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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER 76 - September 11, 2008
Editor: Richard Parks RnParks1@juno.com
President's Corner: By Jim Miller (1-818-846-5139)

Click On All Images For Larger View

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President's Corner: By Jim Miller (1-818-846-5139)
After getting back from Bonneville there were literally hundreds of e-mails that needed looking at and answering. Just when you think you've caught up you get more. My working partner at B-ville is Dan Warner and he gets all sorts of interesting questions too and always passes the stumpers on to me, especially if the're LSR related and thinks they can help the American Hot Rod Foundation (AHRF). Here is what he sent me.
"Hi Dan, Question for you. Actually I guess a few questions you. I am specifically looking for records set by David Ash in the late 40’s early 50’s. Thanks Dan, David Ash."
Dan's reply-
"I have forwarded your request to Jim Miller. Jim is the record search guy and also is the curator of the American Hot Rod Foundation, at www.ahrf.com. Dan Warner"

There is nothing like a challange to generate a little fun. I started with a quick scan of results from the lakes and B-ville and came up with nothing. This is not unusual as hundred of guys participated in time trials using fake names, drove other peoples cars or even ran their cars as somebody else's if they knew an entry wasn't going to be there. I did the next best thing and sent him an e-mail to help me on my quest.
"Hi Dave - Got your query from Dan Warner. You're going to have to be a little more specific. A lot more info is needed than just a name because there were multiple orginizations that held races in So. Cal during this period. Was Mr. Ash a Member of S.C.T.A., Russetta, PCTA, Bell, Mojave, WRA, Sports Cars Inc. etc. etc. If so was he in a club? Where did he live? Did he also run the drags, circle track? Did he run a bike? Tons of guys ran using fake names, or drove cars that aren't documented. The name isn't familiar to me so any info will help. Jim Miller"
I then got this reply from David Ash.
"I will have to dig for more information, what I do know about Mr. Ash at the time was that he ran for MG. Lived in new York as far as I know. Probably was either a Member of S.C.T.A. or Sports Cars Inc. He raced all over, but held records on the Lake. Here is a snippet from his Obituary. David was a graduate of Stamford High, Class of 1940. After graduation he served as an officer and fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. His passion for all things cars, especially race cars, led him to a highly accomplished career in the automotive world. He was a regular and distinguished competitor at Sebring, America's premier race. Between 1952 and 1957, David earned the title of Mr. MG as the only driver to start and finish five twelve-hour-long endurance races at Sebring in five tries. He also set numerous land speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1957. David later pursued a career in automotive journalism. His pieces appeared in The New York Times, Argosy Magazine and Esquire Magazine. He also served as publisher and editor of Sports Car Magazine, and from 1966-1977 authored and published Automobile Almanac. I am not sure if that helps at all. I will see if I can somehow get more information from the family. This was a person I corresponded with as a child for almost 15 years. I managed to forget that he actually raced on the salt. Thanks Jim, I really do appreciate all and any help you can give. David Ash"
Mr. Ash sounded like a car guy alright. I went to the B-ville results for '57 and nothing. I then checked '55, '56, '58 and still nothing. While looking at a '59 story in Sports Car Graphic I got an idea. In that year the Brits were back again with a BMC assult on old M.G. records, I wonder if? I dug out an old book on M.G. record runs at the salt. No luck. I then checked a newer photo album type book on M.G. and hit paydirt. I then sent off the following.
"Hi David - Found out a little more on Dave Ash. He did indeed drive a car at Bonneville. In 1957 the newly formed British Motor Corporation took the old MG EX 179 record car out of mothballs and dropped a 950cc Morris Minor A series Engine in it. A press kit described the car as "BMC Developement Project EX 179." It was taken to B-ville probably before Speedweek (8/25-9/1/57). The car ran a 12 hour record set with the small motor and was co-driven by Tommy Wisdom and Dave Ash. It was running for International (FIA) and American National Records. It was most likely timed by USAC. One of my sources said the car averaged 118.30 mph at 49.8 mpg. Another source published in '57 has a different set of numbers. After the 12 hour record the motor was swapped out for a supercharged one and driven by Phil Hill. At the same time M.G. ran the EX 181 under their own name (8-23-57). Hill did test driving and Moss set the records. No mention of Ash with the M.G. effort. When speed records are broken, new speeds are recorded and the old speeds lost to history. The FIA most likely doesn't have old records and are about two or three years behind on new ones. USAC is still in existance. I have a clipping from the English magazine Autocar from '57 covering the EX-181 runs, but nothing is mentioned about the BMC effort. Trying to find an archive of that mag is another thing. A record set of this kind is usually one run from a standing start timing the kilo and mile from 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200, 500 1000 and 2000, plus 1,3,6,12 and 24 hours. It's possible to set 56 plus records in a single run. Hope this helps, Jim Miller."
All a historian can try to do is hunt for lost clues. Sometimes you find big chunks. Other times you find small slivers. As you can deduct, we've got a lot more digging to do, so let's get with it.

