Gasser Madness 2.0!
By Nick Licata
There seems to be a resurgence in old-school-style builds—an outright attraction to what was cool back in the ’60s and early ’70s: Gassers, or at least cars built with a gasser look and style, are making a raging comeback, and the Southeast Gasser Association is taking their drag racing series next level as far as authenticity and accuracy goes. The Columbus, North Carolina, drag racing association has adopted strict rules for the sole purpose of keeping their events reminiscent of how the gasser drag racing classes looked and operated back in the ’60s—1967 to be exact. This means cars approved to compete must be 1967 or earlier model years, have period-correct wheels and tires, chassis and suspension, interior, and engine bay appearance, and the body mods must be consistent with what the racers did back then.
The association’s goal is to provide a fun family environment with its racers, and to put on an exciting show for the fans, namely an accurate recreation of a ’60s drag race. With that said, the fans even have an influence on the rules. For example, the fans made it known that manually shifted cars banging through the gears were far more exciting than watching cars with automatic transmissions go down the track, so SEGA founder, Quain Stott, adopted a rule stating all cars must have a manually shifted transmissions.
The rules page is thorough and worth a read, even just for entertainment value. I am particularly fond of the rule stating “no website (.com) lettering allowed on cars.” This one absolutely makes sense for the obvious reason that in 1967 the word “web” was typically related to spiders and “online” was a term likely used when a car made a very straight run down the dragstrip.
But, my favorite rule is one adopted in 2021 regarding wheelies. “Front wheels in the air on launch. If your car goes 6.50 e.t. or better in the eighth-mile, the front tires must be at least 15 inches off the ground on launch or on gear change. Cars with 94 inches or shorter wheelbase must launch 12 inches or higher.”
Just having a rule that states wheelies must reach a minimum height makes this the coolest drag racing association ever.
Other rules we admire: “No blacked-out chrome—if it was chrome from the factory, it must remain chrome or be painted silver, which includes fiberglass bumpers that were originally chrome.”
“No billet or spun aluminum wheels.”
“No white or colored lettering on tires. Must be removed from the inside as well.”
That’s just scratching the rules page surface, but it’s important to know that if you want to drag race at one of these cool events, you can’t just show up to a race, tech in, and expect to go down the track. In order to run with the Southeast Gassers you must send in detailed information and photos of your car and wait for approval. It’s highly recommended that you read the rules prior to building a car to run in this association so you don’t waste time and money on something not allowed.
As founder Stott says, “We build cars wrong on purpose.”
That’s a great motto, if there ever was one.
Look for event coverage on the Southeast Gassers Association in an upcoming issue of All Chevy Performance magazine and online at allchevyperformance.com