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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER  - Nov 4, 2013
Editor-in-Chief: Mary Ann Lawford www.landspeedracing.com
President of the Society: Jim Miller, 1-818-846-5139.
Assistant Editor: Richard Parks, Rnparks1@Juno.com
Photographic Editor of the Society: Roger Rohrdanz, beachtruck@juno.com
Northern California Reporter:  Spencer Simon, sparklecraftspecial@yahoo.com
Field Reporter/Historian: Bob Falcon, RFalcon500@aol.com

Click On All Images / Link For more Info / Images

Some Names To Look For In This Newsletter:Bud Rasmus,;   Bob Frey, Doug Hartelt, Bob Sweet, Bob Liddell,George Bignotti,,Tom Condran.     Tex Smith,Rosco McGlashan
President's Corner; Editorials

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Editorial:       GUEST EDITORIAL, by Bob Frey, auto racing announcer:   
     I am looking for result sheets (both qualifying and eliminations) from drag races in the early 1970’s.  In the data base that I have compiled the biggest gaps are in the years 1970 thru 1973.  Before and after those years National Dragster ran qualifying lists and ladders and usually elimination reports.  Those years were just a highlight for some of the star drivers.  The race results are incomplete.   We should be able to show at least everyone who qualified for a race (if not all the non-qualified drivers too).  Until we find those lists we won’t be able to say for sure if a particular driver was ever at a given race.  I have almost every resource available for those races (newspapers and magazines) and have even gone to libraries in and around some of the tracks in an attempt to complete this list.  I figure there has to be a final qualifying list from these races somewhere.  That’s what I hope to find.  I am just trying to be able to give credit where it is due; to the drivers who participated at the NHRA events.     Thanks, Bob Frey
     READERS: If anyone has race results for NHRA sanctioned events would you please contact us and we will pass the word on to Bob.  This is a worthwhile challenge and I would like to broaden it to all other drag races and land speed racing events.  Our mission here at the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians is to catalog, archive and keep records for authors and researchers so that they can write on the history of straightline racing.  If anyone has race results, newspaper clippings, marked programs, time slips or any other data on records for drag or LSR meets please make copies and send to us by email if possible and if not call Jim Miller, our archivist and historian for the society.

 


STAFF EDITORIAL by Richard Parks:  
     Due to events that are out of our control for the past six months and possibly for a few more months to come, the publication of the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter has been sporadic.  In one case we only published one newsletter in 5 weeks, rather than the normal time of approximately every ten days.  Sometimes I don’t receive enough research or information from the Members to make it worthwhile to publish an issue.  But often the membership is very active and information, articles and research piles up.  For example, right now I am sitting on 40,000 words and numerous photographs that can’t be processed.
     It isn’t only my time that is taken up with publishing an issue; there is also the work required by our Photographic editor Roger Rohrdanz and the Editor/Publisher Mary Ann Lawford and our website staff member Anita Schwartz.  Each and every one of us are volunteers and so the newsletter has to be secondary to the needs of these four people.  An illness, vacation, schooling, vocation, emergency or any other number of problems can cause a delay in publication.  In a paid, professional organization the Editor sees to it that there is enough staffing to compensate for the normal interruptions that occur.  In an organization like ours where everyone is a volunteer, we do not always have that luxury and so we do what we can to provide the highest quality newsletter in as prompt a manner as we can.
     The Editor has asked me to be very clear on the subject; we are a historical society.  Yes, we like to take your request to run news of your upcoming car shows, races or sadly, a funeral or memorial service.  But there are just times when it is impossible for us to reach our members in time.  When I get enough information to fill a newsletter, OR there is some vital event that makes it imperative to inform others, at that point I send the latest issue of the newsletter to about 15 people to proof read the issue for any errors and to the Publisher to put the newsletter on line.  At that point the publisher has to find someone to actually post the newsletter on the website, including captions and photographs.  It takes time to get all that information on photographs from Roger and other submitters and to go through and post the text that I have been working on.  If the publisher and the website poster have other work ahead of them then the SLSRH must wait its turn to be posted.  Sometimes we are first in line, but if another project that is more important and more timely comes along, then we get pushed back.  We are working on a solution and hope to overcome these limitations.
     Here is a request that I received from a reader; “Do you know anyone who has old movie or film footage of the old drag days?”  The answer is yes and no.  Of course we have come into contact with people who have old film footage for all kinds of racing.  Then there are numerous sources of film that we SUPPOSE are out there in the hands of people we believe have kept these records.  Beyond that we constantly surprised by what shows up in the collections of people we know or who contact us and tell us what they have.  There is no index or listing of these films or a rating system that allows us to quantify and qualify these old treasures.  I wish we had more volunteers who would seek out, inventory and reproduce the films on disks and even more, add historical narration.  The sad point is that film degrades over time and many of the reels are lost or thrown away when the owner dies.
     And another letter from a reader, “I have my hands full with projects, but as soon as I find the time I will write my story for the newsletter.”  I have yet to find a human being who did not have too many things to do or projects that were of a higher priority.  When someone tells me that he is too busy at the present time I know that when their project ends and I ask the same question that the next answer will be, “I’m on another task right now, BUT trust me, when I’m finished I will definitely get going on your request.”  These are fine people, but I’m no fool; they are never going to leave their story behind.  They aren’t interested in history, the future or what people think of them until they are too far gone and physically can’t take on any more projects.  They will also be too worn out and incapable of working on their life story or maybe even remember anything from the past.  It is a truism that some people “make the effort and others don’t.”  What I always tell people is that those who don’t record their past are NOT going to be in the records that the future generation will learn from.  You simply won’t exist after you are gone, nor will your inventions or achievements.  Worse, your opponents will have the last word on who and what you were.
 


     I was referred by my sister Susan Whitney to send my father’s obituary.  We appreciate the kind words and we are very proud of my dad.  He is loved and missed.  Sincerely, Julie Wheat
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     Arthur Douglas Hartelt, known by his friends as Doug, was born on June 25, 1921, in South Dakota and passed away on September 11, 2013.  In 1937 Doug was introduced to the world of land speed racing.  One accomplishment was breaking the 200 mph speed barrier with the Post Special Streamliner.  He was a man that exhibited a personal power that commanded respect.  He demonstrated great patience, honesty and humility.  He was a devoted husband for 67 years to his wife, Iris Rose Hartelt, and a loving father to his children, Susan Whitney, Robert Hartelt, Don Hartelt and Julie Wheat.  Doug is survived by his grandchildren, Cheri Corneloup, Tracy Whitney, Kayla Ward, Maile Hartelt, Catherine Wheat, his great-grandchildren Chloe Kolberg, Joe and Ben Corneloup and his children’s spouses Ron Whitney and Doug Wheat.  Doug was preceded in death by his parents and oldest son, Robert Hartelt.
    
