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Old 12-21-2006, 02:56 PM   #21
Elrod
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and Story

Quote:
Originally Posted by fleetbob50
I showed this pick around waco and an old flathead mechanic and lover of old cars had two additional pics of the car. It also ran at a track known as Shady oaks on white rock creek just north of town. There were three of four other tracks here and in Temple to the south. This kind of thing might make a good story for the Hot Rod Journal. Most all these old time racers are gone now. Gordon Wooly still lives here and Bill White is still at little river.
Hey Fleetbob!

I went by Joe Watson's shop today and showed him these additional pictures. I didn't bring these names with me, but Joe did say that the big name he remembered from Souicide Bowl was Gordon Wooly. He said that one of the reasons he remembered him was that a lot of the guys would make passes at his wife because she was so good lookin. HAHA!

When I showed up with the pictures, he was very excited. He said that the car's name was "Question Mark" He said that they wouldn't run with a number, but just a question mark on the side of the car. The car's engine was a 100HP flathead block bored .040 over with Eddlebrock heads and dual carbs. The guy with the hat in the photos you sent is C.A. Johnson, owner of the Question Mark. He also said that he thought the guy in the checkered sweather standing in the bottom right picture (looks like he's about to jump in the air) looked like a fireman that worked with him. His name was James D. Mitchel, but went by the name of "Pistol" Mitchel. Joe Watson had a picture of Pistol Mitchel on his wall at his radiator shop in his fireman's uniform.

Joe then said, "You know... Ed Sissom is still alive and lives just around the corner. He used to race, along with A.D. Trowell, Speak Freeding and Frank Matthews. (Joe thought Frank Matthews was pictured with the Question Mark almost cut off on the rigt of the photo in the driver's quarter photo.) I have now found out after doing some research that all these drivers were consistant race winners at Devil's Bowl here in Dallas for 5-10 years straight.

Anyways, Joe and I jumped in the car and went over to Ed Sissom's house, who's 88 years old now, and found that he had gone up to the cafe to eat. We then swung by the cafe, and he was there with his son. They recognized the number 8 car and thought that it was called "Eight Ball" but couldn't remember the owner or driver, but seemed to recollect that it was run by two brothers in Waco... Earnest something maybe. They recognized the photos (again without me saying anything about your above posting) as Shady Oaks. Ed said that he remembered Gordon Wooly ran a yellow roadster that they called "The Grasshopper" They were just starting to eat, but said that he has some more old photos of the old racing days. So, I'm going to try to check those out sometime soon and see if I can scan any of them to post more info on some old time Texas racing. Joe Watson also said that he thought Ed was in the racing association, or timing association around Dallas.

I just did a search on the Dallas Morning News website, and Ed Sissom was constantly winning races here in Dallas at Devil's bowl. I've found page after page after page showing him winning and performing amazing feats. I also Found a few stories talking about the Question Mark, driven by Jimmy Schmitt. I've attached a few in this post.

The first is from June 19, 1949 telling about the Question Mark's former owner, Leon Peavy being killed in a midget race a week after winning in the Question Mark "Sunday Races Dedicated to Leon Peavy"

The second is from April 9th, 1951 and talkd about the Question Mark throwing a front wheel in the 10th lap and Ed Sisson, the guy I spoke to at lunch, winning the race.

The third is from May 6h, 1951 and talks about the Question Mark making a comeback after a bad year in 1950.

The last one being from April 30th, 1951 "Trowell Sets Fast Pace in Devil's Bowl"
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Last edited by Elrod; 12-21-2006 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 12-21-2006, 08:12 PM   #22
seymour
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and Story

damn... that's awesome
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:01 PM   #23
chicken coupe cook
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and S

The "Grasshopper" lives!

http://www.soupupmagazine.com/issue13/page20.html

Don
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:51 PM   #24
chicken coupe cook
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and S



Pic of the Grasshopper taken last July.
Joe Smith restored it and he and Gordon Woolley
took it for a spin around Heart O' Texas Speedway!

Don
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:14 PM   #25
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and S

Great story. Thanks. Racing back in the 50's and 60's was very different than today. I look forward to more.

Dan
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:18 PM   #26
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and S

Holy Crap! Thanks for taking the time to record this texas history! Thanks for sharing, I love this forum!
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:31 PM   #27
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and S

You are right about the old guys slipping away unnoticed a few weeks ago an old racer from my area died. His obit didn't even mention that to many of us he was Louie J. his given name was Luther J Stemen but the race track announcers just called him Louie J he was always a top ten racer at local tracks Butler, Manchester occasionally Angola. He to the best of my knowledge always drove a model A sedan dressed in silver #88 on its side in black and red. I know racing was a very important part of his life but for whatever reason it wasn't even mentioned.
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:41 PM   #28
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and S

Neat post. I've seriously considered taking out about foot of metal down the center line of an old Model A coupe while bobbing the tail. The end result would fit an 30 inch wide frame with about a 90 inch wheel base with the running gear of an early / mid 60's dirt modified. Some day... Gary
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:15 PM   #29
Randy in Oklahoma
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and S

I have very vague memories of going to the old Suicide Bowl race track. Seems like it was out somewhere around the old Lake Waco.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:15 AM   #30
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and S

Neat story.
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:16 PM   #31
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and S

Just heard some sad news that Ed Sissom passed away at the age of 94 this past Sunday, August 5, 2012. There will be a funeral tomorrow, August 8th at Brown's Memorial Chapel in Irving TX at 10a.m. for anyone interested.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dal...41#fbLoggedOut



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Old 08-07-2012, 05:51 PM   #32
chicken coupe cook
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Default Re: 100HP V8 Dirt Track Racer from 1949 - Ran at Suicide Bowl in Waco, TX - Pic and S




Suicide Bowl 1946


The Grasshopper!


Ed Sissom

Last edited by chicken coupe cook; 08-07-2012 at 06:11 PM.
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