Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Go Fast Stuff

Top photo: "TV" Tommy Ivo. I think this was "Showboat", the four engined, four wheel drive rig from the early 60's.

Lower photo: Russ Collins. One of several multi-engined drag bikes he campaigned back in the 60's & 70's. I think this one was the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe.

The American way - if one's good, two's better, and too much is just enough.

Above: Smokey Yunick and Fireball Roberts. I met Smokey Yunick at A.J. Foyt's auction at Indy - true automotive genius. Fireball Roberts was no slouch either. It's been a long time since I've been there but the museum at Talladega has one of Fireball's Pontiacs in there. This might be the car. Surly and I were there while racing my Sprint at the little road course about a mile away. Normally you can take a ride around the high banks there but when we were there Harley had rented the track and motorcycles were buzzing around. Nice place to visit if you're ever in the neighborhood. Myself, I want to get to the Barber museum and track next time I'm down in the Land of Dixie.

All photos from Reign of Methanol. Lots of cool photos there.


Rich said...

This post brought back a fond memory for me. Back when I would sneak my bikes off to Salem Ohio (Dragway 42) for racing/tuning, I went one day (cut school, as I remember), and I was so tunnel-visioned into what I was doing that I didn't realize that some big name top fuel drivers were were going to be racing at Mid-Ohio. Well anyway, a few of those guys decided to come up to 42 for whatever reason, sort of unannounced, as I recall. I'm in a makeshift pit area for the motorcycles, in my usual squatting position, and someone comes up behind me, lays his hand on my shoulder and asks, "how're you running?"

Unbeknownst to me, it was Don Garlits. I said, "not as good as you, Big Daddy", and shook his hand.

And unbeknownst to him, he was my racing hero. I darn near fainted. We had a conversation about what, I don't remember. But I recall how impressed I was that he was a real human being who could carry on a conversation like I was someone he knew. I mentioned how Art, Walt, and the Arfons family lived near us in Akron, and being waken up early some mornings in the summer by the sound of an Allison aircraft motor, or attempts to start a jet motor. So there I was for what seemed like an hour, a teenager exchanging stories and laughs with the top dog, in my book.

Not quite sure how your story triggered that memory. Maybe it was the skinny slick on the bike in the photo. I dunno. Well, anyway I nearly completely forgot about that episode, the Arfons early morning startups and such. Thanks for blowing the dust off me a little!

And he hasn't changed - https://youtu.be/vj5f9JhqpHI


Shop Teacher Bob said...

I agree with you 100% about Garlits. The fuel guys used to make an annual stop at US 30 dragstrip by me. My son and I, who was maybe 8 or 9 at the time, went to the track to check out all the action. Most of the big names had bought semi-tractor transporters by that time, not Garlits. He was pulling his car around with a Dodge "dually" pick-up and a trailer. We were walking through the pits collecting autographs and looking at the cars when we get to the Garlit's pit. He was busy turning wrenches while my son was standing there with his program and pen in hand. Garlits says "Wait a minute son. I'll be right with you." As soon as he finished what he was doing he came over, signed the program, asked my son how he was doing and thanked us for coming out. Definitely the top dog in my book also.

About 15 years later my son and I went through his museum in Ocala. Nice collection of cars.

Good to hear from you - great story. Thanks for sharing.

Surly said...

I remember that well also. Wearing a t-shirt, greasy hands, wrenching on the car. I can't remember the conversation but I remember him being nice. I also remember him riding a Schwinn around the pits where the other drivers got around on mini-bikes or golf cars. I think we also saw Don Prudhomme, Tom McEwen, Roland Leong...

Shop Teacher Bob said...

Surly: We've been lucky enough to have seen most all the great ones, whether that's drag racing, flat tracking, road racing, two wheels or four. It's been fun.