Drag Racing List Online Research Editor Danny White has published his fourth "Danny's Corner" column on the DRL Online site.
All four Danny's Corner columns appear in this mail. Use them as you wish, but please include the URLs that follow the stories.
6/19/97 - Danny's Corner - Funny Car Frenzy!!!
I thought and thought for a month about what to write and finally it came to me: This is the Drag Racing List web site--how about an article about top 10 ten funny car lists? The categories are the best, worst, prettiest, and the strangest. This is strictly my own tastes and thoughts so if you feel differently send me an e-mail with your choices. I will count the tallies and post the final reader choices.
The top ten best Funny Cars in my opinion are the following:
1. Don Prudhomme 1975 "Army" Monza - Don won almost every race he entered in this car, ran the first five, and won the first cumulative NHRA Winston points series that year. Don kept winning on to 1978 in the Monzas and Arrows.
2. Pat Minnick 1969 "Chi-Town Hustler" Charger - Pat ran the first unofficial six, made the burnout a show, kicked butt, and didn't need NHRA to make a living or a legend.
3. Jim Liberman 1969 "Jungle Jim" Nova - The most popular driver of all time, some say. In 1969 he had two F/C teams; Clare Sanders drove the other one to a Winternationals victory. He tried to race 100 dates a year. Sometimes he didn't make there, but when he did show, on time, with "Jungle Pam," watch out! Jungle was always a factor wherever he went.
4. Raymond Beadle 1975 "Blue Max" Mustang II - Beat Don Prudhomme at Indy. Raymond brought racing into the modern era of corporate involvement and professionalism. Think back to 1975 F/C's--two names stand out--"Army" and the "Blue Max."
5. John Force 1996 "Castrol GTX" Firebird - You can count one hand and have fingers left over how many races in which he didn't make the final. When he didn't, his teammate Tony Pedregon was usually there.
6. Gary Dyer 1965 "Mr Norm's" Polara - He almost took the funny out funny car when his 8.63 was the shot heard around the world in 1965.
7. Gene Snow 1970 "Rambunctious" Challenger - This car wasn't the quickest, but it was the fastest and the most consistent. He made the automatic transmission obsolete almost single-handedly.
8. Don Nicholson 1966 "Eliminator I" Comet - The Logghe-built Comets dominated in 1966 and Dyno Don's was the best of the bunch. This car was the basis of the modern F/C to come.
9. Pat Foster 1972-3 "Barry Setzer" Vega - This car was the most feared F/C of it time because it was going to run low E.T. or catch on fire. This is why Foster racked up very few wins.
10. Kenny Bernstein 1985-6 "Budweiser King" Tempo - This, in my opinion, was the best of Kenny's cars because he was so far ahead of his competition in technology. Almost everyone was trying be like Kenny, Dale, and the gang. Car was the first in the 5.50's and 5.40's.
My top 5 worst F/C's of all time:
1. Don Sosenka "Mr. Magoo" Arrow - The paint was cracked, the car was duct taped, and it had vinyl prismatic lettering. Don ran a Donovan and had VW van as a tow car.
2. Dave Benjamin "Nasty" series - Dave is a smart guy but his history of wheelstands, wrecks, fires, leaks, and bad luck precedes him.
3. John Force "Night Stalker" Mustang - Rear engine in sideways with chain drive. Irwindale, I believe, asked him not to come back with that car.
4. Tulsa Oiler -The Moritz and Osborn car, for the time it ran, was a scary car to watch and even scarier to drive ('til Jim White came along.)
5. Larry Gould 1973 SOHC Mustang - The car was breakage prone and very inconsistent. I remember seeing this car break when I was just six years old.
Top ten best appearing F/Cs of all time:
1. "St Moritz " 85 Daytona 2. "Shady Glenn" 76 Dart and 86 Regal 3. "Vicious Vette" 59 Corvette 4. "Stardust" 72 Cudas 5. "Blue Max " 76 Mustang II 6. "Showtime" 78 Corvette 7. "Pisano" 88 Cutlass 8. "Boston Shaker" 80 Corvette 9. "Spirit" 83 Corvette 10. "Carl Ruth/Crown Entertainment" 57 Crown Victoria
Strangest Top Ten F/Cs of all Time
1. "George's Corvette Shop" 63 Corvette 2. "Sneaky Snake" 66 Mustang 3. "Night Stalker" 72 Mustang 4. " Mr Unswitchable" 66 GTO 5. "Secret Weapon" Jeep 6. "American Bandstand" 69 Corvette 7. "Durachrome" 69 VW 8. "California Stud" 72 Vega Panel 9. "Gary Gabelich" 72 Vega Panel 10. "Jim Head" 87 Firenza ( if you would call it that)
E-mail me your top lists of F/Cs or tell me what you think about mine.
