Gilroy Car Care’s Boomgaarden burns rubber in ’68 Barracudo drag
GILROY – Dale Boomgaarden made everyone eat his dust over the last two weekends as the 60-year-old owner of Gilroy Car Care on Monterey Street blazed to a pair of first-place finishes in two separate drag-racing competitions.

Eclipsing speeds of more than 200 miles-per-hour, Boomgaarden followed up his initial victory at the Nitro Nationals at Sear’s Point in Napa on April 20 with another triumph at Funny Car Fever on the Sacramento Speedway on April 27.

“It’s awesome. It’s just a great feeling. The stop feels just as good as the leave,” said Boomgaarden, who drove in Gary and Jerry Mallicoat’s drag racer with a fiberglass frame of a 1968 Barracudo. “This little car has just been on a mission the last two weeks.”

Boomgaarden, who moved to Gilroy in January of 1976, competed in the AA-gas super division at Sear’s Point two weekends ago – winning his class with the lowest elapsed time of 6.82 at 203 miles-per-hour on the quarter-mile track. In the championship race, Boomgaarden finished in 6.85, while runner-up Ronnie Nunes, in his 1963 split-window Corvette, crossed the finish line in 6.86.

“It was like half a fender,” Boomgaarden said. “The whole place went crazy. They said it was the best race of the day.”

From there, Boomgaarden – whose Gilroy Car Care garage will be 16 years in existence this July – headed to the Sacramento Speedway for Funny Car Fever for another race in the same 1968 Barracuda. Once again, Boomgaarden not only won his class (AA-gas) with a top speed of 205 miles-per-hour – but also recorded the lowest elapsed time on the day of 6.76.

“We just followed up our best time from the week before,” said Boomgaarden, who brought in $1,500 for finishing first plus a $100 bonus for the lowest elapsed time. “We never dreamed we could run that hard. We just always hoped we would.”

After an average qualifying elapsed time of 7.15 for the No. 5 seed, Boomgaarden lined up against Nunes again and took him out one more time to advance to the second round.

“It was a pretty exciting first round for me,” Boomgaarden said. “I knew we could run quicker, but I didn’t know we had enough for him.”

In the second round, Boomgaarden ran an elapsed time of 6.81 to eliminate his opponent, Rich Roberts, of Merced. Although Roberts was off the line quicker, Boomgaarden overpowered him before the end of the quarter-mile track.

“He gets off the line quicker than anyone. He was ahead of me, but I got around him,” Boomgaarden said. “I knew he’d be out first, but I knew we had enough power to get by him.”

In the final round, Boomgaarden went head-to-head against Mike Leonard in his 1969 Chevelle drag racer. Once again, Boomgaarden was slower off the line, but made up the time to win his second straight drag racing competition with an elapsed time of 6.76.

There is more to come as Boomgaarden plans on competing in drag racing events in Sacramento in July and in Bakersfield in October.

While Boomgaarden – who was chosen by the Mallicoats because he has experience with manual levers and he was an easy fit into their car – was driving his long-time friend’s drag racer over the past two weekends, the mechanic is also working on his own Blown Alcohol Roadster. The funny car style chassis with altered body racer has hit 213 miles-per-hour with an elapsed time of 6.51, but Boomgaarden said his goal is to cut his time down to 6.20.

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