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Editorial:
Recently the editor received a letter that said in part; "Is there some reason that I can't get the pictures you are refering to ... ?" The format for the newsletter relies on two parties; myself and www.hotrodhotline.com, and also www.landspeedracing.com. Being the editor is time-consuming and there is no budget, so it is a volunteer organization. To reduce the time spent on the paper, which is about 3 hours a day, seven days a week, I create an emailed version by copying and pasting both text and photographs from our members who write in, to a master email and then send that to Mary Ann Lawford at www.hotrodhotline.com. The original also goes to two other parties by special request. Mary Ann then assigns staff at Hotrodhotline to copy both the photographs and text and put it into another email, which they can then send out in one huge mailing. I can't do that. I can only send out a master email to a group list of 49 people at a time, wait an hour, then send out another 49 people in a group email. With nearly 500 members, it would take me days to do this and use up the remaining 9 hours a day that I dedicate to 4 other newsletters that I'm also the editor of. Hotrodhotline can do this so much more effectively and quickly than I can and they have been life-savers. To view the photographs, you have to go on-line to www.landspeedracing.com and sign in. The photographs can only be seen on-line. Yes, this is cumbersome and some people have suggested we do a blog, a website, etc, etc, but here's my problem; TIME. I just don't have it and in fact I have sacrificed time devoted to my family in order to keep this project going. Please realize that my partner, Roger Rohrdanz, who does a lot of stories and all the photography, and I are responsible for about 600 articles, stories, biographies and other historical and current events. When we find time, we work on book reviews, car shows, reunions, bios and movie reviews that are all related to racing. Without Hotrodhotline and their fine staff to help us get the word out, the newsletter would have to be handed over to another volunteer. I am not opposed to stepping back and letting that happen. We need new blood and we need young people who are in high school or college who love motor racing and hot rodding to step up and become the leaders of our historical society. We need to train others to do this exacting and time consuming work. We need people who will take over from us, because we are no longer Spring chickens as they say and our time is coming when we won't be around any more. Sometimes the format for our organization is cumbersome and we could improve on how we operate. We need to have meetings. We need to visit museums in the areas that we live. Why? Because one of our fundamental goals is to find and evaluate libraries and museums and see if they are suitable for the vast collections of memorabilia that we hotrodders and racing people have. We can't hold on to our collections forever. Sooner or later we have to turn them over to our families or to places where our collections can be archived, studied, protected and saved for the next generation. That's why we need to progress as an organization and find new and better ways to succeed.

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Thank you for your thoughts. It is appreciated. You know how I felt about YOUR dad. Ed Justice, Jr.
   Ed: We have lost so many wonderful and influential men and women lately. That's one of the reasons why we stress the biography and photo captioning project here at the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter. We were very fortunate to do a story on Ed Senior and his family and we know that you and your father did a comprehensive bio for your own and for your website. If only more of our racing community would do the same, it would go a long way to saving our history and heritage.

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My personal farewell to Phil Hill. Gil Bouffard

philhill301

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Doug Stokes sent in an article he wrote (Click Here for Article) on Phil Hill and a photograph with Stokes (far left), Phil Hill (in center), and unknown man on right.