'Til next time...
Danny White email@example.com http://www.draglist.com
5/15/97 - Danny's Corner - Wild Night at Kennedale! By Danny White
Texas Raceway in Kennedale held its monthly Quick 8 Pro Modified race on May 9 and 10. A great racer and spectator turnout alike came out to support the race. The race was being sanctioned by the Texas Quick 8 Association, a newly-formed organization run by George Gulitti. The TQ8A should not be confused with the Texas Outlaw Pro Stock organization, whose president Charles Howard was there taking photos of the race. I was able to talk to Charles for a few minutes; he seemed to show no ill will to the new organization. Charles said the TQ8A fills a void he would have been unable to fill with his organization because of the time his truck driving job has taken lately.
A total of 14 cars tried to qualify for the show. Qualifying was held over Friday and Saturday with eliminations held Saturday night. The entries included Thomas Patterson, running a blown 5/8 scale '57 Chevrolet he recently debuted after wrecking his Trans Am late last year. The car has a wildly chopped roof and a stance more like an alcohol funny car. Jim Brooks of Round Rock, Texas, was still working the bugs out of the beautiful "Big Jim" '96 Lumina he started driving in 1996. Jim, a super nice racer, had recently bought a Hans Fuestel 698" Pontiac and was lost on the clutch tune-up the manufacturer had recommended. Pro Street superstar Landon Jordan out nearby Mansfield, Texas, was driving "The Kid" '96 Camaro he and his father had bought from Marylander Randy Delano. Landon was fresh off a win at Navasota.
Kim Smith Race Cars chassis builder and 'racer on the side' Charles Wooten brought the ex-Wally Bell full size '66 Chevelle fresh with new wheel bubbles to race the much smaller cars. Charles is very popular with the fans and other racers alike because he and lovely wife are always so upbeat and have smiles on their faces at all times. Rookie racer Daniel Baldwin was driving the Don Smith Astro Drywall Spl. '96 Corvette, complete with a small rear spoiler that would haunt him later. Two new father and son teams were there also: the Satterwhite Racing '69 Camaro out of Red Oak, TX, with son Jamie doing the driving, and the Jim Freeman Sr. and Jr.-run "Head Games" Lumina out their Houston-based 'Auto Inspect It' shop.
Gaylon Smith was there. He sold his Trans Am and bought the "Must Be Magic" '70 Chevelle from Donn Gringrich in which to put his 'small' 555" Pontiac engine. The "Wild Child Dry II" '94 Camaro blown BAE KB Hemi, with the equally wild Clayton Pool driving, made an appearance with tuning help from Bryon Simpson. Defending TOPS champion and self- proclaimed and undisputed "Mad Man," Frankie Taylor, had his blown and finally-painted Camaro from Dickinson at the track. Frankie fits the 'more from less' theory because he still carries his car around on an open trailer to race the big money racers. Don Smith of Texas Harley-Davidson had nothing but a bad weekend in the ex-John Ieppert Lumina--an explosion Friday night and breaking on a test pass Saturday evening.
Rookie racer Seth Davlin was driving his IHRA Pro Stock-legal '95 Cutlass that Darryl Warren drove and wrecked at Navasota. Seth still has the 808" Sonny Leonard Pontiac and 5-speed Lenco in the car. Long time Super Comp racer and Internet surfer Tommy Adams brought his venerable '69 Camaro to attempt to qualify. The long shot of the field was Howard Farris in his pink, blown '40 Ford pickup. More an AA/GS than a Pro Mod, Howard was there more to test the pickup than to race.
