mustang.

But apparently, at least among fellow AMC owners, it IS possible to be taken seriously. The proof is this weekend's 36th AMC Nationals at Cordova Dragway Park. The event, sponsored by the National American Motors Drivers & Racers Assn., is open to all AMC and AMC/Jeep enthusiasts, owners, AMC clubs and the public. It includes several racing classes, a car show, swap meet and car corral.

Cars competing for the title of AMC Eliminator must be AMC powered. The car show will feature 35 classes and special awards for Best of Show, Participants Choice, Best Wagon, Best Convertible, etc.

The swap meet is open to all vendors and the car corral is for AMCs and AMC/Jeeps for sale.

Friday's activities include the Swap Meet and picnic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and AMC Gamblers race beginning at 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, gates open at 8 a.m. for the AMC Nationals AMC Drags, Car Show, Swap Meet and Car Corral. Car Show judging is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and AMC Time trials from 9 a.m. to noon. The AMC and AMC/Jeep Nationals eliminations begin at 12:30 p.m.

Gates open for bracket racing for all makes at 2:30 p.m. with time trials 3-6 p.m. and bracket eliminations beginning at 7 p.m. Admission for the general public is $8 (Friday) and $12 (Saturday) for adults, $3 children 6-12, and five and under free.

Quad City Speedway champs: You know the racing season is winding down when the season championships are run. Quad City Speedway had its last points race on August 24.

Several close points battles were decided by the final race of the season, including Brandon Dahl's one-point win over brother Zach Dahl in the Riverbend Pizza Place 4 Cylinder class with Steve Spiker finishing third.

One point separated first and second in the Weber Auto Group Street Stocks with Rob Nylin edging Steve Jackson 533-532. Jarett Franzen was third in points.

Mike Murphy Jr. won the Eriksen Chevrolet Late Model title from Todd Malmstrom with Leroy Brenner third. Ron Cox Jr. won the Toppert Services IMCA Modified championship over Doug Crompton as Brandon Durbin finished third.

Another close battle loomed in the U-Pull-A-Part/CIMCO IMRA Midget Lites class with Mitchell Davis edging Aaron Shuck 353-350. Shane Morgan was third. The McDonalds' Mod Lites title went to Jason Massengarb with 439, followed by Daniel Guss 406 and Bryan Brinker 400. Congratulations to all of the champions.
This column appears each Thursday in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. Please send items of interest to rruthhart@qconline.com . Racing results should be sent to sports@qconline.com .


Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2014. There are 102 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Recruits can get $500 by enlisting now. Lt Jobe has a recruiting office on Illinois Street.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Superintendent Schnitger formally inaugurated the Rock Island and Davenport Railway Line of the Holmes system by putting on four cars to start.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Wires of the defunct Union Electric Co. are being removed by city electricians.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The Bishop Hill softball team won the championship in WHB"S Mississippi Valley tournament at Douglas Park.
1964 -- 50 years ago: A boom in apartment construction has hit Rock Island, with approximately 300 units either in or near the construction stage or due for an early rezoning decision.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Members of the Bi-State Metropolitan Planning Commission are hoping to revive their push for a new $70 million four-lane bridge spanning the Mississippi River.

(More History)