STAFF NOTES: Here are some sources on the internet for Doug Hartelt, one of the first land speed racers who successfully moved into the new sport of drag racing.
   1)
www.ahrf.com/legends/doug-hartelt/.   
   2)
www.legacy.com/obituaries/utsandiego/obituary.aspx?pid=166957878.  
   3)
www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=9242294.  
   4) Rod Custom Magazine 1979 Doug Hartelt Merc T Roadster El Mirage Dry Lake

   5) American Hot Rod Foundation  www.ahrf.com/category/legends/.   
   6)
www.hotrodhotline.com/main-street-malt-shop-santa-ana-drags-reunion-april-13-2013.   
   7)
www.hotrodhotline.com/feature/heroes/06kenny/.    
   8) NHRA News: Part 2:
www.nhra.net/50th/news/index.html?story=312.   
Other sources include:

   1) Throttle; the Complete Collection by Rodders Journal
   2) The Birth of Hot Rodding; the Story of the Dry Lakes Era, by Robert Genat
   3) The Bonneville Salt Flats, by LandSpeed Louise Ann Noeth 
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Doug Hartelt was friends with nearly all the early day land speed and drag racers such as Chuck Potvin, Dean Moon, Johnny Ryan, Nellie Taylor, Otto Ryssman, Bob Herda, Melvin Dodd (partner), Ollie Morris (The White Owl), Leslie Long, C. J. Hart (drag strip operator) and many more.  It would probably be better and shorter to list the people that he didn’t know.  He built the motors for the Post Special that Otto Ryssman drove.  He was also partners and the engine builder for the Herda/Knapp/Hartelt Bonneville car.  He and Mel Dodd formed a fearsome team.  Doug was a special man and we should also mention that his wife Rose is a special lady too and attends all of the reunions to keep up with their racing friends.

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     Bud had a heart attack on September 3, 2013.  The paramedics transported him to our local hospital here in Covina and later transferred to Kaiser, Los Angeles on Sunset and Vermont where they handle ALL heart cases.  He had an angiogram and found out he had a couple of really clogged arteries.  They performed surgery on 9/11 and did a triple bypass and
he was discharged on 9/19/13.  He went back to Kaiser on the 26th for overnight because he was having trouble breathing and sent home the next day.  He went to the emergency room on October 3rd for his neck due to stiffness and pain, but went home the same day.  He is recouping and the incisions are healing well.  We are hoping to make it to the NHRA Finals in Pomona next month and the Friday Night of Champions, but we had to cancel our plans to attend the California Hot Rod Reunion this month.  Lynne and Bud Rasmus
    
LYNNE: We send our prayers to Bud for a speedy recovery and hope to see you at the Night of Champions at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona.  This event honors all straightline racers and is a wonderful affair to bring one’s family and see those who created our sport.  The Night of Champions is free to the public on Friday night starting around 6PM.
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     Ron Henderson, builder of the Lady Dragon, is home and recovering from his operation for an aneurism, but may have to return to the hospital for more surgery.  We want to wish Ron well and also send our well-wishes to his wife, Mable.
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     Bob Sweet is going into the hospital for heart surgery tomorrow morning, October 9, 2013 according to Hila.  He broke 11 bones in a fall off his Harley last June and recovered well on all injuries except a lasting shortness of breath and fatigue.  He knew something was not right as he ate well and exercised.  His doctor found that Bob's heart has been out of time and a person in lesser good health would have expired from a heart attack by now.  He goes thru a procedure in the morning and after a short recuperation period he should be back home.   Hila Sweet
 

     Bob Lidell, the Redding Drag Strip manager passed away.  Here is the Redding Drag Strip website (http://reddingdragstrip.info/wordpress/). At the drivers meeting on Sunday, Bob announced to us that he (and Joye) were retiring from managing the drag strip and that he was looking forward to bracket racing with us next year.  I didn't know him real well, but well enough to judge him (and Joye) as really good folks and one of the big reasons many of us went to Redding to race.  Personally, I hope that those who will now come behind Bob (and Joye) at the Redding Drag Strip, will dedicate Redding's Fall Classic & BBQ race weekend which was combined with the NHRA King of the Track event this past weekend, to Bob Lidell and rename it “The Bob Lidell Memorial Drag Race and BBQ” and continue the tradition Bob and Joye started five years ago. We all had a great time with everyone at Redding and I am pleased to say that we enjoyed Bob’s last event with him.  
     Here is the only thing that has appeared in the Redding Record Searchlight newspaper for
Bob Lidell (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/redding/obituary.aspx?n=robert-james-lidell&pid=167441344&fhid=18299#fbLoggedOut).  Robert James Lidell, 66, of Redding died Monday at home.  Arrangements are pending at Blair's Direct Cremation & Burial in Redding (241-3400).  Published in the REDDING RECORD SEARCHLIGHT newspaper on October 9, 2013. Bob Choisser
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     Bob was indeed one of the good guys and is going to be missed. Lynette spoke with Georgia (Seipel) early yesterday and that is when we learned of his passing.  The Lidell's were always gracious hosts anytime Lynette and I came up to announce the Nor Cal Top Comp Association’s events and treated us as if we were family.  We have all lost a good friend.   Jim McCombe
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     Bob Lidell on FaceBook posted on Dennis & Gale Vollmar's pages.  Dennis is the track photographer at both Redding and Champion Raceway in Medford, Oregon.  "It is with a heavy feeling right now that Bob Lidell passed away sometime during the night or early morning (on Sunday or Monday).  We spent a great weekend with him at Redding drag strip at the Fall Classic.  Bob and Joye Lidell put on a great show and a BBQ Saturday and Sunday.  He stepped up in 2012 to keep the Champion Raceway (Medford, OR) running for the season and also running the Redding (CA) drag strip for the season."     Bob Choisser
 

