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Oldtimer Not Burned Out On Drags

Thu., Aug. 7, 1997

Chris Karamesines is known for a lot of milestones in drag racing.

In the 1960s his RChizlerUU was the first car to break 200 mph. He later drove the sport’s first 7-second run at Bakersfield, Calif.

Karamesines also beat Don Garlits in 23 straight match races.

While many of “Greek’s” accomplishments are mostly long-forgotten in drag racing’s history books, one of his most popular innovations - the fire burnout - will get dusted off at this weekend’s AHRA World Finals at Spokane Raceway Park.

“He started the fire burnout by mistake, I think,” said SRP president Orville Moe. “Someone dropped the bottle of (flammable) VHT (Very High Traction compound),” Moe recalls. “When the Greek did his burnout it somehow ignited and the fans went crazy.”

Word traveled fast and the fire burnout became a staple at every track Karamesines visited.

Moe is not sure if Karamesines, who is approaching 70, will return to the driver’s seat - a position he vacated three years ago in favor of Bobby Baldwin - or if he’s taught Baldwin how to do the stunt.

The 35th edition of the race, and the 22nd consecutive year the finals have been run in Spokane, get under way Friday when gates open at 3 p.m. Pro qualifying takes place at 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights. Eliminations start at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Stateline hosts interstate supers

One of the region’s most competitive traveling racing series returns to Stateline Speedway on Saturday night when the Interstate Superstocks run their sixth points race of the season.

The Northwest Super Fours and Bump-to-Pass class are also part of Saturday’s show that begins at 6 p.m.

Current points leader Jay Ulmer won the last series race at Stateline on July 12. Ephrata’s Ulmer is one of five different winners this season. All of Ulmer’s finishes have been in the top 10. He has a 94-point lead.

Spokane’s Rick Kellogg, currently third and trailing Ulmer by 214 points, is the only local driver in the top five.

Friday night the Hobby Stocks, Street Stocks and Compact Streets race at 6:30.

Kopp’s on top at Peoria

Last year at Peoria, Ill., Mica’s Joe Kopp was up the creek without a bike.

In the 1996 event, Kopp lost control of his bike and dumped it in a creek. He recovered in time to make up lost ground and finish third in the main event.

This year Kopp held on for all 25 laps - and a slim .182 second margin of victory over Scott Parker - to win his first career AMA Busch Grand National race.

Pit stops

The Pro Outlaw Karts are back in action tonight at 6 at the Spokane County ORV Park in Airway Heights. With his win last week, David Pruitt moved into a tie for second place in points with John Reidburn. Both drivers trail leader Rod Nelson by six points. … EagleTrac in Republic resumes racing on Saturday afternoon with racing in Modifieds, Streetstocks and Fever Fours. Time trials are at 12:30. … With his fourth win in as many races at Stateline last Saturday night, Jeff Zimmerman, added to his lead in points over Greg Ochs, who finished ninth… … The Spokane Kart Racing Association will run its seventh points race of the season on Saturday beginning with practice at 8 a.m. … Short track motorcycle racing is back at the ORV Park’s oval on Sunday. … The Stateline Outboard Racing Association races this Saturday and Sunday at Oldtown, Idaho. … Allen Swain remained virtually unstoppable in the Northwest Mini-Supers by winning his fifth race of the season at Stateline Speedway last Saturday. … Jim Lauri maintains a similar pace in the Inland Empire Mini-Sprints, having won all four of his outings at Stateline. xxxx



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