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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER 317 - March 31 , 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;   Bill Moore,  Joe Steng,  America Nostalgia West, Santa Ana Drag Strip

EDITORIAL, by Richard Parks:    
     Don’t forget the Santa Ana Drag Strip Reunion on April 26 at Santiago Creek Park in Orange, California.  The editorial is short because we have reached our limit of 12,000 words.  We are blessed to have a lot of good writers and want to thank Anna Marco, Dick Martin and Tex Smith for sending us their stories and bios.   
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     This past weekend the VW Challenge lost a dear friend and participant when Bill Moore, aka Country Buggy Bill, lost his sudden battle with cancer at his home in Nowra, New South Wales, Australia.  Bill was the coordinator for Team Volksmuller (aka Team Ratmuller), Australia's most active group of Volkswagen land speed racers.  He was also OZ's pre-eminent Volkswagen Country Buggy expert and a renowned detective and collector of illusive Volkswagen ephemera; including such rarities as 1939-1945 KDF factory Beetle blueprints (he unearthed them in Australia, believe it or not).  Bill wrote articles on VW Challengers from down under in stories for VolksWagen Magazine Australia (VWMA) and was a major contributor for the historical Volkswagen collector book, "Volkswagen in Australia, The Forgotten Story."  
     I finally met Bill in person in 2012 during my adventure to Australia to document the VW Challengers at their Speedweek on Lake Gairdner, and we became instant friends, continuing our friendship via Skype these past two years. Bill, together with his bride Shirley, were the most gracious of host's and tour guides, sharing much of Australia's cultural traditions with me.  Bill leaves behind his wife and two daughters.  Speaking on behalf of Team Volksmuller and the entire VW Challenge community, Bill Moore, you will be missed. 
     From Burly Burlile, Mendon, Utah, 36hp & Big Block VW Challenge Volkswagen Land Speed Racing Historian, Society of Land Speed Racing Historians (SLSRH),
https://www.facebook.com/groups/36hpvw.challenge, Freelance Photo-Journalist.
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American Nostalgia West Racing.  Written by Dave Franklin and Anna Marco, photographs by Anna Marco and Mike Dorman.  Additional photos courtesy of ANWR and MyRideIsMe.

     “No one wants to see a fifty-five Chevy run a sixty-five Plymouth Fury Hemi car. This disparity was the driving factor that started our club.”-- Dave Franklin
     Big 3 Wars.  The early to late sixties wars between GM, Ford, and Chrysler (now Fiat) produced some of the most competitive racing ever seen by the public.  The thought back then was “race on Sunday and sell on Monday.”  The sixties muscle cars had their own unique body styles along with totally different engine configurations.  Line up a series of dragsters or comp eliminator cars and back off one hundred yards and you will be hard pressed to tell them apart.  Do the same with almost any of the sixties factory muscle cars and you will have no problem identifying the different makes and models. ANWR cars include different manufacturers, engines, models, and colors. In other words, club members are proud to admit, “They are real cars with radiators, windshields and transmissions. We promote drag racing the way it used to be.”
     American Nostalgia West Racing, officially started in 2007, ANWR members had previously been racing against each other for close to fifteen years.  Their club concept established a venue for racing early ‘60s muscle models (“large & heavy”) with huge American motors against only each other—these type of cars were considered the original “bad boys” on the track with wheel standing starts and top end speeds of excess of 135 mph.
     Primarily ANWR is a group of nostalgia race enthusiasts that participated in the California Hot Rod Reunion and the San Diego Antique Drags (held semi-annually at Barona Raceway in San Diego) who drove or owned larger sixties era vintage race cars (AFX & Super Stock) with big block engines.   In the past they had to race in various hot rod classes with all types of cars, including tube chassis super gas cars.  As member Dave Franklin recalls, “No one wants to see a fifty-five Chevy run a sixty-five Plymouth Fury Hemi car. This disparity was the driving factor that started our club.”  He should know. He owns and drives “Old Yeller.”
     Several ANWR members compiled a list of racers that they had raced against in the past that had similar cars, contacted them by phone and email and presented the idea to everyone about forming a club.  They held a meeting in person and by email where they discussed rules and venues that might be available for their type of racing.  Originally they started with close to twenty members and are currently up to around thirty-five with 31 names currently listed on the website.  Membership is now scattered across five western states and their largest event is the California Hot Rod Reunion presented by the NHRA Museum.  Members help each other out no matter what type of car is owned or driven.  They share parts, fuel, labor or whatever it takes to keep everyone going in their race program and you will find at least fourteen of them at any given event.
     ANWR members take their drag racing very seriously. All cars must pass ANWR committee approval, NHRA tech inspections and have nostalgia specific graphics for vintage 60’s racecars including a car name unique to that car. Criterion is strict but it’s what keeps this club unified and pure at heart. Rules include what’s allowed, what is not, and general competition guidelines. All cars must be pre approved by committee and all cars must run same manufacturers engine but engines do not have to be year specific. Mechanical fuel injection is allowed, carb and ignition systems are unlimited but Mustangs with FE engines only are permitted. Club cars must present a standard or above normal ride height and must meet a weight minimum requirement of 2800 lbs.
     What’s out?  For this club, lowered cars, Pro stock hood scoops, lead sleds or rear wings (“no exceptions”), driving aid electronics (i.e. crossover, delay boxes), power adders, tube chassis cars (“except back half is ok”), and adjustable after market throttle stops (i.e. blade or barrel devices) are out to name a few. ANW members may make recommendations for rule changes and constructive criticism is recommended but operations officers control all final decisions. The club events at Famoso, Barona, Speedworld (Phoenix, AZ), and Irwindale requires a drivers meeting prior to each race day at approx. 8:30 am with all competitors belonging to the ANW organization. Courtesy staging is recommended - each driver must light pre stage bulb first before either driver stages with deep staging permitted.
     For racing an all run field, in the event field is limited due to time constraints, and the ANW operations committee will determine qualifying order (ex. Q16 / reaction time / closest to dial); four-tenths pro tree (.400) and quarter second dial-ins: 9.50 - 9.75 - 10.00 - 10.25 - 10.50 - 10.75 - 11.00 - 11.25 - 11.50 etc. These guys are a hardcore crowd.
    ANWR members are definitely dedicated to drag racing.  Check their stats: “Stampede” belongs to Larry Knapp. His is a 482-ci cammer engine, Holman and Moody original built car circa 1966 and Larry is the original owner.  Denny Sanders “Bewedged” owns a 1964 Polara 500, 426 wedge car, legal super stocker with a 4-speed. Mitch Akers runs a blue 1960 Chevy Impala 540-ci big block with a turbo 400 trans.  Ernie “club attorney” Algorri races a 67 Ford Fairlane 400+ ci small block Ford.  “Wedge Express1,” “Wedge Express 2” and “Miner Threat” belong to Joel “Mopar Fever” Miner and all are 426 ci wedge cars. In addition to running three Mopars, Joel also runs the club website.
     Pat Borovicka’s “Red Sled,” is a 1965 Dodge Coronet with a 440 Wedge engine.  Nick Anderson races a ’62 Tempest while Jack Goodrich’s “Outer Limits” silver ‘64 Plymouth Belvedere with altered wheel base & 471 ci injected Hemi is a familiar site on local tracks.  Dan Ficher races his 482 ci big block Ford housed in a brown 1964 Fairlane Thunderbolt clone and recently, Justin Ruby, driving the red ’65 Hemi Plymouth with the 482-ci stocker hemi (owned by Roger Vogt), just won a race at Dragfest 2010.  Indeed, you won’t find a more dedicated group of men promoting 1960’s drag racing then the crew of the ANWR… except maybe for track promoters themselves.  Race anyone?  See
http://www.americannostalgiawest.com and check it out.
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IMG_8080 Dan Ficher

