Drag racing in Panama City is a thing of the past, with the Sunset Drag Strip grown over and long gone. On Saturday, a blast from the past, as hundreds of drag race fans gathered at the Panama City Marina to remember days gone by.
The 12th Annual Old Drag Racer's Reunion taking place Saturday, with over 125 classic cars entered in the car show. One Bay County Resident getting the ultimate recognition, as Bay County Commissioner George Gainer was one of ten inductees into the Old Drag Racers Reunion Hall of Fame. Gainer reminisced Saturday about how he helped build Sunset Drag Strip in the late 1950's, and how drag racing helped make him who he is today.
Gainer says he's honored to share his Hall of Fame induction with such great people, and that the sport will always be a big part of his life.
"When you see these people like John Force, and some of these other folks and fly down that track like they do, you gotta love it," he says. "You still get that adrenaline rush just like you did back then. It's been a great sport and it's very much alive, and if it continues the way it's going, it's gonna probably have another life. I was so happy to be a part of it when I was." Gainer added that it hadn't been long since he stepped foot in a dragster- saying he did it "last night" referring to Friday night.
"It was a lot of fun- I had a lot of heroes, I learned a lot, it was a character builder," he says of growing up around the sport. "It was very exciting. We used to get out there and ride the wind. The drag strips gone now- I don't even know where the closest one ism but all of these guys that were my heroes are still my heroes. I talked to them last night, and some of them are still racing. One of them's an NHRA champion 2 or 3 times, very good friend of mine. It's just been such a rewarding weekend, and to think that they would want me in the midst of some of these great drag racers is a very humbling and rewarding experience for me."