STAFF NOTES: The following was sent in by SLSRH correspondent Bob Falcon.
     George Bignotti has passed away.
A statement from Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles about legendary Indianapolis 500 chief mechanic George Bignotti, who died at age 97 on September 27, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Bignotti tuned cars to seven Indianapolis 500 victories, more than any chief mechanic in the history of the race. His Indy-winning drivers included A.J. Foyt, Graham Hill, Al Unser, Gordon Johncock and Tom Sneva.  California native Bignotti also is the winningest chief mechanic in IndyCar history.   Sincerely, Bob Falcon.
     "We're saddened to learn of the passing of George Bignotti.  George is a true legend.  He set a standard for mechanical excellence and preparation at the Indianapolis 500 that has yet to be matched and may never be reached.  George's love and loyalty toward the '500' never waned throughout his wonderful, long life, and he had countless friends and admirers in Gasoline Alley and the IndyCar community.  Everyone at IMS extends their thoughts, prayers and sympathy to the Bignotti family," Boles said.
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     The last Time I talked to George Bignotti was before Ed Haggerty passed away and that was when Ed had George sign the car he built years ago.  Ed said Bignotti was a strong man and at 96 he had a grip that says it all.  I spoke to George when I did my biography on Norm Rapp.  Norm and George were long time friends and built a few Indy Cars together for the Bowes Seal Fast Special.  George deserves all the honors we can give.  He has done a lot more than he has been accredited.  The proof is in the cars he built, the people he knew, and the tracks he put his heart into.  He was a great guy and a true racer.  Spencer Simon
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STAFF NOTES: the following was sent in by Rick Gold and Dema Elgin.
     Famed Indy Car crew chief George Bignotti died yesterday.  Here is Robin Miller's tribute to him.  Rick Gold                                                                     
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GEORGE BIGNOTTI; Robin Miller's tribute.  By Robin Miller, September 27, 2013.                    
     Before there were engineers, aerodynamicists, shock dynos and computers, there was George Bignotti.  “As far as I'm concerned, he was the greatest mechanic that ever turned a wrench on an Indy car,” said A.J. Foyt on Friday evening after learning that Bignotti had passed away earlier in the day at age 95.  “In his day, there was nobody better and I'm quite sure if he was still around today he'd be just as tough to beat.”  Bignotti was synonymous with success at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he was the chief mechanic on seven winners with Graham Hill (1966), Gordon Johncock (1973), Al Unser (1970 and '71), Tom Sneva ('83) and Foyt ('61 & '64).  A native Californian who was a good midget racer, Bignotti had a knack for tuning engines and chassis when he showed up at IMS in 1958.
     “George was ahead of a lot of people,” continued Foyt, who scored 23 Indy car wins and four USAC national championships in the five years (1960-'64) he spent with the man who became known as the Master Mechanic.  “He was a very good engine man and knew a lot about racing fuels and he was also a good chassis man.  In 1964, Foyt and Bignotti captured an amazing 10 of 13 champ car races and then split up.  “I was bullheaded and we hollered at each other quite a bit but it went in one ear and out the other for both of us,” recalled Foyt with a chuckle.  “Sure, we had our differences but we always respected each other.  I gave him 110 percent and what I liked about George is that he gave me the same thing.  I was wanting to start my own deal after '64 anyway, but we did something together that season that nobody's topped yet.”                
     Working for Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing and paired with Unser, Bignotti worked his brilliance for back-to-back wins in the Johnny Lightning Colt in 1970 and 1971.  “George was a super guy and was a key to our winning Indianapolis with Al,” said Parnelli Jones, from his office in Torrance, California, “but he was also an important part of our National Championships with Unser in 1970 and Joe Leonard ['71 and '72].  He was strong-minded and gave us very reliable cars that were not always the most innovative or flashy but were always fast enough to win.  His cars were always prepared to go the distance, whether it be 100 or 500 miles, dirt or pavement.  George was meticulous and had an eye for detail.  He was great to work with and he taught a lot of mechanics the trade.  “Everyone on the circuit learned by watching him, some as team members and some as rivals.  We always wanted to think outside the box and constantly be innovative but George pushed back to make sure we were steady and could go the distance and finish.  That's what wins races, finishing every lap.  George will be missed by everyone in the racing community and our thoughts go out to his family." 
     While A.J. and Bignotti butted heads, Johncock took the other approach with his ace mechanic.  “I wouldn't tell George how to fix the car – he knew a lot better than I did,” said Johncock, who also had Bignotti's Wildcat in front at Indianapolis in 1977 before breaking down.  “I just let him go about his business because I trusted him and he was very sharp.  Look at his record.  He had good people around him but they all wanted to learn from him because he was the best.”  An avid golfer, George was still playing at age 90 and Foyt stayed in touch.  “He'd had a little stroke sometime in the last couple years but I just talked to him a month ago and he was as sharp as a tack,” said Indy's original 4-time winner.  “I understand he went to sleep last night and didn't wake up, so that's not a bad way to go.  He lived a long time and had a hell of a run.”     
 

There is an article in STREET RODDER PREMIUM magazine concerning the car that my father had built and raced and is being restored by my brother, David Parks. It is in the Summer 2013 issue.  If you can't find the magazine on the newsstands you might be able to find it by googling "Suddenly" and the author's name Ron Ceridono.
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Just got the word that we are unable to test the lakester at El Mirage.
  It is closed due to the shutdown (October 1st) just like the parks Vic Enyart
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     A friend in Florida called me re: this site.  I was surprised to find pictures that I don't have from many moons ago.  The title is called "The Lady Leadfoots of So-Cal, 1958. Women in racing - THE H.A.M.B."  See.
http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=663833.   Hila Sweet
STAFF NOTES: I went to Jalopyjournal.com and found comments and photographs by bloggers.  Here is a corrected summary of their remarks; "Photographs from 1958 showing Hila Paulson, who created the original Lady Leadfoots of Southern California and went wherever the jalopies were racing. The members of this group in the photos are: Ginger Worthham, Hila Paulson, Mary Jo Erikson (wife of famous West coast racer Rip Erikson), and Edna Bates (Hila's sister).  Hila married Bob Sweet and they live in Texas. In the mid 1960's the pair owned a race track called Stock Island Speedway.  Several times she showed the boys the fast way around the track.  Also photos of Hila during the 1950's. The driver presenting Hila with a trophy is Parnelli Jones in 1953. They remain close friends to this day." 
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STAFF NOTES: the following article is called BONNEVILLE SPECIAL, and was written by Tom Condran.    
     At least once in a lifetime, every true gearhead must visit Bonneville Speed Week. Nothing else comes close.  One endless, unearthly expanse of raw white, playground to the fastest machines ever.  Catch the weirdest cars on the planet, plus some aliens hauled in from Mars. This year I finally made the pilgrimage.    
     Speed Week, organized by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) is held mid-August on the famous salt flats twelve miles northeast of Wendover UT/NV. Race teams spread out across the salt five rows deep for a quarter mile, homesteading a temporary metropolis of Featherlite trailers and directed madness.
     Each vehicle here competes in one of a boggling 735 recognized Classes. Cars are grouped by their body type and the amount (if any) of streamlining. In each group, engines are specified by TYPE, size, and degree of tune, finally defining Classes. Motorcycles fill a whole ‘nuther world.    
     All racecars must run on at least four wheels and be driven by at least two of them. Engines must be piston-type of automotive origin, limit two engines per car. No Merlins. No jets. No rockets.    
     To decipher 735 flavors of creativity, get a pocket SCTA rulebook and scan coded car markings. Read the engine class first, followed by a slash, followed maybe by a B for supercharged (if any), a G or F for gas- or fuel-powered, and the body type. Thus AA (unlimited) / B (blown) F (fuel = [nitro] methanol) S (Streamliner).    
     Mopars abound, from megadollar dual-Hemi Streamliners to two guys entering a stock Slant 6 ’67 Barracuda for GIGGLES.  Craziest are Competition Coupes: any stock body streamlined any which way you want. Yup, deep in that stretched monster is a ’53 Studebaker.    
     Anyone can spectate. But what’s it like inside an actual record effort?  Join in.  I arrived as a guest of Greg Martinez’s “Disturbing Da Peace” serious team.  Their engine class: V4F = Vintage (pre-1935) 4 (cylinder) Flathead. Here a Ford Model-A engine, egad. But Class record is 155 mph! How? Read past the slash.  BFL. Blown Fuel Lakester. A Lakester is tear-dropped like an F-100 drop tank, on skinny open wheels. Inherit the wind.    
     Greg rolled out all his A++ motortech, to ram his own record beyond any reach. A specified original stock block (a virgin, never busted, never bored), an optional, head cast special by Greg's engine builder, classic constant-flow fuel injection, and modern Eaton supercharger. Full house.    
     For V4F/BFL 415’s first shakedown pass, Greg ran conservatively on ERC racing gas, the spec gas for Bonneville. Firesuit and helmet on, he wriggled down into the Lakester’s tight roll cage, like folding himself into a footlocker. 
     SCTA runs four tracks at once. On your left hand back, fold your thumb, spread your fingers, and you’ve mapped their layout, if you heisted an index finger off an orangutan. Little finger qualifies new cars. Ape’s digit for 180+ mph big iron.    
     His teen son in their push-truck launches Greg down track, like Stage 1 of a rocket. The goosed Model-A raps up rpms that wake old Henry. One mile to accelerate, two miles in the speed traps, two miles to stop. The drop tank shrinks to a spot and falls over Bonneville’s far horizon. This pass looks promising, even end-on.    
     Halfway up the return road, the timing tower gofer hands Greg his slip. 173 mph! New Fuel-Class record, on gas!  Back at the trailer, cam-grinder and race-engine guru Dema Elgin reads plugs.  We tap ERC race-gas blender and Champion race-rep Rick Gold for a second opinion. (Giants walk the salt.) Agreed. Two FI clicks richer, plugs one range cooler.    
     On new tune and methanol, Disturbing Da Peace pulls 181 and change, then backs that up at over 182. More than a class record. 37 more miles an hour!  And into new territory. Rights to run the long track like heavy metal. And into SCTA’s rules for a ballistic drag ‘chute. Here’s money, kid. Go get us one.  Greg is hopping ten feet, totally wired.  “More, more, I want more!  What else can we do? I want 200 miles an hour!”  Not this day.  A post-run check reveals a rear-end case now cracked. Whoa. If that had let go at 182 mph, Greg would have bought Salt Lake City. Park it for now.    
     So we spectate, like everybody else, and listen. Delicious roars carry unimpeded over the flats, even from some distance.  Most of us have heard (or maybe driven) drag cars turning a quarter-mile. Now try race engines wide open for miles. Every kind, full honk, open pipes. A symphony.    
     Each car seems different; 14 breeds of Roadsters, Pre-War Vintage Coupes, Classic Production (winged ’69 Charger 500, 239 mph), Altered, Stocks, Sports, etc.  Out here in infinity they’ll race anything.  Kings of the Salt are blown nitro twin-Hemi Unlimited Streamliners, cracking the last laws of Physics, flashing through speed traps at 430 mph, grasping for the Land Speed Record.  Quarter-miles that Top Fuelers turn in under four seconds, Unlimited Streamliners can cross in less than one.  Making a sound like ‘eee-YOW!’
as they go by.   Only at Bonneville.    
     Your mileage may vary. If not hooked up with a race team, just being there is mind trip enough. A hundred bucks gets you in the gates to tour those feral beasts close up. Bleacher crowds camp on the salt’s edge and goggle from the fences.  Anybody can go. Nobody ever forgets.  The USA has Indy, NASCAR, Top Fuel, and Bonneville. No other nation has any.  See all you can. But set aside one special mid-August of your life to do Bonneville.
 