The first two rounds of qualifying were held Friday night and the last shot was held Saturday. After Friday the bump was at 4.72 with Charles Wooten on the bubble. Those making test runs Saturday afternoon were Adams, Satterwhite, Don Smith, Wooten, Davlin, Taylor, Farris, Brooks, and Gaylon Smith. The results of the official last session went as follows: W 4.28 169.30 Clayton Pool (low et of race) 5.55 132.03 Howard Farris (first straight pass ever)
W 4.66 155.55 Daniel Baldwin 4.90 140.98 Tommy Adams (chassis twisting pass)
W 4.90 134.04 Jim Brooks (on 2 wheels in the lights) 6.48 69.33 Landon Jordan (shutoff still qualified from Friday)
W 4.71 151.36 Jamie Satterwhite (half track burnout ace) 5.03 136.02 Jim Freeman Jr.(first alternate with a 4.82)
W 4.57 160.77 Gaylon Smith (no problems with a different car here) 4.93 153.23 Seth Davlin (nothing but clutch problems for Seth)
W 4.74 148.59 Charles Wooten (still on bump) solo
W 4.52 157.32 Frankie Taylor (smoking in the lights) solo
W 4.32 161.35 Thomas Patterson (number 2 qualifying pass) solo Qualifying:
1 Pool 2 Patterson 3 Taylor 4 Jordan 5 G. Smith 6 Baldwin 7 Satterwhite 8 Wooten
9 Freeman 10 Adams 11 Brooks 12 Davlin 13 Farris 14 D. Smith First Round
W 4.56 149.48 Baldwin 4.98 126.06 Taylor
W 4.75 148.54 Wooten 4.77 148.97 Pool
W 4.44 155.58 Patterson 4.63 124.14 Satterwhite
W 4.56 148.61 G. Smith 17.60 64.01 Jordan
W 4.55 155.60 G. Smith 4.47 155.96 Patterson
W 4.63 150.55 Baldwin 4.73 148.33 Wooten
W 4.52 155 G. Smith (Another holeshot for Smith) 4.69 139 Baldwin (Gets loose with small wing on top end--had to backpedal)
All in all it was a wild night at Kennedale!
Danny White firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.draglist.com
Mark Panos (information unknown) ran a Colt in 1982 according our files with a time of 8.15 @ 169.51. There also were NHRA-legal P/S Colts. I know of two. Donn Patrick from Omaha, NE, ran 8.69 @ 159.92 in 1981. Bill Flynn wrecked his Yankee Peddler in 1973, so I have no ET on that car. Both NHRA-legal cars had small block Mopar engines.
I hope to bring more articles like this one in the coming months. I would like to thank Mopar Action magazine for the idea. Lastly, I want to thank Bill for letting me write this article.
(No, Danny, thank YOU! Keep 'em coming! bp/drl)
Danny White email@example.com http://www.draglist.com
-- Bill Pratt Bilden Enterprises, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org
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4/28/97 - Danny's Corner - "Danny's Spring Vacation" by Danny White
Before I tell you about my vacation excursion, I need to mention, under penalty of death, that my good friends Billy and Mary Helen Hughes of Tyler, Texas, are due to have a baby in August. Congratulations!
The last day of my vacation was today. I was just killing time and started driving west. I went to Denton and checked out the drag strip built late last year. It is the shortest drag strip I have seen in a while, probably has 1000 ft of shutdown area. I heard the track records were 3.69 jet dragster by Marvin Celsur and 5.02 Pro Modified by Gaylon Smith. I had the bright idea of heading south to see what Green Valley looks like and on the way I got to see the new super speedway Texas Motor Speedway. I personally believed Bruton Smith spent more Money on his sign than he spent on the whole new drag strip and the building is still going on at Bruton's track!
After BS'ing my way to find Green Valley from the north side I got on Loop 820 and went the way I knew by memory. I made it there finally, but not before passing Texas Harley Davidson of Don Smith who ironically had his truck and trailer setting outside in Euless. I got to North Richland Hills and turned north by Hudiburg Chevrolet. I took a left on Davis Blvd (it used to be 'Road') and went north farther 'til I came to this old store that has been there for years but has been updated severely.
I took a left on Smithville Road to go to Smithville, a town that no longer exists due to the zoning change that closed down Green Valley. I drive north on this road that used to be a two-lane road, now four one time with Joe Varde driving in A/FX. The car was stolen after Pomona. Dom Durunzi restored the car to Sox's colors and ran 8.18 @ 166.51 just last yealanes. I begin to wonder if I am on the wrong road because it is all houses now...'til I get to Green Valley Road. I breathe I sigh of relief because I know I am close.
I turn a corner and see the end of the track. The house there has been torn down and the road narrows in to the old two-lane after passing the new school built on one corner of the track. There are new houses where it used to be all woods across the drag strip. Being a Valley, you see everything that used to be drag strip. Sixty percent of the track is still there. The strip itself is there, but at the finish line, concrete barriers left over from the road racing course are across the track, blocking the shutdown hill.
