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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER 312 -  March 4 , 2014
Editors-in-Chief: Jack & 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:
President's Corner; Editorials; Smaldino Yates Dragster,  Haulin Hudson,   Don Batyi, Evelyn Roth, Harrell Engines,

GUEST EDITORIAL, by Dyno Don Batyi;     
     I received a phone call from a Faithful reader that I thought all should know about. He took his 2006 Nissan in for a "plug in smog inspection."  The ECU said he needed 2 cat converters, only OE would do, and they cost $1300 each ($2600 for both).  The smog guy then put it on the dyno and gave it a tail pipe inspection. Tailpipe emission was zero.  When this smog inspection bill passed a while back, I feared situations like this and opposed the bill with letters, etc.  I did not think something like this would happen.  Now, the new cars are coming with ECU's that are similar to "black boxes" in commercial aircraft with far more information.  I decided to send Smog Pro Ben an email and ask for his comments: 

     Hi Don:  “How can a 2006 model year need a Catalytic Converter?  Not just one but two?  Most computer error codes are usually caused by oxygen sensor problems or an exhaust leak.  Why would any technician replace the converter without checking these sensors first?  A faulty oxygen sensor that does not work properly will cause all kinds of issues.  The only item responsible for catalyst efficiency are these sensors.  Sounds like the tech jumped to conclusions rather than check the basics first.  I don't know the particulars of this vehicle at the time of the inspection.  How did the car run?  The only time I would suspect a catalytic converter is only if this vehicle had a misfire for a long time, or Emissions were elevated beyond Federal Test limits aka ‘Gross Polluter.’  Spending $2600 on catalytic converters seems a bit excessive based on a computer error code.   Ben.”      

     As you can see, there are circumstances when this happens.  As usual we have to be aware and alert when dealing with smog inspections.  Not sure what can be done at this point in time about the new law, but I feel we need to at least "Spread the Word" in a major way, especially with our Legislators.  Don't forget "Silence is our enemy."
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STAFF EDITORIAL, by Richard Parks.
     Evelyn Roth, one of our original members and a long-time supporter of land speed racing from the days at Black Rock in 1997, sent me a series of questions.  I thought that they were interesting enough to run in the SLSRH to see what our readers know about the automobile Era.  But this quiz has a deeper meaning to us than just a trivia contest.  As racing historians and fans of racing it is important to understand that we can never reach our greatest potential until we know how to “ask the right question.”  In the search for knowledge the first step is to do research and to do that well we have to ask the question.  Often when we are interviewing someone we ask them questions
that they can’t answer.  The fact that our interviewees don’t know might mean that we haven’t asked the right questions that will jog their memories so that they can recall what happened in the past.  I never stop with just one question.  If an interviewee doesn’t know I don’t make the assumption that they don’t know.  I ask and then re-ask the question in different ways and using different people.  “Did you know Henry Ford?”  If that didn’t get the answer that I wanted I use other questions and people.  “Then how about Ransom Olds or Barney Oldfield,” I ask.  Eventually I hit upon an event or a person that triggers the memory that I am looking for in the interviewee. 
     Here’s a trivia questionnaire for you;
Who opened the first drive-in gas station?    
What city was the first to use parking meters?    
Where was the first drive-in restaurant?   
What was the first car fitted with an alternator, rather than a direct current dynamo?   
What car first referred to itself as a convertible?    
What car used the first successful series-production hydraulic valve lifters?      
Where was the World's first three-color traffic lights installed?             
Where was the first drive-in movie theater opened, and when?    
What autos were the first to use a standardized production key-start system?  
What car was the first to place the horn button in the center of the steering wheel? 
What was the lowest priced mass produced American car?                  
What automaker's first logo incorporated the Star of David?  
What car delivered the first production V12 engine?             
When were seat belts first fitted to a motor vehicle?                           
Which car company started out German, yet became French after WWI?                  
What U.S. production car had the largest 4 cylinder engine?     
What is the Spirit of Ecstasy?            
What was the inspiration for MG's famed octagon-shaped badge?   
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The Santa Ana Airport Drag Strip Reunion will be held on Saturday, April 26, 2014, from 10 AM until 2 PM at Santiago Creek Park just off Lawson Drive in the city of Orange.  The cross streets are Main and East Memory Lane.  Go East on East Memory Lane for about half a mile until you come to a signal on Lawson Drive, then turn into the paved creek bed parking lot.  We are right above the parking lot.  Food will be catered by Gene Mitchell.  There is no fee to attend or for parking either.  The Santa Ana Airport Drag Strip started in the summer of 1950 and closed in 1959.  Bring tape recorders, cameras, pen, notepad, etc to record the event.  If you bring photos and books please watch them or bring duplicates.
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     I really enjoyed the Grand National Roadster Show.  If you go east, try to arrange a stop in Lincoln for a tour of our museum.  Thanks, John MacKichan, Curator, Museum of American Speed
   
READERS: If you are in Lincoln, Nebraska look up the Museum of American Speed.  This is from their website at www.museumofamericanspeed.com
     “Founded in 1992 by ‘Speedy’ Bill and Joyce Smith, the Smith Collection Museum of American Speed is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and displaying physical items significant in racing and automotive history. The federally recognized 501 (c) (3) museum currently encompasses more than 135,000 sq. ft. over three levels. The vast collection results from the Smiths’ personal involvement in racing and hot rodding for more than six decades, and their lifelong passion for collecting and preserving historic automotive artifacts.  Millions of hours have been spent, as Bill puts it, ‘turning over rocks’ and chasing countless leads to assemble a collection of this magnitude. As a result, museum visitors can witness a stunning array of history-making cars, engines, parts, toys and memorabilia. You’ll see countless rare and one-of-a-kind items, all presented in beautiful displays and dioramas that will make you feel like you’ve taken a step back into the past.”
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Smaldino & Yates Dragster: Worlds Fastest 4-Banger Dragster.  Article by Jim Brierley and Anna Marco.  Photographs by Mike Basso.  Reprinted by permission of the authors.

