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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

TV Tommy, Big Daddy, and
the Secret of Running 200

By

TV Tommy Ivo Sittin' Behind the Beast. Photographer unknown
TV Tommy Ivo Sittin' Behind the Beast. Photographer unknown

This is a picture after jumping into the phone booth with my knickers and straw hat on (Clark Kent/Haywood Botts of the "Margie" TV series) to become Superman/Supershoe. I was proudest of my driving ability, I ran a LOT of runs on all kinds of tracks in all kinds of cars. And had a minor number of problems for the three decades I put in. I also was happy that I could put together a good, solid, clean motor that lasted quite well; it had to when you ran as much as I did. (Don't blame the Funny on me, I had hired help that tore up all those parts). 

But where I fell the shortest was innovating, and that's what I admire Garlits the most about. He, to me, was the quintessential drag racer. He built them (all the jobs, locked off in Florida as he was), drove them, booked them, tuned them, towed them, polished them -- oops, scratch that, and come up with a pretty good (did I say pretty and Garlits in the same sentence?) idea from time to time. Like the rear motor car! Others had rear engines before him, but (and here's that "but" again) he made them work!

I can remember when Garlits first ran 200 (for real) and no one else could. We were in England racing, and on the last day we raced, we were coming back from the track in a little bus they ran us around in. I sat next to him, inserted the old pump handle, and started pumping. And to my surprise, he told me step by step how to do it, right down to setting the cam back 2 degrees. The works! 

I went back to my first seat, next to McCourry and said, "I can't believe it; he told me the whole thing." When we got back to the states, I found out he had sold the "secret" of how to run 200 to Hot Rod magazine! Don always knew how to make a buck, and he must have had a good laugh to himself watching me salivate, eating it up with a spoon on how to run 200, when the whole world knew back in the states already. (The magazine came out while we were over there racing).

By the way, I did what he said and ran 202 on the very first pass at my next race at Richmond.

TV

 

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