 Dan Ficher

IMG_8081 MItch Akers

 MItch Akers

IMG_8083 Justyn Ruby

 Justyn Ruby

IMG_8088Joel Miner

Joel Miner

 Denny

 Denny

 Joel

 Joel

 denny sanders

 denny sanders

Jack

Jack

Jack Goodrich hemi

Jack Goodrich hemi

Dan

Dan

Mitch

Mitch

 steve

 steve

Pat

Pat

ernie

ernie

 Justyn

 Justyn

Dave

Dave

JD_Troy-Yarbrough-63-Dodge-

JD_Troy-Yarbrough-63-Dodge-

Larry Knapp stampede lo qualifier

Larry Knapp stampede lo qualifier

Nick Anderson 62 Tempest

Nick Anderson 62 Tempest

Old-Reliable mike McCallum

Old-Reliable mike McCallum

anderson Tempest 2-1

anderson Tempest 2-1

anderson1

anderson1

dave franklin

dave franklin

famoso 06 004 jim gonia

famoso 06 004 jim gonia

gonia famoso 06 004

gonia famoso 06 004

img 8085 denny sanders

img 8085 denny sanders

jerry keller

jerry keller

jim gonia (2)

jim gonia (2)

kellerburnout600

kellerburnout600

mustang1steve whitmore

mustang1steve whitmore

stampede lo qualifier

stampede lo qualifier

wedge express miner

wedge express miner

yarborough

yarborough

larry yarborough

larry yarborough

First Love-Butch Calkins 1941 Willys Gasser.  Written by Anna Marco, photographs by Belgium Lion Photography and Anna Marco and dedicated to Mary Calkins. 

     Butch Calkins “First Love” will always be this 1941 Willys Pickup.  Mary Calkins believes her son was born a reincarnated drag racer.  At the age of three, Butch was a hotrod handful. He would run out the backdoor, either naked or in his diaper, into the backyard and hang off the chain link fence every time the neighbor fired up his racecar. If that wasn’t enough, the family owned a billiard parlor where the original Turks Car Club would gather and she’d find her toddler right in the middle of them.  Once he was found letting the air out of a tire belonging Max Steibecks 1964 GTO. This was after the child had learned to use the air hose at a local gas station.
     Butch Calkins has “always liked loud, noisy things.” He had not one but two motors in his fire engine pedal car and would drive it to the billiard hall with the sirens going. One day, Mary took her son to the local all night market. As they made their way down an aisle, Butch saw a model kit of the “Stone Woods & Cook” gasser.  He got hysterical, and threw a tantrum refusing any other toy but that one.  Mary Calkins is still perplexed as to why Butch behaved that way but we know why.  He was born a hot rodder.
     Butch naturally grew up to become a mechanic and a fabricator who loves hot rods and old cars. He searched hard for an affordable coupe but couldn’t find one and by a stroke of luck instead acquired his 1941 Willys Pickup from a newspaper ad for $2700. It was a complete basket case, disassembled, and with pieces missing too, but it was hauled home on a flatbed and put in the garage.   The project took twelve years to finish and includes a Turbo 400 transmission, dual exhaust with fender well headers, BDS intake & carb, MSD ignition, 4-link rear-end, 4-way disc brakes, Crow safety harness, 4 point roll cage and a Summers Bros. axle. Mary Calkins always said this truck was her son’s “First Love” so that’s what they named it. The rumor was it formerly had some drag racing history, but nothing compares to the accolades it has today. The gasser retains over 100 trophies, won in various class events. There are so many awards that plaques have been boxed and put in storage. The Willys has been crowned “El Mas Chingon” (twice) and the “King of Clubs” (twice) at the Barona Drags.  The truck consistently beat everything it ran against, from roadsters to motorcycles that folks got tired of losing, and boycotted racing against it. The little blue hauler’s fastest ET is 7.13. What makes it GO are Butch’s driving ability and his mechanical work.
      “Stone Woods and Cook” are still Butch Calkins heroes.  His truck is painted a PPG custom Blue mix after their famed ’41 Olds powered Willys A/GS racecar.  That legendary vehicle put the name “Willys” on the map at the drag strips and won over 400 races. You don’t see many pickups around like Butch Calkins gasser and he will never sell it but he does have an idea for an actual racecar next.  Meanwhile, his hard charging truck is no trailer queen; it’s driven to the track and is primarily owner built with some assistance lent on engine and chassis work.  Being all steel bodied, finding original sheet metal and parts was the toughest task as it needed a front end, wheels, and brakes as well. Four years alone were spent haggling the same guy to acquire front fenders for the right price of $800.  The easiest part was building the blown, bored .30 over, balanced and blueprinted 350 Chevy motor and driving it.  In the end, this gasser project is a success because it makes the owner proud.  Butch, who is a member of the Lifters CC and the West Coast Willys Club says, “The two happiest days of my life were the first time I fired up the truck and drove it after working on it piece by piece for twelve long years.  Also, when I won my first drag race. It was a blast the first time out of the garage. Future plans are to continue racing it, and finishing upholstery but blown transmissions take priority.”
     CUSTOM or ROD TECH SHEET:
Owner:  Butch Calkins.  City/State: El Cajon, California.  Builder: owner. 
Year: 1941 Willys pickup, all steel.
Other Body Modifications: bed is shortened 12 inches, Summers Bros. axles.
Grille/shell: stock.
Paint Color: custom Blue mix.  Paint Type: PPG.  Painter: Mako.
Engine: blown 350 Chevy, bored .30 over, balanced & blueprinted, safety thermostat.
Transmission: turbo 400.  Intake & Carb: BDS.  Ignition: MSD.
Exhaust: dual w fender well headers.
Rear End: Ford 9”.  Suspension Front: Willys, stock.  Suspension Rear:  4 link.
Brakes: Wilwood 4 way disc.  Wheels/Size: Pro Track, 5x60x15. 
Tires/Size: Hoosier, rear 29x14x50.
Seats: fiberglass bucket w/ Crow safety harness.  Upholstery: 4-point roll bar.
Dashboard: stock with Moon gauge panel.  Steering Column: custom 1.75” tube.
Steering Wheel: 3.5” 3 spoke Moon.  Windows: all glass.  Taillights: 41 Chevy.
Club Affiliation: Lifters CC, and West Coast Willys Club.

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And Still More.   By Le Roi Tex Smith, reprinted by permission of Internet Brands and
www.hotrodhotline.com.