     More than one Chrysler hemi powered dragster has been known to pull into a drag strip, see Vic Smaldino there, and pull right back out and go to another strip.  Who is Vic Smaldino?  If you don’t know, he and Don Yates built the world’s fastest 4-banger dragster!
     Vic started drag racing in the early ‘50’s, first with a 1930 Model A roadster that he recalls, “I bought from under a tree on Adams Blvd. & Western Ave. (Los Angeles, CA). I promptly tore it down and made it a cut down hot rod.” A Model B engine powered it with a 2-port Riley OHV conversion on it.  After running a few different cars, and different engine combo’s, he discovered the Fargo head, a 4-port intake, 4-port exhaust, cross-flow head and more importantly he learned how to run nitro methane!  Vic figured if a little nitro was good, a lot would be better.  Vic laughs, “I like that part! It sounds good!”
     While nitro is a great horsepower booster, a learning curve was needed to run it successfully.  The air/fuel ratio is entirely different than gasoline, and many pistons were ruined in this learning process.  Vic learned how to modify the Stromberg “97” to handle the greater amount of fuel needed, and would start his engine on straight alcohol but with 100% nitro in the fuel tank.  As the nitro reached the carbs, the sound of the engine changed dramatically.  Vic has made over 50 runs at speeds over 130 MPH!  On record, the Smaldino-Yates dragster hit 136.15 mph on October 29, 1961 at San Gabriel Drag strip which officially is the fastest speed ever for a 4-banger dragster. Fifty years later, that record still stands in the -mile.
     Is he a technical wizard when it came to racecars?  Vic claims, “I incorporated a small radiator into the car when no one else was.  It was a thermal siphon process-ran it without a water pump.  Had good success with that.  Most of the time I liked to try different things.  I’m a backyard hot rodder and my degree came for the drag strips. Every time we went out we learned something.   We broke stuff and fixed it. I learned that way.”
     Yes, Chrysler hemi powered dragsters would pull into a drag strip, see Vic there, and pull right back out and go to another strip.  That’s a fact; no fibs or storytelling here. The owner didn’t want their 331(+) cubic inch hemi beaten by a lowly 4-banger!  This of course was before GMC blowers were commonly used in drag racing, but still that is very impressive! 
     Vic Smaldino was a member of the Dukes CC (1948) and has raced every historical drag strip in Southern California.  In 1954, Vic nailed a one day achievement run hitting 126.88 mph at Santa Ana “in a kinda stubby dragster. They were short and I sat on the back and had no helmet and just goggles. That had a Riley 2-port engine in it too.”
     In 1955-56-57 Vic started a partnership with Bob Vespa in a new car called “the Aluminum Frame Car” also known as the “Smaldino-Vespa car” built by Bob.  It had an aluminum frame, Fargo engine and was very successful in the 1955-1957 racing season.  They set a new record in December 1956 at Santa Ana and timed 133.33 mph in the -mile with a Top Speed record that still stands.
     Vic raced Lions, Irwindale, Riverside, LA County Raceway (Palmdale), San Gabriel, Fontana, Pomona, Colton, Bakersfield, San Fernando, Orange County Raceway & Santa Ana.  Off all the strips, Vic quips he “liked early drag racing at Santa Ana, Bakersfield, San Fernando and San Gabriel best.  Santa Ana opened July 1950 and was most popular, until 1959.”  Santa Ana & Saugus were both closed by the time this Smaldino-Yates dragster was completed which was Vic’s third racecar project. In 1958, Vespa went into the Army and sold the aluminum car but Vic kept the motor, rebuilt the Fargo but had no chassis for it.
     Vic Smaldino & Don Yates were neighbors and friends who lived a few miles apart from each other in So Cal.  In December 1960, the Smaldino & Yates dragster chassis was built in Don’s garage from scratch with a transmission based on a direct drive concept.  The car operated in Neutral and high gear only.  Then they dropped Vic’s Fargo mill in it.  A few years later a Ford 3-speed transmission was installed.   In those days, Don drove and Vic did mechanicals as racing enthusiasts with the need for speed built cars in partnership.      
     Vic remembers, “We became friends and started building 4 bangers; for speed and fun as a hobby with some success and hardships.  It wasn’t a beauty and it’s more popular now than when I had it.”  Currently, Barbara Steel (wife of Jay Steel/Taylor Engine fame) owns the Smaldino-Yates Dragster and Taylor Engines is still the best place for flatheads, and vintage Model A & Model T motor work. The shop now owned by Chris Thoensen (Road Devils CC), remains at its original location in Whittier, CA and still cranks out killer mills.   Meanwhile, Barbara’s plans for the dragster include showing the vehicle at local events and continuing to promote it as “The World’s Fastest 4-Banger Dragster.” Hopefully you will see it at Nostalgia Drag events and antique car shows where it is proudly displayed.
     Vic Smaldino, now retired, recently attended The Antique Nationals.  He still loves nostalgia drags and shares one funny story, “In the early days at Santa Ana, one Sunday, at the end of day, we had grudge racing.  I egged on a super V8 Ford against their wishes.  What happened was I got so smart aleck about it, in my haste, I grabbed a water can instead of fuel and put it in the gas tank. I left the starting line with the car sounding good, did 40 feet and died.  I ate crow on that one!”  Today, Vic is no longer active in the racing scene but is often seen with friends at events involving cars, especially 4-bangers.  Perhaps he is even giving a few pointers to those that are still low on the learning curve.
     Special Thanks: Barbara Steel, Scott Smaldino, Dan Eubanks, The Antique Nationals, Auto Club Speedway @ Fontana.  Resource: Chris Thoensen, Taylor Engines, 145 Byron Road # D, Whittier, CA. 90606-2690. Phone (562) 698-7231. Styling: Anna Marco.
     TECH SHEET
Owner:  Vic Smaldino
Car Club: The Dukes (1948)
Car Builder: Vic Smaldino and Don Yates, Smaldino/Yates Dragster
Year – 1960
Make – homemade open dragster
Body Custom Fabrication – aluminum
Color – unpainted aluminum
Engine – model Ford B 4 cyl block—300 degree Ed Winfield camshaft, two Stromberg 48 carbs converted for Nitro, 4 in bore, 214 ci,, Arias forged pistons, eight 1-7/8” valves,
Tranny – orig. direct drive N & Hi Gear only
Exhaust – homemade header type/ single exhaust pipe
Intake & Carb – cyl head Fargo 4 port /8 valve (4 intake ports & 4 exhausts ports cross flow), Log type intake manifold,
Ignition – Joe Hunt side drive magneto
Rear End – Halibrand quick-change rear-end
Suspension Info – short leaf spring front/homemade shock absorbers/no rear: it was solid
Brakes – rear only, Lincoln drums
Wheels/Size –f/ custom spoke narrow wheels-- r/15 inch Halibrand magnesium
Tires/Size -   Firestone
Seats – one bucket seat with quick-change harness/belt
Dashboard – air pressure gauge/ oil gauge/ photo of Vic’s son
Steering Column – Franklin center steering
Garage-Built Stuff – yes
Club Affiliation – Dukes CC (1948)
Extra: Official -mile record @ 136.15 mph on October 29, 1961 at San Gabriel drag strip.
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Pires-Scardina Haulin’ Hudson, by Anna Marco.  Reprinted by permission of the author.
     Tom Scardina’s heavyweight Hudson is the class winner of the1968 ANRA Winter nationals held at Lions Drag Strip. This 1940 Hudson modified for drag racing represents in-line power.  It was built in 1964 for F/Gas in NHRA and with some changes also ran H Modified Production.  Additionally, it ran I/Gas, J/Gas and K/Gas and also Formula 9 Super Stock at ANRA races. The car has run the racetracks at Fremont, Half Moon Bay, Vacaville, Redding, Sacramento, Sears Point, Eagle Field, Bakersfield, Palmdale, Irwindale, Orange County, Lions, San Fernando and Salinas. It was the Class Winner of the 1968 ANRA Winter Nationals held at Lions Dragstrip.  To say this car has history is an understatement.
     The Pires-Scardina Racing Team caught the racing bug at an early age (age 15). Tom and his friends were hanging around a guy with a dragster and went with him to the drags at Salinas, Fremont and Half Moon Bay. Prior to purchasing the Hudson in 1964 the boys ran a few other cars (1957 Ford and a Model A set up as gassers) stating, “we got of breaking stuff and the expense so we built a Hudson when bracket racing was becoming popular and the car fit in many classes with a minor carb change so that’s why we chose it.  We were looking for a reliable bracket car with headers.”
     The Hudson, built by John Pires, Elliot Booker and Tom Scardina, was intended as “a good drag car” and cemented lifelong friendships.  The team jokes, “The hardest part was finding parts but the most memorable event was racing a new 1965 Corvette and smoking it!”  This historic gasser is a sixties era survivor and has all the window decals to prove it.  The team claims the car is “still a work in progress” and it is still raced at nostalgia events today.  Usually, Tom Scardina is behind the wheel “of his office” and notes affixed to the dashboard remind him to “turn on the gas” and “watch RPM or get the basket.” Nonetheless, the car has won several awards, held records and original racing jackets are occasionally found on the front seat.
     This hauling Hudson is basically stock with a few secret modifications for drag racing.  It retains a 1955 Hudson 308 flathead six and uses a 375 Holley carb and Hooker Headers.  The mill is mated to a Hydramatic transmission and Ford 8-inch rear-end.  That’s all the info you’re going to get out of this team as far tech goes.  Meanwhile, they have raced Elmer Snyder and Terry Earl (at the first Antique Nationals) and everybody in between.  When they raced Ed Iskenderian at OCIR and won in 1974, Ed wasn’t happy about that.  He was sulking so Tom approached him and said, “Well Ed, we run an Isky cam” and that made him laugh.  Plans for 2014 are to run Eagle Field Drags and The Antique Nationals (at Irwindale Raceway the first week in June) joking, “We have run there for 40 years and never missed one.”  ZOOM.
     CUSTOM or ROD TECH SHEET
Owner: Tom Scardina
Builder:  Tom Scardina & John Pires
Year: 1940.  Make: Hudson
Body Modifications: modified for drag racing
Grille/shell, ignition, front and rear suspension, brakes, seats, upholstery, dashboard, steering column and steering wheel, windows, and tail-lights are all stock.
Paint Color:  Red
Custom Graphics: Stan Sylvia
Engine: 1955 Hudson 308 flathead six
Transmission: Hydramatic
Intake & Carb: 375 Holley
Exhaust: Hooker Headers
Rear End: 8 inch Ford
Wheels/Size: Cragar
Tires/Size:  M&H Tires/BF Goodrich
Club Affiliation:  NHRA & ANRA
Anything Else: Class Winner 1968 ANRA Winternationals (Lions Dragstrip)
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Gone Racin’…Harrell Engines & Racing Equipment; Jim (White) Harrell & Nick Harrell, by Roger H. Harrell, with Richard C. Harrell and Alec R. Harrell Carlson.  Second edition, 2012.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.   18 August 2012.

