The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Dog427435, Dec 18, 2009.
More Ramchargers FED
Tom Madigan entered the world of drag racing in the early 1960s, when he teamed with engine builders Paul Pfaff and Dave Sowins to run a blown small-block Chevy in a home-built dragster.
Ramchargers Don Westerdale
Rapid Red Lang Tulsa wold Finals
Rickshaws Of Riverside Hot Rod Aug 1961
Radke Speed & Kustom
Costlow & ? Larson
Parnelli Jones' car in 1964 in his garage. Notice that the dual fuel filler caps are extended above the tail bodywork to increase tank capacity; in prior years they were recessed. Because tires weren't going to be changed in 1964 (Firestone designed their tires to go the distance) Eddie Kuzma rebuilt the Agajanian car to utilize a 90+ gallon fuel tank in the tail. Most roadsters had previously held around 50 gallons and ran on a three stop strategy. For 1964 teams started at least thinking about running the 500 on just one stop because tire stops weren't going to be needed. Of course, the extra fuel caused its own issues and by the time the race rolled around the Agajanian team apparently started the race on a partial fuel load about like they had previously used because they pitted on lap 55 which looked to put them back on a three stop plan. That's when they had the pit fire and Parnelli had to dive out of the car. There are several theories as to what happened and obviously something (maybe the hot exhaust) ignited the fuel during the pit stop. Joe Pittman was the fueler and when he saw the fire he did what was considered the right thing which was to shut and lock the fuel cap. This should have cut off the air supply and the fire would go out. However, in this case the tank exploded and the dual fuel caps went sailing into the air while Parnelli drove off. It's possible that because they had only filled the new tank about half way and didn't use the full capacity there was still plenty of oxygen in the tank which caused the explosion. The other theory (and there is some merit to this according to oldtimers) is that crew chief Johnny Pouelson was running nitromethane in the methanol and since nitro is oxygen bearing that was what caused the tank to go off even though the outside air had been cut off. The truth may be in between somewhere and both potential causes could have been a factor.
My Home Town.
I was in Tower Terrace one car length behind Parnelli's pit. Everything you said is true, but I would add, for some reason they shorten the exhaust. The usual slide on asbestos sleeve meant the exhaust wasn't halfway towards the end. As the fueling hose nozzle was extracted there was a noticeable pop, you could see the fuel tank internally on fire, then the closing and subsequent minor explosion of the refueling cap being blown into the stands. Lucky it was methanol, not gas.
Portlands oldest speed emporium. Bought a lot of race parts there in the 70's.
Sadly, Radkes closed a couple of years ago, like many of the small speed shops it couldn't compete with the "big box" speed parts guys.
I see Dean Martin's buddy just passed away, RIP
Yep....he's gone now....
Aussies like them pick-up cars
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