     You probably never heard of Toby Brown, but he had an effect on millions of Americans. And on at least three neer-do-wells from southern California (names of Brian Brennan, Ron Ceridono, and Tex Smith).  You see, Toby lived right around the corner from Brennan, down there in Newport Beach, California.  Which is just up on the hill from the Pacific and Balboa Island.  And, Toby was a car nut.  He worked in the Hollywood scene, so it was not amiss that one day the three of us wandered around to his house for a visit (actually to sneak a peek at a thing he was building), and over a cup of coffee I noticed a really familiar statue-ette on a shelf.
   “What I think it is?”
   “Yep”
    So out in the garage I spied another one.
   “What I think it is?”
   “Yep”
     And that went on both inside and outside the house and garage.  Those Oscars (and quite a few of other less famous awards) seemed to be everywhere.  Toby Brown was obviously a very talented cameraman.  But we simply knew him as the guy around the corner who dug hot rods.  For Toby, those Oscars were just about as important as another car show trophy is to me.  Ho hum, and a bottle of lemonade.  But, on the plus side, an Oscar or a top trophy from Oakland or Detroit might mean a better year for the professional.
     Somewhere in here, I got a call from him wondering if he could suggest my name to another camera dude who was working on the Today show, something about people who had chucked living in the big city and were making it while living in the country?  So, that crew came to Driggs, Idaho, did their job and a news piece on me that probably no one ever saw, and then faded into the sunset.  I don’t think they were as famous as the unknown Toby Brown.  Anyway, Toby ended up selling out in California and moving to Arkansas or Oklahoma or some such.  And he died just a couple weeks ago.  Sorry you never got to know him as the keen hot rodder he was.
 
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Hooray for Bondo!  By Le Roi Tex Smith.  Reprinted courtesy of Internet Brands and their on-line publication at
www.hotrodhotline.com
     First off, Bondo is/was a trade name, but it has come to mean any of the dozens of catalyzed metal fillers so common to modern body/fender repairs. It is magic, although for too many of the unwashed civilians out there, it will not make a total wreck look new again. Although, let me tell you of an incident many years ago in the San Fernando Valley. I am reminded of this because Gene Winfield was here in Australia recently, doing one of his great metal shaping workshops.  I routinely made the rounds of custom shops and speed emporiums during my years at Hot Rod Magazine, and then all those following years of freelancing to magazines. After Winfield had relocated from Modesto in central California to the San Fernando Valley in order to better serve the movie/tv industry, I included his shop as a regular stop.
     On one particular visit, I found Gene on one side of a vehicle, a helper the other side, and a third person atop a step ladder pouring from a ten gallon bucket…bondo. Quick as the bucket was emptied, Gene and his helper would use a wooden lathe to screen the plastic into a semblance of a shape. All very fast, of course.  Incredulous, I watched a couple of these gargantuan applications of plastic filler. Then, during a break in the proceedings, Gene turned to me and said just one word “Movie.”  Meaning he was making a movie car. A quick and not so clean reshape of a car for the cameras. It worked, but only as an image. It was most definitely not a road worthy vehicle, nor was it remotely intended to be.
     One year, oh back about the early 1980’s, I was taking a break in the stands of the Oakland Roadster Show, shooting the breeze with Barris and Joe Wilhelm, if memory serves. We surveyed the floor covered in some truly magnificent examples of hot rod and custom car art, when Joe muttered a profound statement, “If we had only had Bondo back when!”  His words were eerily prophetic.  I grew up in a body/fender shop, breathing lead dust and lacquer fumes. I learned how to apply and shape body lead by the time I was 10 years old. I knew how to apply stripes and polish with stove black before I was able to shave. I could stretch metal and shrink a hood, I could weld a door panel without distortion with an aircraft torch, I could spot blend lacquer paint as well as any grownup by the age of 15. I had never heard of plastic filler.
     But, we didn’t bend and shape metal the way young people can now. We didn’t know what English wheels were, or MIG/TIG welders. We were in the dark ages of fabrication. When I think of what we could have achieved given the tools of today. Indeed, if we had known about Bondo.  No matter how hard we tried, we could never get the paint finish that is common now.  We could never get quarter panels so straight, hood lines so precise, panel gaps so precise. Today, all this is taken for granted. But, as the sign in the speed shop said, “Speed costs money.  How fast do you want to go?”  I only use plastic filler as a very thin skim coat, not as a filler at all.  Especially at the edge of a panel.  If necessary, I get out the lead for an edge, because the filler is too fragile.  It isn’t that we couldn’t or did not metal finish as well as today, we simply did not have the means to achieve a perfect surface.  Today, after a metal panel is finished, a flash coat of plastic filler is applied. This allows sanding to a flawless surface that will reflect the metal work to its very best appearance. Yes, had we had Bondo (and MIG and TIG and two part paint, etc) back then, what we could have achieved.

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Hanging The Blue Lines.  By Le Roi Tex Smith.
     For me, special cars are for use, not for staring at or lusting after, or for expression of Freudian urges.  A car is, after all, a means of transportation, not of adulation.  In case you haven’t heard, the fun’s in the run.  Which for me during the last 50 years has been Blue Line Running.  You know, those highways on the map signified by the blue ink. No, not the mega-lane interstates, I mean the highways from way back. The great ribbons of macadam that tied the two oceans. that set the tone for continental drift by a nation of drifters, the very expression of what is freedom to most Americans. It’s where I grew to puberty. 
     It often comes as a surprise to my younger counterparts that the interstate freeway system did not come about until relatively recent times, after 1950, in fact, and any of those early ribbons of concrete that remain have largely been redefined in years recent. More to the point, the interstate highways are where the big 18-wheelers are. A growing cadre of hot rodders are reverting to the system that grew during the 1930s and ‘40s. And they are loving their discoveries. Ronnie Poo and I got onto all this back in the Seventies. And we have refined it ever since. 
     You know Poo Bear Ceridono, he of the technical tirades in Street Rodder magazine. He who keeps editor Brennan from hoisting too many wrenches and creating massive havoc. He who thinks that battleship cladding is perfect for hot rod building.  Anyway, when we go somewhere in our hot dogs, we strive valiantly to route ourselves via all those wonderful old state routes that arrow the hearts of America. For instance, I’m told by Burly Burlile (our VW infused buddy who steadfastly refuses therapy) that federal highway 89 is the only road remaining that goes uninterrupted from the Canadian border to that of Mexico. Since I live essentially along that same stretch of bitumen, perhaps at one of the highest elevations, I can attest that it is very scenic the entire route. There may be another such road, I don’t know.  I do know that most of these former backbones of the nation are in better condition now than ever before. The paving is often recent, the traffic is mostly local, and the trucks are few. Hallelujah for the last bit. 
     Long-time buddy Tom Medley is no stranger to long distance travel. He has worn out more cars than most of us own in a lifetime. But he hates the interstates. “Too many trucks, and their lights are so bright at night I can’t see.” I totally agree.  What you get when blue linin’ is a chance to actually see Americans and America. Not Howard Johnsons.  I should remark that all of this hype about blue line highway condition depends on which coast you are nearer. In the eastern states, there seems to be a preponderance of chuck holes, some obviously intended to remove the underpinnings of hot rods and custom cars. I can only assume this is because of the weather, but it may be exacerbated by the mega-tons of salt used to coat the roadway surfaces during the winter.  “Haul out another load of salt, Clyde, we ain’t got enough holes on state route 27 yet!”). In the west, the attitude is more along the lines of, “You slide off the road out here sucker and you gonna walk forty seven miles for help!”  I’m reminded of a Sunday afternoon winter pleasure drive ol’ Ceridono and I took in his Dodge 4x4. After awhile, and when we were well away from anything remotely called civilization, I had to remark, “Uh, Poo Bear, how come we’re sliding down the barrow ditch on my side?”
     The fact that there had been no snow pile busting previous vehicle was a bit misleading to Ronnie, so he decided that we should just lay over on our side for awhile and consider the situation.  Which we did. Fortunately, the gods of best lane win lights appeared in the form of a sno-cat, a track laying thingie.  That crew guffawed at your misfortune, then hooked a line to the Dodge and whanged the strap good.  We were yanked onto the road, our necks were displaced several inches to the side, and once again we braved the wilds of high country Idaho.  I should mention that back in the early Fifties, in that very same region of big spaces, the country mail carriers used Model-A Phaetons with 21-inch wheels and those narrow old stock rag tires. Plenty of clearance, and the narrow tires just whittled down through the snowdrifts to find gravel roads. None of which were distinguished on maps in blue. 
     I still do a ton of blue-lining today, and I don’t need GPS or any such gadgets. Daytime, I just look for the sun and shadows to determine directions.  When it is cloudy, I read which side of the trees the moss is growing on.  At night, I find the North Star. Worked good enough for my daddy down in Oklahoma, and we only had one blue line, called Route 66. Follow that one long enough and you got to the Pacific Ocean. Which was/is blue. 
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Gone Racin’…
The Chrisman Legacy; Always Faster, by Tom Madigan.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.   January 7, 2011.