    The Second edition of Harrell Engines & Racing Equipment; Jim (White) Harrell & Nick Harrell, by Roger H. Harrell, will be relatively easy to review.  Roger Harrell found additional material and simply added these pages to the back of the book increasing the pages from 154 to 208, or roughly 25%.  There are more photographs and additional material in all of the chapters as well.  Roger also sent in an explanation of how he went about producing this book, which I felt was important enough to add to this review.  Roger and my views are that history needs to be preserved.  I do it electronically on the internet and he does it by means of the print medium.  If his research and efforts prod people into doing a book project on their particular racing exploits then we shall have been successful.  Roger and the Harrell family have accumulated a great deal of history on their family’s racing history and no doubt they will continue to find more clues.  We all owe the Harrell family a great deal of gratitude for their efforts.

     In the Second edition there are small changes throughout, basically Harrell changed Chapter six to reflect the discovery of new information on the Winged Express Fuel Altered race car.  He then moved the old Chapter six to make it Chapter seven in the Second edition.  He increased the photographs from 48 to 87.  He added a “Second edition preface,” to thank those who helped on this later account.  Some of these sources included; Ed Crafton, Curt Giovanine, Paul Hutchins, Rod Larmer, Rod McCarrell, Alan Mest, Dick Pickerel and Don Ferrara.  I mention the names because they are important to judge the work by the people who contributed.  Larmer worked for the Conze brothers and knows racing and Ferrara is an authority in car and boat racing.  Roger also added material to the Second edition throughout the book including stories that came to light.  The Second edition has the same vitality and life to it that the First edition has, but the detail is greater.  That presents a problem for those who have only the Second edition to do research on.  This is a common enough problem among historians, but for the general population, both editions tell a good story.

     New material shows up in every chapter of the Second edition and the Index expands from two to three pages.  Footnotes are used extensively to give documentation to the serious historian and researcher.  But it is the 44 pages of Chapter Six, “The altered roadster to Winged Express,” that truly sets this edition apart from the previous edition.  Jim Harrell and Willie Borsch had a long and beneficial partnership with the Berardini Brothers and then purchased the famed roadster from Pat Berardini and raced it as the “Red Hot Roadster.”  That roadster brought some success, but Harrell and Borsch built a new bucket roadster and used a fiberglass body, creating the Winged Express that would make Borsch and future owner Mousie Marcellus famous.  They had their ups and downs with the fuel altered.  When it ran well it was nearly unbeatable, but it also destroyed parts and was difficult to control with the short wheelbase.  This class of fuel altereds was very dangerous and the NHRA considered banning the cars altogether.  Only the demands by drag racing fans kept this class alive.  Eventually the writing was on the wall, accidents a continual threat and competition from the new Funny Car class ended the Fuel Altereds as a racing category.  Or at least some people thought so at the time, for over the years the Fuel Altereds became legendary and the cars were brought back to match race and to run in nostalgia events.
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Now here is the review for the First Edition.

