Gene Cromer couldn’t have been more proud. The Anderson, SC-based, former Gas class racer was named Grand Marshal of the inaugural Nostalgia Gasser event at Greer Dragway in Greer, SC.
Cromer, now 80, walked through the pits in admiration of the nearly dozen period correct Gassers assembled for a special Chicago Style competition at the eighth-mile track located right in the heart of doorslammer country.
“Quain did a great job,” Cromer said as he inspected Quain Stott’s 1941 Willys coupe, a car patterned after Cromer’s legendary-to-the-area Moonlighter entry.
“He did some really good work. It was just like old times,” Cromer proclaimed.
Cromer and fellow Gasser legend Dude Moore were the dignitaries of the event organized by Stott, Jeremy Pearson and Greg Porter; and all three are in competition this weekend.
Cromer was impressed by the number of period correct cars paying tribute to his era. They were given the legend’s blessing as he strolled through the pits.
“They look and run just like they did,” Cromer said, smiling. “I ran my Gasser for the first time here in Greer during the 1965 season. It’s hard to believe it was 47 years ago.”
Cromer was a regular at both Greer and now defunct Spartanburg Dragway.
While most of the big tracks on the west coast and the Northeast gained notoriety in major printed magazines, Cromer cautions just because there wasn’t a lot of publicity didn’t mean the cars from the Carolinas didn’t pack a potent punch.
“The match racing was big around here,” said Cromer. “I had my first one at Spartanburg and it used to pack the place with spectators. We were pretty tough around here and you did well to keep up with one another here. I guess we didn’t think much about those guys.”
Seeing Greer’s Nostalgia Gasser event come together has provided Cromer with a born again experience for drag racing.
“I guess it has, even though I never really left the sport,” admitted Cromer. “I just had to get out of the sport and even though I never made it back, didn’t mean I gave up on coming out and racing again. Time just got me.”
Would he drive one if the opportunity presented itself?
“Oh yeah,” Cromer answered as quickly as he left the starting line back in the day.
Think it will happen?
“Nah,” he said with a laugh.
For all the stories from the inaugural Greer Dragway Nostalgia Gasser event - GASSER NOTEBOOK
For Roger Richards' PHOTO GALLERY
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