- This section of the
Standard 1320 is dedicated to preserve the many stories from
the Drag News years.
- Drag News was a weekly
publication from 1955 to 1976
- Stories contained
in this section were contributed by the Racers, Car Builders
& Race Fans.
- Many stories came
from the members of the Standard 1320 eGroup
stories printed by permission
From The Horse's
Mouth...The Real Story About Building the GBP Dragster
First met Stuckey
when he came to town with Bob Sullivan's car. I was pretty impressed
with that act. I think now that he claimed more
responsibility for that car than he actually had. He claimed to
be a very good body man and if he had a good chassis, he could
make a neat
looking car. I wanted to build my car at the time but didn't have
any money for pipe, so we made a deal that he would buy tubing
cars in exchange for my doing a frame and front end. I didn't
mount the engine or rear end and he went home. I started building
ZPF, and got Wayne Ewing to build the body. That was right after
he helped me with the Magwinder. Stuckey got back to town a few
later with a completed car and ran Half Moon Bay. Impressed everyone
up North and started me in the fuel dragster business. I'd only
gas dragsters and roadsters to this point. Got calls from Gotelli
and Masters and Richter right away, I'm now in the fuel dragster
Owning to the fact that Stuckey had a sign on the car that said
"Chassis by Fuller" and talked me up pretty good. He
was a hell of a salesman. Car was sold to Cash Auto Parts to help
pay hospital bills. Bay area guys
had a benefit race for him. He went home to recoup for awhile.
By the time he came out again, Louie Senter had the car. Stuckey
planned on running the car with Louie and I didn't hear any of
that story except Stuckey said, those guys down there didn't know
what they were doing. By this time ZPF has won Bakersfield and
I had quite a few fuel cars running. Stuckey was still going being
my best salesman and I was planning on building him another car
to be my representative. Prudhomme and I were having trouble with
Zueschel's ego and had broken up the ZPF partnership. I was going
to put 2 unblown fuel Chevys side by side in the car and had figured
out a really slick driveline where I wouldn't have to alter the
looks of the car. Chet Herbert said he would sponsor the engines
so I bought 2 sets of heads and started on the driveline. Sent
the heads over to Dick Harryman to get ported. He got them all
done very quickly and sold them to someone when he ran short of
money. Hardly pissed me off at all. By this time Louie had sold
the car to Greer and Stuckey was going to run it for them. Back
under the heading of "loose lips sink ships" Stuckey
was still out at the shop telling me all his plans. Keith and
(I think) Dan Broussard came and took me to lunch, said they were
leary of Stuckey and what could I tell them about him. What I
said was "I thought he was my factory rep" Keith said
if he was, he wasn't a good one and told me a few disparaging
things Stuckey had said. Keith didn't want to do any chassis work
and still thought chassis were some mysterious thing. I was looking
for a place to park Prudhomme so I could get him back after I
got my car done. He was back hanging around with Ivo and that
was not to my advantage at the time. Stuckey had told me he was
going to let Keith build the engine but was going to
slip in his own cam, time it and not let Keith know what it was.
He thought he was the only one in the country that could make
the chassis work by changing the timing, in this case it was 8
degrees retarded. When I mentioned this to Keith, he got as pissed
off as I had ever seen him so we made a deal to do the chassis
work for nothing if he would give Prudhomme a ride. I was sharing
a shop with Wayne Ewing when they brought the car out. I started
on the chassis work and they made a deal with Wayne for the body.
What was different about my car was the mid section and motor
mounts. Keith wanted a standard Donovan rear end so he could use
the billet axels. I cut the top rail out from the front motor
mount to the rear end upright. The original way was the Donovan
engine plate with the ears out the side so to pull the engine,
you had to take off the clutch can, clutch flywheel, enging plate,
then you could remove the motor. My way was to make an aluminum
engine plate that was a body former-firewall and rear engine mount.
It hung over the top framerails and was easy to take out with
4 small bolts. I put a new toprail engine plate upright, rearend
mounts, and motormounts. The chassis went next door to Wayne.
By this time, Ansen and Pink decided to buy the ZPF car and I
decided to move North because of a lot of promises from Jim McClennan.
Just eat a piece of pie in the sky and things will be wonderful.
This is the time for the story of Stuckey tracing my flamecut
patterns and going into business with Ivo happened that I've told
too many times and I'm not going to do it here. I had moved North
by the time Wayne got the body done. I drove down to help put
the car together and we took it out to Pomona for the first time.
The only two parts left on the car that Stuckey had anything to
do with were the streamline tubing draglink and steering wheel.
