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History NHRA Junior Stock

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by colesy, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. Chuck Norton
    Joined: Apr 23, 2009
    Posts: 696

    Chuck Norton
    Member
    from Division 7

    I can offer a few comments from my own perspective. It's important to recognize that Terry and I were, essentially on opposite sides of the table although we never came face-to-face in a teardown situation. To answer your questions directly, I would offer the following, based on my own experiences:
    Q: Did the owner disassemble with you nearby to inspect and measure parts?
    A: The racer was responsible for disassembling the car at the direction of and under the supervision of the tech crew. Don't forget, if the teardown was ordered at the end of class eliminations, the racer had a few hours to put the car back together, reset the tune-up, and be ready for the eliminator runs the next day.
    Q: Was the area kinda closed off so competitors couldn’t have a look?
    A: Not necessarily. During the days when oversight was more intense, there might be thirty or forty cars tearing down simultaneously. The foot traffic in and around the inspection zones was supervised fairly loosely. Pit crews were walking in and out with bags of hamburgers and adult beverages, every car had three or four crew members, the teardown area might have been in a true "barn" but, just as likely, could have been under an elm tree alongside the track. (Remember elm trees from the time before Dutch Elm Disease decimated the countryside?) Obviously, disconnected observers were not officially allowed but, in reality, just about anyone who even looked like a racer could circulate through the area unchallenged. I don't want to come across as a know-it-all but, on the other hand, from the perspective of a guy who assembled his own engines, I would not really have been concerned that someone was going to steal any really critical speed secrets during a casual observation of a teardown. It would have been extremely difficult to visually detect the kinds of things that really make a difference. Can you quickly and accurately evaluate a cylinder hone finish and associated ring seal from ten feet away under conditions of limited visibility? Can you instantly look at a valve job and spot the real secret of something as esoteric as a slight back cut on an intake valve or a carefully prepared Carter WCFB carburetor?
    Q: How long did the process take?
    A: Anywhere between two hours and four hours depending on the length of the line of cylinder heads waiting to be poured, camshafts to be rolled, bore/stroke measurements to be taken, wheelbase dimensions to be checked, the competence of the tech crew, the number of techs, and the time of day or night.
    Q: Were winners always torn-down?
    A: "Back in the day," the old man said while spitting tobacco juice at the shiny shoes of the tech man, "every class winner was torn down, checked throughly, and the fasteners sealed with multi-colored secret putty at the end of the process. If the event winner could present his car with the seals unbroken at the end of Sunday, he might not have to tear down again. Otherwise, it might be done all over again." These days, a teardown is a rarity under any circumstances.
    Q: I’ve read from Steve Cox that his mom and dad’s ‘61 Catalina was always being inspected and in one case the camshaft was actually taken and sent off to be analyzed further. I understand this was a high profile case since Carol was the first woman driver and winner.
    A: This is a touchy subject. I would suspect that that the reason for the close observation of the Catalina was the fact that the entire operation was owned and managed by Mickey Thompson. Lloyd Cox was a very talented guy. His abilities, combined with Mickey's connections at Pontiac led to some interesting developments. "McKellar" camshafts developed by Lloyd tended to be instantly adopted by Pontiac as "stock" parts, ballast bars with GM part numbers proliferated, "special" combinations for cams, carburetors, heads, and intakes were the kind of things that led to increased supervision. Randy, you and I recently spent some time sorting through the array of 389 combinations available for a '61 Catalina. I had forgotten just how many there really were but that was a real eye-opener. I would have torn them down too! Would you like to take a guess at which ones were actually showroom available? Who knows what any specific engine might have been?

    Apologies to everyone. I started to put together an essay on my experiences with the techniques employed during teardown a couple of months ago but put it aside following my wife's surgery. Guess I should dig it out and work on it some more. That's a topic for another day.

    c
     
  2. Unique Rustorations
    Joined: Nov 15, 2018
    Posts: 623

    Unique Rustorations
    Member

    Chuck,

    First off thanks for jumping in and taking the time to answer my questions (and in an open forum where others could read). I have seen pics of tear down lanes and it looks chaotic from either a driver or tech inspector perspective. I understand the process more now thanks to you.

    The Cox Catalina (as well as some of the other early Pontiac racers) I’m starting to learn was a dynamic time before the GM ban that would really test both tech crews and competitors alike with so much back door support of parts and engineering to try to increase the edge the racer had that I’m sure was stressful all around. I’m sure your memoirs could add a ton more to this subject.

