True, Wheelz. He is one of my heros and always will be. Thanks.
I want to send out special thoughts and prayers to our loyal friend and supporter Billy Mac tonight. Billy's in the hospital down in Georgia, recovering from a stroke he had over the weekend. He's doing better, his spirits are up and he said he would be listening to the show tonight on his cell phone if he can remember how to do it, and I hope he does. We love you, Billy Mac, but you're going to have to cut it back to one case a day of DR Pepper and only half a carton of Viceroys. Actually, Billy told me today that he quit smoking so that's a big step in the right direction. Now I want to see Billy point that Mustang in the direction of the finish line soon. We're all behind you, Billy. Get well soon.
For my pick as Racers of the Week for March 10, 2014, I have selected the Bennett Racing Team from London, England. This is a racing family that goes back more than a hundred years and these folks are some of the most well-known, well-liked and respected drag racers in the UK. The Bennets were referred to me by our former Racer of the Week Andrew Carpenter of Russ Carpenter Racing. Thanks, Andrew!
Charlie "Wag" Bennett served his apprenticeship first as a rivet boy, helping to build the first iron battleships down at the Victoria and Albert dockland shipyards, then to the Canning town-based Mansfield cycle company, frame building at the brazing hearth. Charlie built his first motorcycle at these barking road premises, around the year 1907, this machine was belt driven, single speed, and solely a track racer with Bailey dropped handlebars, saddle over the rear wheel, pad on the top frame tube for the riders chest. This 2-wheel racer was fitted with a French Buchet engine, bore and stroke square at 76 x 76 centimetres, overhead push rod operated inlet and exhaust valves, with coil ignition using a dry cell battery.
He was the winner of the 3 mile & 5 mile motorcycle races at Tunbridge Wells, August 1st 1904 on a 'Kerry' motor.
He also won the TT race in 1910 at Brooklands, at an average speed of 61mph - running a 1910 two cylinderIndian 70 by 83 cubic capacity, equals 638.59 miles 870 yards. (British record). The seed of the Bennett Racing Team had been planted.
Bennett Racing patriarch Lenny Bennett was Charlie's son. He passed away recently at the age of 86. Lenny will be remembered by racers and the like from years past, as he was the Crew Chief of the Phantasm Ford Pop which we very successfully raced in the 1980s. He was a father to five, grandad to fourteen and great grandad to seven. A truly great man, very dear to his family, and he is greatly missed. Lenny loved racing with his sons and grandsons at Santa Pod and Avon Park race tracks. During the time the Bennets raced the Pop, another racer lost his life in a jet car. It was a crash which caused the whole body to fly off, almost killing a close friend of the family, had Lenny not pulled her out of the way.
Lenny's son Frank Bennett has been driving since 1981. He currently drives the Monster Energy Fiat Topolino Fuel Altered. He won the 2009 NFAA Championship, and has recorded a best ET of 6.42 at 202.71 mph. Luke Bennett drives the Monster Energy Bantam Fuel Altered. He has been driving since 1992. Luke won the 2008 Spirit of Fuel Altereds award and he also won the 2010 Iris Page memorial trophy. His best ET is a 6.901 at 191mph. In his previous ride, he ran an 11.14 at 125.26 mph. Adam Bennett is slated to drive the new car, the Wild Bunch slingshot.
The Fiat Topolino and the '32 Bantam Roadster are nearly identical in their construction and specs. Both cars sit on a 125" wheelbase, run supercharged Chevy engines on alcohol, 3-speed CO2 shifted trannys, with the Fiat running 34.5 X 17 slicks and the Bantam using 33 X 16s. The Monster Energy slingshot nostalgia dragster has a 130" wheelbase, runs a 2.1 litre Ford SOHC Pinto engine, has a Cosworth clutch shifting a 5-speed type 9 transmission that delivers the 200 hp to 12 X 30 slicks. It's a new car and has run from 0-100mph is 7 seconds in shakedown runs.
Race Support: Alan Scott Maintains clutch and Lenco transmission Joe Riley Wings, body and wheelie bars. Maintains and keeps pit area tidy and organised Torsten de Lange Driver of the Bennett Racing DRIFT Division Volvo Bottom end
Team Support: Louise Bennett Maintains Oberg oil filters Checks and packs parachutes Lisa and Amy Bennett Keep the team fed and watered! Makes sure invited guests are well looked after Rob Farley USA parts scout and sponsor hunter!
Bennett Racing is represented on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and their website is http://www.bennettracing.co.uk
These guys are the real deal, folks. Check 'em out when you have time. Bennett Racing, JB's pick as Racers of the Week. Best of luck in the future, guys.
I was reminded over the weekend that it had been 17 years since Biggie Smalls was murdered. I don't know if anybody listened to or was into his music, but I did and I was. In my opinion, Hip-Hop never got any better than the Notorius B.I.G. and Tupak Shakur, who both died around the same time, debatably by the hands of these two artist's and in parentheses, gangsters' cohorts. Biggie went first, followed soon thereafter by Tupak. The two were rivals in art, in business, and apparently in crime. What a sad waste of two monumental talents. Their music, their poetry and their life stories were as poignant and inspiring as anything I had ever seen since Jimi Hendrix and David Clayton-Thomas. Hip-Hop went downhill after Biggie and Tupak died. Now that almost 2 decades have passed, I hope that they can find peace and leave an untarnished legacy of beauty and art in a genre that is conceivably the most difficult to translate into the level of sophistication and pure classic art like they did. I just wish they could have solved their problems without guns getting involved, but that situation will exist as long as gangs do. God bless them and may they rest in peace.
Y'all be sure to tune in tomorrow night at 7 PM Eastern for Racing Through History on Racers Reunion Radio. It's a Goat Rodeo you don't want to miss. Thanks, I'll see y'all next week.