The draglink broke first time out because Stuckey had made it
out of two short pieces of tubing welded in the middle and you
will notice in the picture of the first time out the black tape
on the draglink where it broke. Made him a new round tubing draglink
but I could never get him to take the ugly steering wheel off
as that was Pruhommes favorite thing in dragracing. Probably still
is. Stuckeys last comment to Black as he is driving out of town
was "you have really screwed up and nobody will ever hear
of this car again".
And that is
more than enough of this story. Make a copy and pass it on so
I don't have to tell it again.
- The Classic Shot
accident this morning I found this long forgotten shot that embodies
many of the classic elements we all hold so near and dear. (Probably
Fontana) on a cool if not downright cold night, lining up in
that piece of the lane that worked so good last time, but still
not too close to the "Moody" pole over there on the
left. And, after one last
look at the oil pressure, if you bothered, you'd see a few drops
of condensation gathering on the injector just south of the throttle
shaft. And, yes the shutoff was every bit that dark and you wondered
had we forgotten to remove the pin from the chute release? Again.
I am ashamed to tell you I don't know who took this classic shot.
He (or she) ought to be recognized for a classic piece of work.
- For those who
never had or haven't yet had the chance to make a pass in one
of these old boats, this is about what it looked like and it
was/is a kick. It's a shame we couldn't have frozen this stuff
for later consumption when we were old enough to appreciate it
for what it was.
- The Beach, Fontana,
Carlsbad and Ramona had each a little more ambiance after dark........
- Money Can Buy You.... Posted on 11/22/00
- Wenderski was the "Classic"
example of, If I spend enough money, I should win every time
school. Very competitive person, in all things, not just racing.
John had NO mechanical
skills what so ever. That type of driver can get in BIG trouble
very quickly, if his hot rod is not sound. At The Pond one Sunday,
the clutch started coming apart at about half-track, by the time
he got to the lights (under power) the motor was to high C and
there was a black cloud pouring out of the cockpit, sparks and
shit flying everywhere. In the pit area, a hundred voices in
unison were saying, lift John, lift. Not a chance! When we got
down there to pick him up, the bellhousing was back from the
motor about four inches, the hi-gear shaft was GONE, as was most
of the clutch. John was covered head to toe with black clutch
dust, all he said to Ronnie was "What's wrong with this
thing, it just quit pulling" - He had no Idea, he had almost
sawed her in half!
The next thing he said was "What do you mean, we can`t fix
it, with the money I pay you guys, you Better fix it! What a
- Driving with No
- Thanks Pete.
By the way, someone named Pelligrini keeps showing up in here.
- I knew someone
by that name once. He drove dragsters, and would even drive without
shoes if the car was built for a little guy with small mousey
feet. Here's a picture of the first day "Shoeless Ron"
drove this particular car.
- Ron "Big
- Harry Hibler and
the Pond .
. . Posted on 12/06/00
- Tom Jobe is correct on the Harry
Hibler I.D. at "The Pond", the white pants inside the
black boots were unmistakable. Also his comment re/James`n Them
putting you in the box was true. I guess, on the trailer, would
be proper for those days.
I think I`ve told this before, but so what, at least it`s about
The Golden Years. As Tom said, Harry ran a tight ship, to be
able to get his show off before the church ladies called the
police at exactly 3pm. To this end, he mostly hung out between
the "Hot Pits" and the edge of the strip. Well, one
Sunday, there was some problem with the finish line lights, so
our hero goes out to re-align the cells on the centerline of
the track. Missed communications between Harry and the starter
(Jimmy Scott) caused Jimmy to send the final pair of top fuel
cars. Not to worry, they were only John Wenderski with a 3/4
arm in his "Z" powered Black Beauty and The Mood in
in his like powered ZFM car. These hot rods were not weak sucks
and had a habit of boiling the hides to well past half track.
Both were also using 16-20 ft. ring slot chutes. Harry is
crouched down IN the lights, looks up, sees his life pass before
his eyes, stays right there as those two wild men fight it out
for the win.
lt ended as if George Lucas were filming it with stunt doubles
and a huge budget, cut, print.
Bet you money, Harry`s white pants were "spotted" to
say the least.
Low" --- Foster
- Pond Pcx Courtesy of Dan Kaplan
- More Pond Stories....Posted on 12/06/00
- Don Ewald's
pictures and Pat Foster's great stories bring back more memories
about the San Fernando drag strip. All of the pictures you will
ever see are taken from the right side of the track because on
the left side is one of those big "flood control" channels
and down in the shut off area there was only a chain link fence
separating the strip from this big concrete walled drainage ditch.
