Push Starting on the Dry Lakes
By Dave Williams
I have push started and been push started in quite a few cars, but my best memory was pushing Tom Beatty's Lakester at El Mirage in about 1956. Tom had a '40 Ford Panel Delivery with a full race FH that turned 93 mph in the quarter. This truck would later have a blown Olds in it. Anyway I pushed him off; the blown flathead sputtered and caught and he moved away from me like he was shot out of a cannon.
I hightailed it down the side of the course to the timing traps about a mile and a quarter away to find Tom coming back the other way at about 40 mph. He had gone 193 mph on that run, which was top time that day. I came back behind him, tried to synchronize the speed of the truck to the Lakester, and bumped it hard, causing the end of the tail to bend slightly up. Tom wasn't upset by this. He said one time someone hit him with about a 15-mph speed difference and bent it up real good. The wind came up shortly after and things pretty much ground to a halt.