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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER 122 - July 30, 2009
Editor: Richard Parks [email protected]
President's Corner: By Jim Miller (1-818-846-5139)

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Some Names To Look For In This Newsletter:
 President's Corner, Editorials, John Force RaceStation - All Ford car show Sunday August 9, Would you please post my email hopefully someone with some information about Jack Mickelson and his roadster will step forward, Stater Bros Route 66 Rendezvous California Welcome Center, Autobooks-Aerobooks, very important safety tip, I could not believe I left out another detail of Gary Mylar's Hot Rod history, Margery is my half sister and I am trying to locate her, Thanks for running the Throttle article; I hope it is of interest to your readers, The Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance will celebrate Morgan Motor Company's centennial with a special route, I was doing some charity work with the Belond roadster this past weekend and an old friend of my father's came up to me and asked if I might be interested in doing some work with Honor Flight, I am looking for the following items for my Hall of Fame Museum, The Magnolia Park car show will be here at the Autobooks/Aerobooks store, Checkered Flag 200 Car Show and Family Fun Day Petersen Automotive Museum, I'm working on an article about stock car road racing in Southern California during the 1950's, Englishtown New Jersey Saturday July 25 2009, Movie review…Bonneville Salt Flat Racer; go fast or go home, Speed Demon Bonneville Speed Week August 8-14

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President's Corner:  
   I had mentioned Diesel records previously and the records that went over 300, but I forgot to include one. That's Lynn Goodfellow's Mormon Missile. It's my goof, sorry Lynn. While on the subject of smoke-makers I happened across a February 1952 story on another car driven by Jimmy Jackson at our favorite place, Bonneville. The car had run in the Indy 500 in '50 and started in the 32nd spot after qualifying at 129 mph. Fifty laps later it dropped out with Supercharger problems, no doubt because it was painted a light green, the bane of bad luck for racers. Three months later the folks at Cummins Diesel took their car to hallowed ground a few miles outside of Wendover to have at it again. Still painted green and with Jackson again at the controls the Smokester became the fastest Diesel on the planet when they set the one mile record at 165.23 mph against the old record of 158.87 mph. That record was also set on the salt way back in 1936 by one George Eyston. You may know that name from his "Thunderbolt." Here are the records Jackson set;
Distance   New Record   Old Record
1 Kilo    163.83 mph    159.10 mph
1 Mile    165.23 mph    158.87 mph
5 Kilo    164.25 mph    126.99 mph
5 Miles    161.92 mph    112.07 mph
10 Kilo    147.63 mph    None
10 Miles   148.14 mph    None
It might be of interest to you that the five Kilo and mile records were set by a Cummins powered car also way back in '34 driven by "Wild" Bill Cummings. Same scenario sort of, first they ran at Daytona and then later at Indy. The Beach records weren't recognized as no money was given to the French to sanction the event. At Indy the driver was Dave Evans who qualified in 22nd and was classified as 19th after losing a tranney.
   This form of engine has always been a stepchild to us speeder types. You can say that the Thermo King boys put the Diesel back on the list in the late '70's at the salt. Today we have seven streamliner classes for Diesels with Andy Green as top dog with a record at 317.021 mph. We also have 11 classes for trucks with Carl Heap's "Phoenix" as king of the hill at 272.685 mph. A couple of years back fellow Sidewinder Mike Manghelli decided to put a small VW Diesel in his lakester. It was as you say slow at first. He worked for Lockheed's Skunkworks so being racer types it had to have the proper name to go with the smoke. We ended up calling it the "Stinkliner" in good fun. He ended up with the record at 116.865 mph back in '99 and it's still on the books. You have to keep in mind that dry lakes racing is all about going fast and having FUN. I think Dan Warner had the last laugh on the project as he volunteered to be the Diesel fuel sponsor. At the end of the week and many runs the cost was something like 87 cents. He hasn't let us forget it till this day. As a side note the new Hop Up magazine is out and you should all go out and buy it. Why, because I wrote a story in it. Like I said, it's all fun.