- Okay, one Sunday
afternoon Frank Pedregon Sr. is there racing somebody, just after
the lights something goes wrong with Frank's car and it veers
left, hits the chain link fence and disappears! Harry Hibler
with all of the rest of us right behind him, run over and look
down in the ditch, Frank has gone underneath the fence and is
sprawled out on the ground next to his car 10 feet? down on the
floor of this ditch, it is looking very grim! The ambulance guys
just about break their necks getting under the fence and down
to Frank, just as they get to him he jumps up and starts laughing,
everyone but the ambulance guys fell over laughing, Pedregon's
sense of humor is legendary, although the ambulance guys would
- tom jobe..... The
- Even More Pond Stories....Posted on 12/08/00
- WE HAD JUST
WON TOP GAS THE PREVIOUS NIGHT AT LIONS. JOHN RASMUSSEN AND I
WERE LAYING ON THE BEACH DOWN AT HERMOSA. IT WAS ABOUT TEN THIRTY
AM..... RAS LOOKED OVER AT ME AND SAID ...DO YOU WANT TO GO TO
THE POND AND TAKE THEIR 150 !!!!!! MEANING THEY WERE PAYING 150
FOR TOP GAS !! WE HAD JUST WON 500 THE NIGHT BEFORE ..I LOOKED
AT MY WATCH AND SAID WE BETTER HAUL ASS BECAUSE
QUALIFICATIONS ENDED AT NOON .!!!!!!!! WELL WE RAN BACK TO THE
HOUSE ,WHICH WAS ONLY I BLOCK FROM THE BEACH . BACKED THE CHRYSLER
HEMI POWERED P U TO THE TRAILER WHICH WAS STILL ON THE TRAILER
FROM SAT NIGHT....WE ARRIVED WITH ONLY MIN.TO SPARE. I DIDNT
HAVE TIME TO CHANGE OUT OF MY SWIMMING TRUNKS, I JUST PULLED
ON MY JACKET, HELMET AND GLOVES AND WENT TO THE STARTING LINE
WITH MY TRUNKS AND FLIP FLOP SHOES QUALIFIED WITH LOW ET AND
TOP SPEED ON GAS !!!!!
- CAME BACK PUT
IT BACK IN LINE FOR ELIMINATIONS GOT BACK IN THE CAR STILL WITH
MY TRUNKS AND FLIP FLOPS ON !!!!!!!!!! RACED ONE CAR FOR THE
150 BUCKS, PUT THE CAR BACK ON THE TRAILER, COLLECTED THE MONEY
AND WAS BACK ON THE BEACH BY 230 P M
- IF THATS NOT
FUN I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BILLY "The Kid" SCOTT
- Traveling Down Dusty
Rhodes ...........Posted on 3/9/00
- In 64'-65' (?)
Dusty Rhodes had a very nice Fuller full bodied Top Fuel car.
I have heard Kent refer to the car a few times on 1320.
- Dusty had a
fire ,and got his feet burned to about medium rare (pink in the
center) He called me from the burn center and asked if I could
help him, by driving his Hot Rod till he was able. I should have
got the clue as to what was to come, from the origin of that
first call. He told me his guys would prepare the car per his
wishes - All I had to do was arrive and drive.Sounds good so
far.We were to race at Riverside Raceway (Hot Rod Mag. meet -
After a couple of attempts to qualify, it became apparent to
me his guys were`nt gonna make it happen and I told them so.They
called Rusty and asked him what they could do.His answer was
to engage Ed.Pink`s help if possible.Sure boys-come on over,
Pink said, with dollar signs dancing in his head.I failed to
mention the car had a Tork-Master in it. Fuller can attest to
the fact that a T-M deal was a difficult tune- up at best.After
selling Dusty`s guys all the latest bolt - on tricks, we had
still failed to qualify after two more tries and several junk
Well, once again I`m there on a percentage deal and my kids are
Stand back - I`ll get this bitch in the show, boys, I said.So
I give it the old ten,ten and ten deal,OK maybe 15,10 and 20
,for you kids out there that's - 10% more nitro- 10 degrees more
lead in the mag and take 10 lbs. off the front end. Can`t remember
any numbers,but we put it in the show second, behind maybe Tim
and John. Oh Yeah! I forgot to say, it also nipped a couple (all
eight) and blew their BRAND NEW Pink blower thru the big O in
the Champion Spark Plug sign on the bridge over the end of the
track ! Couldn't race (out of parts) but his guys were pumped!
They got their revenge a few weeks later at the 'Beach'. Rusty
is still M.I.A. so the boys prep the car again for the 'Beach'.
They are real proud of their prep and tell me: Don`t worry about
anything - We`ve checked and repaired everything in the car.
First run, I get her down thru there to about the 1100 ft. mark
and it goes dead-ass sideways with the tires locked - up solid
- got it stopped without tipping her over and jumped out-FAST
! The rear housing was smok`in ! New Quiz - What had the boys
forgot on their non-existent check list? Bingo ! 90wt. gear oil.