     A delightful paperback book on early dry lakes racing and engine building during the early to mid twentieth century is titled Harrell Engines & Racing Equipment; Jim (White) Harrell & Nick Harrell.  Written by Roger H. Harrell, with assistance from Richard C. Harrell and Alec R. Harrell Carlson, this book details the story of the Harrell engines and racing equipment that played an important role in our racing history.  Harrell Engines & Racing Equipment; Jim (White) Harrell & Nick Harrell is a paperback book measuring six by nine inches, with 154 pages.  The cover shows a black and white photograph of Jim Harrell’s modified roadster at Muroc in 1941 as it set a record of 127.65 miles per hour (mph) in the modified roadster class, an impressive time for that day and age.  The photograph on the back cover shows the two Harrell brothers at their shop with the roadster.  It is a nostalgic start to a book on a racing family that was a cornerstone of our racing community. 

     The pages are on a white bond matte paper.  The photographs are all in black and white, some clear and some grainy, depending on the age of the photographs that the authors used.  All of the photographs were visibly clear, but remember that the technology of the age then makes it difficult to reproduce today in some cases.  There were 60 photographs, 8 newspaper ads, 7 tables and one newspaper article.   The authors footnoted topics and provided an excellent three page index for the scholar and the average reader to use.  There was also a five page pictorial appendix of the Harrell family so that you could see the men and women who were being chronicled in the book.  The book contains a contents section, photographic index, list of tables, preface, introduction and six chapters.  It shows the care and thoroughness of someone with an academic background, but it is easy to read and to locate sources.

     The Harrell family is proud of the accomplishments of Jim and Nick Harrell and the book is a memorial to their mechanical genius.  Jim changed his name to White, then back to Harrell again, thus the confusion and the authors reference to Jim (White) Harrell.  Some of Jim’s customers and racing friends knew him as White and others as Harrell.  The book gives the reasons for the change in names and that in itself is a fascinating story.  This wasn’t an easy book to write.  The authors knew some of the history of the Harrell brothers, but so much of what they did they kept to themselves.  This was an odyssey of sorts, a trek back in time and to do that the authors had to interview men and women who knew the Harrell brothers.  They also found old programs, newspaper ads and articles and other sources with which to better understand what had happened over the years.  The authors travelled to Jack’s Garage in Fountain Valley, to see a special man and dry lakes historian, Jack Underwood, who opened his archives for research. 

     They met with Leslie Long who has been dedicating his life to compiling the records and names of all those who raced on the dry lakes of Southern California and at the original drag racing strip at the Santa Ana Airport.  They talked to Curt Giovanine, who opened up the photographic archives of his father, Bob, co-owner of the famous Spurgin/Giovanine roadster.  They used the SCTA Racing News and programs, Throttle magazine and newspaper articles.   Some of the people they interviewed included; Pat Berardini, Vic Meleo, Rod McCarrell, Cary Harrell Prather, Wayne Pollaccia, whose father Tony also raced drag boats, Augie Esposito, Don Montgomery, Al ‘Mousie’ Marcellus, Terry Baldwin, Ed Iskenderian and others.  These sources alone comprise an engrossing story of the times.

     Chapter One is titled ‘Jim’s Speed Shop and Jim’s Auto Parts.’  In the Introduction, the authors begin the story in the South and tell how the family relocated to Southern California, where they settled.  In Chapter One, Jim worked as an auto mechanic and since this is during the Great Depression, his business did whatever auto work that he could find.  In 1928 Jim returned to Georgia, but problems ensued and the family moved back to California, this time to stay for good.  Jim was born in 1903 and was older than the typical hot rodder who raced their cars on the streets and dry lakes in the ‘30’s and this age and maturity influenced many around him.  Jim Harrell opened his shop in 1932 and did the usual repairs, but also added rudimentary speed equipment, for the industry had not achieved the degree of sophistication that it has today. 

     The dry lakes of California beckoned many young men to come out and test their cars against the one thing that is unchangeable, time itself.  Jim participated in these organized time trials and set records.  His status in the racing community was rising, until the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Navy ended racing during World War II.  Jim worked as a welder in the ship yards at night and at his garage and auto parts store during the day.  In Chapter Two, the authors detail the close relationship that Jim Harrell had with several racing friends.  Tony Capanna, another legendary dry lakes racer and mechanic, lived just around the corner and would learn from Harrell.  Men who would become close friends and fans of Jim’s was Bob Noble, Bob Knapton and other members of the Albata Club, such as Babe Ouse, Chuck Spurgin, Bob Giovanine, Ralph Schenck and Nick DeFabrity.

     Jim’s brother, Nick Harrell, had worked off-and-on with his brother, but after World War II, he went to work full time in the shop and assumed a major role in the business.  Jim and his fellow racers in the Albata car club had been one of the leading groups in the pre-war SCTA and after hostilities had ended and racing started up again, the club and its members regained the top spot at the dry lakes that the war had interrupted.  Over the next few years the members of the Albata and other car clubs would be lured away from land speed racing and go into other forms of auto racing.  Some would do well at the oval tracks in midget and sprint car racing.  Some would follow road racing with Carroll Shelby, Briggs Cunningham and Dan Gurney.  And some would move into a new sport which they called drag racing.  The SCTA would almost collapse like the other timing associations and the car club scene would fade away, much like Jive, Be-bop, Swing, Drive-in theatres and the corner Drive-In restaurants. 

     Another siren call for dry lakes racers was boat racing and it flourished.  Whether it was on lakes, marinas or the ocean, boat racing was much cleaner than the dusty dry lakes, the weather was nicer and there were always plenty of beautiful women in alluring bathing suits.  Boat racing was the place to be and for a good engine builder like the Harrell Brothers, a sport that gave them exposure and prestige.  The brothers were also finding success with the track roadsters, an exciting sport that combined the best of the rugged little midgets and the power of the sprinters.  But it wasn’t only in racing that the Harrell Brothers were gaining a reputation.  Young men were no longer building cars for the dry lakes; they were instead building street hot rods and racing illegally on the streets.  This led to the formation of official drag strips and in 1951, the founding of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) in an effort to provide alternatives for illegal street racing.  Street rods for performance and show were to become a large part of the Harrell business. 

     The Harrell speed shop attracted lots of attention and some of the drag racers would include Willie Borsch, Mousie Marcellus, Tony and Pat Berardini, Don Bell, the Pollaccia brothers, Bob Morgan and many other young men who would go on to fame in drag racing and other forms of motorsports racing.  Harrell engines figured prominently in Don Bell’s and Pat Berardini’s success at the Santa Ana Airport drags in the early 1950’s.  Don Bell’s real name was Donald Allan Dodd, and no one quite knows why he went with an alias, but using a racing alias was quite common back then.  The tragic death of Don Bell at El Mirage in 1953 ended a strong friendship between the two men.  Cars running Harrell engines also did well at other dragstrips throughout the area.  In early 1956, Jim Harrell teamed up with Wild Willie Borsch and put a Chrysler OH engine in the car.  It seems like an eternity has passed since the Harrell/Borsch roadster wowed the crowds with speeds in the high 120’s and elapsed times in the 11 seconds.  But in those days that was fast, gut-wrenching fast and even today, when we are jaded by 300mph drag cars, it just isn’t the same. 