    Also your direction to all of the charts for the allowable combos and ratings found me printing them out off the NHRA website then having to get reading glasses and highlighters out to even follow the lines!!

    Still, almost 60 years later I’m still fascinated by it. Regards, Randy


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  3. buffaloracer
    Joined: Aug 22, 2004
    Posts: 806

    buffaloracer
    Member
    from kansas

    Chuck,
    Hope all is going well for you and your family and you will exhibit your stories here. Tech was different in the Midwest as well. I remember the Fields car's difficulties as it headed east.
    Pete
     
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  4. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 39,687

    loudbang
    Member

    @Chuck Norton for sure when you get around to it we like history stories post away. :)
     
  5. Terry Bell
    Joined: Apr 21, 2016
    Posts: 189

    Terry Bell

    Thanks Chuck.....You saved me a lot of typing with your post. You pretty well summed it up when I started working for IHRA. I was trained by Greg X. and Marty Barrett as for some reason they seemed to think I was capable ! I had gotten into a pissing contest with Darwin Doll the Div. 1 NHRA director so I quit NHRA around 1971 or 1972 and called Robert lenord who was the IHRA Tech Director at that time. I never got along with Ted Jones who was vice president of IHRA very well but he liked what I did....LOL.
    This tear down I mentioned was at Bristol Tenn. and we had a fenced in area behind the tower. We had the top ten cars in there. Lots of lighting was available off the OLD tower. I had a cpl. of guys who seemed to really want to learn. Hank Blankenship who was a long time IHRA employee help me a lot. Sadly he passed away a few years ago. We used to call him "Conway Twitty" as he could have passed for his twin. All 9 of the other cars passed tear down except the Chevelle I mentioned. His engine was all legal EXCEPT the piston dish which raised the compression by quite a bit. He had used 8 V-6 pistons out of a 229 ( ? ) engine (IF I remember right) in place of the V-8 pistons. The V-6 piston used the same pin location, bore size and the stroke was the same but the dish was much smaller than the V-8 used. It was a long time ago and many tear downs in the past so I might be wrong on the engine size. I don't remember the guys name either. He must have done a lot of research on the piston specs. to discover the dish difference. Anyway I caught him and he never raced with IHRA again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
  6. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 39,687

    loudbang
    Member

    1965 NHRA World Championship and Tulsa Invitational Drag Races Bob Spears in the Layfayette 1964 Ford gets a jump out of the gate on record holder Arlen Vanke's Plymouth

    1965 NHRA World Championship and Tulsa In.jpg
     
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  7. Terry Bell
    Joined: Apr 21, 2016
    Posts: 189

    Terry Bell

    Well I love the pictures you post as I'm sure others on here do also !
     
  8. Chuck Norton
    Joined: Apr 23, 2009
    Posts: 696

    Chuck Norton
    Member
    from Division 7

    Loudbang's dedication to finding new material is the reason this post is still active! We all appreciate his contributions!
     
  9. JollyGreenGiant
    Joined: Mar 7, 2009
    Posts: 93

    JollyGreenGiant
    Member

    I love these tech stories from Chuck and Terry. They are very accurate and bring back lots of good memories. Keep 'em coming boys!
     
  10. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,480

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

  11. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,480

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

    66832209_2387541404633011_8173242856421457920_n.jpg ??? ...Gene Brown.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
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  12. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,480

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

  13. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,480

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

  14. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,480

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

    67126448_2387630757957409_8567170840129437696_n.jpg 3 spd's. Argh !
     
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  15. Chuck Norton
    Joined: Apr 23, 2009
    Posts: 696

    Chuck Norton
    Member
    from Division 7

    Tommy, I think that we can all pretty much identify John Barkley, Joe Allread, John Dianna, and the car of Gary Glover. The other two, the '58 Pontiac and the white '56 Chevy will require a little research. I have placed a call to Tony Janes who can probably help. Also, Gary, the only one who is a contributor to this thread, may be able to add perspective. Clearly, the photos are of winners at one of the series of Hot Rod Magazine races held at Riverside Raceway during the 1960's.
     
