In the mid-‘70s, Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) rocket powered cars were
allowed on the nation's drag strips. Their light weight and incredible
power produced unbelievable ETs even though they were mandated to shut off
at half track.
Before the rockets could run, they had to have an annual inspection by
the NHRA, the insurance company, and a rocket expert. This shot is of
Sammy Miller from 1976 in the staging lanes at Englishtown waiting to be
After a couple of fatalities (Russell Mendez at the Gatornationals and
Dave Anderson at Charlotte) the sanctioning bodies and insurance companies
banned them and the few who built these cars were forced to park them or
take them overseas.
Sammy ran this 1976 Mustang II (later re-bodied as a Vega) and set
track records everywhere he raced. Here are some numbers: 1/8th mile 1.91
seconds; 1/4 mile 4.40 seconds -- both on a shut-off run at Englishtown in
June of 1977. He also ran a (are you ready for this?) 3.58-second 1/4 mile
pass at Zanvoor, Holland, in 1985 where there were no speed restrictions.
Before Sammy got into rockets, he ran a series of Nitro Funny Cars and
Top Fuel Dragsters.
Other former nitro drivers who ran rockets in that era included Lew
Arrington (Brutus/Captain America) and "Fearless" Fred Goeske.
Sammy also set a Land Speed Record of some sort on ice as he outfitted
the car with ski-like contraptions and made two shots on frozen Lake
Rumor has it that Sammy will be bringing his "Vanishing
Point" rocket to Englishtown's Funny Car Reunion in July.
"Berserko Bob" Doerrer