     I was waiting eagerly for my new copy of the Tom Madigan book on Art Chrisman, called The Chrisman Legacy; Always Faster.  Madigan is one of my favorite authors and Chrisman is one of the pioneers in land speed, drags and car building.  Also there were a lot of my friends involved in this project and I was curious to see what kind of book they had created.  I had done a short biography on Art and his family for The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians, but could not accomplish the greater goal of a full length book on the Chrisman family.  Tom Madigan is that special kind of writer who can tell a good story, but more than that he has the ability to listen.  To tell a story an author has to listen and understand what he is writing about and each time I pick up a book by Madigan to review I know that it will be quality story telling.  Madigan is also one of the best when it comes to basic research.  I’ve reviewed two other Madigan books; Edelbrock/Made in USA, and Fuel and Guts/The Birth of Top Fuel Drag Racing.  Each reached that level of interest that earned itself a good review.  When you buy a Tom Madigan book you know that it is going to be good.  Other books that Madigan has written include; The Loner/The Story of a Drag Racer, Boss/The Bill Stroppe Story, Snake vs Mongoose/How a Rivalry Changed Drag Racing Forever, and Hurricane/The Bob Hannah Story.
     The publisher of The Chrisman Legacy; Always Faster is EJJE, or Ed Justice Junior Enterprises.  From the quality of the layout, printing and publishing, I thought that this must be a division of Motorbooks.  You all know my feelings about Motorbooks; they are the standard by which we judge good works of published books.  EJJE Publishing has the same high standards when it comes to great books in the automotive field.  Ed Justice Jr is the son of Ed Justice Sr, who co-founded Justice Brothers Car Care Products (JB), located in Duarte, California.  Ed Justice Senior and his two brothers were dedicated to racing and they found just the right business product to pursue their love of motorsports through JB oil and gasoline additives.  Ed Justice Jr expanded upon his father and uncles’ work to make JB a major brand and their sponsorships much sought after by car racers.  The three brothers are now gone and we are all poorer for losing them, but Ed Jr has kept the family business strong and growing.  You would think that Ed Jr would have enough work as president of JB, but then you would be wrong.  Ed Jr has an inquisitive mind and when he finds something that interests him he puts his full energies into mastering the skill.  He has his own radio show and is constantly attending shows to find people to interview.  He does his own artwork for his JB products and you can often see him in commercials for JB products that he has made and starred in.  Now he has entered the realm of publishing with his EJJE division and The Chrisman Legacy; Always Faster is a first class addition to his other businesses.  Publishing is still alive, but it is struggling against competition from the internet.  Ed Justice Jr is going into a market full of stresses and declining market share and yet if anyone can make a quality book and do it profitably it is Ed.
     The photographers deserve mention here as well.  Among the photographers there are; Roger Rohrdanz, Tom Madigan, Ed Justice Jr, Chrisman archives, Lana Chrisman, Greg Sharp collection, Kelly Brown, Harry Hibler, Willie Stroppe, Hot Rod magazine archives, Steve Reyes, Bob McClurg, Neonrod Photography, S. Suganuma/Mooneyes, Sam Smead, Danny Eames, Eric Rickman, Lester Nehamkin, Bob D’Olivo, Ford Motor Company archives, Jack Chinn, and the Sulphur Springs Museum collection.  Roger pointed out several photographs that were originally in color but had been printed in a black and white format to present a theme.  While we think of the Chrisman family as pioneers in the sport of land speed and drag racing, they are just as energetic and involved today as they were in the past.  Still, the thematic license is important here; the Chrisman family held the center stage at many a racing event in the early days of straight line racing.  The photographers listed here are important historians in their own right and their work brings out important elements.  Rohrdanz is active today in photographing the car shows and drag races that form a part of our lives, but he was on the scene in the late 1950’s.  He knows the importance of the Chrisman family in racing.  Greg Sharp retired as a policeman and involved himself in finding and saving the history of motorsports throughout the country.  As curator of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum he is responsible for preserving their archives and in assisting others with their research projects.  We will never be able to say enough about the accomplishments of Eric Rickman.  He was everywhere and photographed events that would often be mere footnotes in history if he hadn’t covered those races.  So many organizations over the years have honored Rickman for going to their events and lending credibility to their various forms of racing.  Hibler, Reyes, McClurg, D’Olivo are names that are easily recognizable to us for their contributions in motorsports racing photography and editing.
     What about the book, isn’t that what a review is all about? 
The Chrisman Legacy; Always Faster is a hard cover book measuring 9 by 12 inches in size with 224 pages on excellent photographic paper.  The book is cloth bound down the spine for extra strength.  The book is black with gold lettering.  The book jacket cover or sleeve, sometimes called a dust cover, is striking, showing the three famous Chrisman cars; #25 roadster, #176 coupe and the Hustler 1 slingshot dragster.  As I mention in all my reviews, keep the cover or sleeve in good condition and do not tear it or throw it away.  The dust covers are intended to protect the book and they do a good job of that, but they are also valuable in their own right.  So many covers are lost, damaged or thrown away that collectors of books pay a huge premium for a book that is in good condition with a pristine book cover intact.  Throw away the dust cover jacket and the book’s value drops in half.  The hard cover is rather unappealing, but the dust cover jacket on this book is spectacular, showing the cars framed on a dry lake with the California snow capped mountains in the distance.  This jacket is a real keeper.  The Preface is written by the author, Tom Madigan, and it lays out the reasons behind the book.  The Foreword is by Greg Sharp and is informative in Sharp’s usually brief style.  Few can say so much in so few words as Greg does.  The Presentation is by Ed Justice Jr, one of those men blessed with the ability to observe and then tell us in that great old-fashioned story telling way.  There are seven chapters, an Epilogue, a page of Acknowledgments and an Index.  Always look at the Acknowledgments to see who the sources are that the writer used.  It is a good way to see beforehand if the research is up to the quality that a good book needs to tell the story.  The three-page Index of names and terms tells me that this is going to be a well-written book.  It shows that the author isn’t going to stint on quality.  I found the index to be complete and helpful.
     You can order the book through EJJE Publishing, but I have not found out exactly how many copies of the book are in the first edition.  Use the ISBN #13 978-0-9828999-0-8 or the title of the book;
The Chrisman Legacy; Always Faster.  You may find copies available at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum gift shop, in Pomona, California, or by calling JB Products in Duarte, California.  The price is around $50, which is a reasonable one for a small, first run issue.  My copy came with a numbered plate and a black and white photograph of the Hustler I, suitable for framing.  There were 45 color and 249 black and white photographs and almost all of them were of high quality and the clarity was very good.  I counted one poster, one Bob McCoy drawing and 18 magazine covers or magazine pages with multiple photographs listed.  The size of the book presents a problem; it is too large for the normal bookcase and about right as a centerpiece or “coffee table book.”  Perhaps that was the thought of the author as he crafted this book, or maybe he needed this particular large size to adequately portray the photographs.  It has a nice thumb thru quality to it.  By that I mean that a reader can scan the book quickly and enjoy the photographs and then put it aside.  Or you can read word for word and page by page, because this is a very easy and fun book to read.