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Alma Hill has asked me to tell you that there will be a funeral mass at the St. Monica Catholic Church at 7th and California in Santa Monica on September 10 at 10:30 a.m. Yours in sadness, Art Evans

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www.fastlinesinternational.com. Updated the home page with a couple of good photos of Phil Hill. Gil Bouffard

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Notes from Dusty Brandel and the Fabulous Fifties. Phil Hill's services;
Visitation: Tuesday, September 9th, 4:00 - 7:30PM, Gates, Kingsley & Gates Moeller Murphy Funeral Directors, 1925 Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404. Phone: 310-395-9988
Funeral Service: Wednesday, September 10th at 10:30AM, St. Monica Church, 725 California Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403. Phone: 310-566-1500
Funeral Service to be followed by private burial. With deepest respect, Dr David Scully

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It is most irritating when people send important documents but use systems that cannot be copied or pasted. They waste a great deal of my time and in the end, I'm the one apologizing to them for the system that they used in the first place. The article by Joe Farace was fascinating, but useless. Here it is summarized. Farace explains about self-publishing using a "print-on-demand" system called Blurb.com, or www.blurb.com. You have total control, various sizes for the book you wish to create, and you don't have to report to anyone or raise a lot of money. Books can be printed from $13 up to $55 per book, for one book or more. Software is free. You need to collect the photos you want to use, then use Adobe Photoshop Bridge. You can use BookSmart with jpeg files. Blurb is easier to use than Quark or InDesign. Once the book is done, it's sent to Blurb, where you pay your fees, plus shipping and receive your book in the mail. This was partially retyped from the original, so go to the website and read the instructions. If you want a high quality book at a low price, think about self-publishing your own on-line.

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Junior Thompson will be the Grand Marshal at the 17th annual California Hot Rod Reunion, October 10-12, 2008 at the Auto Club of Southern California Famoso Raceway, in Bakersfield, California. Also being honored is Georgia Seipel, Steve Davis, John Edmunds, Walt Rhoades and Butch Maas. Bill Groak

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Information regarding BLM Use Fees/Vehicle Passes for El Mirage has been posted on the SCTA-BNI website, "What's New" link (September 5). I have copied the notice and posted on the "Road Runners News & Special Events" link on our website. The info includes price, valid dates and where/how to purchase. Pass will be required for the October El Mirage meet. Also, for those interested, the World Finals Entry Form is now available on the Bonneville, 2008 Info page of the SCTA-BNI website. We will also have copies available at our next Road Runners meeting on September 9th (thanks to Jim Kitchen). Entry deadline is September 27th.  Jerry Cornelison, Road Runners - SCTA (est. 1937) http://www.ussarcherfish.com/roadrunners

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Randy Pierce sent in a link to his website at www.goldenhawk.com. Because his system and mine are not compatible, I could not copy and paste his entire article or it would have corrupted my system. Go to his website for all the details.

