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Hemi Hunter's Top Fuel Tales

Time to Work the Bugs Out

Top Fuel Technology vs. A Hornet's Nest

By Gary Peters

If you have been reading my little stories, you will notice that most have been about my partners or crewmembers. This one's about me, so if the crew and my friends are reading these stories, it proves I am not just bringing forth their little mistakes and quirks. This story really doesn't have too much to do with the racing scene, although it sure shows you the skills I developed by hanging around cars and building things. So here goes. The wife and I had moved into our first real house. Naturally, we wanted a nice lawn like the neighbors. So super wrench, that's me, goes off to buy a riding lawn mower. I was hoping it would look something like a funny car.

A couple of months go by and the mower is working fine. The lawn's looking great, and we have had the new neighbors over several times for picnics. I come home from work one day and the wife tells me she has a problem. We had a second story deck on the back of the house. The small hill next to the back door was stacked with wooden railroad ties. The beams from the deck were overhead. I had put eyehooks in the beam so the wife could hang up her plants under the deck. See tells me a hornet stung her right under her arm when she hung up another plant. Use you're racing skills and eliminate them right now she says. I look at her and tell her no problem.

I go out to look for the source of the hornet. Sure enough, they have a big nest built into the railroad ties. I can see them coming and going from the nest's opening. I show the wife the cause of her painful experience. The hornet stung her right above her you know whats (pair), and I figured the little devil and his friends has it coming to them; they probably spoiled my evening. I go down to the local hardware store to see what I can buy to kill the little buggers. I look at the wasp and hornet spray. I also looked at the price, $3.95. That's a ridiculous price just to kill bugs. Now remember, this is rational thinking from someone who is willing to pay $25.00 a gallon for Nitro. Back to the house. I'll save the money and think of another way to kill them. I know water won't work. What's left to try?

I look over at the tractor, still dreaming of it being a funny car, and look at the exhaust pipe. Should be a weed whacker type pipe, I'm thinking. All of a sudden, I know how to kill the hornets: I'll gas them. Good old blacky carbon. I think up how to attach a secondary pipe to the exhaust pipe on the tractor. Attach a hose to it and stick the hose into the nest. I tell the wife of my intentions; she gives me that ‘oh no not again' look, and says, "Just go buy the spray." I keep thinking that if this works, I could make up kits and sell them. I'm dreaming of aluminum blocks and heads for the Hemi Hunter. Me being on TV, selling the kits to thousands of suffering people. Off I go to the speed shop for some tubing, clamps, fittings, and hose.

I know I need to keep track of what I spend, so I know how much to sell the kits for. I tell the guys at the speed shop what I'm up to. They listen intently to my plans. As I get in my car, I see them laughing like hyenas. Jeez, maybe we'll team up with John Deere, get them for a sponsor, paint the HH green, I stop right there. The picture of the Jade Grenade flashes through my mind. I'm working in the garage making up the parts, which cost about $14.00. If this works, $28.00 bucks sounds like a fair price, double your money, double your fun and the kit could be used for years. Not like some dumb old spray. All those years of racing skills are shown in the pipe and hose system. It's beautiful, what a kit. The wife is checking on me to see if her little problem is about to be solved. I tell her that in the morning, the AA fuel kit will revenge her against the enemy. She just replies to me, "You're out of your mind again. What if they get really mad and sting you?"

She has a point there. What to do for the first trial, how do I protect myself? I remember a Halloween costume I made up for a party we went to. I dressed up as a three-legged old man. I had an old man's rubber facemask, rubber feet, and hands. I had screwed a sneaker onto a crutch, covered the crutch with a pants leg, and wore a large overcoat. My two legs and the crutch leg made it look like I had a third leg. During the party, I got so good at walking around I could even dance with the three legs. Now I knew the rubber mask, feet, and gloves were the answer to my protection. I would wear them during the first fire up of the system.

I tell the wife my intentions again. I really didn't think it was that funny. She's laughing and running over to the neighbors. Night passes and the next day dawns with great hope and much involvement within the neighborhood. The wife has told everyone not to miss this show. I figure what the heck; they can be the first customers for the kit. The wife is serving sandwiches and goodies to the group of neighbors. I'm starting to feel like I'm selling snake oil out West. I'm real proud of the workmanship that went into the kit. I'm explaining how easily it attaches to the exhaust pipe. The quality of construction and so on. One of the guys says, "Gary, knock off the bull and let's see if it works."

I back the tractor up to the spot next to the nest. I go get into my rubber protective suit. Now I know how Dale feels when he's suiting up for a pass in the HH. The folks are running for shelter or at least going to a point of safety. So here's the scene: I'm in the old man's Halloween costume. I place the hose into the nest's opening ever so carefully. I'm sitting on the tractor and the countdown is proceeding. What the heck is everyone laughing about; I can't look that funny. I pull the choke on full, lots of smoke for the little buggers. I turn the key and the tractor fires up. Well, all I can remember is seeing a huge yellow cloud of something. I realize it's the hornets; I must have really pissed them off. I'm sprinting across our lawn in the costume at full speed. I can really run when I need to, I'm thinking. I'm so fast, I run right out of the rubber feet. The whole neighborhood is running for cover and safety. I can't see anything with the rubber mask on, especially the support wire on a telephone pole. They're pretty springy if you catch them at the right spot.

Did you know that a hornet can sting you right threw a pair of jeans? And do you know that $3.95 isn't such a bad price for something that can kill a hornet on the spot? And did you know that it takes about three weeks for the swelling to go away from their sting, not to mention the black and blue marks? And did you know that grass can really grow tall when you can't even sit on your bug-killing, grass-cutting machine for a couple of weeks?

Gary Peters


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