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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Lightweight, On Fire, and Rolling!

by Wayne King

I have an adding weight story. Back when I ran my funny car (3 runs) the first and only time at a points race at Irwindale. We got the new car all checked in and found out we were 150 lbs. under weight. How could that be? The car was built by Frank Huszar (Patty Foster will remember it). Very light weight. We had built it like a dragster. Had a clutch and no reverser. Everything was really lightweight. Had a Mr. Ed Charger body on it. Body weighed 65 lbs! We (Bill Crossley, George Garboden, Ken Noblett) mounted the body did all the tin work. We found out about that honeycomb stuff for aircraft and glassed it in to stiffen it the body up. 

Made a check out pass in the daylight then came back after dark to make a 3/4 pass. Motor fired up and sounded bitchin'. Crossley let the body down and the window was fogged up. I could not see a thing. I pointed to the windshield and Crossley kept pointing to the starting line. I finally covered my eyes and pointed to the windshield. He pulled out a shop rag (oil and all) and wiped the windshield off. If you ever drove with goggles at night, you know how critical it is to have them really clean. A funny car is ten times as bad. After the run we were qualified and had to go to the scales. We screwed around on the return road and added a couple of pieces of 3" exhaust tubing filled with birdshot. We just shoved them into an access hole behind the driver in the body. Easy to remove. NHRA weighed us and we were OK. 

That night we took the car home and added some more honeycomb to the body. The sides were caving in and the nose was falling down. Remember we built the whole car except the frame ourselves. We were no aerodynamic guys then. We worked half the night and got to the track early and wanted to make a final license pass. Then we were going to lean on her. About the time I remembered the 150 lbs. of weight just laying behind me, I had just done the burn out and was being pushed back. A driver has no common sense when he is waiting to make a run. 

On this run the body really collapsed and the nose fell down and the thing burned seven pistons all perfectly the same. I was on fire big time, blew the crankshaft seal out, blew all the gaskets out, blew the fuel tank lid off, solid flames. I thought, well just turn on the fire extinguisher and it will be OK. Pulled the fire extinguisher and all that happened was I could see the windshield -- nothing farther. Off the track, upside down. Rolled her over a couple of times. The car ended upside down in a ditch next to those big gravel piles. Got to go to the hospital and all. 

When I got home, I was looking the car over. There was a hole about 3 feet long by about a foot wide in the tail of the car. Looked like a bomb went off. That was where the weight tube came out. We found it about three or four months later when we were running my new rear engine RCS car. It was about 300 feet from the track laying along side the return road. Talk about scuff marks! That's my cheating story. And my three runs in a shake and bake car.

Wayne King
a.k.a. "The Peregrine"

 

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