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I heard about your project from Tony Thacker when I saw him at Bonneville this year. Tony and I have worked together to get Mopar more involved in hot rod heritage events. Over the past few years I have interviewed various people for stories primarily in Mopar Magazine, but also for Street Rodder, Hot Rod, Hot Rod Deluxe and The Rodder's Journal. A lot of it has been with straightline racing. I have interviewed Ray Brown, Don Garlits, Bob Tarozzi (designer of the Keith Black aluminum Hemi block), Arlen Vanke, Dave Koffel, various Ramchargers members and other engineers from Chrysler who were involved in drag racing. Some of this is biographical. My employer the Mopar Magazine content is the J.R. Thompson Company here in Farmington Hills, Michigan. We have also done video interviews with drag racers at reunions in the Midwest. I can talk to our principal and see if any of this is available for archival use. Let's keep in touch. And feel free to call me anytime. Roger Meiners, J.R. Thompson Company
Roger: The purpose behind the biography and captioning of photographs projects is to leave behind an archive of documents that will allow future historians and racing fans a trove of information that they wouldn't normally have. Jim Miller and I formed the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians (SLSRH) Newsletter for just this reason. Our goals are to save as much history as we can, and artifacts too, before they are lost to time, death and natural disasters. Many people are doing the very same thing. One of the benefits of being the editor and flinging this free newsletter as far as the internet will allow, is to receive a constant stream of news and correspondence and find out what other people are doing and make that known to whomever reads the newsletter. However, some researchers invest their time and money in order to make a living from their work and we respect and encourage them to do so. The SLSRH group contains both amateur and professional historians and the quality of work and research is just as high for both. Should you make your records available to the public for a fee or for free, we support your efforts. Jack and Mary Ann Lawford at www.hotrodhotline.com make their site available to us for free and give us staff to help take what we send them and put it into an internet forum and resend it back out to our readers. If you ask them, they might give you space in their Guest Columnist section, where I have my articles exhibited. Or we can cross link to your sites and our readers can visit your sites as well; that way you can control your content. Our project to save biographies is not skewed just to the well-known and famous. We ask everyone to write and save their history, first for their family's sake and then for the rest of us. As historians, we cannot determine what will be valued by the generations to come. We are saving history, photographs and memorabilia regardless of what value we think it will have for the future and leave it to the coming generations to make that decision. Those who write their history, make history. Those who ignore writing their history will be left out of it. Case in point, my father who was one of the men involved in developing land speed racing as we know it and later influenced the new sport of drag racing, did not write his history. It's possible that we can get 100 of his closest friends and associates together and write a series of reports, an anthology, but it will never be the same as the personal account of his life that he could have written. My request to you is that you caption your photos and write your biography and then do the same for those that you knew, but who are gone and cannot write their life's story. We cannot feel bad for what we haven't done, my father would tell us that such an emotion is wasted effort, but we can do everything that we can do from this point forward to save every story and every bio and caption every photo that we can, until our time is past and the next generation takes over. The positive point here is that the history of motorsports is one of the most well written and saved topics and we should be very proud of our individual efforts. Thousands of people have involved themselves in similar projects.

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The first picture was our temporary display honoring Wally Parks. The second group is the permanent display that will be officially announced by Mr. Devoe Moore in the Museum at a later date. See The Devoe Moore Tallahassee Antique Car Museum, 6800 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32308, USA. cars@tacm.com, 1-850-942-0137. http://www.tacm.com/carmuseum/devoemoore.htm. Ernie Schorb
Ernie: Thank you for the photos. This is very kind of you to do a display in my father's memory and I know that he would have been proud of your efforts on his behalf. Be sure to start captioning your photographs and write your biography. Any stories that you remember about my father would be most welcome and we will help you edit and write it and then publish it on-line at www.hotrodhotline.com, Richard's Corner, or on www.landspeedracing.com.
Captions for photographs 0011, 0021, 0031 and 0041: Display honoring Wally Parks at the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum.

wally parks 0011 wally parks 0021 wally parks 0031 wally parks 0041

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Article on 10 Mega cars in Popular Mechanics: http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/motorsports/4278559.html. Ron Main

