The Foster Bros. & the
Down Track Wheelies
By Flyin' Phil Elliott
Down track wheelies happened several times at Pacific Raceway (now SIR).
I remember it twice in two weeks by the Foster Brothers' (Glen and Gus)
blown Chevy. When the "pack" was hitting 195-198 mph with a very
occasional 201 or so, Glen Foster punched out 217 during qualifying one Nice
Sunday morning. Everybody was totally in disbelief. Their blown small block
Chevy was a 187-189 mph car on a GOOD day and everybody knew something was
Of course, they couldn't back it up.
The very next week, the exact same thing happened at the same time of
day, same lane, etc. Glen and Gus were all smiles but not about to paint the
speed on the side of their trailer. Still, nobody could come up with a
decent theory as to why this little car was recording the speeds, short of
the old "hot dog wrapper flew through the lights" theory.
I was always very curious and learned
early on that the fly-on-the-wall listening technique often worked better
than shoving my nose in where it might not belong.
In this case, I wandered around and listened to the various crews. None
were believing but were about to concede the speed since the car/crew had
done it twice. What really shocked everyone was that the second time, the
car was on a single and both timers were close to the same reading! All
records in those days were run as singles so that both sets of clocks could
be switched to one lane for a better chance at getting the time.
If you don't know, the old Chrondeks came up with an elapsed time for the
132-foot speed trap and tower personnel read from a conversion chart to see
what the speed was. I read clocks from time to time, and remember the charts
well. And since the timers were not all that finite, there were only a
couple speeds at number -- hypothetically, there might have been a 205.27,
205.54, and 205.86, then would jump to 206.13 or whatever. As the numbers
grew, there were fewer spot. When the conversion cards were issued for over
210 mph, there were just two "clicks" per speed number from 214 to
I wish I could tell you that the speed numbers the Foster Bros. ran were
popcorn/fake, but they weren't.
Anyway, after listening to the various crews, I wandered down to the
finish line area to watch the next session. I wish I had had camera gear
'cuz what I saw was rather awe-inspiring. The little Chevy charged pretty
well on its run, boiling the tires like everyone else with one difference.
As the Chrysler cars got downtrack, they kept on churning the balonies. Not
so the Chevy. As the smoke dried up so did the front end. It was still
carrying the front tires when it went across the mph "start"
clock, effecting a rear-wheel start. At the finish line, 66-feet later, Glen
had his boot out of the pedal, the front end slammed down and the front
wheels broke the mph "stop" beam.
I was able to hoof it back to the pits and chat with Glen and Gus in
their truck. When I told them what was up, Glen smiled big and said, "I
know it, but they don't. It's been fun."
Since the run I'd viewed backed up their earlier speed, the Foster Bros.
held the Pacific Raceway speed record for a couple months with their
"unbelievable" small block Chevy fueler, even though absolutely
nobody believed it.