by Jim Amos



DVD #172

This one hour and thirty-four minute video covers all the activities at the first annual Thunderfest Car/Truck Show at the Jackson, Al fairgrounds on November 16, 2013. The event was a fundraiser for the ARC of Clark County (CCARC.) CCARC is a not for profit foundation that provides personal services to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

On the car/truck show field we found an assortment of drag race carsmud trucks and muscle cars. In our coverage we do individual car/truck profiles and selective owner interviews.  

We include a story about a Bill Ziel’s 1962 Ford Falcon that was built as a tribute to a car that ran in the southeast back in the 1960's. I even include some original movie footage of the old Falcon running at Pensacola Dragway back in 1965. Very cool story.

At the event Aubrey Padgett was recognized as the oldest continuous drag racer in the state of Alabama. Aubery began racing in 1958 and at seventy-eight years young he is still at it in 2013. Aubrey had his Big Iron Chevy Gasser at the show and both he and the car looked great. I have also included some original movie footage of Aubrey’s Big Iron back in 1965.  

Coach Ivan Jones served as the event Grand Marshall and we talked to him about his brother Troy who was the founder of CCARC back in 1973. Coach Jones had the opportunity to coach football great (Oakland Raiders) Kenny “Snake” Stabler when Kenny was in high school. Turns out that Snake Stabler was also a drag racer in his home state of Alabama. Very interesting.

Drag Racing Legend Hubert Platt was also at the show and we had a chance to talk to him about his involvement in the gasser wars of the 1960's. Hubert also made a personal donation to CCARC and challenged everyone in attendance to do the same. Many thanks to Hubert and all of those who pitched in to help this very deserving organization.

We also talked to Buzz Ward about his Hemi powered 1963 Dodge. Buzz said the big Hemi runs on E-85 fuel rated at 104 octane. Actually it is 85% corn whiskey (moonshine) with a 5% gasoline mixture. He said if it were not for the 5% gasoline you could drink the contents of his Moon tank. Great story. In response to Hubert Platt’s challenge Buzz said no Ford guy is going to beat me so he quickly matched Hubert’s donation. I love that competitive spirit.

Event coordination and long time drag racing promoter Sol Stewart choose a group of CCARC clients to serve as car/truck show judges. It was their job to pick out the top three entrees in each car/truck show category. Let me tell you they really took their job seriously and everyone was pleased with their choices. This fundraising event was not held for CCARC clients but rather with CCARC clients and that is priceless.

Additional interviews were held with Bobby Pritchard with his Nissan Pick Up Mud Truck, Steve Foust and his Continuation Series Shelby Cobra, Joe Nelson and his 65 Mustang Drag Car, Tim White and his ‘64 Ford Fairlane, Jessie Holmes co-owner of the Coon - Tang Falcon and Donnie “The Wild Thing” Thing and his ‘74 Vega Drag Car. I am sure you will enjoy each and every one of these stories.

Sol also conducted his signature Thunderfest engine revving exhibition and I am sure you will enjoy the sounds of thunder made by our show cars. I just love it when a static car show comes to life with the sounds of thunder.  

After the car/truck show concluded we traveled west to Street Racin Haven Dragway in Leakesville, Ms. This is an eighth mile drag strip that caters to street racing style drag racing. You will hear the story behind the track from owner/operator Davy Busby. Unfortunately a misty rain covered the track just before racing was to begin but in true street racing fashion the cars made burn outs and launches from the starting line. I have to say this is a very entertaining segment and you will hear some great sounds and see some dare devil drivers.

I want to thank my traveling partners Harry Pinkard, Bill Brown and David Swann for bringing Harry’s 1990 Pontiac Firebird Drag Car along on the trip to Jackson. Harry’s car was a big hit with the kids as he allowed them to climb inside and take a seat in an eight second drag car. They loved it and I bet we provided them with a memory they will never forget. Great stuff.  

I have decided to donate the profit made from the sale of this video right back to CCARC in Jackson, Al. I know from personal experience how difficult it is for persons with disabilities to be fully accepted into communities but thank goodness we have organizations like CCARC to help achieve that goal. Please support the cause by purchasing a copy of this video.

The attached YouTube video clip is a fifteen minute promotional video from the full length Thunderfest 2013 production.  Keep in mind the full length 1 hour and 34 min video is in broadcast quality digital video.