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Update for Septembers World of Speed (17th to 20th). Rooms: If you are planning on coming to the World of Speed in a couple of weeks, please check out the Bonneville Accommodations phone contact attachment (Click Here). Note it is best to advise the reservation desk you are coming for gambling without mentioning Bonneville or racing since the current managements would prefer to save rooms for gamblers. They also give better rates to gamblers. I have just made reservations at the Peppermill Casino for four people, two nights for $45.00 per night.
   Rumors: Last month I noted the addition of Ghias to the 36hp Challenge. This month I would like to advise you the SSS or Super Stock Single Class is being revived also in 2009. SSS is a stock looking 36hp motor with any displacement possible within the stock stod locations, any cam and any exhaust. The trick is, you can only use a single 28pci carburetor and manifold. The current record in SSS was set by Tom Bruch and the Schlabaugh brothers beautiful little 57 bug in 2005 at the ECTA event in Maxton with a speed just over 81 miles per hour.
   Racing: Last months Bonneville Speedweek saw three VW's race. Mike Manghelli set a new record of 129 mph with his VW Rabbit PickUp beating one of Tom Bruchs old records. Larry Monreals Rabbit powered Ghia qualified for records at 156 mph but hurt the motor in the process preventing further runs. Bob Stahl drove the only air cooled VW at the meet and saw his 65 Bug top 154 miles per hour, not a record but very respectable. Of interest, his partner passed away this year and on Bobs first run of 146 mph, he popped the parachute spreading his friends ashes over his beloved salt.
   36hp Challenge Dinner(Thanx ECTA guys for the idea!)...........
An informal dinner gathering of folks interested in the 36hp Cahllenge will be held at the Red Garter Casino restuarant at 7 pm Thursday evening on the 18th. USFRA President Jim Burkdoll will be present (racing conditions allowing) to discuss the Challenge with us and answer any questions we might have.
   WEEK OF SPEED
For those taking vacation to visit the 36hp Challenge and the World of Speed at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the following schedule of gearhead type activities located along a 120 mile stretch of I-80 preceding and following the World of Speed are listed below. All the events listed are within 5 miles of I-80:
Friday 12th -Toole: Heroes Car Show, Veterans Park-Historic sports car show.
Saturday 13th - Millers Motor Sports Park-Toole: Kart racing. Historic Sports Car Racing. Magna-Rocky Mtn Raceway: Drag racing
Sunday 14th - Millers: Historic Sports Car Racing
Wednesday 17th - Bonneville: 36hp Challenge. World of Speed & 130 Mile Per Hour Club
Thursday 18th - Bonneville: 36hp Challenge and "Dinner." World of Speed & 130 MPH Club
Friday 19th - Bonneville: 36hp Challenge. World of Speed & 130 MPH Club. Millers: Rolex Grand Am Racing. Rocky Mtn Raceway:  Drag Racing
Saturday 20th - Bonneville: World of Speed & 130 MPH Club. Wendover City: Air & Car Show (featuring WW2 & modern war planes & cars) Millers: Rolex Grand Am Racing. Rocky Mtn Raceway: Drag Racing & Moto Cross
Sunday 21st - Rocky Mtn Raceway: Moto Cross
note: Please check respective websites for details, times and events. I look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks. Until then, God Speed
Burly Burlile

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Check out the newest '32 Ford for sale on www.Hotrodhotline.com, talk about a celebrity spokesperson! It's owned and built by a HS Classmate of Sarah Palin in Wasilla, Alaska. Way to go Sarah. Mary Ann Lawford
Mary Ann: It's a cool '32 with great flames and Sarah Palin looks very good behind the wheel. Is this our hot-rodding future Veep?

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The following message was just posted on the SCTA-BNI Website regarding the upcoming BLM - El Mirage use fees. The info is the same as before EXCEPT for the new $5 "Day of Event" pass. This will allow for an extra support vehicle, or for Patrol Duty vehicle if no other pass is available. Beginning October 1, 2008, the BLM will impose a user fee for El Mirage. The Normal fees are $15 daily, $30 Weekly, $90 annual. SCTA members may purchase special SCTA annual event passes for use on the day before and day of SCTA events. The cost is $75. Those SCTA passes include 2 extra vehicle passes. The $75 passes will only be sold by the SCTA. The 2008-09 SCTA passes are good only on: October 25-26, and November 14-16 of 2008. May 15-17, June 13-14, July 11-12 and September 12-13 of 2009. Also, the SCTA will sell a $5 "Day of event only" pass for a single support vehicle or patrol vehicle. $5 support and SCTA annual passes will be available at the registration trailer. During the month of September 2008 only, the BLM is selling their normal annual "anytime" passes at a reduced fee of $80. These passes will be available at the pass machine near the visitor center until September 30.  Jerry Cornelison

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Road Runners and Friends, The Meeting Notes from the September 9th Road Runners Meeting are now posted on the News page of our website: http://www.ussarcherfish.com/roadrunners/news.htm, The BLM - El Mirage access fee information is also posted on the page. The fees go into effect on October 1st. Hope to see many of you at the El Mirage Meet this weekend. Forecast is 93 degrees on Saturday and 94 degrees on Sunday with 10mph W-SW tail winds! Should be a good weekend! Jerry Cornelison

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September 8th 2008. 3M announces an agreement to acquire Orange County based Meguiar's Car Care Products. For more details on this sale, see www.bench-racing.com web site.  Charles Rollins

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Art Astor hosted a wonderful Preview Gala on the night before his three day auction of cars, radios, phones, and memorabilia. Astor Family members bid farewell to the collection while trumpet player and renowned band leader Jack Sheldon played on into the night with his big band. Pictures at http://www.rmauctions.com/AuctionResults.cfm?SaleCode=AA08. Charles Rollins www.benchracing.com