  16. Jimmy Parker
    Joined: Aug 26, 2009
    Posts: 34

    Jimmy Parker
    Member

    Terry, after reading your post a few memories came back to me from the 1978 or so IHRA national event in Commerce. During the initial tech process a tech man, not Robert, noticed a couple of bolt on weight bars under the car and asked what they were, I told him ballast and he sent me on thru. I won class and after tearing the motor down, a big block Camaro which was always fun, Robert looked under the car and spotted the bars and proceeded to tell me I was out as weight bars were illegal in IHRA. I explained that the person that teched me in asked what they were and I told him, Robert proceeded to find the tech and he verified that they were on the car when teched. Robert let me slide with a stern warning about bolt on ballast. Robert tore me down at least 4 or 5 times but we had a good repour and I really respected him.
    Now to our friend Ted Jones, at the Phenix City IHRA points race in the same period I was in the final of Stock and also in the final of the bracket race that the track had added to the regular program. Ted Jones called me to the tower and disqualified me from the race stating it was against IHRA rules to drive two different cars at a race. They paid me runner-up for both categories and sent me on my way. I don't remember running another IHRA race after that.
    I brought this up wondering if you worked those two races?

    Jimmy Parker
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
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  17. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,480

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

    Found one of them. The Pontiac is Gene Brown.
     
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  18. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 4,681

    1934coupe
    Member

    Chuck I'm glad you ID'ed that event and where (HR magazine race) because the car looks a lot like my friend Wayne Jr. Hopkins and his 56 Chevy it was pale yellow and he ran all Div. 1 stuff and Indy. The guy even looks like him back in the 60's.

    Pat
     

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  19. Terry Bell
    Joined: Apr 21, 2016
    Posts: 189

    Terry Bell

    No I did not work those races. I worked mostly the National events. Very few points races unless they were close to Southern Maryland. Like I said Ted Jones and myself were NOT the best of friends. He kissed a lot of butt to get where he was.....LOL. Ted was more of a "Tower Monkey" I actually quit IHRA for awhile and bought a Sea Ray cruiser to play with. After awhile a boat becomes a hole in the water that you shovel $$$$$$ money into so with Carlton Phillips (Pro Stock racer) and Bob Bagley( Super Stock racer) among a few others buying IHRA before Bill Bader bought it I went back with them. Ted was out of the picture.
     
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  20. Brian Penrod
    Joined: Apr 19, 2016
    Posts: 122

    Brian Penrod
    Member

    I remember watching Hank and Shirley racing at Bluegrass Dragway in Lexington, Ky.
     
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  21. Terry Bell
    Joined: Apr 21, 2016
    Posts: 189

    Terry Bell

    Was that with their 1961 Impala 4 door hardtop ? Hank and Shirley were my best friends at IHRA. I miss them both.
     
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  22. Yes..Skipped over the Pontiac, for some reason. Gene Brown, who's sons still race, was on camera just last weekend at Sonoma. I've done converter business with them.
     
  23. Chuck Norton
    Joined: Apr 23, 2009
    Posts: 696

    Chuck Norton
    Member
    from Division 7

    Pat, I'm still digging on this one. While it could conceivably be your friend, I would think that would be an ungodly distance to tow although John Dianna was there as well so, who knows? Tony Janes recalls a '56 business coupe from San Bernardino that was campaigned by a team under the name, Purdy and Weir. Does anyone have an entry list for 1968 Winternationals? Or, better yet, for the 1968 Hot Rod Magazine race?
     
  24. Brian Penrod
    Joined: Apr 19, 2016
    Posts: 122

    Brian Penrod
    Member

    This was in the late 70's, honestly I can't remember. I was thinking it was a 1st gen Camaro, but don't remember. Sorry. Makes me sad thinking about it, Bluegrass closed in 1981. Opened in the early 60's, was an NHRA track until the mid 70's then switched to IHRA. I remember watching all of the top fuel and pro stock cars of that era running there.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
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  25. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,480

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

  26. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,480

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

  27. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,480

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

  28. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 4,681

    1934coupe
    Member

  29. Terry Bell
    Joined: Apr 21, 2016
    Posts: 189

    Terry Bell

    I don't remember that they had a Camaro; All I remember is the '61 Impala 4 door hardtop. I was not to long after that when Both Shirley and Hank came on board with IHRA. Shirley passed away a few years before Hank with a heart attack. Hank remarried and lost a lot of weight and passed away from a heart attack also I believe. They were two who made IHRA great back in the day. Shirley handled all the sportsman paper work with a smile and a friendly voice at the tech trailer.
    While I was in the Army stationed at Ft. Knox after my east Asian "vacation" I raced my '66 Corvette at Lexington, Ohio Valley, and US 60 and a couple of trips to Bowling Green back in 1967 thru part of 1968. I bought the 68 Z-28 later in the year. I got out in Feb. 1969.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  30. Brian Penrod
    Joined: Apr 19, 2016
    Posts: 122

    Brian Penrod
    Member

    You are probably right and I just don't remember.
     
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