- Published on Thursday, 23 May 2013 20:03
Here comes the Dog!
NORWALK, Ohio – Racing legend Jim Oddy celebrates a double-nickel anniversary as he mashes metal in the “Junk Yard Dog” July 18-21, 2013 at the Wanda AkzoNobel Blue Suede Cruise at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
As we turn back the clock to focus an entire event on vehicles from 1972 and earlier, Jim Oddy lived the automotive era with gusto.
“I’ve got lots of stories as you can imagine after 55 years as a driver, owner and crew chief,” said Jim Oddy, North Carolina. “I’ve had different hats through the years.”
Jim Oddy recalls racing in blue and white colors with the fast and furious at Summit Motorsports Park under the sponsorship of Summit Racing Equipment.
“Yeah, we raced there back in the late ‘90s and early 2000s,” Jim Oddy said. “We had a Pro Mod Corvette, sponsored by Summit. We won the World Championship in 2000 and 2003 in the (International Hot Rod Association) Pro Mod points championship.
“They sponsored our Pro Mod car for about six years,” Jim Oddy said. “We’d been working with Summit for awhile, and they are the best. There’s no other company that services and sells the way they do. It’s not just the sales. It’s their tremendous service that makes the difference.”
Now racing with and on the board of directors of a group called the Nostalgia AA Gassers, also sponsored by Summit Racing Equipment, Jim Oddy offers this advice for someone who accepts a challenge to build a Gasser.
“This is probably the last racing class that you can still build in a garage and use junk yard parts and still go out there and be competitive,” Jim Oddy said. “Find an old car; put some roll bars in it.
“We did all of our shopping in the ‘60s in the junk yard,” Jim Oddy said. “Take it off of a car and make it work on our car and go racing.”
Since Jim Oddy retired from his racing engine shop in Buffalo, New York, he moved to North Carolina and rediscovered his roots, his passion, in a couple of street rods and a Willys race car.
“I’ve been fiddling around in the garage with old race cars,” Jim Oddy said. “I’ve got one customer now, and it’s just me. That keeps me plenty busy.”
Fifty-five years ago the story began as Jim Oddy’s first car, a 1936 Chevy Coupe, rolled up to Dunkirk Dragstrip.
“It was a street car that I went to my first drag races with. That first time I went I won,” Jim Oddy said. “That set the hook pretty hard. From then on we’ve been doing a lot of racing.
“Dunkirk Dragstrip was an air strip at Dunkirk, New York,” Jim Oddy said. “On Sundays they didn’t use the airport, so we marked off a quarter mile and raced. It was different in the old days.
As calls to match race intensified, Jim Oddy traveled with Gassers such as a 1948 Austin, and a 1934 Willys Sedan.
But for the Wanda AkzoNobel Blue Suede Cruise, Jim Oddy mashes gas in a newer hot rod built for the Nostalgia AA Gassers circuit.
“We will be there with a dozen cars or so in our circuit,” Jim Oddy said. “I kind of built a car that was very similar to what we ran in the ‘60s. It was like the Funny Cars of that day.”
So look for Jim Oddy in the “Junk Yard Dog.”
“It’s made out of a lot of parts I got out of the junk yard,” Jim Oddy said. “Kind of old and rusty. It’s on the rough side, but people kind of like that now, because it looks like it did back in the day, in the ‘60s.
“People say, ‘Here comes the dog!’”
Adding another nostalgia detail, Jim Oddy loads the Gasser onto an open trailer and pulls it with a pickup.
“Now it’s more about the fun and the people than it is the racing,” Jim Oddy said.
His visit helps Summit Motorsports Park celebrate a 2013 Golden Anniversary, including a Saturday evening concert by Jay and The Americans followed by Bader Family Signature Fireworks.
You know what those fireworks are for: Sit back in your grandstand seat, pull your loved ones close and enjoy the view!
“The Bader family has done an incredible job with that place,” Jim Oddy said. “I raced there in the ‘80s. They always showed up at Victory Circle. It was a pretty good party. We’ll get to see some of those people again when we get back there in July.”