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Joe’s Garage Auction results with several cars and motorcycles blowing away their pre-auction estimates. See Joe’s Garage Auction results at http://www.rmauctions.com/AuctionResults.cfm?SaleCode=JG08. Charles Rollins www.benchracing.com

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Kenny Youngblood will be at the NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina this coming weekend. For more information see www.YoungbloodArt.com. Youngblood is the premier hotrod, land speed and drag racing artist. Editor (from an email flyer received)

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The dates for the 2008 Carrera California IV are now set (November 1st and 2nd, 2008), and details are now available at www.carreracalifornia.com. Please consider joining us on the weekend car tour "From the ocean to the desert and back." Pictures from previous Carrera's are also posted. We look forward to your confirmation email. Best Regards, Rex McAfee and Charles Rollins

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The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will present its annual Thanksgiving Weekend high-stakes bracket race Nov. 26-30. The Las Vegas Bracket Nationals will feature a complete show with winners each day in the Super Pro, Pro, Sportsman and Motorcycle classes from Thursday through Sunday of the Thanksgiving holiday. The Super Pro class will race for $7,500 to win on Saturday and Sunday. For entry blanks, rules and information, please contact Mysti Haynes at The Strip at LVMS at (702) 632-8213. John Bisci, LVMS Public Relations

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Visitors coming to the Los Angeles County Fair, September 7-30th, will have a chance to see a real Southern California phenomenon: hot rods and dragsters. Between the Fair’s thrilling rides, barnyard animals and varieties of unique foods, the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum will be open. Admission to the NHRA Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, is just $1 for those attending the Fair (there’s a separate charge to get into the Fair). Also, the Museum hours almost mirror the Fair's during its run: Wednesday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday: 11 a.m.-midnight; Saturday: 10 a.m.-midnight; and Sunday: 10 a.m-10 p.m. Both the Museum and Fair are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Tony Thacker, museum executive director, said many fairgoers might be unaware that the Museum, located on the Fairplex property, is open during the event. “Visiting the Museum is a great companion activity for those attending the Fair,” Thacker said. “Our hot rods and vintage dragsters are pieces of Southern California history, and we encourage families, school groups and casual fairgoers alike to come for an educational, fun experience at a discounted price.”
“The Museum is one of the finest institutions of its kind in the country,” said Dale Coleman, vice president of sales and marketing for the Pomona Fairplex. “It provides Fair guests with the unique opportunity to experience the history of racing. Many of the earliest and most exciting pages of that history have been written here at our own Auto Club Pomona Raceway.” Since 1922 the L.A. County Fair has proven itself to be a summer mainstay for the residents of Los Angeles County. The Fair’s extended run is expected to attract more than more than 1.3 million visitors, and attendance is expected to rise accordingly at the Museum. “Last year a record number of fair patrons stopped by to check out the Museum,” said Thacker. “With more people expected at the Fair this year, we expect to smash our own record!” Currently on display at the Parks Museum:
Trophy Queens, special photo exhibit on the glamour girls or racing: through Aug. 2009
Honoring 60 years of NASCAR: through Mar. 1, 2009.
Celebrating 60 Years of Hot Rod Magazine: through October 2008
Coker Tire/Honest Charley Anniversary: “A Tribute to American Ingenuity.” The exhibition celebrates Coker Tire’s 50th anniversary and
Honest Charley’s 60th. The exhibit runs through November 16th.
Next exhibit coming to the Parks Museum in ’08:
The 50th Anniversary of the Gale Banks Engineering goes from December 3 to fall 2009. Exhibit.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary and named for the founder of the National Hot Rod Association, the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California houses the very roots of hot rodding. Scores of famous vehicles spanning American motorsports history are on display, including winning cars representing 50 years of drag racing, dry lakes and salt-flat racers, oval track challengers and exhibits describing their colorful backgrounds. The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., PST. Current NHRA members are admitted free and Auto Club members enjoy a $2 discount. Admission for non-members is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors 60 and older, $5 for juniors six through 15, and free for children under the age of five. The Museum is also available for special group tours. The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is located at Fairplex Gate 1, 1101 W. McKinley Ave. in Pomona. For further information on special exhibits, museum events or directions, call 909/622-2133 or visit http://museum.nhra.com. From Bill Groak and Monique Valadez

