U.S.30 was a local "Chicagoland area" but nationally known dragstrip in the 50s all the way into the early 80s. Like other venues of that time it fell victim to "progress," but for the many that attended the races there it lives on in our memories. A lot of us were hooked on a lifelong love affair with drag racing at tracks like this, but U.S. 30--in what was then Gary Indiana--holds a special place in the hearts of the people that went there.
Those really WERE the days.
It's June 1964. I'm 17 and my older cousin asked me if I wanted to go to a drag race. He's friends with a couple of guys (Lutz and Garns ) that built an A/FD dragster in their garage (and it turns out that these guys were some of the first to break the 8 second 1/4 mile barrier).
OF COURSE I wanted to go!
Since I was living in Northern Michigan then and was visiting relatives in Chicago at the time, it was a chance of a lifetime for me! So I got my Bell and Howell movie camera and my still camera and off we went with Lutz and Garns to U.S.30 dragstrip in Gary Indiana.
That day changed my life.
I was hooked, but living in the frozen North, my opportunities to return were limited. However, I had the movies and pictures that would remind me of that day for years to come.
Late at night, working on my car models I would sometimes get WLS radios Dick Biondi show and hear Jan Gabriel's voice (as I still do)
"SUNDAY!!....SUNDAY!!....SUNDAY!!...At beautiful U.S. 30 Dragstrip......where the GREAT ones run" and remember that day. In the intervening years I moved to Denver Colorado and found Bandimere Speedway and all those memories of U.S.30 came flooding back as they have for the 20 years we've been going to the Mile Hi Nationals.
Fast forward to 2010.
Rummaging through some old family photos and 8mm film I found a treasure I thought had been lost. All my film and photos from that day in 1964! So I decided to make a video of that day to share with all the people that remember U.S.30 and those who unfortunately never got to experience the sights, sounds and smells of that drag racing era and especially the beloved U.S.30.
Those were the days.
NOTE: For a US 30 commercial and more information: U.S. 30 Drag Racing Nostalgia and VanSenus Auto Parts!
images: Van Senus