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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Drag Racing's "Forgotten" First 200 MPH Run

As Told to Harrison "Wheels" Inglis
by Travis Perrenot

With Comments by Lee Schelin and Tom Ivo

Burris-Huiett vs Kent Chatagnier. Photo by Travis Perrenot
Burris-Huiett vs Kent Chatagnier. Photo by Travis Perrenot

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.

Harrison/Wheels

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 the following:

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?

Lee Schelin

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.

TV Tom

 

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