STAFF NOTES; the following is from www.hotrodhotline.com.
    
Bonneville is a truly unique place to visit.  Aside from the racing I enjoy taking beautiful pinups on the salt and capturing them in this amazing surrounding.  To see the photos of the cars and pinup girls go to
www.hotrodhotline.com/node/6877/11044/.  Mitzi Valenzuela
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     I am seeking information about a race track at St George, Utah during the mid 1960's.  George Panek
GEORGE: High Country Dixie Speedway is a 1/4 mile dragstrip that began operation in 1973 and is still in operation up to the present day.  It is on an old WWII landing strip.  Dixie Downs is a horse track in Hurricane, Utah and it may have been used for oval track race cars. 
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STAFF NOTES: Bob Frey is looking for racing results at NHRA National races for the years 1970 through 1973.  If anyone has programs, race results, fact sheets, press corps handouts, time slips, or has written down times for their own use would you contact us and let us know.  I will then notify Bob where he can reach you either by phone or by email so that he can gather more information.  When we do not keep records of an event, it literally fades from history the moment the last racer and spectator passes away.  We have too many racetracks and dragstrips that no one bothered to write up a history on and now those tracks are just faint memories.  So please help Bob out if you can.  He's been a friend and a great announcer for NHRA for decades and he's doing a very important task.
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      I have attached the 1970 race file.  When you open it up you will see the kind of gaps I am trying to fill in.  Just scroll down through the qualifying results and you’ll see how much is missing (mostly in the mph department).  And then look at the Springnationals and you will see glaring omissions, especially in the Pro Stock qualifiers and elimination’s results.  For the Indy race I have a lot because I found a guy who sat in the stands and charted everything.  I assume, or at least think, there is a person out there like that for every race but I haven’t been able to find that person.

     Similar gaps exist in the other races (especially 1970 thru 1973) and that’s the kind of stuff I am hoping to fill in.  And I have almost given up on trying to complete the list of non-qualifiers.  I have (almost) every newspaper, book and magazine story about these races but they all seem to have obtained the information from the same place since they almost always report the same numbers.  I have even gone to local newspapers in several areas (Gainesville, Columbus and others) in an attempt to fill in some numbers.
     Like I said before, 1970 isn’t ancient history and these numbers have to exist somewhere and I hope that some of them are in the files you have.  Feel free to share this file with your readers and we’ll see if anyone can be of any help.  I tried it years ago with Phil Burgess at NATIONAL DRAGSTER and all of the numbers that came in were ones I already had.  I guess everyone was reading the same papers.  Let me know if you have any questions.  
     I also have all of the divisional race results back to 1962 and there are glaring omissions in the ‘62 thru ’68 years that I would love to fill in.  I know it exists but the way the stories were written back then was pitiful.  I often say that the reporting was as primitive as the cars were in the early days.  Winners were often listed by the name of the car (Champion Automotive, Ramchargers etc. with no mention of the driver.  Thanks for passing my notes along to your readers.  Thanks for your help with this project.  Bob Frey     
    
BOB: I will publish your request in The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter, which is at www.landspeedracing.com.  We also collect timing data and anything else that we can find, including biographies, stories and articles on straight-line racing.  Whereas you are focusing on a narrow subject and filling in the gaps, our focus is to get as much information as possible regardless if we are looking for it or not.  Then we publish the information that we have accumulated for others to copy and use for their own research and writing projects.  Our interests are land speed racing, the first decade of drag racing (1950 to 1959) and hot rodding in general.  However, since land speed and drag racers were also involved with other forms of racing we go where the story leads us, even into boat and oval track car racing.  We look for statistics, timing data, bios, photos and all information relating to our subject matter.  Jim Miller is our President of our Society and also the Director for the American Hot Rod Foundation and they do work similar to ours, though more formal and organized.
 


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STAFF NOTES; the following is from www.hotrodhotline.com.
    
