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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Bill Shrewsberry, The Wildest Wheelstander

By Steve Gibbs

Wild Bill Shrewsberry lived up to his name on every pass. Photo by Ray English
Wild Bill Shrewsberry lived up to his name on every pass. Photo by Ray English

Bill Shrewsberry was definitely the guy who "pushed the envelope" when it came to the wheelstanders. I think it's a way of life for him. One of his best stunts went like this: He would do the "normal" wheelie act, and then head back towards the starting line in a wheelstand. After setting the car down, but still going pretty fast, he would throw the thing into a sliding 180 degree turn, and at the precise moment, pop the wheels back into the air, heading back down the race track. It was a pretty skillful maneuver that was tried by others, but not done nearly as well. Bob Riggle's first attempt was an exciting one. He pulled off the 180 degree U-turn just fine... and get the car back into a wheelstand without a problem... BUT the thing he forgot to do was straighten out the front wheels after making the turn! When he set the car down on the top end, it immediately went into a series of loops and wound up on top of the guardrail.

There was a bunch of wheelie cars at that time (late 60s) and they were all trying to outdo each other in order to get bookings. It was a little scary on occasion. One night at Lions, the guys were involved in a distance contest to see who could carry a wheelstand the furthest. They placed a flare down to mark the longest run. Bill "Maverick" Golden went over a half mile on his pass, and the spot was marked with a flare. On his own, "Maverick" decided that the mark was too far downtrack, and that it would be dangerous for anyone else to try and beat him...so he removed the flare! Nobody bothered to tell Chuck Poole, so when he took his turn, he drove off the end of the strip, wheels up, under power, looking for the missing flare. His car was a total, and tempers were at the breaking point as well.

I guess there's a few of these cars still around...including "Maverick." I think he actually had his name legally changed from Bill Golden to Bill Maverick.

Hook
stevengordy@earthlink.net

 

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