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The Funny Car Years....
About two weeks before the 1965 NHRA US Nationals in Indianapolis, I received a call from Dick Maxwell. He asked me if I would like to race at the Nationals and defend my 1964 Super Stock Championship with a 1965 Dodge A990 Super Stock stick car. He said that they had a car in Tennessee. "If you would like to, pick it up and get it ready for the race". I was in North Carolina at Sox and Martins shop so I went down and picked up the car. It was built, painted, and race ready in two weeks. At the Nationals I won Super Stock stick again. This car also won Super Stock Eliminator at the Hot Rod Magazine meet in Riverside, Ca in 1966 on seven inch tires.
One of my fondest memories late in 1965 was when we had about six weeks of match racing our funny cars in the west. Everyone that had altered wheel based cars such as the Ford cammers, Hemis and big block Chevys came out west. This was the largest gathering of racers ever of its kind. I won Fremont, Ca. with my funny car weighing 2700 lbs. I came back home with two races to go and decided I would race two cars at Long Beach the next saturday night. I won the 2700 lb funny car class and in my S/S car (with slicks) won the 3400 lb class. The next week we all went to Phoenix, Az. I won both classes again and in the eliminator I was in the final with both cars. That was so exciting to me!
In 1967, I decided after watching the Mercury Comets with a tube chassis being built by Logghe Bros. in Detroit, to build a new car. I called and asked if they would build one for me. They said that at the time they were under contract with Mercury. As soon as the contract ended, I had them build the first Logghe Chassis with an Injected 426 Hemi Barracuda (flip top Cuda) body. This car became the quickest and fasted injected funny car at that time. It ran 7.82/181.90 on 100% nitro.
I won the Car Magazine race in Cecil County Maryland and set low ET at 8.03 in July of 1967. This car was one of the most fun cars that I had ever driven. In 1968 I built another Logghe car but this time it was a blown 426 Hemi Barracuda. At that time, I knew nothing about blown nitro Hemis. I talked to my friend Jack Chrisman and asked if he would help me and teach me about blown engines. He said that he was going to run Lions in Long Beach, Ca on saturday night and it was ok with him if I tagged along, so I did. The first run, the car was at about half track and blew the blower and roof off of the car. It had stuck an intake valve so we went back to Jack's shop, took the engine apart and Jack fiberglassed the roof back on. We fixed the engine and then on Sunday went to Famosa, Ca. The first run it stuck the intake valve again which blew the blower and roof off of the car. This time it burned Jack's hands severely.
My car was almost complete....
I went home opened up the garage and walked around the car for several hours. Blower explosions were very common in these early funny cars and I had to think about this long and hard. Several of the other funny car drivers, including Don Nicholson were selling their cars because of this.
About a week later, I received a call from Don Schumacher, he asked if I would like to sell the car and I said yes. Don went on to win several national events with the car.
After selling the car to Schumacher in 1968, I put a deal together with Delano Dodge Dealer to get them one of the new SS/S Hemi Dart's. I ran the car with some success and this rekindled my interest in factory Super Stock cars.
Continued in part four...
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