Sammy Miller used to run at old Miami and West Palm Beach (now Moroso)
quite often. His Vanishing Point Rocket Car would sit on an open trailer
at the Mobil Oil station at the exit of I-95 and Oakland Park Blvd. in Ft.
Lauderdale. TJ and I would look at it from the traffic and think it was ok
but nothing special... We were wrong!
After seeing it kill the mph and et records by a ton every time it ran
we knew it was gonna get axed. It was a real thrill to see Sammy upstage
all the big names with that little car. He showed up with a rocket
dragster named Oxygen but it didnít have the same sexiness as the coupe.
Here is a short story of a typical Saturday night here when Sammy would
show up unannounced to test and tune. I whipped up a little picture to try
to convey the feeling...
The Story - Being hard core race car freaks, exhibition cars and
the guys who owned them seldom excited old Tommy or me... until Saturday
We were out at the West Palm Beach Drag Way getting my bike ready for
We would stop what we were doiní if a blown Anglia was careening down
the track with its front wheels lifting at every shift. Maybe cast an eye
out to the lights if Shirley or Don Gay or Jungle Jim was in town.
We would be too busy trying to fix whatever had just fallen off the
bike, or what had broken last round, to run up through the staging lanes
to watch a wheelie car or jet take off.
We slowly inched our way through the staging lanes during the
eliminations. We were around two or three passes back when the speakers
began blaring out that every man woman and child in south Florida had
better roll up his windows, batten the hatches and get up on the top row
of the bleachers pronto!
Out of the darkness to our left came a couple of guys pushing a tiny
silver and orange funny car. They rolled quietly up past the lines of
Willys, Camaros, Mustangs, and bikes waiting to run.
They had the air of a couple guys walking down a fairway.
The crowd was anticipating a long smoky burnout or maybe a scantily
clad girl in daisy dukes directing them up to the line.
I looked at Tommy and he looked at me. No one else out there that night
knew what we were about to see. Every single one of us would remember it
the rest of our lives.
This genuine crazy man with silver hair and a giant smile was stuffed
behind a hydrogen peroxide rocket pointed toward Jacksonville.
The starting line crew told everyone directly behind the little race
car to get the hell out of there.
This gave Tommy and me a straight shot up to the ass end of the
innocent looking racer.
I mean it wasnít crackling, popping, or farting, or even making our
We had seen plenty of nitro funny cars and top fuelers shoot out into
the darkness with the flames lighting up the faces of the people in the
stands as they thundered by.
We had seen guys going as fast as 260 mph at around six and a half
seconds for cripes sake!
So, we leaned real far forward to get a good look at ol' Slammin' Sam
as he lit off.
The crowd got real quiet and it seemed like Vanishing Point sat in the
starting beams for about a minute or two.
Then there was a Pop! Like someone pulled the cork out of a bottle of
champagne and the silver and orange rocket was a blur! You could see the
crowd of people in the stands actually blow backwards from the shock wave
as Sam shot by. He got about a eighth of a mile out and shut off, he
coasted the rest of the way through the traps.
There has never been a group of people gathered together at a sporting
event that were that quiet for that long.
Then we looked up at the finish line and saw the 300 mph.