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Old 12-20-2007, 10:10 AM   #1
Ryan
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Default The History of Violence



That's the thing about drag racing... and more specifically, the 1960's era of the sport... It was dangerous man. More than dangerous, it was absolutely violent. Little to no sophistication b...

To read the rest of this blog entry from The Jalopy Journal, click here.

Last edited by Ryan; 12-20-2007 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: The History of Violence

wow, speechless.....
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:25 AM   #3
Cajun Kenny
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Default Re: The History of Violence

nothin like a nice willy's hole shot hell yeah!!
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:30 AM   #4
G V Gordon
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Default Re: The History of Violence

I remember seeing Eddie Hill fun in his twin Pontiac rail in the mid 60's here in Enid (Had drags at the air base for one summer) and even at the young age of fourteen thinking, "damn that's a handfull!"

I picked up an old rail about ten years ago for $75 which probably was a 50's piece. Just thinking that this thing was actually in competition was scarey as hell. The engine mounts had been changed a few time so i assume the power increased over time. A buddy still has it. I may see if I can get some pics of it. Had a narrowed Studebaker rear end with a couple extra rear end covers trimmed and fitted over the ring gear bump, I assume to protect your 'nads' in the case of a catastophic failure.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: The History of Violence

Ferocity-good choice of word.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: The History of Violence

In the early 1990's, Ryan and I bought Les Figeroa's NHRA Sportsman Nation Champion Camero and with a great crew chief, Ronnie Low, we started running all the IHRA and NHRA races within driving distance from Midland, TX. We had the same degree of success that most teams have when they start competing. Win some, loose alot. We were running the Super Chevy event at Ennis TX at the Motorplex. As I recall, in the first round, Ryan cut a good light and laid down a 9.3 run with a top speed in the high 140's. We felt good about the second around, but noticed the wind had kicked up from the southwest. He hammered off the tree and picked up the front tires for maybe 50 feet. Looking good! When he cleared the grandstands just after the eighth mile, a great gust of wind turned the car 90 degrees and he had a headon with the concrete barrier. It destroyed the front half of the car. Ryan was sick with disappointment. He was find except for neck pain withch turned out be a herniated cervical disc. Ronnie, Ryan and I had to front clip the car to get it back on the track. We made it even better than before and all learned some "life's lessons".
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:26 AM   #7
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Default Re: The History of Violence

I am glad Chuck posted up the link to some of his pics! He hung out with some of the guys in the car club my Dad was in back in the late 50s-early 60s in Connecticut. He thankfully took alot of photos at Connecticut Dragway. Here are a few he sent me earlier this week from his collection.

The altered was driven and built by Steve Harwood, who was at this past HAMB Drags.







This is Willie Strickland's FED, who ran a speed shop in Niantic CT, and my Dad helped out with.







Here is a pic of the Tasca Ford out of Rhode Island.



All of these pics are from Connecticut Dragway, which was in my hometown, East Haddam.
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: The History of Violence

awsome pics Nosurf!
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:31 AM   #9
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Default Re: The History of Violence

For me, that was the pinnacle of drag racing. The various styles of cars, lack of computers and driver / crew know-how balanced with a certain amount of safety rules made for a great sport. It also helped that I was a kid then, and had unencumbered time to spend watching!

Some may disagree with me, but modern racing is so advanced and controlled (rules and computers,...) that it bores me.

One of the aspects I remember is how different each car sounded from another - you could identify some based on that alone!
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: The History of Violence

Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: The History of Violence

WOW!! Damn near makes me speechless. I wish these pics had audio.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: The History of Violence

Many years ago I helped a guy with a 33 Willys gasser.It had a small block chevy at 383 ? Cu In.We had it in Fla. at a strip.I too it over to a side strip (this was an old airbase).I remember pulling up the revs with in 2nd gear (granny box) and dumping it.It pushed me back about 12" into the seat. What a rush!!!!
Gssers then were pretty dangerous (early 60's).You had to run a stock frame.They were designed for 60-85 HP.They would twist right up.

Last edited by Asphalt Outlaw Hero; 12-20-2007 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 12-20-2007, 03:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: The History of Violence

I was pretty active in the sport from 1963 until about 1972. Ran and crewed at Martin Dragway outside Martin, MI and crewed on one of the last front motor long wheelbase fuelers up in Washington state in 1967 when I was in the service. Finished up partners in a GMC 6cyl. powered '55 Chevy two door. From the gasser wars to super stock, FX classes and early funny cars it was a wonderful and exciting era. Guys were still inventing new ways to go fast and destroy parts - still do I guess.

Later I worked the Nostalgia drags with Tom Prufer and Brian Burnett(sp?) at Fremont for a few years in the early 80's. That was as close as it ever got for the golden era for me. I watch the NHRA meets on TV now and find it to be such great coverage I hardly ever go to the track - except Indy every 4 or 5 years. I have friends who bracket race door cars, and they go fast, but it's just chasing a number. Can't get real fired up over it.

Charlie
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Old 12-20-2007, 05:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: The History of Violence

Great photos, for sure!
I almost hate to say it, but anyone born after 1960 will never understand how it was in the golden years. Todays racing is faster and quicker, but sanitized.
Watching the NHRA coverage on ESPN2 its sad to see how far away from the track the grandstands are.
Drag racing is still cool, exciting, loud and well worth watching or particpating in, but...
I'm glad I got to experiance the splintered wood bleachers, the race cars on single axle open trailers, the silver flame suits, open faced helmets, the spectacle of the push starts and the rosin burnouts of the A/FX cars.
We always sat on the "tower" side of the strip at LIONS and the car in the close lane was literally just 15 feet from the bleachers.
Just like much of the way we live today, the abundance of laws and rule books, fences and barriers and "dos and don'ts" pretty much limit and curb our excitement and truly make us into coddled spectators, confined to limited doses of "fun".
My case in point: No more Fuel Altereds. Why? Oh, too dangerous....

Man, I'm soooo glad I was there..."back in the day"
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Old 12-20-2007, 06:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: The History of Violence

Love the pics of Steve Harwood's altered. Talk about extreme hot rod!
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Old 12-20-2007, 06:48 PM   #16
Charlie Chops 1940
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Default Re: The History of Violence

Yes, what Mazooma1 says. We used to stand at the chain link fence 5 or 6 feet from the fuelers staging - getting soaked with raw fuel - hardly an ear plug in sight - probably why most of us old galoots are half deaf.

Charlie
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:16 PM   #17
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Default Re: The History of Violence

I agree Mazooma! I remember Lions too. Alterd drivers were like the bungy jumpers,or the motorcycle back-flippers,of today! HUGE motors,little cars,burning the hides off,and holding on!! They aren't anymore dangerous than the funnycars of today,doin 300!!!
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:36 PM   #18
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Default Re: The History of Violence

San Gabriel was my home strip in the 50's but Colton was the coolest! sitting on logs at the starting line was as close as it gets. had to shut down occasionally for small planes to land.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:41 PM   #19
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Default Re: The History of Violence

Facinating post. I'm a youngin'. I work in pro stock, I love my job, but I'm never happier at work than when the older guys at work get to talking about how it used to be. The new cars are so goddam fast... but yes, sanitary.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:57 PM   #20
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Default Re: The History of Violence

You just have to LOVE IT! Thanks
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