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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

How the Joker got his Name

By Dick Kalivoda

Norton-Kalivoda-Hamlin Joker AAFD at Deer Park WA 1968. Photo by Russ Griffith
Norton-Kalivoda-Hamlin Joker AAFD at Deer Park WA 1968. Photo by Russ Griffith

Jerry Ruth was "The Man" in the NW Top Fuel scene when Ed Norton, John Hamlin, and I decided to go together on a T/F car. Of course, he had proclaimed himself "The King" of the NW. About the same time, Ed McCulloch was winning his share of races up here also. He was tagged as "The Ace" (beats a King). When we had Woody, Hanna, Cerny, and Kelly do our car for the '68 season, we thought we should try to slip a "Joker" into the "deck" and maybe raise a little hell. 

I think we may have done that. We about broke even with Ace in our meetings before he went funny car racing with Whipple in '70. I have to admit that Ruth got us more often then we got him, but it was sure fun when we did! Hence the saga of "The Joker." In actuality, the car was called "The Joker," but the handle kind of stuck with me.

Dick Kalivoda
cmatthew@aa.net

 

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