JMC_611_Jackson-
JMC_612_Cummins-Diesel-Cha

Captions-
JMC_611.....Jimmy Jackson is seen at Bonneville in 1951 in the Cummins Diesel Car. The car was Built by Frank Kurtis and based on a KK- 3000. Note the toneau over the driver's compartment to help streamlining.  Jim Miller Collection

JMC_612.....Then Kurtis chassis stripped of its body shows the massive 401" supercharged Cummins Diesel engine that was based on the production JBS-600 engine. It put out 340 hp at 4,000 rpm as compared to the stocker at 150 hp at 2,500 rpm.  Jim Miller Collection

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Editorial:   
   Today's editorial concerns complaints. There are all sorts of complaints and they are important for the well-being of an organization, particularly this organization. One that I received said, "You shouldn't print anything where there is the slightest chance of error, otherwise you will be spreading that error around." A request started out like this, "Could you please tell me everything you can about so-and-so who raced at the lakes in 1946?" Then when I answered with a request for more information the questioner said, "I want to keep this confidential, I only want information and I don't want you to identify me at all." I've received emails and phone calls complaining about the length of the newsletters as being too long, too short and too redundant. I've been told that the newsletter looks like a blog and not like a studious journal of history. I even invite people to complain and sometimes I egg them on until these very quiet people cannot take my nettling and softly give me their opinion. I work very hard at drawing information out of people and when they don't respond, I find ways to get under their skin, for the reason that I do this isn't for the huge dues and salary you pay me, but to save and rescue history before it is destroyed by age and neglect. It is important to find out what you are thinking and feeling. The "Atta-boy, keep up the good work, love the newsletter," is nice to hear, but it doesn't do much to improve the product. I have to hear what you are saying. You have to tell me what you feel. We have to have an honesty between us if the newsletter is going to thrive. Maybe I'll be able to accommodate your request and maybe I won't. Perhaps I'll be stubborn and say no simply because I want to, or maybe what you ask is an impossibility to accomplish, but at least you'll know that I wanted your opinion and that I told you yes, or no, and gave you my reasons. Then you can do one of two things; give up or fight on. The thing that irritates me the most is when the members are silent. 
   Yes, some of you give me complaints that are meaningful, tactful and soft and it's easy for me to change my policies. Some of you have the tact of a Bull Elephant in heat and the grace of a rhinoceros in a pottery maker's shop, and while this makes it harder for me to want to change to suit you, if your case has merits then I will change. Let's answer some of the questions. I'm not afraid of mistakes and I'm not afraid to apologize and do a retraction. I do that all the time. If it's a mistake free newsletter then the answer is; "It's not going to happen." We're dealing with memories and those memories are old memories. If I demand perfection, then the newsletter will drop to 0, yes, ZERO words. Jim and I do everything possible to cut the errors down to zero, but I will tell you this, there is no book, no magazine, no newspaper and no other written media that has ever done that. Errors, misspellings, errata and mistakes crop up in the unlikeliest places. The nice thing about the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter is that it is an electronic medium and even after it has been published, I can send a corrected copy to the website owner and replace the defective copy with the corrected version. Yes, some readers will read the "bad" newsletter, but we can correct and update it and notify people in the next issue, mentioning the correction. Try doing that with a book, magazine or newspaper. They simply let the error stand. I know, because I tried to get a drag boat racing magazine to correct their error (it wasn't in my original text to them) and they told me to "go to hell." You've never gotten that kind of attitude or sullen comment from me and you won't. 
   Another peevish comment is, "But I want this to be confidential, can't you just do all this research for free and waste your life on my behalf?" If you tell me it's confidential, then I'll honor your request, except for my own comments and research which are mine to publish. But I won't publish your work or comments when you tell me not to. I also will consider that wasting any more time with you is fruitless and will go on to other jobs and tasks. This is a zero dollar job. You pay me nothing and I spend 8 to 10 hours a day typing or doing research on what I love doing. Jim Miller once told me, "Richard, every time someone writes in and asks for this kind of help, it takes me hours to do the research and I have to put my life on hold." What are you going to give Jim and I for our time, money and effort? That's our payment for doing the work that we do. Then you say this all has to be confidential? I care about your privacy, but you have to commit to this history project. You're in or you're out, it's as simple as that. Someone once told me, "You shouldn't be so blunt, people may not want to be your friend any longer." My answer, "The world has 7 billion people and most of them are far more friendly, trustworthy, honest and dependable. I can afford to lose a few lackluster friends like those guys that never do anything." If members or simply readers to the SLSRH cannot or will not participate, then we can't carry them on our backs any longer. Go. Just go and find something else that you enjoy more, that doesn't ask you to do anything, for the obvious answer is that you are not committed and you don't care, unless someone does the work for you. 
   If you consider yourself to be a member, like Jim and I, then you need to contribute. We want your biography and we want you to caption your photographs and let us print a few of them. At the minimum, you should write your bio and leave it with your family along with your captioned photographs. It always amazes me when people say, "It's mine!" Their history, their records, their photographs, their collections are so possessively theirs. This is the kind of person you want me to cozy up to and befriend? Somehow I see this picture of a guy in his casket in his garage with all his treasures and his wife telling the bulldozer operator, "You can bury the whole place now." Did I not mention that the SLSRH is about saving, rescuing and preserving history, not hoarding it? Another complaint is that we are nothing but a blog, "You let anyone just babble on," they told me. Well, YES, isn't that the point, to get whatever we can get and let future historians quibble about the value of what we preserve. "You let this guy go on about his sports car racing and we're just into land speed racing," said one person. The SLSRH is concerned mostly with land speed racing, early drags and hot rodding, because these are topics that go together, but we realize, or at least Jim Miller and I do, that segregating all sports is impossible. That's because there is a great deal of cross-over in these many sports. Take Carroll Shelby for an example. He is chiefly known as a sports car driver, builder and owner, but what you may not know is that he was also a Vice President to my father at NHRA in the 1950's and was a close friend and adviser. It's just impossible to separate cars and people and put them into one category. There is one sport that seems to cross all lines; land speed racing. That's because almost every automotive racing sport will try their luck against the clock at Bonneville at least once in their life. The list of complaints is long and your editor is a crusty curmudgeon, but he is even testier if you don't send an opinion or a complaint in once in a while.

