Drag Racing, Feature Article, Washington — April 15, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Gary and Robyn Logsdon (Issue 105)


Gary and Robyn Logsdon nostalgia dodge and nova

By Steve Heeb

Gary Logsdon of Spanaway, Wash., started drag racing at Bremerton Raceway in 2006. Wife Robyn had a four-decade head start on her hubby, catching race fever back in 1966 at Lewiston Dragstrip in Montana.

“I’ve always liked to drive fast,” Robyn says. “That’s why I was drawn to drag racing.”

She got her chance when her boyfriend at the time offered a let her drive his ‘55 Chevrolet. She fielded the ‘55 in the track’s Powder Puff division until 1969.

“Girls didn’t race the guys back then,” she sneers. “But there wasn’t a girl in Lewiston that could touch me. I left town a winner.”

After moving to the Northwest, Robyn didn’t take up racing again until after Gary got his ‘37 Dodge in 2006.

“I saw the car for sale and fell in love with it,” Gary recalls. “Ron Clark traded us for a Toyota straight across. He has no idea how wonderful that was for me.”

Once he had the car, however, he was not sure exactly what he should do with it.

“I was going to make it a Rat Rod,” he explains. “But once I brought it to the race track I was hooked.”

And like old times, Robyn was hooked too.

“I’m not a very good spectator,” she says of standing by while her husband raced.

It wasn’t long before Robyn added a ‘66 Nova to the family fleet in 2008.

Gary’s Dodge has a 383-cid stroker engine built by DG Machine that helped him bring the car from the 14s down into the 12s.

Ron Pircey fabricated a roll cage as car ran quicker, posting 11.40 passes with the throttle stop.

“I wanted a car that would run 100 miles per hour,” Gary says. “Now it does more than that.”

Robyn’s Nova also sports a 383-cid stroker, the same as powering the Dodge.

“We’ve never even changed the Nova’s spark plugs in the last five years,” she says. “I don’t know who built it, but that engine is solid.”

Of course, she does not take chances with her equipment.

“I shift at 5000 rpm because we can only have one broken engine at a time,” she laughs.

The Nova still has the original front end leaf springs that were meant for a six cylinder motor, but is doing fine with the big V8.

“It’s just a honey of a car,” she smiles. “It runs the 12.50s all day long.”

When they bought the car in Rochester it did not have an interior, so she did that herself. Other than that, the biggest question on tweaking the Nova would be deciding what color it would need to be painted.

As far as paint schemes, they did much of the work on the Dodge themselves as well.

“The flames were our design,” Gary explains. “And I made the checkerboard with blue tape. We had a lot of fun with it – anything goes.”

Gary adds that when Maaco sponsored them a paint job, he was pleased that they redid the flames.

Gary also is quick to thank TIQ Automotive in Tacoma, and Al’s Auto, with a special nod to Steve Matheson who fields a nine-second car of his own.

Gary and Robyn try to take in three nostalgia events each year: Woodburn in June, the Vintiques at Yakima in July and Bremerton in August.

Gary recalls a trip to Yakima when their family alone delivered 11 cars and 22 people of all ages.

“I think it is good anytime you can get younger kids to know and love the sport like we do,” Robyn says. “It’s better than street racing, which is so dangerous.”

In 2009, Gary got a bit of both participating in a pair of Pinks events that mixed the flavor of vintage street racing with safety of a controlled facility.

In July, the Speed Channel film crew arrived to tape some arm drop drag racing at Woodburn Dragstrip.

“We did the arm-drop starts and Rich Christensen signed my drivers door for me,” Gary smiles.

“Rich was one of the nicest people you could ever want to meet,” Robyn says. “And Woodburn is such a wonderful track.”

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” Gary says of being in the Pinks competition. “But I actually got to do it twice.”

A month later in August, Northwest drivers flocked to Pacific Raceways to compete in Pinks: All Out.

“The class I was running was in the 12s but they paired me up with a 10-second feature car,” Gary recalls.

The ’37 Dodge battled an Arcadia out of Canada, and on the television program that race is used as a final out take.

Veteran racer Ken Herring penned a message to Gary on the Dodge’s passenger door.

“During the event they interviewed Gary several times,” Robyn says of the filming at Pacific Raceways.

“If they do a Best of Pinks! show I’d be on it,” Gary laughs.

For racing events, Gary and Robyn tow the Dodge on a trailer and the Nova behind their motorhome.

“We come out here and hope we make it through the first round,” Gary says.

“And if we’re both in the Cash Bash we really don’t want to race each other,” Robyn adds.

“We’re going out there to have fun,” Gary says. “If we’re spending this much money and not having fun, we’d be fools.”

Although they are happy to just keep doing what they are doing, Robyn would like to see the next generation help perpetuate the sport.

“I can’t wait to get my 28-year-old daughter behind the wheel of the Nova,” she says.

But that is not an open invitation for her special race car.

“Every guy in the family wants to drive the Nova,” she smiles. “But I won’t let them.”

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