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Old Friends Get Revved up for Cruise Season

Summertime might mean bikinis, beaches and barbeques to some people, but it means cruising to others. "What is 'cruising,'" you ask? It's the venerated past time of generations of car lovers (as glorified in the 1973 George Lucas classic, " American Graffiti." ) Quite simply, you take your classic car out for a spin on a warm Saturday or Sunday afternoon and gather with other like-minded wheels enthusiasts. You eat a few burgers, ogle each others' rides, listen to oldies and generally revel in the horsepower surrounding you.

Meet two "cruisers," Mark Mastrianni ("Smokey") and James Grove ("Grover") who met 50 years ago at the Dover drag strip in Wingdale, NY, and who have been friends ever since.

I caught a glimpse of Mark and James' cars – it was hard to miss them -- in a supermarket parking lot recently, and asked them to tell me their story:

"On opening day of the drag strip [in 1960] I was working at the track and got there early but a car was blocking the gate and I went over to get it moved. Grover was asleep in the back. That morning they needed extra help in the line to checking cars that were going to race. I asked Grover if he wanted to work and he said "yes." We have been friends ever since.

Grover still has the first Dover drag strip ticket that was issued in 1961. He was from New York and I was from Connecticut, but he eventually moved to Connecticut and we ran the Marcus Dairy cruise in Danbury for years until it closed. And we have been involved with the Dover, NY Cruise reunion for the past 20 years."

The Dover, NY Cruise will be held this year at Big Al's Toy Box, Route 7, Gaylordsville, Conn, Sunday. Sept. 4, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Click here for more details.

Do you have a "cruise remembrance?" Please share it with me, at

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