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John Force RaceStation - All Ford car show, Sunday, August 9, 2009, from 10 am to 4 pm, Yorba Linda, California. The Mustang Club of Orange County is producing this show, presented by the Auto Club of Southern California and Ken Grody Ford. Bring a can of food for the local food bank and receive a ticket to win a TV.  Craig Hoelzel, director of special promotions, John Force Racing, Inc. 22722 Old Canal Road, Yorba Linda, California 92887. See [email protected], http://www.johnforceracestation.com/news/news-july27-09.htm.

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Would you please post my email in the newsletter. Hopefully someone with some information about Jack Mickelson and his roadster will step forward. Thank you very much. Chris Julis, [email protected].

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Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous, California Welcome Center - San Bernardino, Toll Free: 800-867-8366 ext. 28, 1955 Hunts Lane, Suite 102, San Bernardino, CA 92408-3344. See www.san-bernardino.org, or www.route-66.org. Karen Blanco, Director of Communications for the San Bernardino Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Autobooks-Aerobooks, 3524 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505. 818 845-0707 Tina Van Curen

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Road Runners and Friends; fellow Road Runner Pat McSwain sent the following information on a very important safety tip. You can click on the link to the forum below to see the article and read the discussion or go directly to the safety article at this link: http://www.brewracingframes.com/id75.htm. Very good reminder to read the labels of products we use and take appropriate safety precautions.
Jerry Cornelison
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Pat's message: http://www.duramaxdiesels.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15728. This threat is important enough that I feel compelled to get the word out. Aerosol Brake Cleaner is widely used by hotrodders, and when used around welding, apparently it can injure you for life or kill you.
Please read the article.  Pat, Kat, & Rob McSwain
   Pat and Jerry: There are many compounds in auto, home, boat and other manufacturing that when mixed or heated will give off harmful chemicals. Phosgene gas was used in World War I if I'm not mistaken and may be similar to Mustard gas, a deadly gas that maimed and killed millions. Thanks for the warning.

