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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Nasty Dave's Weekend in San Antonio

By Dave Benjamin

Dave Benjamin begins his famous wheelstand at Alamo Dragway. Photo courtesy of the Flyin' Phil Archives

In 1977, I was scheduled to go to San Antonio for the AHRA Nats. My crew (Skip & John) refused to go if I took my girlfriend Trish. They thought that she took advantage of me. Big boobs, red hair and a body to kill for -- I didn't mind at all. Well they quit just days before the race so I was stuck with finding replacement help. It just so happens that a friend of mine, Steve, who had a pretty fast street car, was willing to go and help out. He was used to chauffeuring around a blown BB Chevy in a Fastback Mustang so I thought he would do fine. 

We left without a lot of preparation like setting up motel rooms first. Since he also was taking Candy, his girlfriend, this turned out to be our first mistake. When we got to San Antonio, sure enough there wasn't a room to be had anywhere. We went to the track and prepared to qualify. I told Steve to sit in the seat while I warmed up the motor. It didn't sound quite right so I took a little longer than usual. I happened to look at Steve once while it was cackling away and noticed that his eyes were as big as saucers, his mouth was open, and a look of sheer fear was on his face. 

When I shut off the engine and told him to get out, I noticed that his knees were knocking together so bad he couldn't stand up. I laughed to myself for a moment then got back to business. The weekend turned out bad but memorable. My tune-up was way off because I had timed the magneto on the wrong side of the lobe and didn't use a timing light. Somehow, we qualified. During first round against John Collins in the other Mongoose car things got worse. John wouldn't stage. My motor started to sound like a Caddy at high idle and I knew I was in trouble. 

Dave Benjamin puts it up on the chutes at Alamo Dragway. Photo courtesy of the Flyin' Phil Archives

At the hit, the front end came up until it was sitting on the parachutes. I got my picture in the rags but not the way I wanted, just my usual. Oh -- sleeping under the stars in the middle of the summer in San Antonio is not the way to keep friends around either.

Some days you eat Bear. Some days the Bear eats you.

Dave Benjamin


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