My buddy Travis Perrenot sent me the following story. The most forgotten
car of all time must be Kent Chatagnier and the "Kent's Speed
Shop" fueler from Beaumont, Texas. Running a fuel burning Pontiac, he
totally upset the world of drag racing in 1960 by running the
"forgotten" 200 mile per hour runs at Houston. He made four runs
that day between 197.36 and 201.78 miles per hour. He did everything that
was required at that time to back up the speed, as called for by the Drag
News Standard 1320 rules that were in place.
Drag News published the record for several months as the
"official" standard 1320 AA/FD speed record. After a while, Kent
no longer was credited as being the first 200 mph run. The argument through
the years has been that he never did it again. Chris Karamesines did not
back up his 204 at Alton and did not run close to 200 again for years. Ivo
didn't back his 200 up. No one did it and backed it up until Garlits did
EXCEPT that unknown kid from Beaumont Texas, Kent Chatagnier.
Another forgotten Texas team was that of Burris-Huiett, who ran a
Chrysler (392) out of Houston. They didn't travel much due to job
commitments, but were heavy hitters on the local scene. They were runners up
to Art Malone at the grand opening of Green Valley Raceway in Ft. Worth in
1959. Art made a statement that appeared in Drag News. He said that while he had
never heard of these guys, they had put the fear into him. Art stated,
"They are dead serious racers." They ran for a few more years then
kind of faded away. The cost was just too much for a couple of Chrysler-Plymouth dealership mechanics.
Lee Schelin, Standard 1320 Group founder, comments:
The Greek did not back-up the 204 mph on the same day/same track as
required by Drag News, but did run 199 mph the following week in Kansas.
In early 1961, Drag News wiped all The Standard 1320 records clean and
started over. The new Standard 1320 requirements for an official record were
2% back-up of the record the same day/same track and another 2% back-up the
following week at a different track. Tough duty... Tommy, what about your
200 mph runs?
TV Tommy Ivo comments:
In my book, Garlits was the one to run 200. I don't remember any 200 of
mine that was crocked about. Do you remember my story about Garlits telling
me how to do it (the cam)? [See the 7/03 Story
of the Day. bp] In later years, I got a bogus 250 that wagged a
few tongues, and rightfully so. It was about the era of my first five-second
run that NHRA disputed. And the papers picked up the 250 mph story with too
much zeal because of the "5" controversy.