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I could not believe I left out another detail of Gary Mylar's Hot Rod history. Gary was famous for the graffiti nights in Hot Rod magazine in November 1982. He was the president of the committee for John's graffiti nights. He has been really helpful and kind to me. And to my great shock he was very young and he passed away last year. I have gotten word from Tony Lloyd that I can borrow a flat head to assure the new motor would be mounted in place correctly when it gets done. My friend Mike Arndt will be helping me with the welding. About 15 years ago Vince Asaro in Belmont, California of Asaro fabrication helped get the frame redone. We boxed it and reformed it to fit the nose back in place. The car was boxed during the time when Mylar had it. At that time he did not have the nose. The frame was not correctly set to put the nose in place. I put a lot of knowledge into the project with the help of Vince to make this frame accurate .He has done a great job. I will see if there is more to this car's history. Spencer Simon

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Hello, Butch Peterson has a half sister (Margaret Franklin) from his mother's first husband, Robert Franklin, whom she married and divorced near the beginning of the second world war. Margery is my half sister and I am trying to locate her. Could you provide me any leads to the Petersen family so that I can continue this search? Terence E Franklin 
   Terence: Please give me the parameters of what it is that you are trying to do. Is this in response to our www.landspeedracing.com site and therefore part of our land speed racing newsletter. Tell me how you came to email me and give as much background info as you can, because the more I know, the better I can refer you to sources that might help you find the answers you are looking for.

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Thanks for running the Throttle article; I hope it is of interest to your readers. Below is a guide to archiving documents from the Brodart Website that may help with your Dad's files and photographs. There is another guide at the National Archives website. Which I believe is www.nara.gov. You might want to talk to a professional archivist; I'm not an expert on archiving documents. I did a little bit of archeology in school, so I've only talked briefly with the conservators about paper documents. The big things that come to mind, are keeping humidity at the right level, and avoiding sunlight. The other thing was the acidity of the paper which can be treated, and avoiding non-archival grade albums and storage boxes. This was some years ago, so things have probably changed since then. Don Coonan
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Brodart rules for archiving historical materials.
a) Archiving: The term "archival quality" is a term used to designate materials or products that are permanent, durable, and/or chemically stable and, therefore, can be safely used for long-term preservation purposes. When selecting supplies for collection storage, buy only from reputable suppliers of archival products. Many commercially available folders, sleeves, and envelopes are acidic. Plastics may be contaminated or have harmful coatings or plasticizers, and adhesives are often acidic and can stain permanently. Handle archival materials as little as possible. Always wash your hands before handling valued material. Wash them frequently during extended use of collections. The use of cotton gloves will protect archival material from oily fingerprint transfer. Do not eat or drink in storage, exhibition, or work areas. Liquids are easily spilled and will also stain archival materials. These stains are often difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Do not use metal paper clips or rubber bands to secure objects together. Individual folders or sleeves offer a better way to organize and combine multi-sheet records. One touch with a pH testing pen will indicate if an item is alkaline or acidic. This will help to determine the next course of action. The effects of light damage are cumulative! Turn off direct sources of light, such as table lamps, when items are left unattended. Use UV light filters on lights and windows. Always protect valuable items from exposure to sunlight, moisture, dust and dirt.
