Terry Housley knew early in his drag racing career, his success would take him places. The two-time IHRA Top Sportsman and Pro Modified pioneer never envisioned one of his destinations would be an iconic drag strip located north of Los Angeles.
Housley, from London, Tenn., was one of a group of doorslammer drivers associated with the West Coast Outlaw Pro Modified Association invited to participate in an exhibition event during the California Hot Rod Reunion hosted by AAA Famosa Raceway in Bakersfield, Ca.
As storied of a driving career as Housley has enjoyed, he never envisioned writing a chapter of his life featuring the weekend he competed at one of drag racing’s more iconic facilities. Even tougher to imagine was leading qualifying for the first day.
Housley eventually dropped to third but the demotion didn’t faze him in the least. He was racing at the facility he grew up reading about before he could even drive.
Housley drove Irv Ballance’s nitrous-injected 1953 Corvette to a best elapsed time of 6.167-second pass at 233.80 miles per hour.
“I never dreamed of coming to Bakersfield much less qualifying No. 1, even if it was momentarily” said Housley. “This is an exciting place. I’ve never witnessed anything like it. Being No. 1 is an extra bonus. This is unbelievable.”
His best run came on a pass, by his assessment, was far from optimal.
“It shook bad in second and really moved around a lot,” explained Housley. “It really made a bad run. I really was surprised it was as good as it was.”
Housley meets veteran doorslammer racer Joe Lepone Jr. in Sunday’s first round of eliminations.
“This is pretty overwhelming,” Housley said. “I wouldn’t even know where to begin in explaining this to my friends. All I have to say is they need to come out here and see this. See this … tells the story the best.”
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