     The book isn’t really broken down into chapters as such; but into segments that flow seamlessly.  Part I is called the Early Years and the history of the Chrisman family is both unique and common.  I say common in respect, for the family struggled through the WWI, Great Depression, WWII and the Post-War eras just like the rest of us did.  Unique in that the Chrisman family was often the trend-setters in whatever field of racing that they entered.  Evert Chrisman, known as “Pops” brought his family out to California from Sulphur Springs, Arkansas, at the urging of his father, Henry Chrisman.  The war had just broken out and jobs were plentiful, and Evert found work in the shipyards in Southern California.  The family consisted of Lloyd, Art and four sisters.  Uncle Jack, who was just a year older than Art, often confused people who thought of him as another sibling.  After the war Pops opened a garage in Compton in the Willowbrook neighborhood, where so many other hot rodders lived at the time.  Lloyd and Art worked for their father, but there was also time for girls and hot rods.  The Chrisman’s’ were a tight family.  Art raced at El Mirage and was one of the first to drag race at the Santa Ana drag strip.  The family thrived in this new area and the people they knew or raced against are legendary names; Ed Iskenderian, Vic Edelbrock, Wally Parks, Pete Petersen, Leroy Neumayer, Rosie Roussel, Chet Herbert, Ak Miller, Mickey Thompson, C. J. Hart, Lou Baney, Tony Capanna and many others.
     They made their name famous in early drag racing, at El Mirage, the Bonneville Salt Flats, on oval tracks.  The brothers crewed for Tony Capanna at the Indy 500.  The brothers ran at the first National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Nationals in 1955.  I really enjoy books that give lots of information on the early days and this first part contains 88 pages and outstanding early photographs.  Part II is titled The Autolite Years and runs to 46 pages.  Uncle Jack Chrisman was making a name for himself in drag racing.  Evert, Lloyd and Art were still working at the family garage when the Autolite division of Ford Motor Car Company offered Art the job as west coast representative for their spark plug company in 1962.  Many other well-known racers of the day went to work for Ford when that company invested heavily in their racing teams.  This brought Art into contact with all levels of racing from dirt track, Bonneville, Daytona Beach, off-road, hydroplane, Pikes Peak, endurance, drag, Road Course, motorcycle, oval track, Can-Am, Indy, land speed, sprints, midgets and much more.  He would know or work with Carroll Shelby, Parnelli Jones, Bill Stroppe, Steve McQueen, Eddie Kuzma, Dan Gurney, A. J. Foyt, Jim Clark, Colin Chapman, Chuck Hulse, Rodger Ward, Eddie Sachs, Roger McCluskey, Jerry Kugel, Danny Ongais, Rudy Ramos, and Bob Ellis, etal.
     The auto makers turned the 1960’s into one of the most exciting eras in motorsports racing.  It was the time when fans rooted for their favorite cars; with Ford, Chevy, Pontiac, Dodge, Plymouth and other brands investing considerable amounts in their racing programs.  As with all fads, this one faded out as corporate accountants decided that such advertising programs were not cost effective.  One program after another was eliminated or pared back and Autolite was no exception.  In Part III, named Life After Autolite, Art teamed up with Ed Pink to build engines, then went to work for W. R. Grace and then Forgedtrue Industries.  His heart though was in mechanics and he left to form his own company, C.A.R.S. with his son Mike.  This father and son business was just like the Evert, Lloyd and Art Chrisman garage in Compton.  Though it was hard work and long hours, it was a chance to develop strong ties with the next generation and do the work that he loved to do.  The shop and business is still successful and now Art is the mentor to his son, just as his father was to him.  It is a place where hot rodders and racers love to visit, especially on the Wednesday night open house which has become a tradition.  In this section are seen smiling faces of Art and his wife Dorothy and son Mike. 
     The new business turned out great hot rods, winning the Grand National Roadster Show’s AMBR award, for America’s most beautiful roadster.  Joe MacPherson owned the car and was a supporter and backer for many of the projects taken on by the Chrisman’s.  Joe established a museum that housed many of the finest hot rods, bikes and race cars on his car dealership in Tustin, California.  Joe’s Garage, an outstanding car and racing museum, was a Mecca for car guys in Southern California where reunions were regularly held.  The museum shut down soon after MacPherson’s death.  Mike Chrisman runs the shop now and also drives a vintage fuel dragster, continuing the family tradition in car building and racing.  Art and other members of the Chrisman family have been honored by many groups and associations with memberships in Hall of Fames.  Part IV is called Uncle Jack and gives the story of Jack Chrisman.  Many people are confused about Jack and think of him as Art and Lloyd’s brother.  He was Evert’s younger brother and Art and Lloyd’s uncle, although they were nearly the same age.  Evert was the first born of Henry and Henrietta Chrisman, then came 12 sisters and finally Jack was born.  By the time Jack was born, Evert had married and started on a family of his own.  Jack married Dee and they had two sons and a daughter; Larry, Steve and Lana.  Steve took over the business, Chrisman Driveline Components, from Jack and also drives a top fuel dragster in the NHRA.  Lana runs the John Force retail stores in Indiana and California.  Larry is a businessman.
     Jack was a successful top fuel drag racer, winning the NHRA Winternationals in 1961 and the NHRA points championship that same year.  One of the first drag cars was Jack’s ’29 Model A Ford Tudor sedan, built by Jack, Art and Lloyd.  They raced together and Jack also raced solo around the country.  The sedan was much more stylish than aerodynamic, but it was a terror on the drag strips.  Jack and his partners, Chuck Jones and Joe Mailliard built and designed the rear-engined Sidewinders, I and II, but a serious accident kept the cars from establishing a trend.  It would take a decade or more before Don Garlits perfected the concept.  Rear-engined cars were built as far back as the 1930’s and possibly earlier, and a number of innovators worked on the design.  The crash of the Sidewinder almost took Jack’s life, but he recovered and kept on racing professionally in the NHRA.  He was a respected innovator and was one of the men responsible for the development of the Funny Car.  Many people claim to be the originator of the Funny Car of Flopper as they were known, but the author feels that Jack should have the credit.  For many years Jack Chrisman was a staunch supporter and successful competitor in this new class of drag racing. 
     One thing that the book is rich in is interviews and a whole chapter is devoted to these accolades and they are a favorite of mine, for they give us a glimpse into the Chrisman family that makes them seem very real to us.  There are interviews with the Stroppe’s, Paul Pfaff, Kelly Brown, Harry Hibler, Ed Pink, Tom McEwen, Tommy Ivo, Don Garlits, Don Prudhomme, Bobby Spere, Tony Thacker, Stu Hilborn, Danny Eames, John Force, Lou Senter, Carl Olson, Jerry Kugel, Dorothy Chrisman and the children of Jack and Art, Tom Prufer, Bob Muravez,  and Jerry Toliver.  Jerry is the son of Juanita Chrisman and the nephew of Art and Lloyd Chrisman.  The Chrisman family has been around racing all their lives.  It is impossible to take them out of racing without altering the entire landscape of the 20th century.  In this review I have managed to only touch the surface of how important their contributions were to all forms of racing.  The book by Madigan is rich in detail, easily read and acts as an encyclopedia of an important era and an equally important racing family. 
The Chrisman Legacy; Always Faster is a book that I highly recommend and I give it a perfect 8 out of 8 sparkplugs, one of only a handful of books that are this good.
Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM
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 Received by Bonneville Joe Steng this week !
Hi Spencer
Sorry it took me so long to send you some pictures of my belly tank.� Like all race cars it is apart more than it is together.� I decided to just send some pictures of where it was a while ago.� The story goes:

I found it in the blackberry bushes in Colfax Ca.� I was there with a friend who was buying parts when I spied it in the bushes.� It is a P38 belly tank probably from the mid 1950's.� In the late 1950's the sellers brother who worked as a maintenance mechanic at a Central Valley cannery, using parts from a four wheel Cushman shop cart built it into an early Go Kart. It was used and abused until the engine gave up and was then shoved into the bushes where I found it.� I have all the original pieces, tires and all.� At that point I decided I was "goin to Bonneville"!!

I was working at Sacramento Vintage Ford and knew my boss had a stash of old engines in the warehouse.� My first choice was a Model A four banger when I found a V8-60.� NOW there's something different!� What I didn't realize at the time was there is no class for V8-60's.� They run in XF with the big flatheads where the record is 196+.� Also this meant that I would have to build to 200mph requirements even though I would be lucky to get within 100mph of the record!�� This added a significant amount of complexity and expense but who cares!
"I'm racing at Bonneville"!�


Technical details.�
The frame is 2X2.125 box tube, wheel base is 95".� The front end is Model A without brakes.� Steering is a Shroeder midget steering box.� The rear end is an early Model A Halibrand (Franklin) quick change.� The engine is a 1938 V8-60, bored .130 over with a Winfield R1 cam and Edelbrock heads. The pictures show it with a single Stromberg EGU carb, one of many configurations.� Jim built the engine in 2009.� Where ever possible I have tried to build it as it would have been built in the late 1940's, using as many vintage parts as possible.�
The plan was to run it in 2013 with a B&M blown V8-60 but we didn't get the engine together in time.�
After four trips to Bonneville my best speed is 90.765.� My goal is getting into the "Three Club".� Three digits that is!� My research shows that the best speed with a V8-60 back in the day was around 135 which is really my goal..

I'll attach the pictures to a separate email.� This is getting kinda long.� Hope you find this interesting

.Joe Steng
 

1901
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Gone Racin'...
Diggers, Funnies, Gassers & Altereds; Drag Racing's Golden Age, by Bob McClurg.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  14 March 2010.