b) General Storage: Archival Storage Boxes are constructed from P.A.T. Certified materials to ensure the integrity of long-term storage. This archival material is crafted into solid, secure boxes that resist dust, dirt, and light infiltration. Rigid, metal-reinforced corners create a secure seam and resist crushing even when stacked. This combination yields a container that will protect its contents for generations to come. To read documents, lay them on a flat surface and minimize handling. All documents should be housed in a protective sleeve made of polyester (Mylar).
When retrieving a single item from a folder, first remove the file folder from the box, and then remove the item. When placing papers in file folders, there should be no more than ten sheets per folder; the more valuable the documents, the fewer the sheets. Interleave documents using acid-free Bond Paper or glassine sheets. Newspaper clippings are very acidic. They should be treated with deacidification spray and stored in their own folders to limit acid migration. Store materials in a relatively cool, dry, dark location. Interleave large items with buffered paper for support. When choosing an acid-free tissue to use, consider the type of artifact you are storing. Cotton, flax, linen, and jute should be stored using a buffered tissue to neutralize acids. Wool, silk, and textiles are best stored using unbuffered tissue which has a neutral pH.
c) Archival Storage of Photographs: Storing your collection in appropriate Photo Storage Boxes, envelopes, sleeves, and albums, will protect against light, dust, handling, air pollutants, and rapid fluctuations in temperature and humidity. The Photo Activity Test was developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to evaluate materials that come in contact with photographic emulsions. Materials that pass the test help ensure safe long-term storage of negatives, slides, and microfiche. All negatives and prints require protection from finger oils, acids, dust, dirt, pollution, and abrasion. Use of cotton gloves when handling your negatives and prints will protect against damage. Buffered vs. Unbuffered; the ANSI standard for color photo storage is unbuffered envelopes. The ANSI standard for black and white photo storage is buffered envelopes. Photo storage should be made of strong, durable and chemically stable material. Any material that comes in contact with photographs should pass the PAT test. Do not store photographs in commercially available "magnetic" photo albums. Choose acid-free materials and pages. Extend the life of your photo album by using archival material. The ideal photo album would be constructed with 100% archival materials including a protective cover, a hinge that allows the book to comfortably expand, and size that is easy to shelve or store. If you choose to use plastic page protectors, purchase them from a recognized archival products company. Many "PVC-free" plastics that are available through discount stores are not archival. Attach your photographs, postcards, and other items with archival photo corners or choose an acid-free adhesive. This will prevent discoloration of tape and materials. Store slides in a cool, dark, low humidity environment to avoid fungus growth. Avoid long exposure to any light source including daylight, fluorescent lamps, illuminated viewers and light boxes.
d) Care of Books: Place books upright on the shelves using bookends when the shelf is not full. Use a book cradle or padded supports when viewing fragile volumes. Books should not be exposed to sunlight. The damaging effect of UV rays can be minimized with the application of Brodart Book Jacket Covers.
e) Miscellany; Buyer's Guides & Information, Catalog Request, Circulation Desk Selection Guide, Headphone Buying Guide, Laminator Buying Guide, Paperback Protection Quick Guide, Labels and Protectors Buying Guide, Security System Buyers Guide, Signage Buying Guide,
Hardwood Shelving Buying Guide, Monitor Screen Filter Selection Guide.
f) How To's & Tips; Recent Web/Print Articles on Brodart Products, Archival Preservation, Bar Coding for Beginners, 5 FAQs About Choosing Bar Codes, Troubleshooting a Scanner, Ergonomics, Podcasting for Teens.
g) Downloadable Guides; Applying Book Jacket Covers, Book Jacket Cover Selection or Download, Book Repair or Download. By downloading a guide, you can view it anytime on your computer, regardless of internet access.

