By Patricia Farris News Review Publisher– Mark Pahuta and John Daley, two local historians, have put together a two-hour video on the history of the hot rodding culture in this area.
The video will be screened on Saturday, May 20, at 6:30 pm at the Maturango Museum in the main gallery. Admission is free. There will be free popcorn and sodas available.
Pahuta and Daley are encouraging anyone involved in the video to be present.
Some involved locals are Billie Ragland, Don Waldron, Tex Whitson, and Bob Cram. “They are all included in the video, and their interviews have produced some great stories,” said Daley.
When the Dust Devils were incorporated in the early 1950s, they were instrumental in establishing the Inyokern Drag Strip at Inyokern Airfield.
The track was the longest continuously running drag strip in the country. The track was on a taxiway and became very successful. It had operated for 50 years.
There were many locals that raced with the Dust Devils, including Lyndal Tharp and Dave Pearson. Cars came as far away as Bakersfield, LA, and other distant areas. “The track eventually closed down because it interfered with airfield operations,” noted Daley.
The Dead Owls were another club that raced. Some of them included Tex Whitson and the late Max Hess. Pahuta said some
hot rodders who did not want to join a club were interviewed. They just raced in town, so there was a lot of illegal racing during that era. “We gleaned interesting stories about that and law enforcement involvement,” Pahuta said.
In putting together the video, Pahuta explained, “Daley interviewed the hot rodders, and I captured them on video. We had decided ahead of time what questions to ask. Everybody was asked the same questions, so we got a well-rounded view of what all those guys remembered.”