The cattle still are on the spectator side and houses take up one half of the pit area. A road has been built on the north side of the track where the north staging lanes were. A gravel and culvert contractor is on part of the old staging lanes. Mesquite trees are growing all over the place now. It was sad to see it that way. The tower was gone--so were the stands--but the infamous overpass is still there. Green Valley, even depleted, is still as large as Ennis which is just amazing.
Danny White email@example.com http://www.draglist.com
Editor's Note: The following is is the first in a series of articles and general ramblings by our very own Research Editor, Danny White. on laughing gas at OCIR in 1976 while Gene Dunlap's Colt ran 8.68 @ 159.54 in B/A. The other Colt from Ohio was the infamous 'Billy the Kid,' owned by Billy Stepp and driven by Bobby Yowell. This car had seven race- ready engines (!) when finished in 1974 and ran 8.42 @ 160.92. This car is most famous for its demise when a crewmember forgot to unlatch the wheelie bars and it flipped repeatedly at Bristol.
Cooney Hicks in the Mopar Kid and Harold Reed in the Reed Bros. car were Alabama-based Colts and raced until 1980. Once while racing each other, Reed crashed into a power pole. This knocked out the track lights and canceled the rest of racing for the night. Both cars ran 5.50's in the eighth mile, racing in the IHRA and in match races. Brooklyn's own Ronnie Lyle raced his Colt in A/A, B/A, IHRA P/S, and match racing. We have no ET for him or his many hired drivers. Lyle sold the car to Ronnie Sox after 'going away for a while.' Sox, without Martin, ran a best of 8.46 @ 161.29. He sold the car to Cigar & Heintz who raced It is long overdue--Danny's been keeping me entertained for years now--I just can't keep him to myself any longer. In addition to being an absolute drag racing sponge (like I USED'TA be), Danny is one of the most knowledgable music enthusiasts you'll ever meet. I hope to coax him to provide some great reviews of blues, R&B, rock, country, cajun, and whatever other music tickles his fancy. In fact, he can say just about anything he darn well pleases, because this is DANNY's CORNER.
Hemi Colt: Born to be BAD!
by Danny White The Pro Stock Hemi Dodge Colt had to be the wildest, most unsafe doorslammer ever to grace the Pro Stock/Match Race circuit. The Hemi Colt was outlawed by NHRA for legal Pro Stock so racers had to race in IHRA, UDRA, or NHRA A/A, B/A, or A/FX. The Colt was prone to instability, so a great many of them wrecked. But bad luck also should be counted in the equation of a high powered engine and an even higher center of gravity. The following is a listing of the Colts from the historical Drag Racing List as seen on the Internet. I've added a few notes on the cars I know something about.
Colorado racer Jim Roath had the first Colt P/S. It was outlawed by NHRA; for that reason I don't know if Roath ever raced it seriously. Current Pro Stock driver/crew chief Terry Adams drove a Colt called the El Toro for his first Pro Stock ride on the IHRA circuit. The car ran a known best of 8.57 @ 157.50 as late as 1980. IHRA racer Clyde Curtis also had a Colt in the mid seventies, but no ET is available on him (note: any cars you see on the DRL with no ET or the wrong ET, drop Bill or me a line to correct the problem). Lynwood Craft raced his Colt for the longest of anyone on this list--from around 1975 to the early 1990's. He raced in the most classes also, including IHRA P/S, Street Rod, Top Sportsman, Super Pro, local Q/8, and probably a couple more I don't know about. Craft's best times were 8.50 @ 163.33.
Iowa-based racer Rodger Denney raced his black Colt in match races and in NHRA B/A; his best times were 8.74 @ 155.17. Nelson Des Champs drove himself or had Kenny Hahn drive for him; their car went 8.50 @ 163.58. Ex-Funny Car racers Gary Dyer and Terry Hedrick switched to Romeo Palamides-built Colts that ran UDRA's loosely-ruled P/S class. Dyer used a 366" Hemi to run an 8.72 @ 155.87 in the Mr Norm's car, but we do not have a best ET for Hedrick. Red Sullivan was Hedrick's partner on the Colt. After Hedrick retired, Sullivan ran the car on his own. Chuck Scherr ran an 8.92 @ 149 in 1976 and Joe Gouger drove to an 8.73 @ 154.77 in 1978 in the car also known as 'Hot Pants.'
The Nationwise Rod Shop had three Colts that raced wherever there was a big purse to win. Sadly, Don Carlton drove one to his death in 1977 during tire testing. The stretched car was able to run 8.30's in B/A. The all-black Colt driven by Bob Riffle ran 8.30 @ 168.50