     By July 1959, Borsch was recording speeds of 137 mph, then a month later up that to 144 mph.  Borsch beat Tony Nancy to win the Smokers March meet in 1961, running an even 150 mph.  Borsch added an airfoil to the roadster in 1964 and the car picked up the nickname ‘Flying Wing,’ which was later modified to ‘Winged Express.’  This is a type of roadster, with short wheelbases, powerful engines and running on nitromethane, that evolved into the wildly popular, but highly unstable Fuel Altereds class.  These weaving, unpredictable cars would fascinate drag racing crowds until they were banned.  Today they still run, but on the nostalgia circuit and the safety features have improved immensely from that era.  By 1966, the roadster had reached a speed of 181 mph and Jim Harrell had decided to retire.  Borsch took on a new partner, Al ‘Mousie’ Marcellus, who is still the car’s owner.  The last chapter talks about the legacy of the Harrell brothers and what they meant to dry lakes, oval track and early drag racing history.  The rights to the Harrell Los Angeles™ heads and intake manifolds are now owned by Gordy Cushman of Rockford, Illinois, who is making and selling them today.  Harrell Engines & Racing Equipment; Jim (White) Harrell & Nick Harrell, is published by R&M Publishing of Hermosa Beach, California and can be found at Autobooks/Aerobooks, in Burbank, California.   See http://www.autobooks-aerobooks.com, and www.harrellengineshotrodding.com.

Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.
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Australian Street Rod Nationals.  By Le Roi Tex Smith.  Reprinted by permission of Internet Brands and www.hotrodhotline.com.  
     I attended my first Australian Street Rod Nationals at Geelong, Victoria back in 99, think it was.  By yankee standards it was small, but fun, with the aussies cutting huge donuts in the drought shrunk show grounds to the delight of all the dust covered participants, spectators, and assorted riff-raff.  Great giggles.  The OZ Nats returned to Geelong this year, for about the 3rd time (downunder Nats are held every two years, at alternating sites around the nation), hauling out something over 1400 registered rods and a few customs, and the same spirit of "It'll be right, mate" prevailed.
     Keep in mind that Australia has about 30 million people, and you get about the same ten percent ratio to population as rodding in the States. I think the difference is that down here, they are not as jaded as we are in the US.  They camp out to shave costs (ostensibly) but the real reason is that they love to have a stubby or two and this keeps them safe from the highway fuzz.  The way it works is that the national Australian Street Rod Association kind of farms out the event to a local club or association in a designated state, and that club then makes it all happen.  Victoria state is right at the bottom of the country, and is by default the automotive center, since it is where Ford and Holden (read GM) and some Japanese makers have assembly plants.  In the past, other nameplates have been here.  Today, Ford holds sway in Geelong and Holden is up the huge bay at Melbourne.  Best thing for you to do is Google a map to get the lay of things.
     Anyway, the Geelong street rod club has something like 200 members and they did a bang-up job of organizing things around a showgrounds which has a large grass oval mid-way, with a paved perimeter road. It reminds me very much of a typical midwestern midsize town fairgrounds.  For three days over Easter, the official event happens, spilling over either side a day or two.  Participants and spectators drive and fly in from around the nation, which is almost the same dimensions as the US.  Because this is THE BIG ONE folks, and it lures a fair share of Americans each time. Corky Coker sent over his two sided Deuce roadster, then showed in person as a celebrity. In the past there has been a long list of individuals come down under to see how hot rodding fares in the Antipodes.  The LA Roadsters came as a club a few years past. It's well worth the time and effort to come down. You might want to dust off your 'Strain language, however.
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Gone Racin’…
Harrell Engines & Racing Equipment; Jim (White) Harrell & Nick Harrell, by Roger H. Harrell, with Richard C. Harrell and Alec R. Harrell Carlson.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.   June 6, 2009

     A delightful paperback book on early dry lakes racing and engine building during the early to mid twentieth century is titled Harrell Engines & Racing Equipment; Jim (White) Harrell & Nick Harrell.  Written by Roger H. Harrell, with assistance from Richard C. Harrell and Alec R. Harrell Carlson, this book details the story of the Harrell engines and racing equipment that played an important role in our racing history.  Harrell Engines & Racing Equipment; Jim (White) Harrell & Nick Harrell is a paperback book measuring six by nine inches, with 154 pages.  The cover shows a black and white photograph of Jim Harrell’s modified roadster at Muroc in 1941 as it set a record of 127.65 miles per hour (mph) in the modified roadster class, an impressive time for that day and age.  The photograph on the back cover shows the two Harrell brothers at their shop with the roadster.  It is a nostalgic start to a book on a racing family that was a cornerstone of our racing community. 

     The pages are on a white bond matte paper.  The photographs are all in black and white, some clear and some grainy, depending on the age of the photographs that the authors used.  All of the photographs were visibly clear, but remember that the technology of the age then makes it difficult to reproduce today in some cases.  There were 60 photographs, 8 newspaper ads, 7 tables and one newspaper article.   The authors footnoted topics and provided an excellent three page index for the scholar and the average reader to use.  There was also a five page pictorial appendix of the Harrell family so that you could see the men and women who were being chronicled in the book.  The book contains a contents section, photographic index, list of tables, preface, introduction and six chapters.  It shows the care and thoroughness of someone with an academic background, but it is easy to read and to locate sources.

     The Harrell family is proud of the accomplishments of Jim and Nick Harrell and the book is a memorial to their mechanical genius.  Jim changed his name to White, then back to Harrell again, thus the confusion and the authors reference to Jim (White) Harrell.  Some of Jim’s customers and racing friends knew him as White and others as Harrell.  The book gives the reasons for the change in names and that in itself is a fascinating story.  This wasn’t an easy book to write.  The authors knew some of the history of the Harrell brothers, but so much of what they did they kept to themselves.  This was an odyssey of sorts, a trek back in time and to do that the authors had to interview men and women who knew the Harrell brothers.  They also found old programs, newspaper ads and articles and other sources with which to better understand what had happened over the years.  The authors travelled to Jack’s Garage in Fountain Valley, to see a special man and dry lakes historian, Jack Underwood, who opened his archives for research. 

