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My entry for "Smallest Driver" would have to be Rabbit Samuels, a late-50's, early 60's California driver, mostly Comp Eliminator cars, Modified Roadsters, dragsters, etc. As I recall, he barely weighed 100 lbs. A good "shoe" and won quite a lot in a variety of different race cars.

Jim Hill remembering a driver with some tall accomplishments, 1/99

The infamous Pat Foster / Damn Yankee at Indy story... or, "Don't piss off an Irishman who's tossed his rods."

Foster and Cook take one bad ass Damn Yankee to Indy... the front spoiler says "When You're Hot, You're Hot" and Foster was "Hot" and on his game.. bingo, #2 qualifier.

Come first round, Foster launches like a rocket and is on a pass when the rods come out at half-track, car goes way sideways but Pat saves it. At the other end, Foster just gets out of the car and starts walking back up the return road, totally frustrated and pissed. I walk back with him.

Meanwhile, they clean up the track and the next car in the same lane apparently comes unhooked in the grease sweep and loses, too.

By the time Foster and I are walking through the F/C pits, the racer who got in the grease sweep is back, sees Foster and hollers out, "Thanks a lot, Foster!" (as if Pat intentionally blew his motor up so they would lose!) Pat sees red, and lunges for them. Fortunately, their team owner heard what was said, breaks them up, and diffuses the situation. Unfortunately, Foster's emotions are still unvented.

A long day for Pat is finally over, and we're in my rental car in line to get out the pit gate. Foster is in the back seat, as we see Al Bergler in his ramp truck ahead of us, being attacked by an oversized Indiana farm boy, who thinks Bergler cut him off. It was an obvious mismatch; looked like Andre The Giant vs. Pete Millar. This big guy was trying to pull Bergler through the window of the ramp truck, and slugging him, while Al was valiantly swinging back but doing as much damage as Olive Oyle to Bluto.

At last, Foster could vent his frustrations!! Pat yells, "let me outta this car" (which was too close to open the doors) and proceeds to crawl out the window, runs and throws a full tackle on the big guy. They're rolling around in the dust, with Bergler jumping on top!

Pat gets the guy in a headlock and is telling him to calm down, which he doesn't do, so Pat slugs him every time he moves. Finally, the state trooper outside the gate realizes that all traffic has stopped (cause of Foster vs Bubba) and comes over, pulls out his nightstick and taps it on Foster's back. Pat said he knew the next one wouldn't be a tap, and slowly releases his prey. We all go to dinner; Foster's stress relieved.

Kenny Youngblood on Pat Foster's stressful Indy excursion, 1/99

Big has used pics of mine in all but his first book (the one he did with Brock Yates). No he doesn't pay but I feel his contributions to the sport and basically saving the Top Fuel class back in the mid 70's is reason enough to support him. Would like to hear some TC stories. He directed me to make sure I shot Big's nighttime burnout one night, wouldn't tell me why he said just make sure I shot it. After Big lit the motor on the famous Lions rollers TC lined him up behind on the right lane, next to where all the fans used to stand against the fence. I was to Big's left; TC walked up with the bleach bottle and laid down a line of "bleach" behind the tires. I wondered what the hell he was doing. Tommy then grabbed the back bar of the cage and pulled the car back into the "bleach". 

Big whacked the throttle and the flames out of the relief holes in the curve of the headers lit the fluid and the whole drivers cage was engulfed in flame. At that second Big dropped the clutch and blew out of it (this is when I shot and got a great pic but in B&W not color cuz I didn't know what he was planning). Anyway, the crowd went wild, but the people next to the fence got singed a little. Everyone thought something has gone wrong and Big had the savvy to drop the hammer to get away from what ever it was. TC had the biggest shit eating grin I have ever seen as he ran by me to retrieve Big after the burnout (I had my jaw still hanging and part of my clothes were still on fire). The fans applauded throughout his entire run. So went the first fire burnout at Lions Drag Strip.

John Ewald on Don Garlits and the first fire burnout at Lion's Drag Strip, 1/99
 

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