Next week-end.back to the 'Beach'. First run - they forgot to
let the air down in the tires,so blazed the hoops and shut off.
Second run - Now it`s dark, leaves hard gets out there about
300 ft. and I can`t see ANYTHING ! Shut her off in the middle
of the track and get out. Threw my helmet and shit in the tow
car and returned to the pits.They asked "What Happened?
That baby was on one!" I said two words "Could`nt see."They
said "What?" As I got my stuff out of the tow car I
noticed for the first time, It looks like my goggles had been
spray painted with white Krylon, also the bill and front of the
helmet.I showed that to the guys and they all got funny looks
on their faces and started checking out the toes of their sneakers.Then
they told me Dusty had been working with the folks at Sperex
Corp. on a trick coating for the chambers,valves,top of pistons
Well, so much for 60`s technology! Ahhh ! The life and times
of a hired gun! Now you understand why I sign-off with:
Sit Low --- Patty
on Packing the Chute to High. . . .Posted on 3/9/00
- THIS WAS THE
2ND WEEK-END OUT. WE RUN 8.65 ET AT 189.MPH.
WHAT WAS FUNNY, WE HAD THE CHUTE MOUNTED TOO HIGH ON THE CAR.
SO AT THAT SPEED, WHEN I PULLED THE CHUTE, THE FRONT WHEELS CAME
UP ABOUT 6 FEET INTO THE AIR, I JUST ABOUT SHIT WHEN THIS HAPPEN,
THIS WAS MY THE 4TH RUN IN A TOP FUEL CAR.
- ADVENTURES OF TV
TOM: Racing Lefty's Twin Chevy. . . Posted on 3/9/00
If it was
Long Beach, I had a better chance of losing than winning.
Anywhere else I won most of the time. This went for all the BIG
GUYS. Cyr and Hopper, the Sidewinder, Lefty, all the high gear
cars. But Long Beach was so slippery that I couldn't get off
the line like a jackrabbit as I usually did.
Most of them ran FASTER, (not
necessarily always) but he who got there first won!!!!!!!!!!!
It was funny, because Mickey Thompson always said I was getting
popcorn times at the other tracks. He never explained the me
why I kept beating them in hand to hand combat though. I could
see that in a way though, when I was the quickest gasser at 9.5
and on down through time to a 9.16 and had a hard time getting
out of the 10's at the dew covered Long Beach. Where as the high
cars would not bog down, like other tracks. What's that to say
for them? Those weak dog Chrysler cars. When it came to a racers
track, my FIRE
BREATHING BUICK did the job.
- Like winning
the First Smokers March meet for the gas side of the Fuel and
- TV Tom...
- Push Starting
the Heidelburg Speed Shop Modified Roadster....Posted on 12/06/00
- I saw them trying to push start
that car for two hours, at the Colton track....Seems it had the
model A type rearend, and due to a large amount of
beer drinking, the night before, the ring gear was on the wrong
side of the pinion....Woulda fired in reverse !!!!!
- John Bradley
AKA "Mr Flathead "
- Patty Foster &
Jungle Jim - Posted on 3/9/00
- At Atco N.J.
in about 72' (O.K. Lee?) We were to race Jungle in a match race
deal - first round 8pm sharp!
- Well it`s 7.45
and no Jungle(Hard to believe,Huh!) The track lines up a local
leaker and says to me - run this Bozo first round and maybe he`ll
show by the second round.
We pull up and I`m dressed and just getting in, everyone in the
joint stands up and begins chanting, JUNGLE! JUNGLE! JUNGLE!
All eyes are towards the Hi-Way that goes by the track.
The starter starts yelling at my guys - Get him the car,
get him in the car!
- I look where
everyone else is looking and here comes Jungle,strapped in ,motor
lit and sending flames above the roof, driving that bitch from
where they unloaded it out by the Hi-Way,past the gates and ticket
booth thru the parking lot and one end of the pits right onto
the starting line and then through the water for a huge smoky
burn out. And the crowd went wild! I had time for one squeaky
little chirp behind the line,they booed us - then we blaze 'em
against J.J. and again the crowd goes INSANE.
Tough gig running the Jungle Man in his part of the country or
anywhere else for that matter.
Jim was the King - Hard ass racer and a great showman! R.I.P.
- Well here come
the tears, night-night.
