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Old 08-19-2008, 04:59 AM   #1
Ryan
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Default Drag Strip Gymnastics

We continue a prelude to the H.A.M.B. Drags with a nod towards our Olympians... How So? With this article found in the September, 1957 issue of Hot Rod Magazine:

"The ultimate success (or failure) of a drag strip, as with any form of entertai...

To read the rest of this blog entry from The Jalopy Journal, click here.
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:39 AM   #2
Asphalt Outlaw Hero
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

Yeah,You had to be agile.Not to mention cars coming sideways at you,engines hand gernading as they passed.Also some strips had flagmen who gave "home strip" advantage".Point to the homeboy last with the flag,a quick nod and you knew what was going to happen next.
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:58 AM   #3
hotrod1940
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

Pretty much the way it was, except for the 50 to a 100 second part. 5 to 10 seconds was more accurate. I was the flagger at the Golden Triangle in Florida and I can tell you that the jumping didn't last all day. Plus, Garlits didn't like me and gave me the salute many times. "The Greek"Karamisines and Ed Garlits had the best reaction times. It was like they were connected to the green flag.
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

Awesome man! Great read. I really enjoy seeing the old flagmen doing their thing.
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

Sounds like a job for Plowboy. What with the bikini & all.
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

This is what I thought we should have done when the power went out at Mo-Kan. Who needs a timing slip? Just run 'em.
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

I say "we" but I didn't have a car there that year.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:02 AM   #8
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

Gang -

I'm with mrpontiac regarding flag starts at the HAMB drags - lights out or not.

I've thought from event #1 that flag starts should be the thing. Perhaps there could at least be a couple periods during the day where flag starts were used. I think it would be great fun. Maybe there could even be a a "best leap" contest.

I did my share of flagging (at the strip and on the street), but left the acrobatics to others. It was always taken as a serious thing. My approach was to be as uniform as possible - in order to be fair to all contestants.

The drill was to use a green and red flag. Hold the red flag with its tip touching the ground (track). Bundle the green in your hand - point it at each driver and have him nod that he was ready - then drop the green to to the ground - wait a few moments (always a slightlty random period of time here - and always looking straight between the cars, never at one or the other driver), then lift it smartly (letting it unfurl, of course) to indicate the start.

The red would be lifted if you saw a jump start - and pointed toward the offender's lane. There was always another fellow at the line who also needed to validate the foul.

I never gave a thought to an exploding clutch, motor, etc., but did have to evade the ocassional wayward vehicle.

BTW - There was a guy at the finish line perched in an elevated seat - only a few yards from the edge of the strip - who had a white flag to indicate the winning lane. His word was law.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

vote now
plowboy for official starter
only two flags tho leave the deep stage flag /pole in his pants
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

I was racing at Detroit Dragway, early 60's. Noticed the flagman seemed to be in a hurry to get done,(point point flip) so as soon as he pointed at both of us I left for a holeshot win.
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:19 PM   #11
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

Whoa! (or should I say Go!) ... this is too weird ... just last night, I was searching through my 50's HRM's (looking for something on an entirely different topic) and came across this same article ... and thought to myself: this would sure make a cool thread on the H.A.M.B. ... I could title the thread "Hot Rod Olympians" ... but I decided such a post would be too corny** (even for me) and scrapped the idea of scanning the article.

** In "my thread" I was also going to include the following image with some sort of sarcastic comment about the starter's "perfect landing" (legs together) ... and how it would be good enough for a Gold ... but she had to settle for a Silver because the Chinese starter had an equally good routine ...

Bill Burnham's daughter drops the flag on the HEMI32 coupe and Billy B's 321ci Pontiac powered '29 hi-boy
in this staged "50's Drag Race" photo
:

Image "courtesy" the centerfold of the 1996 Thaxton Press book "Goodguys Hot Rod Chronicles"


Anyway ... cool post Ryan.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

I 'spose Rich Christensen is too good to use flags...
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

Quote:
Originally Posted by hotrod1940 View Post
Pretty much the way it was, except for the 50 to a 100 second part. 5 to 10 seconds was more accurate. I was the flagger at the Golden Triangle in Florida and I can tell you that the jumping didn't last all day. Plus, Garlits didn't like me and gave me the salute many times. "The Greek"Karamisines and Ed Garlits had the best reaction times. It was like they were connected to the green flag.
Interesting comments from a kat that was "there".
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Old 08-22-2008, 04:39 PM   #14
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Default Re: Drag Strip Gymnastics

Dusty Duty (honest!) was the flag man at Paradise Mesa and was know to do a back flip every once in a while. Bean Bandits and the Arizona Speed Sport Special face offs were classic when started with a flag.
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