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The Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance will celebrate Morgan Motor Company's centennial with a special route, led by Morgan Managing Director Charles Morgan, to the Carmel Mission. Please see the release below and if you'd like hi-res images, they can be found at http://www.pebblebeachconcours.net/pages/3017/Photos.htm. From a news release

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I was doing some charity work with the Belond roadster this past weekend and an old friend of my father's came up to me and asked if I might be interested in doing some work with Honor Flight. Honor Flight is a non-profit unlike Honorflight.com and Honorflights.com which are NOT associated with Honor Flight Network, Inc. (honorflight.org). The aforementioned sites are for companies that charge a fee for flights to visit the World War II Memorial. The flights and tours that Honor Flight Network provides World War II and terminally ill veterans are absolutely FREE. I know it doesn't have anything to do with land speed but our heritage is so inter-wound with the WW II vets that I was hoping you guys might find a way to let our readers know that there is a list of more then 7,000 WWII vets hoping they will get the chance to go back and visit their memorial in Washington D.C. The non profit website is http://honorflight.org and they do have 501(c) 3 status. Sincerely, Michael Brennan
   Michael: The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians is not rigid, but very flexible and reports on subjects that touch upon the main interests of hot rodding, early drag racing and all land speed racing. We will be glad to mention it for you.

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 I am looking for the following items for my Hall of Fame Museum, which will open late this year in Auburn, Indiana. I need information on anything speed equipment or cars built by Grancor Automotive Specialists (Granatelli Corporation) like Ford Flathead motors, heads, manifolds, etc. Also, looking for any racecars I owned or built, including Indy cars, street rods, Bonneville cars or a Fordillac. I would like to have any information on the whereabouts of any of the above. I will consider a loan, a donation or I will purchase the items. No matter what, I would like to know what's out there. Contact Andy at [email protected]. Thank you. Andy Granatelli

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The Magnolia Park car show will be here at the Autobooks/Aerobooks store on Magnolia, in Burbank, California on August 22, 2009. BeBoppin' in the Park, 3:30PM to 9PM. 200 plus cars on the street, music, food, fun! Autobooks will be open. We have two interesting book signings in September. On September 12, 2009 (Saturday), from 10AM-2PM, we will have Bob and Lynn McCoy here to sign Lynn's book, Circle of Impact; The wild life and fast times of Hot Rod Hero, Bob McCoy. Then on September 26, 2009 (Saturday), from 10AM to 2PM, Roy Brizio and author Bo Bertilsson will be on hand to sign their book, Roy Brizio Street Rods; Modern Hot Rods Defined. We have a tentative commitment from Steve and Jason from The Rodder's Journal to attend also. Their new book, Throttle Magazine: the Complete Collection will be out in August of 2009. Sent in by Tina Van Curren at Autobooks/Aerobooks, 3524 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505. Or call 818-845-0707.
Tina: I've seen Lynn McCoy's book and it is first class all the way and I need to review it. The Throttle collection is another one needing a review and I'm going to buy both copies for my library.

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Checkered Flag 200 Car Show and Family Fun Day Petersen Automotive Museum, Sunday, August 30, 2009 11 a.m.-3p.m., 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. See www.petersen.org.  Chris Brown

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I'm working on an article about stock car road racing in Southern California during the 1950's. There were two races at Paramount and one at another location, I think perhaps Pomona. I have dates on the two Paramount's, but not the other, also promoted by JC Agajanian, I think. Do you have any info? Do you have any photos? Thanks, Art Evans, Phone 310-489-5330.

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Englishtown, New Jersey, Saturday, July 25, 2009. Hot rod races, live bands, old time drags pre-party. The Nebulas are playing at 6pm next to the drag strip, without costumes, and then they will return at dark in full costume. Special guests are the Burbank Choppers & Alter Boys. Gates open at 5 pm, come to gate 4. Racing starts at 5pm, street rods okay. Come out and meet the Burbank Choppers and see the cars of The Altar Boys in our Oilers cc invitational. They are driving down all the way from Massachusetts to hang with us this weekend. Drive-in movie screening of the Brian Darwas film and documentary, "The Devil at Your Feet," a new hot rod film starring our guests the Altar Boys and the Burbank Choppers. Music will be provided by our DJ, and live music will come from The Nebulas. Admission for adults is 12 bucks, kids are 6 and a tech card to race is only 20 bucks with admission included. Sunday, July 26, 2009, all out drags and the Ribeye Brothers are playing! Sunday the gate opens at 8 AM to 6 PM; go to gate 4. Sunday we will be open in conjunction with Raceway Park's annual Old Time Drags with only the best vintage dragsters and hot rods at Motor Speedway on the 1/8th mile. There will be Hot rods, Gassers, altereds, rails and street cars or run what ya brung. This is the only day this year where we will have all out drag cars on our strip! The choppers will still be hanging around so come say hello to them. Bring pre-1964 cars and have a good time with us at Motor Speedway. Contact us by email at [email protected], or check out our website at www.motorspeedwaynj.com. Mel Stultz
Mel: We wish you the very best because we want someone on the west coast to copy what you are doing and bring back the 1950's nostalgia drag racing craze. Awesome work that you are doing. Keep your reports coming asap.