- ADVENTURES OF TV
TOM: Cutting Edge Technology, Sidewinder Dragsters & Jack
Chrisman ~ (1961)
- Yes Fuller was
on the cutting edge. But you know what they say about pioneers,
they get arrows in their ass. Before the dragster builders were
using heliarc, I remember going over to Kent's shop one day and
he told me, magnesium wasn't flammable at all. He was busy welding
the Magwinder together with a gas torch. Then on another trip
back there ( we were very good friends and he was one of my stops
on my almost daily "milk run" to see what was goingg on ) I found him grinding
away on all the welds. He had found out that although it would
gas weld, the down side of it was that it would cause the welds
to be very inferior and had to be ground out and redone with
a heliarc. It would have been easier to start over, but the magnesium
tube was frightfully expensive and at that time, as we all know,
money was at a premium.
- Another piece
of trivia about the sidewinders. There were three, that I know,
of in So Cal. The original Mallard gas burner, and a fuel burner
that didn't enjoy the success of the gas car, as well as the
Magwinder who also didn't get the success of original.
- But another
pioneer Jack Chrisman, a really good guy with a great personality
that I really felt a loss for when he passed away, did some serious
test piloting of dragsters. At one time he had a rear housing
tear loose from the frame rails and spin around with the rotating
U joint hitting him between the legs doing him no kind of good.
They then came up with a support under the front of the third
member to keep this from happening. Another time when driving
the Mallard sidewinder, the push bar on the dragster broke. This
caused the push cars bumper to catch the rear tires and catapult
over the dragster landing on top of it. On its way over, the
underside of the push car caught Jack at the back of the hear
and scalped him from the rear forward. This left him with his
pelt flopped over his face and a push car on top of him. AND
I SAID THIS GUY HAD A GREAT PERSONALITY. He was a hard core good
- And then----------well
we'll save that for another time.
- TV Tom...
- Racin' at the Beach...Posted on 12/08/00
THE MEANEST CAR I HAVE DRIVEN AND I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO DRIVE
MANY GOOD CARS.WAS TERRY GALLS TOP FUELER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THAT
WAS ONE CACKLING DUDE !!!! IT WAS AT LIONS AT ONE OF THEIR 2
DAY DEALS WHERE YOU RAN THE FIRST ROUND ON FRI NIGHT. WELL WE
DREW ART MALONE FIRST ROUND, TERRY HOPPED IT UP IF THAT WAS POSSIBLE
BECAUSE THAT SUCKER WAS ON KILL EVERY PASS I MADE IN IT!! I WASN'T
WORRIED ABOUT MALONE I THOUGHT HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN WORRIED ABOUT
- ANY WAY
I BROUGHT THIS BABY TO THE STARTING LINE AND LET ME TELL YOU
IT WAS HITTING SO HARD NOBODY WOULD EVEN GET NEAR IT !!!!!!!AS
I WAS APPROACHING THE STARTING LINE INOTICED THRU THE FLAMES
THAT IT DIDNT' HAVE OIL PRESSURE I MOTIONED TO GALL TO LET HIM
KNOW ALL HE DID WAS POINT TO THE BIG END PLUG HIS EARS AND SMILE
WELL WE STAGED AND I COULD BARELY SEE THE TREE IT WAS HITTING
SO HARD THE GROUND WAS SHAKING I NEVER SAW MALONE IN FACT FROM
ABOUT 1000FT I COULDN'T SEE ANY THING BUT I DROVE HER OUT THE
BACK DOOR. BURNED ALL 8 PISTONS, SPLIT THE BLOCK WALL TO WALL
ON BOTH SIDES COVERED ME WITH 10 QTS OF HOT PENNZOIL, COUPLED
WITH THE TUFF BLOCK HE RAN TO TRY AND HELP HOLD IT TOGETHER MADE
IT SO SLIPPERY I COULDN'T EVEN GET OUT OF THE CAR. WHEN THE PUSH
CAR CAME UP, THEY WERE HONKING THE HORN AND WHOOPING AND
HOLLERING, GALL JUMPED OUT AND WAS YELLING "WE BEAT MALONE!!
WE BEAT MALONE !!!!" I SAID, HEY TERRY, CHECK OUT YOUR MOTOR
- HE SAID
"F----- THE MOTOR. WE BEAT MALONE !!!!, WE BEAT MALONE."
- WHAT A
RACER, MY KIND A GUY
- EMERGENCY... Posted on 3/9/00
- Adam`s deal
reminds me of a call I received at 'The Pond' one Sunday. I'm
strapped in, pushing down to fire, make the turn around and the
starter Jimmy Scott (Yeah- that Jimmy Scott) gives me the shut
it off signal, I look at Rocky, he shrugs and nods OK -shut it
off. Jimmy leans in to me and says"there`s an emergency
call for you in the tower, sorry but they said it was a real
emergency. I jump out, run to the tower, climb the stairs to
the top (Horrible things are racing thru my mind) answer the
phone, heart pounding and my then wife says "Well I hope
you`re having a great time playing big time racer cause I'm home
with these kids and MY CAR WON`T START".