     They met with Leslie Long who has been dedicating his life to compiling the records and names of all those who raced on the dry lakes of Southern California and at the original drag racing strip at the Santa Ana Airport.  They talked to Curt Giovanine, who opened up the photographic archives of his father, Bob, co-owner of the famous Spurgin/Giovanine roadster.  They used the SCTA Racing News and programs, Throttle magazine and newspaper articles.   Some of the people they interviewed included; Pat Berardini, Vic Meleo, Rod McCarrell, Cary Harrell Prather, Wayne Pollaccia, whose father Tony also raced drag boats, Augie Esposito, Don Montgomery, Al ‘Mousie’ Marcellus, Terry Baldwin, Ed Iskenderian and others.  These sources alone comprise an engrossing story of the times.

     Chapter One is titled ‘Jim’s Speed Shop and Jim’s Auto Parts.’  In the Introduction, the authors begin the story in the South and tell how the family relocated to Southern California, where they settled.  In Chapter One, Jim worked as an auto mechanic and since this is during the Great Depression, his business did whatever auto work that he could find.  In 1928 Jim returned to Georgia, but problems ensued and the family moved back to California, this time to stay for good.  Jim was born in 1903 and was older than the typical hot rodder who raced their cars on the streets and dry lakes in the ‘30’s and this age and maturity influenced many around him.  Jim Harrell opened his shop in 1932 and did the usual repairs, but also added rudimentary speed equipment, for the industry had not achieved the degree of sophistication that it has today. 

     The dry lakes of California beckoned many young men to come out and test their cars against the one thing that is unchangeable, time itself.  Jim participated in these organized time trials and set records.  His status in the racing community was rising, until the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Navy ended racing during World War II.  Jim worked as a welder in the ship yards at night and at his garage and auto parts store during the day.  In Chapter Two, the authors detail the close relationship that Jim Harrell had with several racing friends.  Tony Capanna, another legendary dry lakes racer and mechanic, lived just around the corner and would learn from Harrell.  Men who would become close friends and fans of Jim’s was Bob Noble, Bob Knapton and other members of the Albata Club, such as Babe Ouse, Chuck Spurgin, Bob Giovanine, Ralph Schenck and Nick DeFabrity.

     Jim’s brother, Nick Harrell, had worked off an on with his brother, but after World War II, he went to work full time in the shop and assumed a major role in the business.  Jim and his fellow racers in the Albata car club had been one of the leading groups in the pre-war SCTA and after hostilities had ended and racing started up again, the club and its members regained the top spot at the dry lakes that the war had interrupted.  Over the next few years the members of the Albata and other car clubs would be lured away from land speed racing and go into other forms of auto racing.  Some would do well at the oval tracks in midget and sprint car racing.  Some would follow road racing with Carroll Shelby, Briggs Cunningham and Dan Gurney.  And some would move into a new sport which they called drag racing.  The SCTA would almost collapse like the other timing associations and the car club scene would fade away, much like Jive, Be-bop, Swing, Drive-in theatres and the corner Drive-In restaurants. 

     Another siren call for dry lakes racers was boat racing and it flourished.  Whether it was on lakes, marinas or the ocean, boat racing was much cleaner than the dusty dry lakes, the weather was nicer and there were always plenty of beautiful women in alluring bathing suits.  Boat racing was the place to be and for a good engine builder like the Harrell Brothers, a sport that gave them exposure and prestige.  The Harrells were also finding success with the track roadsters, an exciting sport that combined the best of the rugged little midgets and the power of the sprinters.  But it wasn’t only in racing that the Harrell Brothers were gaining a reputation.  Young men were no longer building cars for the dry lakes; they were instead building street hot rods and racing illegally on the streets.  This led to the formation of official drag strips and in 1951, the founding of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) in an effort to provide alternatives for illegal street racing.  Street rods for performance and show were to become a large part of the Harrell business. 

     The Harrell speed shop attracted lots of attention and some of the drag racers would include Willie Borsch, Mousie Marcellus, Tony and Pat Berardini, Don Bell, the Pollaccia brothers, Bob Morgan and many other young men who would go on to fame in drag racing and other forms of motorsports racing.  Harrell engines figured prominently in Don Bell’s and Pat Berardini’s success at the Santa Ana Airport drags in the early 1950’s.  Don Bell’s real name was Donald Allan Dodd, and no one quite knows why he went with an alias, but using a racing alias was quite common back then.  The tragic death of Don Bell at El Mirage in 1953 ended a strong friendship between the two men.  Cars running Harrell engines also did well at other dragstrips throughout the area.  In early 1956, Jim Harrell teamed up with Wild Willie Borsch and put a Chrysler OH engine in the car.  It seems like an eternity has passed since the Harrell/Borsch roadster wowed the crowds with speeds in the high 120’s and elapsed times in the 11 seconds.  But in those days that was fast, gut-wrenching fast and even today, when we are jaded by 300mph drag cars, it just isn’t the same. 

     By July 1959, Borsch was recording speeds of 137 mph, then a month later up that to 144 mph.  Borsch beat Tony Nancy to win the Smokers March meet in 1961, running an even 150 mph.  Borsch added an airfoil to the roadster in 1964 and the car picked up the nickname ‘Flying Wing,’ which was later modified to ‘Winged Express.’  This is a type of roadster, with short wheelbases, powerful engines and running on nitromethane, that evolved into the wildly popular, but highly unstable Fuel Altereds class.  These weaving, unpredictable cars would fascinate drag racing crowds until they were banned.  Today they still run, but on the nostalgia circuit and the safety features have improved immensely from that era.  By 1966, the roadster had reached a speed of 181 mph and Jim Harrell had decided to retire.  Borsch took on a new partner, Al ‘Mousie’ Marcellus, who is still the car’s owner.  The last chapter talks about the legacy of the Harrell brothers and what they meant to dry lakes, oval track and early drag racing history.  The rights to the Harrell Los Angeles™ heads and intake manifolds are now owned by Gordy Cushman of Rockford, Illinois, who is making and selling them today.  Harrell Engines & Racing Equipment; Jim (White) Harrell & Nick Harrell, is published by R&M Publishing of Hermosa Beach, California and can be found at Autobooks/Aerobooks, in Burbank, California.   See http://www.autobooks-aerobooks.com, and www.harrellengineshotrodding.com.
Gone Racin’ is at
RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM
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The following editorial was sent in by Roger H. Harrell and Alec Harrell Carlson.
 
   I was recently reminded that one of the main purposes of the Society of Land Speed Racing Historian (SLSRH) group and their newsletter is to encourage others to publish their books and photographs in order to pass along the hot rodding culture of past generations to future generations. I was reminded of this because, as you know, we published our history about 3 years ago and have just completed the second edition of Harrell Engines & Racing Equipment: Jim (White) Harrell & Nick Harrell. The reminder was aimed at getting us to describe some of our experiences, thinking it may be helpful to others and encourage them to pull together and publish histories of their family members or friends of past generations who quietly but significantly made a mark on hot rodding history. 