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - (Sept. 8, 2008) - The year 1958 brought Americans the Hula Hoop and NASA. But one moment that stands out among the drag racing community is Junior Thompson's Little Eliminator victory at the NHRA Nationals in Oklahoma City. Fifty years later, Thompson, the Gasser great, continues to be a star among cars. This year Thompson's been named Grand Marshal of the 17th annual California Hot Rod Reunion, Oct. 10-12, Bakersfield, California. Thompson is being honored along with Georgia Seipel, Steve Davis, John Edmunds, Walt Rhoades and Butch Maas. In this interview, the always talkative Thompson looks back on his 30-year drag racing career as a driver and his current duties as Grand Marshal of the Hot Rod Reunion.

Junior Thompson21
crowds in museum2

Bill Groak: How does it feel to be named Grand Marshal for the 17th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion? What does the Reunion mean to you?
Junior Thompson: I've been in drag racing since the '50s, and coming out to every California Reunion since it began, so it feels great being named Grand Marshal after so many years in the sport. The Reunion is a wonderful time to meet up with my old friends and talk about racing. I'm expecting many of my friends and family to come out to the Reunion.
Groak: When you were racing decades ago, did you think you'd be honored years later? Are you surprised that people remember your racing exploits?
JT: When I was a 17-year-old at my first race, I was in it just for the love of drags. Since coming to the Reunions, my friends and fans would always ask when I was going to be honored. So after more than 50 years in racing it really feels good to tell friends that I'm being honored as Grand Marshal. I'm not surprised because I've been involved for so many years and racing is still a big part of my life and my family's life.
Groak: What are some of your fondest (and funniest) memories about drag racing in the early days? What do you miss most? Do you keep in touch with a lot of your old drag racing friends?