NHRA 22nd annual California Hot Rod Reunion Presented by Automobile Club of Southern California
will be on October 18 - 20, 2013.  The museum was a long time dream of NHRA founder Wally Parks, and opened to the public on April 4, 1998, after years of planning and months of hard work cataloging and arranging the exhibit.   The museum is housed in a 28,500-square-foot building on the edge of the historic Los Angeles County Fairplex.   The mission is to celebrate the impact of motorsports on our culture.  We collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret the vehicles, stories, and artifacts that represent our affection for, and the influence of, automotive speed and style in all its forms.  We are the place to view and learn about hot rods, customs, racecars and speed records, and the West Coast's role as the historic center for their past and present development.  The museum features an impressive array of vintage and historical racing vehicles, along with photographs, trophies, helmets and driving uniforms, artifacts, paintings, and other memorabilia chronicling more than 50 years of American motorsports.  A gift shop offers a wide variety of souvenir items.  The museum is open from Wednesday through Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM.  Extended hours during the NHRA Winternationals and NHRA Finals.  Also, hours change during the annual Los Angeles County Fair.  Closed during Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.  Current NHRA members are admitted free. Admission for non-members is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 60 and older, $6 for juniors 6 through 15, and free for children under the age of 5. AAA discounts are available.   From the 10 Freeway east, exit White Avenue, proceed North, turn left on McKinley Avenue, enter Fairplex Gate 1. From the 210 Freeway exit Fruit Avenue, proceed South, turn right on McKinley Avenue.  The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is located at Fairplex Gate 1, 1101 W. McKinley Avenue in Pomona, California.  Call us at 909-622-2133.  Main number: 909-622-2133, museum fax number: 909-622-1206, Reunion Hotline 909-622-8562, email is themuseum@nhra.com, and the website is www.museum.nhra.com.
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THE NEW PLYMOUTH FOR 1957.  By Ron Ceridono. Photography by Henry Z. De Kuyper.  Courtesy of the Hot Rod Archives, and David Parks/SRP/STREET RODDER PREMIUM,
www.streetrodder.com.  

     “Suddenly it’s 1960!” was the ad slogan used to describe the new Plymouth for 1957. Under the influence of stylist Virgil Exner, the new Plymouths were touted as being three years ahead of their time. The new look included longer, flatter hoods, a lower roofline, and most noticeably, large tail fins. Thanks to Exner’s efforts Plymouths were no longer the stodgy lumps of the past, they were clean and modern looking without excess and the positive public response was reflected in increased sales.
     Another interesting development on the automotive scene was the expansion of the NASCAR Daytona Beach event. Along with oval track stock car races and sports cars running at the nearby Smyrna Beach course the 8th Annual NASCAR International Safety and Performance Trials would include an Experimental category for standing and flying mile record runs on the beach. Basically this new class was a chance for the factories to build a hot rod. The idea appealed to the guys at Hot Rod magazine as well, and since the class was open to privateers, Wally Parks and Ray Brock decided to join the fray—the problem was they only had two weeks to build a car.
     Thanks to the magazine staff’s connections at Plymouth’s headquarters, a yellow ’57 Plymouth Savoy two-door hardtop rolled out of Chrysler’s East Los Angeles assembly plant and into Ray Brock’s anxious grasp and the thrash began. Other than a swap to stiffer Dodge torsion bars and a modification to the steering linkage, the suspension on the “loaner” car remained stock. When in competition Firestone racing tires, 7.10/7.60-15 in front on stock wheels and 8.90-15 in the back on widened wheels, replaced the original wide whites.       
     For an engine the smoothtalking Brock managed to borrow a Chrysler Hemi from Harry Duncan. The engine had been built by Tony Capanna at Wilcap for Ed Losinski’s dragster and was equipped with Hilborn fuel injectors and a Scintilla Vertex magneto. On straight alcohol it made 448 hp on the Wilcap dyno. With the engine installed and hooked to the original three-on-the-tree transmission, Bob Hedman went about hand crafting a set of headers. A 5-gallon Moon tank and hand pump secured to the passenger side floorboard would supply fuel, as the stock gas tank would be filled with water for ballast in an attempt to increase traction.
     A rollbar had been added along with seatbelts and a fire extinguisher—Whitey Clayton had fashioned headlight covers and supervised the fabrication of the bellypans. The car was nearly done, and in record time. With the Daytona departure date looming, the car was fired and Parks drove it down the alley behind the shop, which due to the time crunch was the only shakedown the car received before running on the beach. With the abbreviated test run complete the car was pulled to a Hollywood sign shop for lettering. It had been entered as the Hot Rod Magazine Spl. and given Plymouth’s ad campaign the car just had to be named “Suddenly”.
     Bill Likes had worked on Suddenly from the outset, and he accompanied Brock on the long tow to Daytona. Arrangements had been made for shop space at a Daytona Beach Chrysler dealership where last-minute details were attended to and the headlight covers and bellypans were installed. On their arrival in Daytona the Suddenly crew found themselves surrounded by familiar faces. Zora Arkus-Duntov was there with a pair of Corvettes; Smokey Yunick was tuning the SR2 Corvette that was used, in part, to develop Rochester’s fuel injection; Art Chrisman was driving a streamlined ’57 Mercury; Chuck Daigh was in a modified T-bird; Andy Granatelli had a fuel-injected Chrysler 300; Fran Hernandez and Karol Miller were in Fords; and Vern Houle drove a Mercury. Even American Motors was there with a Rambler Rebel, but the car was not yet into regular production so it was not allowed to run (not giving up in the face of adversity, the AMC team staged their own event for the press).
     As Parks would say later, the start of the event was not without challenges. The team was informed they couldn’t buy fuel because they weren’t card carrying members of NASCAR and the course was said to be extremely rough, however things did get better. With their new NASCAR membership and a full 5 gallons of gas on-board, Parks pointed Suddenly south. After a shove from Brock’s trusty Oldsmobile, the Hot Rod Magazine Special ran 153.453 mph, the fastest of any car in the class.    
     While the Plymouth handled the choppy course with ease, there was some concern about the return run and again gas was the issue. A NASCAR official told the team that gas would be available where the cars turned around for their return runs, however that was not to be the case. Unable to beg, borrow, or steal any gas, there weren’t many options. Parks was reported to say that with no gas available for refueling, “we didn’t even remove the tank cap to see what might be left.” Parks didn’t need to worry, the return run of 166.898 mph resulted in a two-way average of 160.175 mph. Although the speeds posted were cause for celebration, the issues with gasoline were not over. Suddenly had to be towed across town to undergo fuel certification.
     After an extended length of time, and visits by a number of NASCAR officials, Bill France Sr. arrived and asked what was happening. Parks explained that the team had been told a fuel test was needed before the new record could be certified and pointed to the sealed cap on the Moon tank. An astonished Parks watched as France stuck his finger down into the tank’s neck, raised it to his nose, sniffed it, and said, “Yep, that’s gas”, then turned and walked out.
     Although most would agree setting a speed record at Daytona Beach was a big accomplishment, it’s easy to overlook just how big a deal it really was. (This event was covered in newspapers, every automotive magazine in print, as well as others, including Sports Illustrated.) Few competitors expected a bunch of hot rodders from California to do much, and no one expected them to outrun the factory-backed entries. Wally Parks, Ray Brock, and everyone associated with Suddenly had indeed turned in an impressive performance.
     With a Daytona Beach record in the books it was time for a new challenge, and where better to find one than Bonneville. Once Suddenly was back in California, Harry Duncan’s Hemi was removed and an engine built by Dean Moon was put in its place. The radiator was put back in and to conform with the rules the headlight fairings and bellypans were removed. The only additional modification to the chassis was the addition of a pair of Traction Masters.
     With a goal of 180 mph, Suddenly was off to the salt. After a somewhat disappointing first pass at 164 mph on 70 percent nitro, it has been widely reported that Parks said, “Make it go or blow!” Ironically it did both. With a tank full of “pop” and a special additive supplied by Jim Kamboor, Ray Brock made a 178-mph pass qualifying for the D/Fuel Coupe and Sedan record. On the backup run Suddenly was up to 183 mph in the quarter, then the engine began to nose over. Brock realized there was a problem, backed out of the throttle, and knocked the transmission into Neutral, about the same parts that should have been inside the engine exited through a newly formed hole in the block. While a new record was not established, Suddenly had gone faster than any other stockbodied American car: 183 mph.
     With its racing days at an end Suddenly was put to work as a daily driver, eventually it was purchased by the cam grinder, Howard Johansen, for his kids to drive to school. What ultimately became of the car is unknown.
    
