Watch the WBNG Channel 12 Action News interview, “A Hot Rod Reunion,” with Bob Connelly as he talks about the upcoming fund-raising festivities for the 50th Year Anniversary of the Tri-Cities Drag-Way races.
For a detailed and informative overview of the Drag-Way Anniversary events, check out the WBGH/WIVT News Channel 34 story, also featuring an interview with Bob Connelly.
In the 1960's and early 70's, Bob and Sallie Connelly owned and operated the Tri-Cities Drag-Way, a drag strip at the Tri-Cities airport in Endicott, NY. The first race, in 1961, sanctioned by TANA (Timing Association of North America), was run under portable lighting and headlights. Starting in 1962, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) sanctioned the races, which were held Saturday evenings from May through October.
Bob, and lot of other Binghamton, Endicott and Johnson City locals, have never forgotten the excitement, camaraderie and hot-rodding good times that drew thousands to the Drag-Way week after week. Bob, with some help from his friends, has turned his memories into "The Blast from the Past" -- a first-ever 50th Year Anniversary of the Tri-Cities Drag-Way races -- which Bob says will be "a nostalgic, family oriented celebration."
The line up of events -- parade, cruise-in, sock hop concert, car show, swap meet, and flea market -- is impressive, and it's all for a good cause! All proceeds will go to the Boys & Girls Club of Western Broome and the Binghamton Boys & Girls Club.
Festivities get underway on Friday evening, June 10, with a FREE Parade of Cars and Cruise-In, and a sock hop and Concert. Starting at 6:00 pm, vintage, classic and drag-racing cars and motorcycles will parade from the Boys & Girls Club of Western Broome at One Clubhouse Road in Endicott to Binghamton Plaza, 33 W State Street, Binghamton where they'll gather for a Cruise-In. From 7:00-10:00 pm at the Binghamton Plaza Showplace, Bill Grace will emcee a concert featuring The Rip Chords — famous for their smash hit “Hey Little Cobra” — and The Bruce Beadle Band. Admission is $10 and refreshments will be available.
The first-ever Reunion takes place on Saturday, June 11 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, at the Tri-Cities Airport in Endicott, NY, site of the original Tri-Cities Drag-Way races. There will be no races at the Reunion — and no alcohol — but look for a gigantic show of cars, with their owners competing for trophies and dash plaques, while Drag-Way greats are inducted into the Tri-Cities Drag-Way Hall of Fame. The smart money is on national record holders, Wally Bell and Bob Chipper, together with Frank Heeman and Doug Crockett to be on the short-list for induction. The Reunion will also feature a Swap Meet and Flea Market. Admission is $5 per person and $5 per show car; the vendor fee is $25 per flea market booth. The Boys & Girls Clubs will provide entertainment and sell a variety of portable food, including a Pig Stand® type pulled pork sandwich reminiscent of the pork sandwiches popular with Drag-Way hot rodders.
The Tri-Cities Drag-Way Reunion is sponsored by America's Attic, Cook's Septic Service, Cool 100 FM 100.5, Don's Automotive Mall, Gary's U-Pull It/United Auto Parts/Scrap Everything, Staples, Tioga Downs Casino and Wilcox's Towing & Automotive Repairs.
For more information or to volunteer, call sponsoring coordinator Bob Connelly at 607-722-3544 or email Drags@BobConnelly.com.