- Just one of
the reasons she`s one of my ex-wives !
- Ain`t it great -
- Steve Gibbs' tale
(Tail) about Big Gene's Dog Named "Duke"
- I remember Big
Gene's dog real well, a little remembrance of "Duke".
It was at Seattle, twenty-some years ago, and I was checking
out of the Doubletree Hotel. Also at the desk was NHRA's Division
3 Director, Bob Daniels, who was just raisin' hell with the clerk.....something
about lost underwear. I didn't think too much about it, as Daniels
was pretty famous for grouchiness in those days. When I got to
the track Daniels was still ranting about the hotel, and how
all of his skivvies were missing.
Well, they were not missing at all. It seems that the Frakes
and Funk gang had "claimed" Bob's laundry at the hotel,
and had put it to better use. Those were the
days when we used to parade the TF cars in pre-race ceremonies,
so when the Frakes and Funk car rolls up to the starting line....there
on the wing sits "Duke" wearing a pair of Daniels'
freshly laundered Fruit of the Looms....with a Division 3 patch
sewed on the ass. I think they wiped tires with the other ones.....
- ... Hook
- Steve Gibbs: The
"All-time Oil Down"
- Here's a little
horror story for anyone trying to keep a track in shape. God
knows I have cleaned up a few oildowns in my day, and helped
to make the NHRA Safety Safari pretty good at this specialized
janitorial work....but this one was definitely out of our league.
- Back in the
days before the EPA was all powerful, I put in a couple of years
managing Irwindale Raceway, and was always doing things to try
and control the dust in the parking lot. A small local firm was
in the business of re-refining oil, and every now and then had
a batch that was unusable, so I made a deal with the guy to spray
it on the dirt roads in the parking lots. Maybe once every two
months, or so, the guy would come out with 1,500 to 2,000 gallons
of the stuff. It wasn't paving, but it sure helped.
- In mid-year,
1968, I left Irwindale to move on to Fremont, but I saw to it
that the arrangement continued with Mel Reck, who took over my
spot. One day Mel got a call from the oil man (who always checked
ahead of time to see if the gates were open) to let him know
the driver was on his way with a couple thousand gallons. Mel
said "fine - put it down beyond where the last load was
sprayed". A little later the truck came into the facility,
he waved to Mel as he went past the office trailer, and about
a half hour later waved as he left. A couple of hours later Mel
went to the starting line to hook up the clocks for the night's
grudge races, and damn near passed out when he saw two giant
streams of oil, the full length of both lanes! Not only did he
have to cancel the race for that night...but almost for the rest
of the month. It took half the steam cleaning units in the area
to finally get the track back to where it could be raced on,
and I'm not sure it ever was quite the same. The un-named truck
driver was obviously real dumb....or a really pissed off drag
racer getting even. I think that was the end of the free oil
for the parking lot.
- PUSH STARTS....
Posted on 11/22/00
- All this push starting, turn
around stuff reminded me of a really funny story.
Jimmy Albert, Rocky Childs partner in the Addict car always held
Zueschel in high regard and emulated him in all respects, except
for girth. We`re at Lions one night and Davey does one of his
patented throttle whacks with Ed Pink in the other lane. Dave
would stand beside the motor, with his hand on the injector shaft
and when he was sure Pink or Black or whoever was looking, he`d
grab a handfull of throttle and just smile over at `em. One of
the few times we made it to the final round, Jimmy tries the
deal against Waterman, I think. He whacks that bitch, backfires
the blower, OFF the manifold, the concussion knocks him over
backwards and the stand-off tube that holds the no longer exsisting
oil pressure gauge is pissing a steady stream of 70wt. on his
head. I didn`t know whether to laugh or cry, while I was deciding,
I left the mag switch on and just let her die a slow death. What
a pitiful sight, he NEVER whacked her again, left that to the
- - Foster
- PUSH STARTS: The
- I have a story of Willie in
the Winged Express at Irvindale, we were running for $1,000 32
car fuel Altered show. Pushed Willie down and it fired like always
except it lose fire going to the line about 20 feet from the
starting line! Oh my God help us is all I could say. And the
Stands went silence, and one of the pit crew Don Johnson (build
like Mike) grabbed the back of the car and start pushing it and
Willie popped the clutch and refired it and me and everyone else
in the place went NUTS.
- WE spend the $1,000, BUT
I STILL HAVE THE TROPHY
- PUSH STARTS: The
- Okay, I'm not sure if I ever
forwarded this to the group before but here goes. This is from
Tom Jobe. Not exactly a push start story but it's a "push"
story. Riverside 1965.