     A drag racer's delight is Diggers, Funnies, Gassers & Altereds; Drag Racing's Golden Age, by Bob McClurg.  This is a hard-bound book measuring 10 1/2 by 10 1/2 inches in size and suitable as a coffee table book or as a historical work on the subject of drag racing.  The pages are high quality waxed photographic paper, which are bound to the spine of the book with a cloth binding.  The dust cover jacket is very colorful with a sling-shot dragster on the line and flames coming out of the headers as it awaits the green light from the Christmas Tree.  If you lose the jacket there is an identical photographic display on the cover of the book and the same on the reverse back cover.  But don't lose the dust cover jacket, because it adds value to the book.  The book was published in 2004 by Car Tech Auto Books and Manuals and the ISBN# is 1-884089-90-9.  No price was quoted and if you can't find this book at your local book dealer, try calling the publisher at 1-800-551-4754 or go on-line at
www.cartechbooks.comDiggers, Funnies, Gassers & Altereds has 204 pages, a foreword by John Force, an introduction and short bio on the author, eight chapters and a comprehensive three page index.  Many books of this nature are simply "fill and chill" books, meaning that the writer grabbed some captioned photographs, added some text and had the material published.  When an author takes the time to add an index, it is a sign that you can expect a professionally done book.  McClurg has a good reputation and an index only heightens one's expectations.  We shall see if those expectations are true or false.  Diggers, Funnies, Gassers & Altereds has 254 color and 127 black and white photographs, all of excellent quality.  There are also 27 posters and five magazine covers.  Most of the photographs have ample and complete captions, but a few have no captions at all.  There is also a substantial amount of textual material with photographs interspersed throughout, making it easy to read with a casual glance at the supporting pictures.  The book is free of graphs, charts and maps.  It is the quality of the photographs that stand out and make this book riveting to look at.  I found myself picking the book up constantly and scanning through the photographs and then reading the textual material.  But this is more than just eye candy for the serious drag racing fan.
     The foreword by John Force is worth the read.  Anything by John Force is worth the effort.  He revolutionized what it meant to be a drag racer.  There are drag racers that have big egos, or are almost as flamboyant, but none quite like Force.  Not only is he the winningest drag racer who ever lived, in terms of National event wins and season's championships, but he is also the marketing departments answer to the second coming of the Messiah.  I like John Force, but then I'm joined by millions more who like him.  Strangely, there are a dozen people out there who don't like him and Force is still trying to figure out why they don't.  When Force thinks back to ancient history, that is the 1960's and '70's in drag racing, he becomes downright melodramatic.  It's worth buying this book just for the foreword by Force.  In fact, it's a keeper because of it.  Bob McClurg then gives us a two page introduction.  He has a good understanding of the rise and growth of drag racing.  Maybe that's because McClurg has been around nearly forever.  He seems so ageless, but his credentials go back to his friendship with Jack Hart in the '50's and by the mid-1960's McClurg found that being a photojournalist was a way to enjoy drag racing.  Bob started out as a photographer for a local school newspaper and earned his credentials to cover the races.  This led to jobs with racing magazines and newspapers and then into freelancing his work.  He went to work for Petersen Publishing in 1976 and a year later was promoted to the job of photo editor at Hot Rod magazine.  As with all journalists, McClurg worked for many publishing companies, promoting, transferring and often returning to the same job years later.  He also managed to write the following books; The Complete 50-State Book to Street Rod & Kit Car Registration, Classics in Colour #6 Mustang, Mustang the Next Generation, and Mustang - Marketing the Legend
     Chapter one is called The Roadsters.  Few people understand the importance of the roadster in the history of drag racing.  The roadster was the force du jour, the hot rod of the 1930's and a statement made by the youth of my father's generation to tell the world that we exist and we are here.  Take an old Ford, or a Chevy or some other coupe, and chop it up.  Those hot rodders from yesteryear removed the top from the body of the car and all the fenders and panels that weren't necessary and created their version of the roadster.  Yes, roadsters did exist and they were flashy and expensive, but those young men of the Great Depression era didn't have the money to buy those cars.  Function, speed, style and creativity made a coupe into a roadster.  If you were into the "in" crowd then you drove a roadster.  Everybody knew that a roadster was faster and way more cool.  If you had a coupe, don't bother showing up was the cry.  Of course, that wasn't true, coupes did alright on the dry lakes, but nobody wanted to admit that.  Roadsters were the basis of early drag racing.  The first drag racers, like Dick Kraft, lengthened the frames and bodies and cut away even more of the roadster, until all that was left was a "rail."  Essentially a steel frame, wheels, axles, drive shaft and engine was all that was left.  The drag racers experimented until the turned the old roadsters into today's dragster and funny cars.  That's what we love about the sport of drag racing; the innovation sparked by creative minds.  The basic building block was the roadster; the original DNA of drag racing cars to this very day.  Chapter two is titled The Gassers and this is perhaps one of the most endearing of all the types of drag cars that have ever drag raced.  Some people prefer the funny cars and some the top fuelers or "rail cars," but perhaps there was never a more exciting or colorful bunch of cars and people than the Gassers.  Who can forget Stone/Woods/Cook, K.S. Pittman, Ohio George Montgomery, Big John Mazmanian and others of the 1960's and early '70's. 
     Chapter three is called The Altereds.  These cars were very much like the Gassers with short wheel bases, and were loaded up on chemically enhanced fuels, with huge engines.  They squirmed and slid as much sideways as they rocketed down the straight-a-way.  It was awesome and it left a mark on our memories that can never be erased.  They raced, they toured, they wowed the pants off the drag racing public and we loved them for it.  It was more than just the cars that thundered by; it was also the personalities of the men who drove these slippery cars.  Some of the drivers in this class included Wild Willie Borsch, Leroy Chadderton, Leon Fitzgerald, Rich Guasco; and they drove cars named Rat Trap, Pure Heaven, Nanook and Pure Hell.  Chapter four is named Front-Engine Dragsters and the first two photographs show Dick Kraft in the Bug and the #25 car, the elongated Art Chrisman roadster.  You can see the evolution of the top fuel rails in these early cars.  The beautiful #25 car is actually older than the ugly looking Bug.  Looking at the Bug you would think that this junk-yard dog was simply an afterthought meant as a joke.  But Kraft knew what he was doing.  Stripping away all the excess weight, including the radiator and installing a 296 c.i. Ford flathead engine gave this light weight car a huge advantage at the Santa Ana drag strip when drag racing was first codifying its rules.  Few cars could beat the Bug and it became the prototype for the new dragsters that were to follow.  Chrisman's car also set the styling patter for the 1950's.  Originally a dry lakes land speed car, its sleek look inspired a number of drag racers to experiment with styling a more aerodynamic shape for drag cars.  Drag cars exploded in many designs and styles, some with more than one engine and with all sorts of body shapes, but the trend was for longer and lower looking bodies and less weight. 
     Chapter five is titled The Funny Car and these stock cars were called that because they simply looked a little funny compared to the showroom models.  There was nothing funny about their speeds and performance and it is the funny car that finally drove the fuel altereds into oblivion.  The moods of the public and fans changed and funny cars took off in popularity that has not abated to this day.  The early funny car drivers included; Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, Hubert Platt, Jere Stahl, Al Eckstrand, Sox and Martin and other early stock car racers who made the transition into the funny car class.  Having the Detroit automakers behind you as sponsors made this class very successful.  In the stands you would see fans that rooted in sections for their "brand" of car.  Ford, Chevy, Dodge and Plymouth fans avoided straying into each other's territory and the spectators yelled raucously for their heroes and car company to beat the other guy and his brand.  Don Prudhomme, Tom McEwen, Kenny Bernstein and John Force would become the next generation of funny car heroes.  Chapter six is named Rear-Engine Dragsters and this is simply a subclass of the top fuel and alcohol rails that are called "dragsters," for their long and sleek looks.  They evolved from roadsters and sling shot rail jobs where the drivers sat behind a huge engine over the rear wheels.  Many racers toyed with the concept of moving the engine behind the driver.  It's only a small pain to pilot a front engined dragster down a drag strip at speed, but it becomes a huge pain when the engine explodes or throws hot oil and parts in your face.  After a serious and almost fatal accident, Don Garlits had enough of these monsters and put his creative mind to finding a solution once and for all.  He succeeded and the sling shot style became extinct, except in nostalgia drag racing.  Kenny Bernstein, Don Prudhomme, Shirley Muldowney and Don Garlits would become the dominant drivers in this category. 
     Chapter seven is called Pro Stockers.  Like the Funny Cars, these stock cars are supposed to be cars that you can buy right off the show room floor, but it's doubtful you will ever find one of these fast and beautiful cars.  Bob Glidden would dominate this class like no other racer ever dominated any other class, until John Force and Warren Johnson came along.  Force took control of the Funny Car class and Johnson dominated in the stock car class.  Others in the Pro Stock class who made lasting contributions included; "Dyno" Don Nicholson, Butch Leal, Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, Dick Landy, Bruce Larsen, Hubert Platt, the Coughlin family, Sox and Martin and many others.  The last chapter is a sort of catch-all category and is named Drag Racing Nostalgia.  What goes wrong in all motorsports is speed.  Innovation in engine power, aerodynamics, speed and safety equipment, fuel, tires and other breakthroughs enables the drag cars to constantly improve their speed and elapsed times.  But it comes at a price.  There are more accidents and the cost to race goes way up.  Sponsors are hard to find and other race team owners with big sponsorships hire away the best mechanics and drivers to form multiple teams.  The fun simply leaves the sport as competition becomes fierce.  When the speeds become excessively dangerous the sanctioning bodies create rules to lower the speeds, increase the safety and standardize the cars.  It's a constant job to find ways within the rules to let your team go just a little faster than everyone else and when your secrets are found out they are copied by everyone else.  Many racers and fans of drag racing simply leave the competitive nature of professional drag racing and build a car in one of the nostalgia associations.  The costs are less and the nostalgia racer can build a car in almost any fashion that he chooses under a broad set of rules, never as onerous or controlling as in the pro series.  Diggers, Funnies, Gassers & Altereds; Drag Racing's Golden Age is an excellent book, either as a history or as a coffee table pictorial.  I give it a 7 1/2 rating out of a possible 8 spark plugs.
Gone Racin' is at
RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM
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Gone Racin’…
Circle of Impact; The true life events of a brave action figure, by Lynn McCoy.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  15 February 2010.