   I think one of the things that makes our effort particularly relevant to SLSRH purpose is the fact that it is a history of lesser known hot rodders working in and creating the hot rod culture of the 1930s through the mid-1960s. There are usually historians eager to write about the famous and legendary figures in hot rodding, but cultures are also made by all those involved in making things happen and most of whom, we know far too little about. Our uncles, Jim & Nick Harrell, are among the latter group. I mention this because one of the first issues confronting someone putting together a history of relatively unknown legends is who will publish it. If the book is about the activities of a couple of hot rodders a couple of decades ago, not very many people will be interested in buying it. Most commercial publishing companies want to handle books that are likely to sell thousands if not hundreds of thousands of copies. We knew from the beginning, our book might sell hundreds of copies, never thousands. Nevertheless, we wanted their story to be out there; to be remembered because we knew they worked long and hard for decades enjoying almost every minute of it. The reality: it will not be a money maker for any commercial publishing house. So, we would write the story, keep our costs as low as possible and perhaps in five years or so recover our cash outlay. Of course, forget about getting any monetary reward for our time and effort. However, our rewards, as expected, are loads of satisfaction knowing that hundreds of younger hot rodders now know Jim and Nick Harrell and all that they achieved. One of the main reasons for describing how we got this work published is to point out how easy it is to publish a story of lesser known legends even when there is little or no prospect of it being a profit making venture. So, here’s how we did it without putting a second mortgage on the family home.

   Fortunately, most of the people we wanted to interview/talk to were still in Southern California so travel expenses were minimal. When the distances were great, we used the telephone and email. Of course our time and theirs was happily donated, as were the use of photos. On only a couple of occasions did people ask to be paid for the use of photos they had, but we were able to avoid those costs by finding less polished images that worked nearly as well. Up to the point of getting it published we were able to keep the cash outlay around $500.

   Getting the book published was actually much less complicated and costly than expected. We decided to go with a process called print-on-demand. This means the publisher doesn’t print a thousand or so copies and then warehouse them until sold. When an order is placed, the publisher has the book in digital format and simply prints a copy and has it in the mail within a day. This means the publisher has no outlay and thus little concern about how many copies might ultimately be sold. The main reason the publisher has no up-front monetary investment in your project is that the authors pay for preparing, formatting, proofing, etc. until it is a digital product ready to print on demand. This raises the question of about how much does it cost to prepare it for the final stage. It can be as high as several thousand or only several hundred Dollars. (We used a company called
CreateSpace.com which is owned by amazon.com.)

   If you’re feeling flush, you can have them do everything from typing and formatting each page as well as process and insert each photo, build your table of contents and index, edit and later proof read the copy, and finally design and build your cover. CreateSpace has a large and excellent staff in each of these departments, and the end products I have seen are very professional. (By the way, we don’t own CreateSpace or
amazon.com stock and have nothing to gain by promoting their enterprise.) However, if you have them do all the stages and operations for you, you can spend several thousand dollars.

   We only spent several hundred dollars. Here’s how we managed that. We wrote the text and inserted the photos in Word.  We should add that we are not experts by today’s standards at doing this sort of work.  Anyway, with a little messing around, we got Word to put everything into pages that were reduced to 9 x 6 inches, and then we just moved text and photos around until each page was more-or-less filled. Because only a few of our photos were in color, CreateSpace recommended that we convert all the photos to grayscale to keep the cost down—and we did. We then had a spouse and a couple of friends do some proof-reading and editing. Once we had every page exactly as we wanted it to appear in the end product, with the flick of a key we had Word mysteriously lock everything into a pdf file—which meant it could be sent through cyber-space to CreateSpace (sorry) without anything on any page being rearranged in the process.

   The cover file was more difficult for non-experts like us, so after several days of frustrating effort (even with CreateSpace's very good and detailed instruction manual), we contacted a very talented young graphic designer in Australia named Jimmy B (aka, Jimmy Barter) who is also a hot rod builder of many years.  Barter is building a modified roadster reminiscent of pre-WWII dry lake racing era.  Jimmy created the cover for our book to CreateSpace's specs and he did so for less than we would have paid with CreateSpace.  Check out Jimmy’s blog to see some of the great cars he has illustrated:
http://jimmybarter.blogspot.com.au/.

   At every step in the process, CreateSpace provides a very good and brief instruction sheet that covers every question and difficulty you might have. Once we had the book in a pdf file and the cover file from Jimmy, we sent them off to CreateSpace for up-loading to their system. We were done, except for proof-reading a printed copy they sent for that purpose. Bottom line: even though we frequently email or telephoned CreateSpace for help or advice, their total bill was under $400. We should add, included in that price was a fee of about $75 to have CreateSpace do all the paper-work and processing necessary to get our copyright registered as well as our ISBN number. (Note: there are probably other very good print-on-demand, full service publishing companies around, this is just the only one we have experience with.)

   Because publishing through CreateSpace's web site was so easy and relatively inexpensive originally, when we decided to do the Second Edition we naturally contacted them. It was simple, they just told us to make the changes we wanted in our Word file, once again put it in pdf form, send it to them, and they would reload the new file into their system. No additional charge. After we sent the files, we realized that the book was about 50 pages longer than the 1st edition so the gray color on the front and back covers would spill over onto the wider spine of the book—we emailed them the news of a potential problem. Their response, don’t worry about it, we’ll send it to our design department and they’ll take care it—at no charge to us. So, they moved ahead: uploaded the new file, printed a proof-copy and sent it to us for approval. At that point, we had a small problem. Once we were looking at the printed copy rather than the digital file on our computer, we could see that one of the photos we had added was one we didn’t have permission to use, so we immediately emailed CreateSpace, told them we needed to exchange one of the photos. They said, just make the change in our file and send them the revised file. We did, and then they printed another proof-copy, and mailed it to us for approval. Again, there was no charge. So, when answering the question recently put to me, how much did it cost to put out the 2nd edition: our answer is, not a dime—but lots of my time and energy. We hope this is helpful and above all encourages others to do similar projects about hot rodders in their lives.  If you care to see more about our project, visit:
www.harrellengineshotrodding.com.
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Gone Racin’…
Blood on the Wall, a novel by Deke Houlgate.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  February 10, 2008

     Blood on the Wall is a novel by Deke Houlgate and the background setting is the famed Indy 500 open wheel race at the Brickyard, in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Houlgate has been a reporter, writer and public relations person since the early 1950’s.  Experts say that a novelist does his best job when part of the hero reflects his own persona.  They also say that a writer should write on subjects that he knows best.  Houlgate’s alter-ego hero, or anti-hero if you wish, is Jack Allen, who is as flawed, but human as any fictional character.  Jack is a reporter for that other paper, the poor cousin of the famous Times in Los Angeles.  Blood on the Wall is peppered with characters, large and small, important and obscure, yet woven together in a way that makes them unforgettable.  The plot isn’t original, there are other novels with the same themes, but few blood and guts detective stories weave auto racing as seamlessly into the plot as this book does. 

