Hot-Rodder Gets His Kicks On Route 66

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For classic car buffs, the May 5 race in Kingman was a chance to return to the world of yesteryear to a time when quarter-mile drag races produced hometown legends.

Saturday's Route 66 Fun Run drew over 700 registered antique and classic automobiles and trucks. More than 23 cars from the Rim country participated.

Organizers say the Fun Run's highlight event, the drag race, was the "first legalized street race in America" in a long, long time.

Although the rodders didn't have the opportunity to push cars through their paces over the full quarter mile, they were able to drag a 330-foot course on an industrial park city street.

And Payson's Lonny Sluyter piloted the most successful car in the competition a 1969 Chevy Nova.

A block layer by trade, Sluyter fancies himself a shade tree mechanic who tinkers with cars as a hobby.

His hobby earned him a first-place finish in the Street Tire class. The Nova covered the 330 feet in an 5.80 ET and reached speeds in excess of 60 mph.

In the seven years Sluyter has owned the car, he's performed almost all the mechanical changes that have transformed it into an award winner.

Sluyter installed a new 454 Chevrolet big block equipped with a 750 Holley. For better grip off the line, he added a 4:10 positraction rear end. A Hurst four-speed transmissionturned it into a quartermile monster.

With the restoration project nearing its final stages, Sluyter looks back at the many hours he put into it as a labor of love. But he soon might be working on hoppin' up another car.

But because the 47-year-old's life-long fascination with rods has rubbed off on his 19-year-old daughter, Tabitha, he might soon be sporting up another car.

At the Route 66 Run, Tabitha decided to jump peddle-first into the racing act by entering her 1989 Z28 Camaro in the street drag. Although she didn't make it into the finals, she did well, Sluyter said.

Right now, Tabitha's Camaro remains stock. But with a little taste of racing success she might soon be thumbin' through a J.C. Whitney auto accessory catalog.

Uncertain of what the racing future holds for him or his daughter, Sluyter says he's satisfied doing what he enjoys most putting the "hot" in hot rods.

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