 

The Clones;
     Suddenly always held a special place in Wally Parks’ heart, and after nearly 40 years the plans were hatched to build a clone. The search for an affordable two-door hardtop turned up nothing, but a solid two-door sedan was found. Jim Travis was commissioned to make the car look as much like Suddenly as possible. It was then headed to the NHRA museum at the Pomona Fairplex. But when you put two hard-core racers like Parks and Travis together the result is predictable. Parks wanted to stuff in a Dodge V-10 to go 200 mph on the salt. Travis suggested they keep tradition alive and use a 392.
     Parks, Travis, and the Suddenly sedan showed up on the salt in 1995 at the USFRA World of Speed. Travis made a 147-mph pass but tuning issues prevented additional runs.  A month later at El Mirage Wally Parks was officially designated the world’s oldest rookie making the required 131-mph run. Parks would drive the car at El Mirage and Muroc.
     While the clone was a hit, it wasn’t the home run Ray Brock thought it should be. He wanted a more authentic re-creation, so the persistent Brock scoured the country and finally found a suitable hardtop in Oregon. The Plymouth was shipped to Ak Miller’s shop in California and Travis was again called upon to build a second Suddenly clone. With the running gear transplanted, the paint and bodywork done, the near identical hardtop was completed. Not intended to be run in competition, Wally’s son, David (who is also a Bonneville competitor) feels it is important for people to see Suddenly as it once was. Wally Parks, Ray Brock, and Suddenly share a significant place in automotive history.
     Brock died April 2, 2002 at age 76, and Parks died September 28, 2007 at age 94. In closing we’d like to thank NHRA Museum curator, Greg Sharp for his help identifying people in the photos and providing his valuable input for this story. A recipient of the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award, Greg is a writer, photographer historian, and most of all a hot rodder.    
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"ME AND SUDDENLY."  By LeRoi Tex Smith.
     Suddenly was a Plymouth. A showroom stocker that my boss Wally Parks created for his most favorite of automotive sports: Top Speed Record attempts. Ray Brock would head the process of turning it into a racer for the notorious Daytona Beach course and the salt. Parks would don the helmet on occasion, and outside sources would supply the powerplants. Which is where Dean Moon played a prominent role.
     The project had been attacking speed records for some time when I arrived on the scene in late 1957, fresh from flying jets in the Air Force. By the time I arrived, Suddenly had already achieved a modicum of notoriety, and for the most part the car sat unattended.  Which is how it came that Parks suggested that I use it for family transportation, since my monthly salary of $400 hardly left shekels for automotive travails. Suddenly became my family transportation. Wife Pegge disliked it because it was noisy, drafty, difficult to handle, and with all the look-at-me paint a surety to gather stares in the supermarket parking lot. I didn’t care, it was wheels.
     The two-door was handy only if two people were going anywhere. During all the time I used the car, the removable rollbar structure, with appropriate bracing, was always in place. No rear seat was ever fitted, which made things a bit interesting since I had a new baby boy in a crib. What to do? That crib could be folded and carefully slid over the folding front seat backs, then unfolded. In this manner, it squeezed into the rollbar cavity and it was there that my son would ride everywhere tucked inside a number of pillows. Parks assured me he had carefully measured a crib before building the rollbar.
     Fat chance. It worked so well, we discovered we could install crib and kid with pillows and hit the drive-in movies in almost complete comfort. Except for those Plymouth seats. They were minimal in the comfort wars, but, Suddenly was still wheels. The stares of other movie patrons were interesting.  My biggest complaint with Suddenly came on the trip Pegge, son, Scott, and I took to Phoenix. It was an event of some type, probably NHRA drags, and I only had Suddenly for the 400 miles one way. I noticed immediately that the freeway tour east was taking somewhat longer than I expected, and that engine revs were causing a severe shortage in miles per gallon.
     But we soldiered ahead, across the great American desert with outside temperatures over 100 … and inside temps closer to 300! Fortunately, all the windows still rolled down to offer some kind of relief. Delaying the trips until after 8 p.m. helped somewhat. When I mentioned this problem of high revs, copious fuel consumption, and discomfort to Parks, he exclaimed, “Oh, I forgot to tell you we need to change the reared gears. Brock put in some really low gears when we went drag racing last time.” Like an old soldier, eventually Suddenly just faded away.  
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DON’T JUST DO SOMETHING, SIT THERE!  By Le Roi Tex Smith      
     Attend. Hear Me. Let someone else do everything. Don’t bother to get involved.  Fully ninety percent of you hot rod enthusiasts will do just this, for most of the coming year! You will sit on your dead ass, fully content to let someone else put on a rod run or create a car show or help a charity. Like, maybe even lay on the couch while the other half does the dishes, hangs out the laundry, mows the lawn.  Bummer Dude, what a downer. But, this is unfortunately the truth. It is so now, and it has always been so.  In fact, it is a broad spectrum of life. 
     A fact of life with any semi organized group of individuals, banded together in a very tight or a very loose combination for some (often) nebulous goal. As a general rule, within any such an organization, at least 80 percent will remain idle while 20 percent make things happen. Nothing wrong with all that, because that means those in the large majority don’t have to do anything except maybe lend mouth service, and with luck, not even vocal support. In short, we can belong to a car club and get the benefits without doing anything really supportive. Except taking advantage of other people’s efforts. Hey, win-lose is better than having to do anything!  
     But there is a downside to this. If no one bothers to step up and do the work, there won’t be a rod run, or a drag race, or a car show. Or even a car club. Of course, if there isn’t any of this car stuff to do, then maybe we can all just go off and do something else.  Horses? Flowers?  Rock collecting? Surely there is something going on that we can reap all the benefits from, but not do any of the leg work! 
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Old Marvin By Le Roi Tex Smith
     You probably never heard of Ol’ Marvin, although I’ve told the story before, at least in bits. This is a ’32 roadster that started life as a streeter over in the San Gabriel Valley right after War Two.  I was into my Air Force Cadet flight training down in Florida, when a routine weekend trip triggered my eyes. A bright yellow highboy under a tree with California license plates. Quick skid and the answer was, Yes, I could buy the car. Young owner was away from home, and he had acquired the car from someone who had. Brought it out from California. Cost me $l50 I seem to remember. No, that was the one behind Blair’s Speed Shop. Ol’ Marvin, as the car came to be known, was $400. Not bad, fully upholstered, nice padded type top, lots of chrome, broken flat motor.
     Somewhere in my pile of photos is a pix of me and AF friends installing a good wrecking yard flattie.  One weekend and I had transportation. Another day, I pulled that bitchin’ top, set it behind the car, and promptly backed across the middle of my rain protection. Left with only a tonneau cover, and the car did miles in Montana snow just that way. The car was towed up to Bozeman, Montana by a friend, (from Florida), and after my discharge, I found a great set of fenders and boards in a trash heap in an alley right there in Bozeville.  At that time, the town’s stockyards had a good horse track that stock cars were racing on, and old Ford sheet metal was rather common. Put them on Marvin and towed the car to my new digs in Hollywood. Started work at Hot Rod Magazine, the car sat unmolested on the street out front of my Hollywood house for a year while I tinkered with a few things.
     Those were good days, when most So Cal hot rodders could park parts and pieces out on the neighbourhood street without offending the neighbors. Before all the do-gooders we now have so anxious to dictate how we must all live. The Roadster Club was getting underway, so I had some turquoise paint mixed and sprayed, I think, by Junior Conway. Just to be different, I pulled the stock grille bars and made up an expanded metal insert. Dumb when I think about it, but seemed cool at the time.
     And about that time I happened on a good running Olds 394. Got a trans adaptor from Offenhauser, and then I flat towed the car out to San Bernardino where Scotty’s Muffler guys made up a wild set of megaphone lakes pipes. Plating was way reasonable them days, so I included a double inlet Cad aircleaner of the type nostalgia builders now seem to want. End result that the car looked really good, and would haul ass.  Of course, I had to stay out of the loud pedal if I wanted to keep the old FoMoCo axle keys and the trans in proper condition.
     A few years later I hauled that car up to Bozeman again, where I sold it to George Schreiber, he of Yellow Fang dragster fame, and George then sold it to someone in the Midwest, who in turn sold it down to Phoenix. Next I got a call from a fellow over in the San Rafael area (that’s near San Francisco). By that time the Olds was gone. The new owner had the car built with full fenders, and was having the car fixed again, this time at Brizio’s, (again with fenders) from whence it ended up going to the Phoenix auctions, and from there no more is known.
     And this is another of those stories where that old hot rod went through some professional wizardry and came out far and away the better for it. Roy Brizio turns some way cool rides out of his shop, and this was typical of the super quality streeters he creates. Somewhere, some person has Marvin. I hope he is treated well.  I wonder if all the original paperwork I eventually sent to the San Rafael owner stayed with the car. It would have helped continue a solid legacy.
 


