The Foster Bros. & the Down
By Flyin' Phil Elliott
Down track wheelies happened several times at Pacific
Raceway (now SIR). I remember it twice in two weeks by the Foster
Brothers' (Glen and Gus) blown Chevy. When the "pack" was
hitting 195-198 mph with a very occasional 201 or so, Glen Foster
punched out 217 during qualifying one Nice Sunday morning. Everybody was
totally in disbelief. Their blown small block Chevy was a 187-189 mph
car on a GOOD day and everybody knew something was up.
Of course, they couldn't back it up.
The very next week, the exact same thing happened at
the same time of day, same lane, etc. Glen and Gus were all smiles but
not about to paint the speed on the side of their trailer. Still, nobody
could come up with a decent theory as to why this little car was
recording the speeds, short of the old "hot dog wrapper flew
through the lights" theory.
I was always very curious and learned early on that the
fly-on-the-wall listening technique often worked better than shoving my
nose in where it might not belong.
In this case, I wandered around and listened to the
various crews. None were believing but were about to concede the speed
since the car/crew had done it twice. What really shocked everyone was
that the second time, the car was on a single and both timers were close
to the same reading! All records in those days were run as singles so
that both sets of clocks could be switched to one lane for a better
chance at getting the time.
If you don't know, the old Chrondeks came up with an
elapsed time for the 132-foot speed trap and tower personnel read from a
conversion chart to see what the speed was. I read clocks from time to
time, and remember the charts well. And since the timers were not all
that finite, there were only a couple speeds at number --
hypothetically, there might have been a 205.27, 205.54, and 205.86, then
would jump to 206.13 or whatever. As the numbers grew, there were fewer
spot. When the conversion cards were issued for over 210 mph, there were
just two "clicks" per speed number from 214 to 225.
I wish I could tell you that the speed numbers the
Foster Bros. ran were popcorn/fake, but they weren't.
Anyway, after listening to the various crews, I
wandered down to the finish line area to watch the next session. I wish
I had had camera gear 'cuz what I saw was rather awe-inspiring. The
little Chevy charged pretty well on its run, boiling the tires like
everyone else with one difference. As the Chrysler cars got downtrack,
they kept on churning the balonies. Not so the Chevy. As the smoke dried
up so did the front end. It was still carrying the front tires when it
went across the mph "start" clock, effecting a rear-wheel
start. At the finish line, 66-feet later, Glen had his boot out of the
pedal, the front end slammed down and the front wheels broke the mph
I was able to hoof it back to the pits and chat with
Glen and Gus in their truck. When I told them what was up, Glen smiled
big and said, "I know it, but they don't. It's been fun."
Since the run I'd viewed backed up their earlier
speed, the Foster Bros. held the Pacific Raceway speed record for a
couple months with their "unbelievable" small block Chevy
fueler, even though absolutely nobody believed it.
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