- The Riverside drags were held
on the back straight of the "road course", the strip
went backwards to the normal direction of the track. Many of
the teams used the "road course" pit lane over on the
other side of "turn nine" to work on their cars. You
would pull off to one side and work on your car, then push down
the middle of the pit lane to go back to the starting line. -
OK..., it was a nice warm sunny day, we finish working on our
car, and start to push down the lane. Sorokin is in the dragster,
Skinner is driving the 55 Chevy push car and I'm riding "shotgun",
when this very lovely young lady, who is obviously getting a
good start on her summer tan, walks across the lane in front
of us. All three of us are staring at this wonderful sight while
the dragster runs into the back of Ed Pinks brand new "high
buck" Dodge station wagon. When the dragster hits, it knocks
Skinner forward and he hits the gas on the push car and squashes
the dragster further into Ed's new wagon. Our "wadded up"
dragster now has the front wheels almost back up
on top of the blower when it finally stops. We are still looking
at this young lady as it all "crushes" to a stop, she
looks back over her shoulder and smiles, and continues on her
way. Pink was working on his dragster at the time and saw this
whole deal go down, and to Pinky's eternal credit, he didn't
say a word to us, he just shook his head and looked at the ground.
He knew his car had just been trashed by something as natural
as gravity.., young boys and young girls... He knew we didn't
have two nickels to rub together and didn't even ask us pay for
the damage that surely was worth more than everything the three
of us owned. Fortunately we didn't hit his race car or anybody,
the only damage was to his wagon and our dragster.
- tom jobe..."Surfers"...
- PUSH STARTS: El
- I have push
started and been push started in quite a few cars, but my best
memory was pushing Tom Beatty's lakester at El Mirage in about
1956. Tom had a '40 Ford panel delivery with a full race FH that
turned 93 mph in the 1/4. This truck would later have a blown
Olds in it. Anyway I pushed him off, the blown flathead sputtered
and caught and he moved away from me like he was shot out of
a cannon. I high tailed it down the side of the course to the
timing traps about a mile and a quarter away to find Tom coming
back the other way at about 40mph. He had gone 193mph on that
run which was top time that day. I came back behind him and tried
to synchronize the speed of the truck to the lakester and bumped
it hard, causing the end of the tail to bend slightly up. Tom
wasn't upset by this. He said one time someone hit him with about
a 15 mph speed difference and bent it up real good. The wind
came up shortly after and things pretty much ground to a halt.
- Dave Williams
- PUSH STARTS: Indy....Posted on 11/22/00
- Push starting
at Indy was a thrill. You would start at the head of the staging
lanes and push around a curve towards the starting line while
other cars were staging. We ran an un blown Chry on 90 percent
with 50 in the mag. It would start ok, it wasn't running as fast
as it should. I got mad and put 98 in the tank and 60 in the
mag and hoped it would start before we ran over someone. It started,
sounded like a killer but didn't run any faster. I love the sound
when the driver hit the switch and the thing would come to life,
start to cackle and pull away. Then he would hit throttle and
it would sound like 8 explosions all at once.
Push starting around the pits to warm up was also a thrill.
7 Second Run - Tommy Ivo....Posted
- We were standing
on the edge of the track at around the 3/4 mark ... Very much
a history making run in more reasons then one, as it was also`
probably the first 'real' sucessfull use of slipping the clutch
in a fuel car (smokeless). I wrote about seeing this run on Header
Flames last summer, but wasn't fully sure of what I had seen
... then I got Bob Post's book and that run was covered in it.
I remember the run vividly because there were three of us standing
there and we were betting each other on what would let loose
first, the engine, or the clutch, ( Ivo was slipping a two disc).
We thought he had bogged at first because there was no smoke
off the line, then the tires started to haze just a little and
he was makin' tracks ...
- By the time
he got to were we were he was totally hooking up ... You could
feel the power in the bottom of your feet - it went up your through
your legs and came out your
face ... ... Most impressive run I ever saw ... (or felt!)
... Fred ...
- From the
Starting Line...Posted on 11/22/00
- In '65, at the Dixie Drag Festival,
held on an inactive WW2 airport, at Valkaria, Florida, Swingle
showed up with a new Garlits car, running the the "brand
new" 426 "late model" motor. Oddest thing of all
was the car had QUARTER ECLIPTIC leaf spring rear suspension,
ala the A/GS cars of that day!
- Each time Connie would bring
the R's higher, let the clutch out and the car would bog terribly,
then kill the tires. Last couple runs he made you could tell
he was pissed, as he brought the rev's up to F/Gas level, slid
his foot off the clutch and got the same result... bad bog, then
mayhem. Last run he free-revved the motor so hard that the starting
line guys hauled ass, thinking the throttle linkage had broken
at W-O-T and the thing was getting ready to saw itself in half
in their midst!