     It’s possible to pick apart the characters, the plot and the loss of an adverb or two and feel that an adequate book review has been done.  Normally a reviewer gives the pros and cons at the beginning, then a rating at the end of the review.  I’m going to change that and tell you that Blood on the Wall is a novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Houlgate has a natural style and his hero, Jack Allen a panache that deserves to be serialized in future novels.  What I’m not sure of is whether the author knows just how good a writer he is and how popular his hero can be.  There are plenty of reasons to pan this novel.  The author sometimes confuses background with preachiness.  The chapters are short and terse, making Hemingway look wordy.  There are characters that need more lines and description.  The biggest flaw is that Houlgate stops short of telling us more about the real star of Blood on the Wall, the racetrack, reporters, participants and the race itself. 

     All these minor flaws are overwhelmed by the action and story.    Blood on the Wall is a novel that is very readable and hard to put down.  There are 36 chapters covering 169 pages and the action is continuous and orderly.  The reader can put this book down at any time and then pick it back up and continue reading with no loss in concentration or plot development.  I read Blood on the Wall from cover to cover in four hours and found the plot interesting, twisting and turning as a good detective story should be.  The story follows Jack Allen as he leaves Los Angeles to cover the Indy 500 in the early 1970’s.  Jack says goodbye to Gloria, his drop dead gorgeous live-in girlfriend, as he heads for his plane.  Gloria asks him if he will be faithful and avoid the crowds of young racing groupies and Jack avoids her question by asking her if she will stay away from the surfing boy-toys.  For novel readers this is a dead giveaway that hanky-panky is right around the corner. 

     For Jack, fidelity endures from the last kiss he gives to Gloria until he eyes Laura on the plane, a married woman with children who is even more gorgeous than his girlfriend.  Jack goes from glance to lust to passion and not long after the plane lands, he and Laura find themselves entangled in bed together.  Jack is a consummate professional and manages to break away from the lovely Laura long enough to track down stories, attend the press conferences and parties and get himself kidnapped.  He breaks one story, finds himself embroiled in theft and drug rings and manages to save several people from doom.  The characters peopling Blood on the Wall include Bob the Doorman, the unassuming and kindly old man, Barker and Torquemada, who admit him to the press room.  Eric, Sylvester, Delisle, Janice and Eric are part of the Speedway and enmeshed in the stolen pin story.  No sooner does Jack solve one problem than another presents itself.

     The author introduces us to Nancy, the beauty queen turned weather girl, an old friend of Jack, the reporter with a girl in every town.  Sparks fly, passion rages and yes, Jack double books two ladies for the same sleep-over.  Randy reporters and roving sailors are nothing new to literature and we could easily dismiss this as an attempt to sell more books, but we all know men like Jack.  Houlgate gives us a wide range of goofy and fascinating characters; Toad, Dinkus, Sheila the Femi-Nazi, hot-tempered Ruell, Fleming the thief, and Di Stefano the Las Vegas hood.  There’s murder, kidnapping, theft, lies, infidelity, sex, racism, Ku Klux Klan shenanigans, drug dealing, gang warfare, good and bad cops and many more plot lines.  In the end the bad guys lose and the good guys win, but a few innocents get in the way of the turf wars.  The Indy 500 is just as wild as real life and the fans drink too much, party too long, and fight too openly at the drop of a hat.  Nancy leaves the scene, Gloria becomes a footnote and Laura is beaten by one of the gangsters. 

     The book ends before the race begins for it is the event itself that has grown to legendary proportions and that’s what Houlgate has so successfully portrayed in his novel.  I would have liked to see Blood on the Wall fleshed out to around 220 pages and the women given more character.  Everything seems to be written from a man’s perspective.  The victories and the defeats seem to come too easy, the women too willing to jump into just any man’s arms and the outcomes barely in doubt.  Nevertheless, Jack Allen is a reporter with a personality and a nose for news that is just too good to lose after just one novel.  Houlgate has to continue the Jack Allen series and give him a Raymond Chandler edginess to him.  Here’s a chance to put another character up there with Sam Spade and the other old detectives we love so much.  It would be a great loss if Houlgate ended his budding career in novel writing, because Jack Allen can only break more hearts and solve more crimes with growing legions of gorgeous babes ready to try and corral our hero.  Blood on the Wall is published by Infinity Publishing at 1-877-BUY BOOK.  The ISBN# is 0-7414-4019-9.  Price is US $12.95.  Rating is 7 out of 8 sparkplugs.
Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM
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     The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame (BDRHoF) has announced a new operating structure to enhance its professionalism and organisational capabilities. It is in line with increased sponsorship and the need to become more involved in events and promotional activity.  Since its launch in 2006, the BDRHoF has evolved around a panel of selectors and this was sufficient when its role was limited and its activities few. But it has become clear that more time, effort and expertise is now required in the area of general management, so a BDRHoF Management Group has been created to handle these functions.
     This group consists of; Stu Bradbury (Chairman), Bev Bradbury (Secretary and Treasurer), Brian Taylor (Marketing and Commercial), Robin Jackson (Press and Public Relations), Phil Evans (Finance), Phil Cottingham (Events and Social Media).  Brian Taylor has stepped down from the BDRHoF Selection Panel to concentrate on BDRHoF Management Group activities. The Panel continues as a separate body, solely responsible for choosing who deserves to be inducted into the BDRHoF and consists of;     Stu Bradbury (Chairman), Phil Evans, Phil Cottingham, Keith Bartlett, Graham Beckwith, Jeremy Cookson, Robin Jackson, Ian Marshall, Ian Messenger, Darren Prentice, and Andy Rogers.                   
     Chairman of the BDRHoF Stu Bradbury said, “It has become very difficult to cover the increased work load during the past 2-3 years and impossible to refer everyday management decisions back for approval by the Selection Panel that only meets face-to-face once a year.  So after much thought and discussion we have decided to separate the functions to enable us to further develop the BDRHoF during the next few years.  Selection Panel members will get involved with some management functions as and when they can, but the majority of this work will now be handled by the new Management Group who will drive things forward.”   
     If you think you can help the Management Group contact BritishDRHOF@aol.com or telephone Stu Bradbury on 01933 279102.  The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame is sponsored by many businesses and associations. Without this support it could not exist. They are Beech Underwriting; U S Automotive; Power Race Graphics; Santa Pod Racers Club; Pennine Drag Racing Club; Eurodragster.com; Avon Park International Racing Association, Shakespeare County Raceway; Santa Pod Raceway; York Raceway.  Further Press Information from Robin Jackson
RJProMod@aol.com.  Tel 01933 222917.  

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