Amid childhood disruptions, Cory Evenson found solace in the pages of drag racing magazines. He'd seen a lot of things a kid shouldn't have growing up, from the passing of a sibling to being uprooted away from friendships he'd built in his formative years. Yet, his "security blanket" was  nothing more than a duffle bag filled with drag racing and auto enthusiast magazines. 

Decades later, Evenson will state adamantly those magazines shaped his life. 

Fast-forward to today, and Evenson has parlayed a successful life of labor into one of the most exquisite collections of drag racing history, most namely old Pro Modified cars. 

"We didn't have many drag strips around here," Evenson said of growing up in North Dakota. "Drag racing was happening everywhere but here, and all you got to do was read about it.

"I immersed myself in drag racing. Everything I could get my hands on, reading through publications and things that you did, as well as every other Hot Rod magazine I could get my hands on that had Super Chevy or Super Ford or whatever have you that showed those cars, that's all I had. It's part of the reason why I am the way I am."

The way he is, Evenson admits, "I'm eat up with drag racing."

Evenson isn't exaggerating. His passion has led him to own a drag strip and acquire one of the larger collections of drag racing cars without owning a museum. 



​Evenson, an owner of Magic City International Dragway, located on the North Dakota Fairgrounds in Minot, volunteered for the track for its first nine years and then ran it for the last 17.

"Never missed a day at the strip since it opened,"  Evenson said.

Evenson first honed his drag racing passion in 1990 when he fell in love with the Pro Modified division. He graduated from high school in 1987 and attended college in Phoenix. 

"So I ended up going to a Super Chevy Show in 1990, and I'm a Nova guy at heart, and then I saw it in person," Evenson explained. "If you're going to have the badass Nova, you might as well have the best one in the country; at that time,, as far as I'm concerned, of the second-gen Nova stuff, that was it. That was the coolest car I think I'd ever seen. And I said to myself at that moment, one day, I was going to own that car. It took me 31 years to get that car, but I got it."

And it didn't just stop there. Evenson also acquired the first and second of the Witchdoctor cars, the popular second-gen Novas driven by Manny DeJesus and JR Pastrana.



He traced one of the Witchdoctor cars to South Dakota, while two others were in Puerto Rico. 

It's almost like eating a potato chip, where you just cannot have one, or in this case, three. Evenson then found and put a downpayment on the first Pro Modified Willys Scotty Cannon, that he ran in his last season of Top Sportsman and Pro Modified. Then, he came to an agreement to purchase the historic Carolyn Melendy IROC Camaro, the first car driven by a female driver to qualify. 

Evenson then found one of the CT Racing (Petersen) Chevelles. Then he came across the Ronnie Sox Comet and the last 1966 Chevelle Pro Modified Gordy Foust raced. 

While it wasn't the full car, which was destroyed in 1989 and fatally injured Pro Modified pioneer Walter Henry, Evenson confirmed he'd acquired the door from that car. They will use the door to build a new exhibition car to honor Henry in the shows. 

Evenson has also taken delivery of the remnants of Bill Kuhlmann's famous 200-mph Camaro, which was nearly destroyed in a shop fire, with the intent of restoring it. 


​So what in the world is he collecting all of these cars? In a drag racing world with traveling gasser and nostalgia Pro Stock shows, Evenson plans to field a period-correct Pro Modified traveling exhibition show featuring cars from 1987 until 1995. He also plans, from time to time, to have some of the class's legends come back and be part of the show. 

"Not necessarily the same style of show that the Southeast Gassers are doing, but more of a book-in show where we control, we have the cars," Evenson explained. "It's not a competition thing per se, but we definitely want the cars going down the tracks and people seeing and getting to know the racers on a different level than they ever had when they were racing originally."

Evenson said his journey through Pro Modified and drag racing history might not have happened if not for the invaluable assistance from the father/son duo of Blake and Joe Wilder. 

Evenson said the limit will be 738 cubic inches, with the majority of cars running around 706 inches. All cars will be required to run clutches. 
There will be no supercharged entries except for the Henry tribute which will do a burnout and idle down the track. 

So, how has Evenson managed to pull this off? He's been frugal with his money over the years, among other things. 

"I don't drink, don't smoke, never done drugs a day in my life," Evenson said. "All I ever focused on was this. This has been my focus. The stuff that gets you through, the fun stuff that you like to do, this was it. So, if I bought this car because I could sell it, move up, and grab a couple of dollars, it took me a while. There's a reason it took me seven years from Witch Doctor No. 3 to Witch Doctor No. 1.

"First of all, I had to figure out how to pay for it. I was just a mechanic at a Ford dealership at that time. That's all I was. And I didn't make a lot of money. 






"I loved [drag racing] history. I loved the car history."

Evenson has been burning his midnight oil of history-searching to the point his series could also include original versions of a Robbie Vandergriff 1957 Chevy, Richard Earl's Christine '58 Plymouth Fury, "Animal" Jim's Mercury Zephyr, Raymond Mendez Camaro and the former "Barney" Willys of Tommy Mauney, and now owned by Pro Street icon Annette Summer.

While Evenson's bread and butter are his Pro Modified cars, he does have other collectibles such as a Ron Butler-built, 1970s era Pro Stocker, as well as two of Bob Struksnes Top Fuel cars, one which was later sold to Jeb Allen, and won the 1980 IHRA and 1981 NHRA championships. He's also got a 1962 Super Duty 421, the four-speed, the 430 gear, all the aluminum bumpers, everything that raced Super Stock at the PRO National Challenge at Tulsa, Ok. 

"I'm all about keeping drag racing's history alive because it was such a crucial part of my life," Evenson said. "If resurrecting these old Pro Modified cars and putting them on the track again brings enjoyment to race fans as much as it has been to me, it's going to be a fun time for all."