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Lions:Part One Lions:Part Two Lions:Part Three


Lions:Part One

"Lions - The Greatest Drag Strip : Part One" is the first of three DVDs to cover the history of the most famous drag strip in hot rodding history.
Amid massive powerlines, refineries and accessed at Alameda Avenue off the San Diego Freeway in west Long Beach, California, there once lived Lions Drag Strip, an iconic, motorized centrestage which, from 1955 though 1972, mixed damp, ocean-fused air with the pleasant smells of popcorn, tamales and hamburgers, plus heavy, acrid blends of nitromethane and gas, while punctuated by shrill, ear-splitting noise that rung for days.
Magical weekends were visually spiked by candy apple paint, glittering chrome, plus ominous, smoke-screened curtains emitted from pair after pair of exotic, home-built creations, with grandstands so close you could almost touch the machines!
Some who raced there became household names. Others seemed to fade into obscurity...while wide-eyed loyal fans witnessed it all - both the greatest of times and, likewise, the unexpected tragedy.
Finally, the history of Lions - The Greatest Drag Strip has been assembled from many dozens of interviews with leading racers and other significant figures - amid hundreds of photos by the sport's best lensmen and family albums, plus many novice and several profesional movies - including seldom seen footage.

Part One covers the track's inception with the speed legend, Mickey Thompson, as it's first manager in 1955, through the return of nitro racing after the infamous "fuel ban" was lifted in 1962.
Available since: 12th December, 2006.
Running time: 100 minutes
Format: ALL regions.
Price: AU$30, including postage (Australia Only).


Lions:Part Two

Part Two picks up speed, literally, in 1962, when nitro-burning cars returned after a five-year ban under founding manager, speed king Mickey Thompson. The presentation concludes near the end of 1966, with the sport’s explosive growth in everything from dragsters and supercharged coupe match race wars, to early funny cars, etc. In 1962 newly formed 7-second dragster teams included Greer-Black & (Don) Prudhomme, plus “TV” Tommy Ivo, both among more than two-dozen interviewed participants on the DVD. Roland Leong recounts his rule-changing accident in the “Hawaiian”. Don Garlits recalls a colorful match race involving Chris Karamesines. NHRA starter, Rick Stewart, shown in a violent finish line crash, recounts waking up in the hospital as the Watts Riots began. Even “Wild Willie” Borsch explains how he drove his AA/Fuel Altered using one hand, from newly uncovered audiotape. Others on camera include Tom McEwen, John Force, Gene Mooneyham, Larry Sutton, C.J. Hart, Ed Iskenderian, Ralph Guldahl, Jr., Don Prieto, Dave Wallace, Pat Foster, Paula Murphy, Ronnie Rapp, Dale Armstrong, Frank Fedak, Jim Kelly, Doug Kruse, George Bolthoff, Chris Karamesines, and many others. Top Fuel dragsters had also reached 200 MPH. Major match race draws included the blown Willys coupes of Stone-Woods-Cook versus “Big John” Mazmanian, the ‘stands packed to capacity. Stockers swiftly evolved into altered wheelbase machines; from carbs to injectors, then blowers, gas to nitro – and funny cars were born. Emerging, too, were breathtaking yet scary streamliners, exhibition cars, junior fuel dragsters, gas and fuel altereds, coupes, motorcycles, the list goes on. Mickey Thompson’s departure witnessed promotional genius C.J. “Pappy” Hart take the helm, who promptly ended NHRA sanction. As a result, epic and rival AHRA dual stocker/dragster World Championships took place, plus the racer-formed UDRA held a series of memorable events of similar national caliber.
Available since: 1st November, 2007.
Running time: 100 minutes
Format: ALL regions.
Price: AU$30, including postage (Australia Only).

Lions:Part Three

Part Three concludes with the track’s emotional closing in December 1972 with "The Last Drag Race". The nearly two-hour (110-mi.) video documentary on the revered, southern California-based Lions Drag Strip covers a critical and history-changing period from late 1966 to its closing in December 1972. This episode is hosted by Jon Lundberg “The Voice of Drag Racing”, and narrated by Rick Carlson. More than 40 individuals have speaking parts throughout, including the sport’s leading pioneer drivers, manufacturers and key track workers, such as Don Garlits, Ed Iskenderian, Hayden Proffitt, Gas Ronda, Bill “Maverick” Golden, Robert “Bones” Balogh, Carl Olson, Sush Matsubara, Tom McEwen, Pat Foster, Dale Pulde, Don Long, C. J. Hart, and Larry Sutton. Others include: T.C. Lemons, Roland Leong, Steve Reyes, Doug Kruse, Ed Lenarth, Don Prieto, Ralph Guldahl Jr., Bob Muravez, Tim Kraushaar, Dave Wallace Jr., Wayne King, Harry Hibler, Mike Thermos, Greg Sharp, Willie Borsch, John Ewald, Frank Fedak, Tom West, Doug Hayes, Tommy Ivo, Gerry Glenn, Bill Schultz, Chuck Finders, Don Irvin, Mickey Williams, Ron Capps, Mashie Mishalko, and Dan Radlauer. The project required more than seven years to accumulate not only the interviews, but also the hundreds of rare photos, film clips, and extensive research. The final episode begins with nitro racing’s version of a heavyweight bout, as Top Fuel dragsters fight the growing trend of AFX and early Funny Cars. Huge meets ensued. Top Fuel scored big with the United States Professional Dragster Championships. Funny Cars countered with the Drag Racing Magazine East-West meet, and epic AHRA Winter Nationals, featuring a 32-car field. Innovation led to quicker ET’s – and speeds. Funny Cars roared into the 7-second zone. Top Fuelers blazed past 220 miles-per-hour. With increased performance came danger. Straining clutches and superchargers resulted in spectacular fires, wheel-stands and crashes, with drivers in extreme peril. One of the more dramatic segments depicts the AHRA Grand American in early 1970, when Top Fuel legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits lost part of his right foot in a horrific starting line transmission explosion. Graphic film of the incident, shot by a spectator, surfaced only recently. Garlits recounts the incident, plus his equally stunning return months later with a rear-engine dragster that likewise changed the sport forever. Weekly campaigners included Jr. Fuel and Gas Dragsters, AA/Gas Supercharged, AA/Fuel Altered, Injected Funny Cars, plus wild exhibition vehicles, like Bill “Maverick” Golden, who tells of a memorable match with his “Little Red Wagon” Dodge wheelstander. Manager C.J. Hart departed in 1971, replaced by innovator, Steve Evans, who switched from AHRA to NHRA sanction, and produced events like the giant Grand Premier, which saw the track’s largest number of incidents. Incredible film clips include a wheel-stand and crash by Gary Burgin, plus the sports’ first over-backwards flip of a rear-engine dragster by the Penner & Beach fueler, and a truly frightening fire by Bob McFarland’s Funny Car, captured on movie film by veteran lensman Paul Sadler at the edge of the sand trap. When noise complaints spelled the end in December 1972, Lions held the racing equivalent of Woodstock, with “The Last Drag Race”, a colossal, fitting, yet tear-filled end to one of the sport’s most historic, and revered tracks.

Available since: 1st November, 2008.
Running time: 100 minutes
Format: ALL regions.
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