Don Gillespie has made a name for himself as one of the premier drag racing photojournalist of the last 30 or so years. Over the last four years, he's been seen chugging around a video camera in place of his familiar still version, which may explain his latest project, "Lions--The Greatest Drag Strip." This is the most amazing piece of vintage SoCal drag racing ever assembled on one DVD.
Part one of his efforts chronicles the building and success of Lions Drag Strip in Long Beach, California, including still and movie footage that hasn't been seen in more than 50 years.
Gillespie's original plan was to spend a year on the project, which ended up taking almost four years to complete due to the enormous amount of footage he was able to assemble. "Every time I thought I was getting close to finishing the project, more people would come forward with some home movie they discovered in back of a closet or up in an attic," he said. "Once word got out that I was working on a documentary on Lions Drag Strip, people were sending me all this amazing footage of the dragstrip from the '50s and later that had never been seen."
This fascinating drag racing documentary is accompanied by interviews with industry legends and historians like Ed Iskenderian and the late C.J. "Pappy" Hart, as well as a slew of drag racers who got their start at the famous quarter-mile.
With an incredible collection of stills, movie footage (home and professional), and interviews, this is sure to bring back memories of drag racing's golden days for those who can remember when, while the younger generation can get a feel for what the pioneers of drag racing did (intentionally or not) to take a weekend hobby of speed and excitement and turn it into the major motorsport spectacle we know today.
Even the half-hearted drag fan will appreciate the hard work and dedication that went into this glorious piece of drag racing history. Part two (yet to be released) will cover Lions from 1963 to the closing on December 2, 1972.
"Lions--The Greatest Drag Strip" DVD is available for purchase at www.lionsvideo.com, or for more information, contact Don Gillespie via e-mail: Dgillespie02@hotmail.com, call (276) 386-9120, or write to Lions DVD, c/o Don Gillespie, 111 Charleston St., Dept. R&C, Weber City, VA 24290.