For boys growing up in the the late '50s and '60s, drag racing was hard to ignore. Beyond the 'better not let the sheriff catch you' run on a back road, there was the emerging professional scene, with its 'top fuel' and 'funny car' builds, starting up on the coasts.
In those days, one the best-known drag racers was the 'Big Daddy', Don Garlits, not only a driver but an innovator in design. One of his most famous races - and a lot of other starts - happened right here on the coast, on the Half Moon Bay airport. In 1957, local promoter Jim McLennan cut a deal with San Mateo County to use the airport's 60 foot wide auxiliary runway as a drag strip. This moved racing activities off the streets of San Francisco, likely to the mutual relief of police and participants.
One of the biggest races ever run on the HMB drag strip was the January 23, 1966, head-to-head between 'Big Daddy' and his Southern Californian arch rival Don Prudhomme, who had been having much better finishes that year. In fact, rumor said that the trophy had already been engraved with Prudhomme's name before the racing started. You can read what happened here.
The Half Moon drag strip was closed in 1969, three years after the big race. Big Daddy went on to a lengthy and successful career, eventually ended by retina damage due to the G-forces of racing. He still lives in Florida, where he maintains a drag racing museum.
In deference to post-9/11 sensitivities, this cache is not at the HMB airport, but on a bluff that overlooks the south runway end, which the dragsters used as their starting position. There's also a great view of the Princeton Harbor and the coast down to Half Moon Bay. Parking is available on West Point Avenue. After your find, take any of the volunteer paths West to the top of the bluff, and you will be looking out at the break at Maverick's, which has made this location better known for surfing than for drag racing.
You are looking for a camo-taped plastic jar. The contents include a collection of toy race cars - please keep your trades on a racing theme!