Original NHRA Safety Safari Crew and Wagon Highlight Twilight Cruise
September 28, 2004

 Safety Safari Crew at Indy
 The triumphant Safety Safari Crew at Indianapolis for the 50th Mac Tools NHRA U.S. Nationals
POMONA, Calif. – Fresh from their historic return to the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis after 50 years, the original four-man NHRA Safety Safari team is coming home to Pomona. All members will on hand, along with a rebuilt replica of their famous 1954 Dodge station wagon, for the Oct. 6 Twilight Cruise Night at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The Safety Safari team will join owners of more than 400 nostalgic street rods and custom cars at Cruise Night, when it attracts approximately 1,000 people for an evening of hot rod fun. Special drawings will be featured during the free event, which runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Los Angeles County Fairplex grounds in Pomona. Museum admission is also free during the monthly Cruise.

The Safety Safari team consists of former Pomona police chief E.J. “Bud” Coons, Bud
 Original Safety Safari on tour
 The original Safety Safari vehicle on tour 50 years ago
Evans, Chic Cannon and former Hot Rod magazine photographer Eric Rickman. Back in 1954, they embarked on an historic journey that helped legitimize the sport of drag racing.

Together they blazed a trail, crisscrossing the nation with timing devices, measuring equipment, car classification and inspection gear, along with perhaps the most important ingredients of all, optimism and hope. They were armed with basic safety regulations, rules and the ability to perform technical inspections in the field, and they were able to expand on these as they went along, getting street racers onto the track and making racing safer in the long term and from race to race.

Now they will be at the Museum for Cruise Night as special guest judges, showing off the rebuilt replica Dodge wagon and trailer they took across the country. The SEMA-sponsored wagon made its debut in Indy as part of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Nationals festivities – earlier this month.

 The wagon was a popular attraction at Indy
 Fans check out the restified Safety Safari wagon at Indy
For SEMA and the Parks Museum, the vehicle and team represents the beginnings of drag racing as a national sport. The Safari’s efforts contributed greatly to the rapid and dynamic growth of the performance aftermarket.

They left a lasting legacy of safety and a rock-solid foundation not only for drag racing, but also for the pioneer speed equipment manufacturers who would eventually organize SEMA in 1963.

“Thanks to the Safety Safari, drag racing, the NHRA and the performance aftermarket blossomed,” said Sam Jackson, executive director of the Parks Museum. “We owe these guys a great deal of gratitude. Thanks to SEMA, we can honor them and tell the story of their accomplishment with this vehicle.”

 The Twilight Cruise lets people show off their classics
 Just one of the many winners from a recent Twilight Cruise
On the first Wednesday of each month – from April through December – the popular museum transforms into hot rod heaven as approximately 400 cool pre-1970 rods, customs, classics and muscle cars fill the parking lot for Twilight Cruise Night.

This is the fifth year for the museum’s Twilight Cruise Night program. The event is hosted by the Cal Rods car club. Cars are assessed by guest judges. The five winners chosen will participate in a pre-opening ceremonies parade at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona this November.

Admission to both the Twilight Cruise and the Museum is free. Food and beverages are available for purchase.

The Twilight Cruise Night schedule for the rest of this year is: Oct. 6, Nov. 3 and Dec. 1. For more information, call 909/622-2133 or visit the museum’s new interactive website at http://museum.nhra.com.

National Hot Rod Association - http://museum.nhra.com/