What Drives You: Geezers with Gassers
If anyone knows how to live their dream, it’s the Geezer Gassers, a drag racing enthusiast group that focuses on the fun, excitement and camaraderie of racing 1960s-look Nostalgia Gassers.
Most of the Geezer Gassers come from the days of old-school, head-to-head racing; to them, modern bracket racing simply makes no sense. “Whoever heard of losing a drag race because you went too fast?” one member questioned.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the Geezer Gassers were just a twinkle in spokesman and head Geezer Chuck Lipka’s eyes, the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association became the driving and directing force behind the nostalgia drag race movement. Shortly after, the Goodguys Vintage Racing Association came about. Being a veteran of the cars of that period, the competition director and safety coordinator of the association agreed to establish a head-to-head class with no bracket racing, and with that, the Geezer Gasser twinkle in Chuck’s eyes became brighter. The cars and the class were an immediate hit, both with spectators and drivers.
“We originally referred to the group as the Nostalgia Gasser group, taking the name from the class designator, Nostalgia Gas,” Lipka said. Soon the group was generating press in Goodguys’ monthly membership publication, which in turn grew to include several mainstream magazines, including Street Rodder and Rod and Custom. “As our popularity grew, so did our membership and credibility,” Lipka said. “We began hosting an open house and happy hour during the evenings after the race activities came to a close, and this is where the group was coined the Geezer Gassers.” The name fit, and it stuck. Soon they developed a logo, and to make everything official, in 2002, the trade name and logo became registered trademarks.
In the early 1990s, the group consisted of four members. Today, the group includes more than 25, and about half are diehards who have been a Geezer Gasser for at least five years; all are active participants on the track. Throughout each event, members’ cars are parked together to allow for interaction with spectators and other racers. “Chatting about cars, reliving memories, handing out promotional items and seating the fans behind the wheel leaves quite an impression, especially after they just witnessed those exact cars doing massive burnouts, wheels-up launches and then running down the strip at 120-mph or more,” Lipka said.
The Geezer Gassers have attended the National Hot Rod Association’s Midwest Hot Rod Reunion since the NHRA’s first Midwest reunion in 1998. In 2011, the group was invited to the 20th Anniversary celebration at the California Hot Rod Reunion held at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. “We were welcomed with open arms by spectators and racers alike,” Lipka said, “so much so that our group was the recipient of an inaugural award honoring us for being the most represented, and for being a perfect example of the spirit of the reunion, accurately portraying the golden age of drag racing.” The honor is now a traveling award to be presented at each annual event.
Other major event involvement for the Geezer Gassers includes Bill Bader’s Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. “Not only were we included when Goodguys staged its regional event there from 2007 to ’09, we were also invited to participate in the Bader production of the Blue Suede Cruise in 2006,” Lipka said. “Since that time, we have been present for opening day activities in 2011 and 2012, for Night Under Fire in 2011–12 and the Cavalcade of Stars in 2012.”
The Geezer Gassers are always a favorite no matter where they go, and their participation doesn’t end at the larger events; they are also active in several smaller venues. The group’s longevity, trademark registrations and credibility all lead to a mantra that is heard all too frequently: “Often imitated, but never duplicated.” This dedicated group of Geezers with Gassers will never stop when it comes to being a part of the action and inspiring others by sharing the history of Nostalgia Gassers.
For more information, visit http://www.geezergassers.com.