A chill breeze whips through the pre-dawn darkness, an out-of-tune generator noisily providing the power for the sole spotlight marking the start of the “Dawn Patrol.” Passing cups of coffee and sharing old war stories, folks like Hans Wurl and Jeff Orwig wait for the signal that will begin the day’s events.
“Go, go, go,” shouts the woman in the day-glo vest, waving her yellow flag as if chasing away a swarm of hornets. Within seconds, a score of ancient engines have fired up, a 1937 Duesenberg Town Car Cabriolet leading the procession down onto the field.
By the time the sun has risen high enough to boil the dew off the beach grass, most of the old machines have taken their places, the majority getting there under their own power – “trailer queens” not being favored here. But a few must be towed to their spots on the manicured golf course greens, like Don Prudhomme’s impossibly long old rail dragster.