- I assume this was before fuel
guys discovered the '26 liked a BUNCH of spark lead more than
the 392's. Garlits was still using the 392, but would replace
it with a late-model motor later that season.
- -Jim Hill
- Late Night
Stories on the 1320 eGroup....Posted on 11/22/00
Okay one story and you youngsters have to go to bed. This was
not at night and it was close to home, Half Moon Bay. We were
booked in for three run deal, 1st run went smooth, by the second
run the fog started coming in, but we still got that run off.
When it came time for the third run, the fog was so bad you could
not see past the tree. Romeo and I was well aware of the fact
that we would not get our $$$ if we did not make the three runs.
So I tell Don Smith and Jim that when I get to the tree I will
be able to see that much farther. HA...HA NOT...
When I got to the hot dog stand it was like I was in a closet.
Luckily I had sent a buddy down to the 1st light with my truck
to park by the edge of the strip with the headlights on bright.
When it got dark I counted one thousand 1, one thousand 2, one
thousand 3 and pulled the chutes. When I got out at the end I
always rolled the chutes up on the left side then walked around
the front to get right side. Guess what, I went down in the ditch.
The nose was hanging over about two feet. I climbed out and pushed
the car back a few feet. So it looked good. Now... go to sleep.
Okay one more. We did run some of those strips in the south east
before you youngsters got out of Calif with your FUNNY cars.
Jacksonville FL old airstrip, made Bakersfield or Fresno look
like Long Beach. This place was so WIDE. No guard rails or points
for you to focus on. I lined the car up on the starting line
two of my three runs and missed the clocks. Went on the outside
of them. And a Jet Car goes straight? Had to take another truck
way down to the big end, and I actually had to drive for the
headlights. Now go to sleep.
- Dark Tracks....Posted on 11/22/00
- Well I guess it's time for me
to tell my dark track story. It was at the now defunct Fremont
Dragstrip, and it was in the late 80s on a Wednesday night, it
was late fall and it gets dark early out here, about 6pm or so.
Well Fremont was not all that dark - until after the lights then
they had all of 325 watt bulbs, or so it seems. I made my run
(even then a blown alcohol Chevy in a (front motor car) my first
blue car it went 7.37 @189. All was well, the chutes were out
and it's real quiet, all I heard is the rocks falling off the
tires and the whine of the rear end---and a car doing a burnout.....
"oh shit" don't they see that I'm not off the track
...sooooo I unbuckle the belts and stand on the rear end and
decide that I'll just push the car off the rest of the track.
I step out on the wheel and I do a triple back flip with a half
twist gainer and end up in the bushes and weeds. Of course I
get up real quick and look to see if any one noticed what just
happen as the car rolls off to the left in the dirt. I realize
that the car was going 30 miles an hour, not 5 mph. Well by now
my crew is coming down the return road as I can see the headlights
of my 54 Chevy bobbing up and down, quickly I trot over to the
car and try and act natural .As I was taking my helmet off, some
one asked where all the weeds came from..........."Oh' I
- The world`s 'coolest'
- Here`s a story, that when I
tell it to friends today, I always preface it with, here`s a
story about the world`s 'coolest' guy.
In about 69' we're in Tucson for a two day show - 8 fuel cars,
8 funny cars. After the Saturday deal about 10-12 of us go out
on the town for some fun (We hope). I don't remember who all
was with us, but it included the "Greek", "Maddog",
"Tharp", "Austin Coil", "Charlie Thurwanger",
John 'Tarzan' Austin, and several other 'Players'.
We end up in some joint,where there are many lovely young hispanic
ladies.This seemed like a dream come true for this group of hooligans.
With the language barrier and several boyfriend types close by,
we were striking out big-time. Now and then one of the ladies
would dance-but no conversation, if you can`t talk, it`s difficult
to put a
We did get a couple of them to sit at the table with us and one
of the Jet Car guys (J.D. Zink) proceeded to show all us Hero
Drivers just how easy it could be.
He's talking to a real sweetheart up close and personal. She`s
doing most of the talking and he just nods and smiles and acts
like he understands every word she says.(NOT) While gazing in
her eyes, he takes out a cigar, puts it in his mouth, dips his
index finger in his drink of choice (151 Rum) passes his finger
by a candle on the table and lights his smoke with his finger,
takes a drag, then calmly blows out the flame on his finger,
all this without losing eye contact once, not even for a second.
Let me tell 'ya pal, "macho" works in a Latin enviorment
! We all sat there,jaws agape and watched J.D. walk out of there
with the sweetest of the sweet.
No moral - Just "The Worlds Coolest Guy".