On Truckin' (Part
King and Marshall AA/Fuel Dragster. Photo by Vic Cooke
Alexis Arguello gave Boom Boom a beating
seven weeks later he was back in the ring
Some have the speed and the
you can't take the punches
don't mean a thing*
on I-70 somewhere in central Colorado with Denver in the rear view mirror
and the majestic Rockies looming straight ahead, Sy (Sidebotham) and
co-pilot Chuck Emanuel start to realize this segment of their journey
might finally be winding down. According to Rand-McNally (or was that
Charles Atlas?) the ride from
is about 2980 miles.
the beautiful white combination motor home/race car transporter has
performed flawlessly... and the weather has been pretty co-operative... no
problems with any state militia either. Yeah... this trip is gonna' be a
piece of cake, right? Nothing for the two of them to do but ease back into
the high back Captain's Chairs and enjoy the rest of this ride.
what a ride. Next they'll be passing by
... hey, wasn't that the name of a chassis/safety** component company
? Then on past Golden... you know,
the beer place? Over
.. I wonder what that's named
after. Through the Eisenhower Tunnel... I'm pretty sure it's named
after the ‘Father' of our Interstate Highway System (and our 34th
president). Vail... winter time playground of the rich and fancy, is next
as they start their descent down the Western Slope of the
(and the Continental Divide)
through Glenwood Springs, Rifle, and finally leaving
just west of
, the boys jump on I-15 at the edge
, continue south to the
border, where it's only about a
20 or so mile drive across the state to the
line. Next stop... Vegas. Pick up a
few souvenirs, gas up, and it's Westward Ho again. You know, I've read
that trying to move Vegas in a ‘family oriented' direction just might
be one of the biggest financial blunders of all time. Didn't sound like
a good idea.
Back on the road again. In just a few hours they arrive in
, Ca. Pick up highway 58 West, zip
across the Mohave with its rich auto racing and fast/secret airplane
history, over Tehachapi and its beautiful western slope. This is one of my
favorite parts of the country to drive across... early in the morning with
Lonnie Mack blasting out of the speakers... oh yeah. Hey, somewhere in
here there IS a story about Drag Racing! But, you gotta get there first,
. Or more precisely Meadows Field,
known to many as
. Hey, how many of you knew that
James Dean (yes Virginia, THAT James Dean) raced his sports car right here
at Meadows Field? Yep, back in ‘55 he drove his Porsche Speedster here
in the old California Sports Car Club circuit...and with moderate success
I might add. Anyway, what to hell are we doing here at the airport with
the track just a few minutes away? Well... picking up the rest of the
crew. Driver Tom Steed and his son Tim opted to fly out to the races.
Heard from some eyewitnesses the transporter was quite a sight negotiating
around the rental cars and the narrow lanes of the airport.
arriving at the track early Thursday afternoon it's time to stake out a
spot in the Dragster Pit area, park this baby, and unload it. And just
what are they unloading? Well, how about the 1969 version of the Don Long
built King and Marshall AA/FD? This white, blue, and gold beauty sports a
Tom Hanna body and a NITRO burning ‘392 blown Chrysler Hemi. Originally
built here on the west coast, this should almost be like a homecoming for
this dragster. And considering the great lengths these guys have gone
through just to get it here for this ‘02 version of the California Hot
Rod Reunion, you know the Red Carpet will be rolled out, and they'll be
treated with the respect they deserve.
home at the New England Dragway the boys have already made a few 1/8th
mile passes... full quarter mile shots are a no-no due to safety concerns,
starting with that three point roll cage... pretty, but not up to
today's five point specs. A .99 60 foot... a 3.0 330 foot... and a 3.9
1/8th mile times have been the best clockings as of this date.
But, tell me, how cool would a framed timing slip from the famed Famoso
Raceway look on the wall of the den?
, the dragster is attracting a lot
of attention just sitting there next to the transporter. The rest of this
day is spent on routine maintenance as well as applying a little ‘spit
and polish'. Tomorrow it'll roar to life and make a pass down this
fabled quarter mile, and none too soon either. Driver Tom Steed has been
anxiously awaiting the chance to make the one more pass needed to re-new
his Top Fuel license. The whole crew is really looking forward to
morning dawned bright and sunny... not a cloud in the sky, no winds, high
barometer readings, low humidity... damn good Drag Racing weather. How
about an early morning warm up just to get things started right? Now old'
Sky's had a lot of experience tuning these NITRO motors, and has this
baby cackling and stinging eyes with the best of ‘em. Looks like the
East Coast is being well represented this weekend. By the time Sy gave Tom
the sign to shut it down, a good sized crowd had gathered to check out
this newest addition to the gang of assembled Knights of the Quarter.
afternoon couldn't roll around fast enough for the boys. Push the digger
into the growing crowd... hook the tow line up to the ATV... and make
their way up to the staging lanes. Finally... the guys reach the front of
the line. “Hey... we're next!” Yes sir... one more pair of cars down
the track... then the K & M car will come to life... and Tom will
finally get his license updated... yep, life is good. Everyone around here
this one guy. Wearing a red and white Track Official shirt and giving the
car and crew a hard stare... he seems intrigued by something on the
engine. He asks Sy a question about the blower restraint as he shakes his
head. Seems he doesn't like the way the restraint is tied off.
other thing. About Tom's license... he's only got TWO passes on his
update... gotta have a Top Fuel license to make a pass here.
you are” was the reply “that's why we're here... to make that
don't understand” he answered back “You can't make a pass with
right sir, we're up here to make that third pass and complete the
repeat again, without an updated license... you can't make a pass.”
wasn't too hard to see where this was headed. Two years spent restoring
this beauty, towing it almost three thousand miles to be part of this
event... only to be turned back about twenty five feet from the starting
line. I don't think I've ever seen a more dejected look than the one
Tom was wearing as they turned the car around and towed it back into the
pits. What a sad sight. The guys were totally devastated at the thought of
having to pack up and head back East... with absolutely nothing to show
for their efforts.
Steve Gibbs. Time for cooler heads and sharper minds to prevail. “Heck,
just make a few changes to that restraint and hell... Tom has gotta make a
pass SOMEWHERE to top that license off.” So, by the time all of this
finally gets straightened out, and repairs are completed, it's too late
to make a pass. Ah well, there's always tomorrow.... to be continued.
Warren Zevon Music
"Boom Boom Mancini"
Schubeck's Lakewood Mfg. Co.
Part Two Here