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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

More Bakersfield Memories

By Wayne King, Robbie Andersen, and Big Gene Townley

Welcome to Bakersfield! Wayne King

I was just among some of the sport's drag racers from Bakersfield. It all seems so crazy that here we sit, 40 years later, talking about old times. Yet, it seems like last weekend that we were all at Bakersfield and Lions. The friendships that we made are still alive. Except for the ones up in the drag strip in the sky. I'm going to miss you, Jim Herbert. Your memory will always be with me when I think of the Northern Cal bunch. The 4-car match races at Fresno still come to mind. Jim drove in a couple of those

Wayne King, AKA "The Peregrine"

The Makeshift Fire Suit and the Soup -- Robbie Andersen

This one is from way back, so hang on kids. Deist had a flat top back then, so you know how old this is going to be... Wells, McCloskey, and I were running fuel in the Flathead, and tech told us we had to have a fire suit. I was in the Navy and went to the parachute loft and "big dealed" a fire suit (like they fight airplane fires with). That was pretty good, but we thought the pants were too bulky. Off to the top-shop. 

I went with a pair of Levis (one size fits all) and had the guy sew some fire-retardant, chrome looking material on them. We had taken up smoking cigars and while at Bakersfield, waiting in the fire-up lane, Wells fell asleep on the hood of the truck in the "chrome pants." McCloskey took his cigar and lit the pants on fire...guess the tower was watching and brought us to the line only to shut us off and have words with us... 

The next day we were at Deist's shop, fire suit shopping. Jim said he had two fire suits, one with our name on the back and one without. We couldn't afford either one, so we asked if he liked soup; we would give him some money and soup. He said he liked soup and we brought him SOUP. I think we went a little overboard because he used soup cases as tables. The word got around the racing industry that if the Wells, McCloskey, and Andersen guys needed parts, don't let them bring as much soup as they took Deist... 

About ten years ago I was at Bonneville with Jack Mendenhall. Jim caught me and wanted some more HAMBURGER soup. Andersens has not made hamburger soup in 30 years!

"Thru the Time Warp" (c)
Robby Andersen

The Surfers Even it Up -- Big Gene Townley

I have a short story about the Surfers. Everyone knows how clean those guys were but they were honest also. They were one of the few teams that Reath gave credit to and I know it was not because of their wealth.

When they won Bakersfield and ran that 7.34 it was very impressive. The year slips me (65 or '66), but not what they ran.

I was down at Reaths on Monday morning after the race. They came in and gave Del the check they got for winning the race and they got just a very little bit back. Del told me after they left that they were one of the few she gave credit to that she never worried about. For the ones of you who know Del Reath, you know she does not waste her time giving compliments. Del is a nice lady but she is all business.



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