Drag Racing Story of the Day!
Cut Down to Size
By Stan Weber
I recently was reminded of the tales
regarding a street-driven car embarrassing a "real" race car.
Back in '65, I hung with a group of guys who raced GM stockers (called
themselves the GM Team, in fact) here in Nebraska.
My best pal Gene's daily driver was a '63 Pontiac Catalina convert. Since most
of us couldn't afford trailers, we "flat-towed" our cars. One of the
other guys had a brand new GTO that was a "race only" car and Gene
would often tow it behind his convert to Omaha or Sioux City, where we usually
Gene always ran his Catalina (in some low stock class) for fun. It was fairly
strong (and "fit" its particular class real well). It ended up
facing the GTO in stock eliminations on several occasions. Each time, he beat
the "Goat" handily, then would hook the GTO up behind his
"streeter" and tow it home!
The GTO guy finally got too embarrassed -- and tired of the teasing everyone
gave him -- and bought a pickup to pull his car.
In 1968, Gene and I were partners in a speed shop in Springfield, Mo. We
sponsored a real nice '55 Chev that we were very proud of 'cause it was a
small block, but we regularly beat the big-block cars that made up the bulk of
the AHRA "Hot Rod" class (much like NHRA's Modified Production).
Anyway, we got to feelin' pretty cocky and decided to tow down to Green
Valley, TX, for a regional meet. Our car was really sharp (tilt front end,
"trick" paint, etc.) so we looked great in the pits, got lots of
attention -- and did our share of bragging, I'm sure.
Only four cars in our class, and we beat our first guy without trouble. Came
up against some 17-year old in a black '57 Chev that he had driven to the
track for the class final. We figured he had advanced earlier on a fluke and
were already envisioning the class (and maybe street eliminator) trophy on the
counter back at the speed shop.
I'm sure you can guess the rest. He beat us by three car lengths, and we
headed home with our collective tails between our legs.
You can bet the gruesome details of our ass whippin' by a street-legal car
weren't part of our bench racing that following Monday morning!
Here's a shot of the Mother's Speed Shop-sponsored '55, owned by Jack and
Jim Taylor (paint was different at Green Valley, but I have no pics). This is
late '68 or early '69 and "panel painting" was the thing. Note the
"trick" left and right side "reversed-color" motif. I also
included an engine shot so people can see a typical late '60s set up, complete
with the latest Edelbrock "tunnel ram" intake and two double-pumper
750 cfm Holleys (note that the fuel lines were not yet installed).
In fairness to the Taylors, they and the ’55 did win the 1969 AHRA points
championship in Street Eliminator -- so they more than redeemed themselves for
the earlier letdown in Texas. The car was known as "Mr. Quick" and
was the subject of a feature in Car Craft.