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Hemi Hunter's Top Fuel Tales

Nitro Drivers, A Different Breed

By Gary Peters

I believe this story happened around 1971. The Hemi Hunter driven by Dale Thierer was racing the car called Hired Gun driven by Dodger Glenn. I was one of the crew with the HH. We were racing at Long Island Dragway if my memory is correct. Both cars do their normal burn outs, but reversers were new and both drivers were just short of the 1/8th mile part of the track. I'm standing on the starting line, hoping we don't run short of fuel as both cars back up. 

All of a sudden when both cars are just about back at the starting line, I see Dodger's arm flash up over his head and something goes flying into the grass by the side of the track behind the starting line. I thought it was a clutch board that everyone used to hold the clutch pedal in to push the cars around the pits. All of a sudden, I also remembered that Dodger used a 'Glide. 

I usually always watched the full run on our car, but this time curiosity called. I ran over to the opposite side of the track were Dodger was staging very carefully to see what he threw out. Just as I reached (the what ever it was), both cars left the starting line. I naturally watch the race, and see Dodger's win light flash on. We lost, and both lanes showed the ETs the same at 6.78 seconds at about 210 MPH. We got holeshotted by Dodger; what concentration. 

I bend over and pick up the object lying on the grass, and it's Dodger's brake handle. I waited until he came up the return road and handed him the handle as he slowly rolled by. I shook my head in dismay; I couldn't even figure out how he staged the car without brakes. But stage he did, and left us to pack up and go home. 

Dodger laughs and says he didn't build the car to stop, and he knew he still had the chutes and the engine to stop with. Besides, he wasn't going to let a Chevy outrun him. Nitro drivers, a different breed. We lost Dodger in 1978 when he lost out to injuries in a flopper mishap. Gotta go now, here come the tears.

Gary Peters
gary.peters@macktrucks.com

 

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