JT: My win as first Little Eliminator at the NHRA Nationals in Oklahoma City in 1958 and my win at the first Bakersfield March Meet in 1959 are two of my fondest memories. Drag racing is not what it used to be. The Reunions are wonderful because we get to be around things we love like racing and cars the way they were. That's why I continue to go to the Reunions; to see my old drag racing friends and talk about the good old days and remember good friends that have passed on like Wally Parks.
Groak: Are you surprised at the popularity of nostalgia drag racing? Why do you think people enjoy it so much?
JT: I'm not surprised because I've been around it for so many years and I grew up with it. They enjoy it for the same reason I do: a love for speed and cars.
Groak: What do you think of drag racing today compared to when you were on the circuit?
JT: Today, I'm amazed at how expensive drag racing has become. You almost have to be a millionaire to drag race and maintain your car today. When I started it was just a few bucks to maintain the parts for my cars and get me to the races. Back in the old days, it was purely for the love of the sport, not the fame or money like today.
The 17th annual California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, Oct. 10-12 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., is a 3-day festival of speed, hot rods and American automotive enthusiasm. It's also the season finale of the inaugural NHRA's Hot Rod Heritage nostalgia drag racing series. Produced by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, and located in Pomona, Calif., the Reunion is part of the museum's "living history" philosophy, which works to bring to life the sights, sounds and people who made history in the early days of drag racing, land speed racing and the golden age of American car culture. Unique among motorsports events, the Reunion honors some of the top names in hot rodding from the past and features a fabulous array of cool drag cars, street rods and customs of the historic and present-day hot rod eras. Those purchasing their credentials at least three weeks before the event receive significant added value including a "goodie" bag, Reunion program, commemorative dash plaque and a colorful and collectible plastic souvenir credential. Three-day credentials ($55 each) are available by calling 800/884-NHRA (6472) or by completing a form found in the Reunion section of the Museum's Website (http://museum.nhra.com). Auto Club members receive a $5 discount off Adult credential prices. Daily general admission tickets/pit passes will be available at Auto Club Famoso Raceway gate,(www.famosoraceway.com). Cost per person: Friday, $20; Saturday, $20; Sunday, $15. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Auto Club discount is also available at the gate: $2 off Friday and Saturday and, $1 off Sunday. The Reunion features a wide variety of activities and events, including:
NHRA vintage drag racing, featuring some the sport's most famous and historic cars and drivers, racing in such classes at Nostalgia Top Fuel, Funny Car, Fuel Altereds, Supercharged Gassers, Classic Super Stock, Hot Rods and others. It's the grand finale of the NHRA's Hot Rod Heritage Series.
Hundreds of gleaming pre-1972 hot rods, street rods, custom cars, rat rods, classics and muscle cars. "Memory Lane" will have a display of nostalgic race cars. The Justice Bros. Spotlight Award will fall on drag racer Gas Ronda.
California Hot Rod Reunion Reception, held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bakersfield, Fri., Oct. 10, from 7 p.m.- 10 p.m. Open to everyone at no charge, it's a tribute to the Reunion's Grand Marshal, gasser great Junior Thompson, and the other Honorees. The reception offers a chance for fans to meet some of drag racing's heroes.
Cacklefest on Saturday evening, where nitro-burning historic, front-engine top-fuel dragsters and other classic race cars are push started just like in the "old days."
The Swap meet and Reunion Midway filled with hot rod and automotive related vendors. Something for everyone!
Information, including a full activities schedule, entry forms and tickets, is available through the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum at http://museum.nhra.com or by sending a post card or note to California Hot Rod Reunion, 1101 McKinley Ave., Bldg, 3A, Pomona, Calif. 91768. Requests can be emailed to themuseum@nhra.com. Proceeds of the California Hot Rod Reunion benefit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. Celebrating its 10th anniversary and named for the founder of the National Hot Rod Association, the Parks Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California houses the very roots of hot rodding. Scores of famous vehicles spanning American motorsports history are on display, including winning cars representing 50 years of drag racing, dry lakes and salt-flat racers, oval track challengers and exhibits describing their colorful backgrounds. The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., PST. Current NHRA members are admitted free and Auto Club members enjoy a $2 discount. Admission for non-members is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors 60 and older, $5 for juniors six through 15, and free for children under the age of five. The Museum is also available for special group tours. The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is located at Fairplex Gate 1, 1101 W. McKinley Ave. in Pomona. For further information on special exhibits, museum events or directions, call 909/622-2133 or visit http://museum.nhra.com.

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Links to other land speed and hotrodding websites:
www.landspeedproductions.biz, http://www.landracing.com, www.speedrecordclub.com,
http://www.ahrf.com/video.php, www.hotrodhotline.com,
www.landspeedracing.com, www.Autobooks-Aerobooks.com

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Members:

Jonathan Amo, Brett Arena, Henry Astor, Gale Banks, Glen Barrett, Mike Bastian, Lee Blaisdell, Jim Bremner, Warren Bullis, Burly Burlile, George Callaway, Gary Carmichael, John Backus, John Chambard, Jerry Cornelison, G. Thatcher Darwin, Jack Dolan, Ugo Fadini, Bob Falcon, Rich Fox, Glenn Freudenberger, Don Garlits, Bruce Geisler, Stan Goldstein, Andy Granatelli, Walt James, Wendy Jeffries, Ken Kelley, Mike Kelly, Bret Kepner, Kay Kimes, Jim Lattin, Mary Ann and Jack Lawford, Fred Lobello, Eric Loe, Dick Martin, Ron Martinez, Tom McIntyre, Don McMeekin, Bob McMillian, Tom Medley, Jim Miller, Don Montgomery, Bob Morton, Mark Morton, Paula Murphy, Landspeed Louise Ann Noeth, Frank Oddo, David Parks, Richard Parks, Wally Parks (in memoriam), Eric Rickman, Willard Ritchie, Roger Rohrdanz, Evelyn Roth, Ed Safarik, Frank Salzberg, Dave Seely, Charles Shaffer, Mike Stanton, David Steele, Doug Stokes, Bob Storck, Zach Suhr, Maggie Summers, Gary Svoboda, Pat Swanson, Al Teague, JD Tone, Jim Travis, Randy Travis, Jack Underwood and Tina Van Curen, Richard Venza.

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