Eighty Year Old Drag Racer

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FastEd

Hunter
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Jun 13, 2008
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RIVERSIDE, OH, Home of the Air Force Museum
Driving back home Friday night with a trunk full of groceries, about 9:00PM,
I stopped at the light on Monument Ave. I was driving my old faithful 1965 Nash Rambler. That massive magnum nitro express six cylinder with the single exhaust was cackling a little. Mainly due to a small crack in the manifold. In fact that old rusty muffler is getting a little loud, too.

It was beginning to get a little dark but I was still wearing my WWII Bomber Pilot gold rimmed sun glasses and the Kentucky Wildcat cap was on backwards. Everything was copasetic.

Suddenly, in the fast lane, A nice clean Chevy II rolls up and stops. The nice looking older lady, behind the wheel, looked over and surveyed the old Rambler. The disgusting look on her face would be hard to miss.

Then she had the audacity to yell at me, and it was quiet audible:
“Lets see what you got old man!”

Well, I have always been fond of a challenge and now it felt like the juices were flowing again. Another great opportunity to demonstrate Man’s superiority over the Female species.

With the old six revving like a truck monster the light changed and we both lurched out of the hole belching fire! Although I didn’t have a tachometer on the dash I could feel that sudden surge of power pushing me back in the seat. Gulping that regular gas in the tank we were starting to move. I had almost forgotten how good it feels.

After a couple of seconds I could see the Chevy II headlights fading away in the rear view mirror. The race was over that quick.

When I stopped the Chevy rolled up and the good looking older lady yells, “You got lucky Granpa! I missed second gear!”

All I can say is, Its always great to be winner no matter how you did it.
 

stevemb

Hunter
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Aug 8, 2012
Messages
2,769
Ok, now THAT'S funny ! Thank you ! Have an aunt that no longer drives. She had a lead foot in her day. Whenever I hear the song"Little ole Lady from Pasedena" I think of her, she lives just up the hill in Tujunga..My Mom was no slouch in the leadfoot category either.
 

Robes

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May 12, 2014
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393
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West Michigan
Can you imagine the look on the cops face if he had pulled the two of you over? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
 

Snake45

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Mar 14, 2009
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+4020
graygun said:
Kris Karamesines still drives a TF dragster and he's 83.
Just read a story about him. No one really knows how old he is.

My Dad is 84 and he was 14 when WWII ended. Supposedly, "The Greek" served in WWII, though it appears it was very late in the war, and he might well have been underage (17 or 16). You do the math. :wink:
 

graygun

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Sep 24, 2008
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Junction,Tx
I think ol' Ed is funnin' us...as he often does.

Snake,I recall Garlits also said CK was a soldier in WW2. Last year,IIRC,Kris mentioned (on ESPN 2) the war service within the context of the inevitable "how old are you" question.

EDIT: It's Chris,not Kris
 

Hipshot

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Joined
Dec 26, 2004
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112
Location
Okahumpka, Fl. USA
Chris Karamesines (born November 11, 1931) is an American drag racer and one of NHRA's early pioneers and nicknamed "The Golden Greek". In 2009, he became the first driver in NHRA history to compete and become the fastest driver at over 78 years old at the final event of the 2009 season at Pomona driving in the Top Fuel category. But he would lose in the first round against Brandon Bernstein. The following year, he made an attempt at Firebird International Raceway in Arizona and made the field, but again lost in the first round. [1] On June 19, 2011, Karamesines defeated Doug Kalitta in the first round of final eliminations at the NHRA event at Thunder Valley. It was Karamesines' first round win since 1990. Chris has never won an NHRA National Event but has come close several times. His last final round appearance came in 1990 in Seattle, Washington. Karamesines also reached the final round at Le Grandnational Molson in Quebec Canada that same year. On June 15, 2014 at Bristol, Karamesines the #16 qualifier knocked out #1 qualifier Brittany Force in the first round then lost to Doug Kalitta in the second round.

I saw him just last month at Bristol dragway during the Thunder Valley Nationals. My wife & I were walking through the pits when he exited his pit area on his scooter. He usually dresses in all black, is in great shape, looks 10 to 15 years younger than he really is and is a gentleman.
 

Snake45

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Hipshot said:
Chris Karamesines (born November 11, 1931)...
That would make him almost a year younger than my Dad...he wouldn't have yet been 14 on VJ Day. :?

The story I read was a little vague, but my impression was that CK had been in uniform in WWII, and had been a driver for a high officer, I think Stateside. IIRC he was pretty badly injured in some sort of accident.

To me, the birth date and the WWII service stories don't add up. There's something wrong with one or the other of them. (I suspect he was born a few years earlier than the date given.)

I think the story I read was in Elapsed Times, a drag racing history magazine. I'll have to see if I can find it again.

ETA: Found this Hot Rod magazine article from 2010 online, which cites his birth year as 1928, which makes more sense to me. Either way, of course, he's quite remarkable for his age.

http://www.hotrod.com/features/celebrities/hrdp-1003-chris-karamesines/
 

gtxmonte

Buckeye
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Feb 1, 2014
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1,073
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Alabama
While the "Greek" may not officially have an NHRA "Wally" on his shelf........the man is a legend and a winner. In the early 60s, during the NHRA "fuel ban" years, all the "hitters" ran the AHRA and the Greek was the MAN. Although some dispute it, records indicate he was the first to 200 in a dragster a few months ahead of Garlits. He won countless BIG races back them before the NHRA was the big deal. When NHRA and IHRA netted big money sponsors in the late 70s, the AHRA faded and so did the Greek. he didn't have the budget to run with those guys.

He is at Don Schumachers shop on nearly a daily basis working on his car and can outwork guys 20 years his younger. Phil Shuler, one of the Schumacher crew chiefs, is a friend of mine, so any time I am in INDY, I try and stop by the shop. Greek is nearly always there and he is a hoot.
 

RSIno1

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Sep 17, 2013
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Southern California
stevemb said:
Ok, now THAT'S funny ! Thank you ! Have an aunt that no longer drives. She had a lead foot in her day. Whenever I hear the song"Little ole Lady from Pasedena" I think of her, she lives just up the hill in Tujunga..My Mom was no slouch in the leadfoot category either.
My mom's aunt lived in Altadena (just above Pasadena). Her last car was a '67 Chrysler New Yorker. She was always getting tickets for 20-30 mph over the limit. My mom is 92 she quit driving about 6 months ago when she moved in with my sister. She started driving at 15 and never had a ticket.
 

Number9

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 24, 2012
Messages
953
Location
Tennessee
I've seen all the old guys run back in the 60's...
and I think that's around the last time I heard the word "copacetic"!? Ha!
 
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