October 2013 Aussie Invader newsletter, by Rosco McGlashan. 
     We have made heaps of progress on our project on several fronts with some really positive action on our machining, brakes, wiring and our long awaited trip to our race venue in Central Western Queensland. This trip is currently being arranged with our visit only a couple of weeks away.  Our newly appointed East Coast coordinator Ron Pennekamp has been working overtime meeting with potential sponsors, government officials and public figures keen to see Land Speed Record history made in Queensland, Australia.       
     Having developed and built our Calm Aluminium wheels which are capable of 1000 mph, we have turned our attention to having a wheel braking system that will complete the job of stopping a vehicle weighing in at 6.4 tonnes (dry).  Initially slowing the car from high speeds will employ a series of systems and methods from wind resistance, air-brakes and parachutes. Low speed braking will utilise the rear wheels only, as we do not want to use front wheel braking as the front wheels are forward of our Liquid Oxygen tank and sparks and possible sloshing issues are definitely things we want to avoid. Braking from the back should not compromise steering, help to straighten the car up and avoid possible yaw issues.    
     Our good mates at the North American Eagle Team have developed an electro-magnetic braking system that uses their aluminium wheels as the rotor/conductor to generate friction when a large circular coil is pushed close to the rotating wheel via hydraulic brake pressure. The beauty of this system is that there is no brake rotor that has to rotate at over 10,000 rpm. We looked at developing something similar based on the North American Eagle idea but after careful consideration of the amount of work involved, we decided that a forged steel rotor should be able to rotate at 10,000 rpm with a moderate safety margin.  We have 375 mm brake rotors which are undergoing Finite Element Analysis (FEA) as we speak, with an 11,000 rpm spin test to follow. We are using 6 spot callipers with a special ceramic embedded brake pad. It is anticipated that our conventional brakes will only be applied at a speed of around 200 mph (320 km/h) to bring the car to a halt.    
     We are also very excited to announce that our Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has decided to assist us with some safety equipment design and testing, and also design assistance with our data logging and on-board avionics.   The RAAF have joined us on several previous trips to remote Lake Gairdner in South Australia, they have been a godsend to our past record runs and our Aussie Land Speed Record could not have been won without their epic support. We are sure hoping they can again join us on this attempt.
     Some huge support again was gained this month from several Australian businesses.  Brett Noble of Sparkit Auto Electrics commenced wiring our on-board electrical systems, we are really looking forward to seeing all of our hydraulic and several of our electrical systems working very soon. Thanks Brett for your great skill and work. VLI Industries have made us some great wheel sleeves which will protect our Calm solid aluminium wheels during transport and manoeuvring around our shop. Thank you VLI Industries and John Dailey for your support.  Kentin Engineering have worked their tails off this month with all hands on deck, machining our front and rear axles and all the associated hardware that is needed to mount our brakes, aero leads on our rear axle and final machining on our front wheel cradle, plus a hundred other jobs. Thanks to Ken, Les and Mal you guys are the best!  Material Services for a first class job on heat treating our rear axle.  A big thank you must also go out to Calm Aluminium and Di Candilo Steel City for helping to bring these parts into existence.  My team and I have been working hard finalising the last stage of our engine mountings, rear axle tooling and final assembly of several key vehicle components.     
     I was asked to speak at the annual get together of the Members of the Claxton Shield Club. The Club was formed to maintain the tradition and fellowship of WA players in the Australian Claxton Shield series. The Perth Heat currently represent Western Australia and are a very successful team having won 4 Australian titles in the past 6 years.  It was a great event and I really enjoyed speaking there.  In closing a special get well wish goes out to one of our greatest supporters, motorsport identity and all round top bloke Darryl Smith.  Darryl’s outlook on life is inspiring and his positive mental attitude, outstanding. Get well buddy Australia needs you.  Rosco McGlashan and the Aussie Invader Team         
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October 2013
     The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame (BDRHoF) is pleased to announce a five figure sponsorship deal with Beech Underwriting. The support also covers the use of back-office functions at the company’s head office. This is the biggest BDRHoF sponsorship programme yet negotiated. As well as supporting the efforts of Stu Bradbury and his BDRHoF team so they can continue their celebration of the sport’s history, it is a reflection of the increased interest in the nostalgia drag racing scene as a whole. Suddenly a new energy has entered (or should we say re-entered) the arena and the role of the BDRHoF has been driven to the fore.
     But the BDRHoF and Beech Underwriting?  Strange bedfellows you might think. How come an underwriting business wants to sponsor the BDRHoF? Well that comes down to Beech Underwriting’s Managing Director Geoff Stilwell who was one of many drag racing fanatics attracted to the sport when Sydney Allard organised the first British International Drag Racing Festival is 1964.  He gradually became involved in the sport working on several cars during the 1970s, and eventually owned and rode a Kawasaki Pro Stock Bike called Cloud Nine that he campaigned alongside Graham and Alan Nash. In the end work commitments meant that he had to retire from the sport in 1983.
     These days his global business has meant that he travels to the USA on a regular basis. His interest in drag racing has remained so he always takes in a drag racing event or two on these trips. And he has followed the development of the BDRHoF over the years. Geoff says, “Without a doubt we need the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame. Spectators and racers need to be reminded that drag racers have some of the most creative minds when it comes to solving technical problems. Years ago I stood in awe of what I saw. That spirit needs to continue and we must not forget those pioneers. I am lucky to be in a position to be able to help continue this important tribute to our heritage. So I’m really pleased to offer Stuart Bradbury and his team of volunteers at the BDRHoF the support to help it realise its true potential and put these amazing achievements under an even more powerful spotlight.”
     The deal was sealed at the Runnemede Hotel in Surrey. BDRHoF Chairman Stu Bradbury says, “I must express our thanks to Geoff. This year has seen tremendous change in the BDRHoF as we increase its profile in the eyes of the media, fans and racers. It has been the first year that the Annual Awards Presentation has been a stand-alone event and Geoff’s injection of financial nitro is going to enable us to do even greater things. It is without doubt the largest single financial package the BDRHoF has received since it was launched in 2006 and with this backing we plan to make the BDRHoF Gala Awards Dinner the most prestigious drag racing social event in Europe.” 
Brian Taylor – Acting Press Officer BDRHoF  brian@petrolhead.vianw.co.uk  Tel 01395 579733
 