     The author of Circle of Impact; The true life events of a brave action figure is Lynn McCoy and she has written a comprehensive biography of her husband Bob McCoy.  I spoke with Lynn and she told me that Bob’s story was too riveting and special to go untold.  She worked for years to find the photographs and stories to go with Bob’s history and Circle of Impact is the result of that effort.  Bob McCoy is well-known today for his artwork and attends many car racing reunions where his work is prominently displayed on the programs.  I also see Bob at car shows and racing events where his booth attracts racing fans from all spectrums of auto racing.  Like so many other people, what I know about Bob McCoy is what I see and so my first impression is that he is a fine artist who loves car racing.  Like most first impressions, I was very wrong.  McCoy is truly a throwback to a previous era when men and women were very versatile and interested in so many different things.  I learned that McCoy was a circle track veteran and quite successful.  I also learned that McCoy tried his hand at rodeo riding and rode horses, the wild and unbroken kind.  He also drove cars at El Mirage and Bonneville and is involved in hot rodding.  That’s the problem that we have, we see only the current life of the people we admire and don’t see the whole story.  Bob McCoy led a fascinating life and if the spirit moves him, will tackle another challenge just to see if he can master it.  I have to admit that I like Lynn and Bob McCoy and always look for them whenever I’m at a major car show, like the L.A. Roadster Show, the Grand National Roadster Show or the Good Guys Show.  I also see him at racing reunions and memorials for our racers who have passed on.  The McCoy’s’ as the saying goes, are real and they have a large following of fans.
     Circle of Impact is a first class, high quality, hard bound book with a cloth binding that should last a lifetime of use.  The book has a high quality, glossy waxed paper for optimum showing of the photographs.  It comes without a dust cover book jacket and I would recommend that the reader purchase a cover to keep the exterior from excessive wearing.  Circle of Impact measures 11 by 8 inches in size and has 346 pages.  It is suitable as a coffee table book, as a pictorial, as a biography and as a history of mid-twentieth century auto racing in the United States.  The cover of Circle of Impact has McCoy’s artwork, which is highly prized by collectors and car racing fans.  There are three drawings that give the essence of Bob McCoy; circle track racing, hot rodding and bronco busting.  While I enjoy the photographs, seeing McCoy’s trademark style of drawing makes this an exceptional cover for the book.  The only drawback is the lack of a suitable dust cover jacket to protect the book.  Circle of Impact is a substantial book, measuring a full 1 inches in thickness and in the quality of the content and composition of materials.  The price is a very reasonable $50 and compares very favorably to the books put out by Buzz Rose and Dick Wallen, two very talented authors and photographers.  The publisher is Regent Publishing Services Ltd and this is the first printing.  Lynn McCoy is the author and sells the books personally at car shows and from her home.  You can contact Lynn at PO Box 1084, Lakeside, California 92040 or go on-line at www.BobMccoyArt.com to purchase a copy.  Another way is to go to the major California car shows and look for Bob’s booth.  Lynn will have some books on hand and she and Bob will be glad to sign them for you.
     I counted the wealth stored in McCoy’s book, but so great was the material that I may have lost the exact count.  There were 58 drawings and artwork by Bob McCoy, some of which were duplications, but many of which were original.  There were 489 black and white photographs, some being small and part of a collage, while others were full page and spectacular.  I found four posters, four cartoons and four more miscellaneous contributions.  There were 58 color plates, many of which were full and half page in size.  Finally there were 65 newspaper clippings.  The wealth of information in the book was simply breathtaking.  This is the kind of work that one reads and rereads over and over again, each time finding another jewel of knowledge.  The one drawback to all this information is that the author did not create an index of names and places.  There is absolutely no way for the serious historian to quickly and efficiently find names and places to do research.  In effect, historians will have to create their own index if they wish to use this book as a serious historical work.  While 99% of the public is uninterested in having an index, over time the serious reader who acquires this book will have problems finding a particular name or event.  As a pictorial,
Circle of Impact is an impressive book.  As a tribute to a very important racer and artist, the book is simply superior.  Its major lack is an index and no matter how much I rail on about authors who fail to add an index, few heed my advice.  One other thing that is noteworthy is that while most of the photographs and other pictorials are nicely captioned, some are not, or barely have a brief mention of who is in the photographs.  It’s very disconcerting to see a photograph that is under-captioned or without a caption.  The rule of thumb for captions is that you should always cover who’s in the photos, where it was taken, when it was taken, what was happening, who took the photograph and sometimes a why and how as well.  An under-captioned or non-captioned photograph is like an insiders joke and most of the readers are outsiders, hoping to become “members of the club.”
     Now these are smaller issues to the main issue of quality and content.  Circle of Impact definitely is a quality book and it covers all facets of the life and times of Bob McCoy and those around him.  The writing is easy to understand and non-technical as Lynn McCoy tries to make this readable for everyone and not just former race drivers.  The photographs range from excellent to poor copies from the newspapers, but the high quality of the paper used in the books rescues even those photographs and makes them discernible.  The artwork is pure McCoy and if you only bought Circle of Impact for Bob’s drawings, you will not be disappointed.  McCoy is one of the great car racing artists and drawers of the age.  He ranks up there with Kenny Youngblood, James Ibusuki, Tom Fritz and others and should be considered among the top artists in his field.  McCoy has a style that combines subtle humor and a good bit of satire in his drawings.  He’s not quite a “looking for Waldo” stylist, but there is always something hidden in his work that draws our curiosity.  His style looks simple, but it is not.  There is depth of detail to what he draws and paints.  If McCoy’s work has not drawn a great audience and high prices yet, they certainly will in the future.  Besides the artwork, I was really impressed with the abundance of newspaper clippings, which gave the book an air of being there when the action was taking place.  The large number of photographs also put the reader in the time of the action.  Many of the photographs were duplicates of the action, but about 250 of the photographs bound the story to the pictures.  Lynn McCoy does a great job of telling the readers who Bob McCoy really is.  This is what a biography should be.  Bob McCoy’s story is told from the very beginning and without rancor or hiding some of the unpleasant details.
     Normally I would give the readers a breakdown of the chapters and their contents, but a normal review is around 1000 words and Bob McCoy’s life is so fascinating that to attempt to do that I would need 3000 words to summarize his life.  I’ll be brief; you’ll like this book if you like stories about an adventurous person who takes on the world on his or her terms.  Bob did a bit of everything that interested him and he did it well.  Perhaps he would have been better remembered as a rodeo star if he had concentrated simply on busting broncos.  Or maybe he would have been a well known star of the oval track circuit if he had focused all his energies on racing and stayed out of the hospital.  He could have been one of the more famous land speed racers if he had concentrated only on setting records and building faster and faster cars.  If only he had spent all his life as an artist and devoted every second to that craft, maybe he would already be a household name outside of the motorsports world.  But he isn’t that kind of man.  He wants to live life, not simply be a name in any one field.  He gave everything that he had to whatever it was that he was trying at the time and still spending time with his family, which meant so much to him.  He was acquiring friends and experiencing life while he was conquering the loves of his life.  Bob McCoy is famous in his own right and respected by his peers.  His achievements in oval track racing, land speed time trials, rodeo and as an artist are already known by those who are a part of those worlds.  What Lynn McCoy has done is bring a talented and brave man to the rest of the world.  There are some flaws in the book, just as there are some flaws in all books, but in the final analysis, that is, how well does the author manage to educate us about a subject, Circle of Impact is a superior work.  I highly recommend it to those who love auto racing and to those who simply love a great story, a moral and uplifting one.  Bob McCoy can count his chips and walk away from the gambling table of life a winner right now, but I doubt that he will.  There’s simply too much life left in Bob for him to do that and I know that he has a few more challenges that he wants to test.  I rate this book a 7 out of 8 sparkplugs and a best buy.
Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.
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