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Winternationals celebrates 50th anniversary

February 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The Winternationals is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Pomona. In its inaugural year, JFK was in the white house and a gallon of gas was 31 cents. It still may be a quarter mile on the track, but the event has come a long way.Don't let the cold weather fool you. It's about to get hot in Pomona this weekend.

"To win here on a 50th anniversary, I don't know a driver on the grounds that can't picture that trophy up on their mantle," said Ron Capps a Funny Car driver.

The drivers today were the kids in the stands yesterday, as young boys and race cars go together like tires and rims.

"I still pick up the pace and start walking faster when they get ready for that national anthem in the first round of top fuel. It's weird. I can't remember the last 10 years of my life, but the drag races when I was a kid, they're locked in my memory," said Jack Beckman, another Funny Car driver.

The drive down memory lane takes us to an old quarter mile track in the 60s in Pomona, and it's been fueled by technology for five decades

"Our technology is really based on a 1951 Chrysler Hemmy. The material has come a long ways. Our clutch is John Deere clutch from the 1940s, but again, the materials and the ingenuity that has gone into them have made them able to withstand and survive an 8,000-horsepower run down the rack," said Beckman.

It's not just technology that's changed this sport over the past five decades, and no one knows that more than Top Fuel driver Antron Brown. When this sport started back in 1960, he would have never had the opportunity to drive.

"What I love about our sport so much is that it's so diverse. But the thing about it is if you ever dream growing up in the sport, you can make it happen," said Brown.

In this sport, the memories come quick.