Joe Jacono and His Zoomie Headered Dragster
By Bill Ott
Joe Jacono's Buick Lynwood dragster. Photo by Joe Monitzor
Zoomies! One of my favorite subjects (Should I be concerned?). Brings to mind one of my favorite dragsters... matter of fact, I'd rate this one second only to Swamp Rat III. Talking about Joe Jacono's red and black "AA/D 425", Nailhead (how 'bout THAT boss?) powered, Lynwood (what else?).
This is the same Joe Jacono famous for the 'Rollin' Stoned' funny car. But in this shot, Joe is sporting a stylish crew cut. It also appears Joe preferred driving with the popular "left leaning" (hey... no politics, remember?) attitude to see around the 6-71. How laid back was this guy? " We don't need no steenking drag chute!" Hell, it'd just slow ya down, anyway! But, how about them headers? Primitive Zoomies, no? This photo was snapped in 1960 or 61, by Bob Monitzor.
Joe would show up at Atco every Sunday and whup ass! I recall watching this dragster lose only two rounds in two seasons... and one of those losses was to the Jack Chrisman piloted Howard Cam's Twin Bear... the same year Jack won the old NHRA World Points Championship.
Like I said, week in and week out, Joe would show up with his dragster and his white Pontiac Bonneville convertible push car with a pretty blonde at the wheel. Pulled that dragster around on an open trailer, too. He'd run it off the trailer, put on a leather jacket and helmet (plastic, not leather... this ain't THAT long ago), and Blondie would push him out on the track, for the almost ritualistic push start. Damn... I miss those!
Joe would make a pass, and then they would head back to the pits. This photo was snapped as they were coming down the return road, just after a pass. When they got back to the pits, Joe would climb out of the car, lean against the Bonneville and B.S. with friends, until the next round. He NEVER touched the damn thing. NEVER got his hands dirty. Oh, this was a gas dragster... but THAT'S no excuse. Hell, he could have at least changed a plug every once in a while!
But no... he and Blondie just hung around and looked like they were having a great time. Imagine THAT in this day and age. SO laid back. And my pals and me had to climb over the fence to watch the races! Man, was I jealous of this dude, with his dragster, Pontiac, and blonde! But Joe always put on a good show... that even carried over to the Funny Car days.
I recall the Lefty Mudersbach twin Chevy digger had headers very similar to these. This was in about the same time frame, and according to the cam ads, he was just about unbeatable out West.
I was sitting in the grass along the return road at Bakersfield during the inaugural Cacklefest last year and Ted Cyr's "The Lincoln" passed by running set of weedsweeper headers. He zinged the throttle as he went by and the exhaust blast threw a whole shovel full of dirt and debris in my face... meant to thank him... but haven't got around to it yet. More old B.S. later.