Calif. -- For auto
enthusiasts and gearheads, a visit to Pomona, Calif. is a must.
The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum features historical racing
vehicles, photographs, trophies, helmets, driving uniforms, artifacts,
paintings and much more. The building features 28,500 square feet
of exhibit space. The NHRA Motorsports Museum is located within
the Los Angeles County Fairplex. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5
p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
cases are dedicated to the Detroit Dragway and there are photos
from the Livonia Dragway in another gallery as well. The Detroit
Dragway was a quarter-mile long drag strip located at the corner
of Sibley and Dix in Brownstown Twp., Mich. Meanwhile, the Livonia
Dragway was a three-quarter mile long drag strip located along
Amrhein between Eckles Road and Levan Road.
museum has been here since 1998," said Tony Thacker, executive
director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. "It's
kind of a shrine to California motorsports. This is sort of a
snapshot of the history of dry lakes, drag racing, sprint cars,
speedway, you name it, we've got a little bit of it here. We've
got artifacts from dragstrips from around the country. NHRA is
sort of our flagship company and our kind of core of our collection
here. But we have all sorts of cars."
the museum different from other automotive museums in southern
California, such as the Petersen?
we're totally different,"
Thacker added. "We're friends, but Petersen is more about
the car and Los Angeles. This is pure racing. We don't have any
production automobiles at all. This is all about racing. There
is a major difference from the Petersen. We have two vehicles
that are very, very famous. One is Mickey Thompson's Challenger,
it was the first American car to go 400 mph in 1960. The other
one is Art Crisman's No. 25 car. It's probably the oldest living
dragster in existence."
the museum's proximity to Hollywood, have any films or TV shows
been filmed inside?
yeah, we film here all the time," the executive director
explained. "We just filmed an Xbox commercial a while ago.
They just filmed an episode of Storage Wars here with
Barry Weiss. We're very media friendly. We have cars from some
of the top Hollywood celebrities. We have two cars owned by Billy
Gibbons of ZZ Top. We have a car owned by Chip Foose in here.
We just got rid of some other famous cars. Even Eric Clapton had
a car in here for a while."
new exhibit highlighting Mooneyes founder Dean Moon will open
at the museum on Friday, Jan. 27.
is one of those iconic companies in our industry," Thacker
said. "Even personally, it was the first hot rod t-shirt
I bought as a kid. To me, Mooneyes is the brand. It's about 60
years since the company was started. We thought it would be a
great time to pay tribute to Dean Moon, who was an incredible
photographer, an incredible self-taught marketer and engineer.
We're going to have cars out of their history, artifacts, photographs,
all of that stuff."
50th anniversary of the Cobra will be celebrated during the Ford-Cobra-Shelby
reunion from April 19 - 21, 2012.
the very first Cobra was built at Mooneyes in Santa Fe Springs
in 1962," he added. "Shelby and Moon were good friends
so they shipped the AC from England and that's where they installed
the first Ford V8 there. It's 50 years since that took place,
1962 to 2012. We'll have an exhibit here of some very rare Cobras,
some photography, artifacts. Right here on the Fairplex behind
me, there's a road race course where they raced from 1956 to 1963.
That's where the Cobras raced. We're going to have three days
of open track out there."
Phil Jobe from Memphis, Tenn. made a stop at the museum over a
weekend trip to the Los Angeles area. He used to live just a few
miles from the museum when he lived in California, but he never
made it inside. This Saturday morning that all changed.
a gearhead and a car nut, I love it," Jobe said. "It's
just amazing, just amazing. I've been to most of the local race
tracks back in the day, you know, Lions, Irwindale, Fontana, Orange
County. I never got a chance to see any of these things. I recommend
it for anybody that likes cars and speed, come on down. My favorite
cars are the Foose Hemisphere and the CadZilla. I like the old
funny cars themselves. I went to school with John Force so you
gotta love his cars. If you're into drag racing and where everything
started, my opinion is this is the place you need to visit in
goer John Foster from Houston was visiting the museum during a
business trip to southern California.
is my first time here," Foster said. "It's great, man.
I like all of them. When I was a kid, I had a little race car
set. We raced the Mongoose vs. the Snake. I'm just visiting out
here, working. I would like to mention two friends of mine were
rag racers, Mark Lammon and Don Garlits."
Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is located in building 3A
at 1101 McKinley Ave. in Pomona, CA. From the 10 fwy east, exit
White Avenue, proceed North, turn left on McKinley Avenue, enter
Fairplex Gate 1. From the 210 fwy, exit Fruit Avenue, proceed
South, turn right on McKinley Avenue. The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports
Museum is located at Fairplex Gate 1, 1101 W. McKinley Avenue
in Pomona. Call us at (909) 622-2133. Current NHRA members are
admitted free. Admission for non-members is $8 for adults, $6
for seniors 60 and older, $6 for juniors 6 through 15, and free
for children under the age of 5. AAA discount available. Hours:
Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
more information on the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, visit
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
Thompson's Short Course Buggy was built by John House in 1983.