The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by palosfv3, Apr 2, 2021.
This popped up in my news feed today. Thought it would be interesting for everyone.
Interesting piece but quite melancholy. I couldn't help but wonder,
after the lights were out and the film crew was gone, what went
through Chris' mind. It was almost sad each time he got silent and
simply looked down at the floor. Sure is a contrast between Chris'
shop and the monument John Force built to himself. This film is
a strong reminder of an interaction I had with former midwest Pro
Stock racer Joe Satmary who had a strong fan base and ran with the
best in the '60s and '70s. Bruce Springsteen sang it best in his tune
"Glory Days". They pass you by. The pic below is from 1969.
Thanks @palosfv3 for posting that, it tells just a bit of his story and it shows the realization that his competitive career is over. Typically underfunded he still ran strong but had some lean years like most pro racers. Chris is no doubt held in high esteem by legions of fans, we’ll see him making exhibition runs soon I hope.
It his last years racing he enjoyed the support of Bob Stange of Strange Engineering, Don Schumacher with chassis’s and tuning help from Jim Head.
Thanks for the memories Greek!
Back in the late 60's at York US 30 I had the honor of having him run over my toes as he was pushing up to the line. He had a white on white Chrysler 300 for a push car. I can still remember how dirty the interior of that car was, pair of slicks and tools in the back seat. I don't remember if he beat Don Garlits that night or not, but I do remember him yelling at me to get out of the way.
I'm hoping we will see him at the Hot Rod Reunion in June.
Thanks for posting this video.
I don’t think anybody knows for sure how old he is except Chris himself.
But he served in the Army, and spent time in Germany post war in 1945. If he was only 16 then that makes him born in 1929. Do the math.
I met him once about 1961. We were running a D/Altered at Minnesota Dragways and were such a low-buck operation that we didn't own a torque wrench. For some forgotten reason, we had to change head gaskets. He graciously let us use his. I was watching some drag races on TV a few years ago, and there he was, still running in the eliminations. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears.
Neat video. Approximately a decade back Forest Lucas promised to sponsor him as long as he wanted to continue racing. I hope he gets the double engine machine to the track and makes some passes before he is unable to do it.
An absolutely Amazing piece!! Thanx for posting...
Thanks for sharing that video. So impressive to look back at his racing career over such a long period of time. He is still mentally sharp, as evident by the answers to the questions. He has survived on a lot of used parts he reconditioned that were discarded by the big boys. Racing in the top fuel class takes a lot of money and time. Always rooted for him as the underdog.
...I have an autographed aluminum connecting rod from one of his drag cars...
Good video. I talked to him once for about 15 minutes. Learned a lot about hydrazine and picric acid.
Wow! Thanks for that video. I met Dr. Dean Hill, of Dr. Dean and His Hydrazine Machine fame years ago at an AETC in Colorado Springs, where he gave a talk on nitromethane. Of course some smartass (me) had to ask about hydrazine, and the Greek running it back in the day. What I remember most is his comments about how carcinogenic the stuff is. Which makes Mr. Karamasenes all the more remarkable, having survived so long, given everything he must have experienced in such a full life.
Thought I'd watch for a bit and probably go on to something else. Well, that didn't happen. Makes you long for the days gone by when racers (and hot rodders) really didn't have a choice but to build and modify things for themselves. The Greek seems larger than life.
He's slowed down some physically, but I can only hope that I'll be half that good when I'm his age. Cool video.
Great viewing -thanks for posting ! And X2 on all the comments - especially quick85.....
Great video glad his memory will live on.
Melt Down, Byron Illinois, 2016
Thanks for posting and worth the time. Back when drag racing was the best.
Very cool, thanks for putting this up
PRI Magazine (Performance Racing Industry) did a companion piece in this month's issue. It had a few things that didn't come through on the video, but the video seemed to really capture the personality of "The Greek". I live 6 Hrs. from Chicago, but I'd drive up there to buy lunch for Chris, just to let him tell stories from his long career.
Lynn, I live close to you on the other side of the river, if you are going up to Chicago to visit The Greek, I’d love to tag along, heck, I’ll drive and buy the fuel.
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One of the classic icons of drag racing, no other way to put it. There are thousands of Greek stories, some true, some maybe true...("the Birdman of Lions," cleaning bird remains out of his blower after ingesting a bird), bad fire at Lions, angry that he burned his mustache) ... The time he smoked down 69th Street in Chicago, hit a car, smoked back to the shop, walked down to listen to the guy explain to the cops, "this little skinny pipe with a great big engine hit me..."
I was delivering nitro to a top fuel team at San Gabriel, tune up meet just before Bakersfield. I am walking back to the truck, by the Greek's new Stuckey car. He yells out at me, "come over here!" I go over and the Greek motions me to lift up the dragster, with another guy who just happened to be walking by. We lift the car up and the Greek walks under it and drains the oil. Screws on the oil plug and says "ok," so we let the car down....that was how the Greek did it in the old days....
My guess is making the "appointment" might be the difficult part.
Wow. Legend is the only thing that comes to mind
Brilliant - thanks so much for sharing.
Awsome video. The Greek is undoubtably a living legend and a hero of mine. I met him in passing at a resturant/tavern I eat at frequently. He is a regular o there, and there is a shrine of pictures of his cars and one of his helmets on display there. I would love to take a seat at the bar and listen to his stories of racing, but I feal right about bugging him.
I live about 10 miles off I-55 north 20 miles out of Chicago. I'd love
to tag along, but you might have to pay appearance money along with
your lunch tab. I can understand where Slayer (above) is coming from.
My wife and I sat next to Ohio George, Bones Balough and Ed Iskendarian
at a McDonald's during an early breakfast and I had to keep myself in
check. Sure, fans want to meet them but we also need to respect their
downtime. We ran into Ed and Bones later at the track and they couldn't
have been friendlier. I've seen the Greek fifty times (more or less) and
never had the nerve to approach him. I sensed a high intensity level.
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