1998 Houston DML Meet
at the 1998 Houston Mopar Show & Race

By Michael Clark

The Houston Mopar Show & Race is a two day event organized by the Houston Mopar Connection Club.

Members in attendance:
Steve Bish
Michael Clark
Geoffrey Hackbart
Brian Lee
Gene Rivers
Tate Strickland
Roderic Vaughan
Jim Vaught

The first ever Houston DML meet got off to a dreary start. Rain and stormy skies threatened to cancel things early Saturday morning. After I got parked in the exhibition area I began the impossible task of trying to dry my truck and clean the road grime off. I figured I would just stay put and wait for the DML members to find me because my Mark III with all the vinyl decals would be the easiest to spot. That's when I met up with Geoffrey Hackbart, who was unsuccessfully trying to keep the rain dried off his '98 V6. He had parked only a few feet from me! We introduced ourselves and then went back to our impossible tasks. That's when the rain increased and we were forced to take shelter under a large nearby pavilion. Here we met up with Gene Rivers, and Roderic Vaughan. As we waited for the weather to improve we chatted about various list topics, one of which was everyone's good friend Robert Trottmann. I think it was Roderic who gave us the suggestion that we need to get Robert to an exorcist. :-)

After a few minutes the rain ended and the clouds cleared away and the stage was set for some great drag racing. The group next found Tate Strickland and his son who had shown up and parked next to me in the exhibition area. He was already busy prepping his '97 for racing, removing the fan and icing down the intake.

Throughout the rest of the day Gene, Tate, Jim, Steven, and myself did some bracket racing. (Just couldn't get Roderic or Geoff out on the track, maybe next year...) Between rounds we would come back and hang out in the exhibition area as we let our trucks cool for the next round. This was where Geoff learned the true functionality of a V6 with a lockable tonneau cover... V8 parts storage! He also did a great job of enduring the ceaseless good hearted V6 cracks. I didn't do so well on the track since it was my first time to ever bracket race. I selected a dial in way too high, and even though I decreased it every run, I broke out on every run. Tate did a little better than I on selecting a dial. Gene (AKA: Mr. Consistent) on the other hand, spent most of the day on the track as he was able to nail his dial on almost every run. And of course if you can do this long enough you get a trophy, and Gene didn't let the DML down. He not only won a trophy, but also received a nice cash prize for his efforts. Gene's winning run was a 15.0123 on a 15.01 dial-in! During all the racing I was able to take a cool photo of the staging lanes full of Daks! See if you can spot all 6 of them in this photo.

After the sun went down and the track closed we all met up once again at a local restaurant where everyone finally got to eat something besides track food. This gave everyone a chance to talk some more and relax a little. After that some of us turned in for the night while the other more adventuresome guys stayed out a little longer at another location. I was one of the wimps who turned in...

Sunday got off to a much better start. The weather was beautiful and the Daks were swarming all over the place. My hotel was the meeting point for a few of us to caravan over to the Battleship of Texas for the group photo. I was out in the parking lot shining things up bright and early as Roderic pulled in and started doing the same. We were all finished when we heard that characteristic Magnum growl we all know and love. It was Tate, rumbling on in. I think he woke half the hotel as he "left his mark" on the hotel entrance pulling in to park next to us.

We then began to caravan over to the battle ship. Tate took the lead position with Roderic in the middle and me at the end. A 3 Dak caravan is not the biggest in the world, but it is a real kick to be in one! And let me tell you, Tate dives like you would think... FAST! I got caught in traffic at one point and in the process of catching up with him I hit 110. We finally made it to the Crosby/Lynchburg ferry where Geoffrey was waiting for us. We pulled onto the ferry and had just enough time to squeeze off a quick photo.

After a short ferry ride we arrived in the battleship parking lot and waited for the others to arrive. It seemed the guys who had the late night also had the late start. ;-) But before too long we could hear the Magnums coming. The last few Daks pulled into the park engines revving and tires squealing and I commented "Yep, you can tell the List is in town" which got a few laughs. We all kinda hung out in the parking lot while Gene figured out what we were going to do for the group photo. The grass where we were supposed to park had grown up about 3 feet high, so we would have to go to plan b. During this time I shot a few pics of the scene. And it was also during this time that Brian worked on his sick Dak, which was later found to be suffering from a bad distributor. That's why Brian's hood is up.

Gene decided we would all go over to where we were supposed to take the picture and see how things were. We all drove over and watched as Gene took his '95 4X2 up the grassy debris infested hill. It was real soft and everyone was waiting for Gene to call for help, but he confidently pulled right up. For a 4X2 with bald tires he did real well. But Gene's wife Renee told him there was no way she was going to put the R/T in that mess, so the hill idea was scrapped and we just lined up in front of the hill as best we could. As it turned out we still got some great pictures... One thing to notice in the last picture below is all the nice smiles. These weren't produced by the usual "say cheese", they were produced by Gene telling us "say Tony/Amanda"!
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After the photo shoot we started back over to the track. This time it was a 9 Dak caravan. And all of the Daks were modified to some degree. Well except for the newborn R/T I guess. I can't begin to tell you how much fun it is to drive in a Dak caravan of this size! Rolling thunder for sure! On the way back I got a pretty cool shot of the last half of the group waiting for the ferry...

During the ferry ride I thought I'd take a photo of Gene's cool tailgate URL.

After the photo shoot some members had to start back home. By the time I arrived back at the track the test and tune time had expired so I just parked in the exhibition area and set up my Dak for display.

During this time I was also able to shoot some general photos of some of the vehicles at the show...

During the later part of the day I decided to run my truck through judging. It wasn't in it's best form. There was plenty of dirt on the undercarriage from the photo shoot but I thought, what the heck. Turns out I did pretty good. To my surprise I got a trophy for runner up in late truck category. And if that wasn't enough I also won best small block engine!

If anyone is interested in attending the 1999 Houston meet, sign up for it at: http://csclub0.cs.fredonia.edu/WWWProfile/dmlevent//IdKSfR0NGB2tM/

If you find any errors, please let me know.
Michael Clark mike@snakebite.com
January 3, 1999