The Greek's Down Track Wheelies on Demand
By Ron "Big Yohns" Johnson
Walt Stevens mentioned a tactic to lift the front wheels to skip the first light [see the
12/11/00 Drag Racing Story of the
Day]. I have nothing to add to that. I do recall, however, that at the World Series of Drag Racing at Cordova in 1963, the Greek had told crews behind his car at the push out road (1000 foot mark) that he would wave to them as he went by. I was there just watching, and people were buzzing about what he would do.
When he approached the 1000-foot mark, the front end of the car came up about three feet and gradually settled back down as he completed the run. Needless to say, there was pandemonium among the observers. Like them, I had never seen a car with the front end off the ground at this point in the track, so it was pretty impressive to think Greek actually caused this.
I have often wondered about this and just what he did. Knowing some of the dynamics, my only conclusion was that he stepped on the clutch a little to allow the engine to wing up and then dropped the clutch. I doubt that he would have tried Walt's maneuver since he was actually racing someone and wouldn't want to slow the car by applying the brakes. Does anyone have any other theory as to how this could be accomplished?