October 2013       
     Hard on the heels of the announcement of five figure sponsorship of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame (BDRHoF) by Beech Underwriting, BDRHoF Chairman Stu Bradbury made a further announcement about exciting changes. He said,     “Thanks to Beech Underwriting we are now in a position to expand our horizons and an early demonstration of this new approach is the introduction of two new annual BDRHoF Awards that celebrate the role played by Sydney Allard as the Father of British Drag Racing. He built Europe’s first dragster in 1961 and organised the first visits by American racers in 1963, ’64 and ’65. The new awards will follow the existing ‘Bootsie’ crystal tablet format presented to those who have made a real difference to the growth of drag racing in the UK. But they will be of a different design and contain an image of Sydney Allard rather than Allan ‘Bootsie’ Herridge. What else could we call them but Syds?”    
     The recipients of the new award will not enter the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame as such but their achievements will be honoured and their names entered as BDRHoF Syd award winners. The ‘Syds’ pay tribute to the influence of journalists and photographers in the promotion of drag racing.     One  ‘Syd’ will be awarded to the writer of the best book, article  or feature on British drag racing published in print or on-line during the 12-months ending April 2014. The Chief Judge will be Guy Loveridge, author/journalist/ publisher/broadcaster/auctioneer and 2014 Chairman of the Guild of Motoring Writers. In 2007-09 he was instrumental in returning to Chris Lawrence the twin Mini engined Deep Sanderson that raced at Blackbushe in 1964. Chris had built and owned the car and drove it at Blackbushe. It has now been restored.
     Guy said, “The Guild of Motoring Writers, celebrating its 70th Anniversary in 2014, is delighted to be involved with these awards. The fact that this first annual presentation of ‘Syds’ aligns with the 50th anniversary of the First British International Drag Festivals organised by Sydney Allard makes it even more special for me because of my involvement with the Deep Sanderson that ran at Blackbushe. It is a great year to launch these new tributes to creativity in the media”.    
     Another ‘Syd’ will be awarded to the best photograph featuring British drag racing, either published in print or on-line during the 12 months ending April 2014, or remaining un-published. The winning photograph will be featured in Octane magazine along with a biog of the photographer. The Chief Judge will be Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason –President of Guild of Motoring Writers and classic car collector/racer. He is a Trustee of the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, an author/publisher, a columnist for Octane magazine and Patron of the Allard Chrysler Action Group, so he too has a link with Sydney Allard. A second judge will be the Art Editor of Octane magazine Mark Sommer.
     Nick Mason said, “I am delighted to accept the role as Chief Judge for the BDRHoF ‘Syd’ awarded for the best photograph of the year featuring British drag racing. Clearly, the media has played a key role in my life – and still does. We rely on them to get our message across – in the written word and in pictures. Drag racing is a sport that gives wonderful opportunities to photographers and I’m looking forward to viewing their work. My association with the Allard Chrysler dragster restoration has shown me what enthusiasm there is out there for the sport and it’s also rewarding to be able to perpetuate Sydney Allard’s name with the new BDRHoF award.”    
     Stu Bradbury said, “A big thank you to Octane magazine and the Guild of Motoring Writers for their involvement. Hopefully these exciting developments will show people that we really mean business. In the Spring of 2014 we will be asking photographers and journalists to submit entries taken since May 2013. This is open to professionals and amateurs and the photographs can be taken trackside, from spectator areas, in the pits, studios or at shows.”  
     “Of course it is possible for motoring writers or photographers to be inducted into the BDRHoF in their own right by the Board of Selectors. But we wanted to pay this special tribute and it seemed right to bring Syd and Bootsie together this way because during 1962 to ’63 these two racers led the charge to get drag racing accepted by the British motorsport media.”   “There is more to announce in the next few weeks and the BDRHoF work-load will substantially increase. So we will need to expand our administration team – particularly those experienced in organising events and PR. There must be drag racing fans out there with a background in these areas and we would welcome their involvement. Come and join the team. There are exciting times ahead.”    
     Those interested should contact Stuart on
BritishDRHOF@aol.com.   Brian Taylor – Acting Press Officer BDRHoF  brian@petrolhead.vianw.co.uk  Mobile 07702 043411


BobLidell1

Bob Lidell, the Redding Drag Strip manager passed away.  Here is the Redding Drag Strip website (http://reddingdragstrip.info/wordpress/


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Jonathan Amo, Brett Arena, Henry Astor, Gale Banks, Glen Barrett, Mike Bastian, Lee Blaisdell, Jim Bremner, Warren Bullis, Burly Burlile, George Callaway, Gary Carmichael, John Backus, John Chambard, Jerry Cornelison, G. Thatcher Darwin, Jack Dolan, Ugo Fadini, Bob Falcon, Rich Fox, Glenn Freudenberger, Don Garlits, Bruce Geisler, Stan Goldstein, Andy Granatelli, Walt James, Wendy Jeffries, Ken Kelley, Mike Kelly, Bret Kepner, Kay Kimes, Jim Lattin, Mary Ann and Jack Lawford, Fred Lobello, Eric Loe, Dick Martin, Ron Martinez, Tom McIntyre, Don McMeekin, Bob McMillian, Tom Medley, Jim Miller, Don Montgomery, Bob Morton, Mark Morton, Paula Murphy, Landspeed Louise Ann Noeth, Frank Oddo, David Parks, Richard Parks, Wally Parks (in memoriam), Eric Rickman, Willard Ritchie, Roger Rohrdanz, Evelyn Roth, Ed Safarik, Frank Salzberg, Dave Seely, Charles Shaffer, Mike Stanton, David Steele, Doug Stokes, Bob Storck, Zach Suhr, Maggie Summers, Gary Svoboda, Pat Swanson, Al Teague, JD Tone, Jim Travis, Randy Travis, Jack Underwood and Tina Van Curen, Richard Venza.
 

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