I'm not sure how many people remember Ed Kissinger. He was the old guy
who passed out time slips for years at NHRA National Events. Everybody
called him "Santa Claus" because of the bitchin' full snow-white
beard he sported. He was a fixture at the races for many years, and took the
time slip job real seriously. You could call him up years after a race, and
get a time slip that you might have forgotten.
Anyway, Ed and his wife Georgia would always have dogs with them at the
track. The dogs were always the ugly little hairless miniatures, not much
bigger than a big rat, and were all named "Duchess." One
particular day -- early ‘70s at Englishtown, Pete Kalb was towing his TF
car past the time slip booth and one of the dogs ran under the rear slick.
It doesn't take much imagination to figure out the results... the dog looked
like it came out of a cartoon. It could have been used as a feeler
Not accepting reality, the old man carried the dog over to
"Doc" Leroy Hales to see what could be done. "Doc"
basically said, "She's dead, Ed," and suggested he find a pizza
box to bury it in. The grief stricken Ol' Santa took the dog over to the
dirt bank adjacent to the Raceway Park return road, and gently laid the mutt
The next day, when Kissinger returned to the track, some hard-ass New Jersey
cop was inspecting trunks and found a couple of six packs that were there to
ease the pain. The cop confiscated the beer, and threatened to put the old
man in jail! That did it, by God! No dog of his was going to spend eternity
in this f@*%#@ state -- so he dug her up! He packed the dog in a Tupperware
container, iced her down, and took her home to Louisiana.
A couple of months later, at Indy, disaster struck again. A replacement
"Duchess" was left in the car too long on a 100 degree day.
Another dog belly up! Once again, Ed carried the obviously expired animal to
the medics for help. I'll never forget the call I got over the radio from
"Diamond Jim" Annin, who was running the Safety Safari at that
time. "Hook"... I've seen it all now -- we're running cars down
the track, on fire, at 200 miles per hour.... and I've got an ambulance
attendant over here giving mouth to mouth to a dead dog!" Another
Tupperware cargo to Shreveport.
The old man has been gone for many years now, and I've often wondered if
they made Tupperware containers in his size.
Of course, we forever more have referred to this as "The Legend of
Saildog and Hot Dog."