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Movie review…Bonneville Salt Flat Racer; go fast or go home. Review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz
Bonneville Salt Flat Racer; go fast or go home is a documentary DVD movie by The Kickass Factory, produced in Wallan, Australia, by Norm Hardinge and Vicki Howard. There are two discs and the story line concerns Australians and New Zealanders as they take their cars to the Bonneville Salt Flats for the 2008 SpeedWeek. There is a magical and mystical lure to Bonneville, ever since the first pioneers in covered wagon and fur trappers tried to cross the huge inland lake. There is something very exotic about the Kiwis from New Zealand and the Aussies from Australia. It could be that they are at the ends of the earth, or their strange twisting pronunciation of the English language, but I prefer to think of it as the youthful exuberance and zeal to anything that they put their hand to. I am never quite sure what the filmmaker has in mind until I review the movie. The Down-unders always seem to surprise me, so my expectations were high for this movie. There are two discs with about 2 hours of action, interviews and unrelenting rock and roll music. The music is intense and I suppose the proper genre would be rock-a-billy with an Aussie twist. Most of the music blended in quite well with the video and the music was never a distraction. There were two bands involved; The Flattrakkers and Wild Turkey and one would never have thought they were from Australia without reading the enclosed jacket that came with the plastic disc holders. There were more than 60 interviews, often one interview overlapping on another and for the first hour it was hard to keep track of the various teams. By the end of the second disc I had no trouble understanding which group belonged to which racing team.
I thought about matching up people to vehicles and giving you a background, but then when you viewed the movie, you would already know what happened. But I will give you a summation of who was in the DVD and my impression of their value. Before that I should tell you that the video far exceeded my expectations as a documentary. The filmmakers are trying to reach several audiences; the die-hard land speed racers, the novices to this sort of racing and those who enjoy action of a sort not seen except in straight-line racing. The officials seem to have understood that mandate and make every attempt to explain what they are doing in the simplest terms possible. Land speed racing pits man and machine against time itself. There are no prizes for the winner and the competition is not with other racers, but against nature. The clock, mechanical problems and the elements are the enemies of the land speed racer. Records are meant to be made and then broken, by others or by yourself. It is a sport that constantly seeks greater speeds and demands more endurance. Land speed racing began with the invention of the automobile, as each car builder tested his car against the clock to see how it would perform. Today's sport is much more complex and the safety rules vastly superior to those of the past. Bonneville Salt Flat Racer; go fast or go home gives the viewer a sense of that past, while providing us with a picture of modern day land speed racing.
Lee Kennedy and Steve Davies lead off the introduction to Bonneville Salt Flat Racer; go fast or go home. Kennedy is the Technical Committee Chairman and the Cars and Special Constructions Chairman for the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) and the BNI, which oversees the land speed trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats in western Utah during the August SpeedWeek each year. Steve Davies is the Chief Car Inspector at Bonneville. Next to be interviewed was Jerry Kugel in his shop. Kugel produces some of the most beautiful roadsters and has exhibited them at the Grand National Roadster Show. He also builds some very fast machines, one of which demolished my brother's record by 81 miles per hour (mph). For the 2008 SpeedWeek, Kugel was building a roadster for his daughter to race. Jerilyn Kugel is enthused about joining her family in going fast. There are always rookies at Bonneville each year and they approach their first runs with trepidation. Yet the officials are there to help them and those who have raced before are eager to give them advice. Jerilyn would make her first trial run and keep the speed under 150 mph to earn her BNI D license. Her next run would exceed 150 mph and earn her a C license. To earn her B license she had to go over 175 mph but not go over 199 mph. She made her third run with her father as her crew chief and sped to a time of 181 mph. She had now only to exceed 200 mph to achieve her A license. The officials of the SCTA/BNI enforce this rule as a means to see how a driver can handle speeds in a safe and knowledgeable manner. When a driver receives his license, he can drive his car down the course as often as he wants as long as he stays within the parameters of his license. When a driver receives his A license, he can race as fast as he wishes.
Chico Kodama from Moon Eyes was interviewed in his shop. The clip also showed a moon disk being made on a metal bending machine. Ghost, a well-known pinstriper from Japan, now living in California, did the pinstriping on the car Chico was building to honor Fred Larsen. Greg Sharp was interviewed at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California. He is the curator for the museum and one of the most knowledgeable hot rodders around. Sharp is a retired policeman whose love for the car culture, racing and hot rodding is well known. There isn't much that Greg doesn't know about the sport and when you get this shy man to talk about his love of cars, he can be very interesting. The next interview was special. Art Chrisman spoke about going to Bonneville in 1951, just two years after the first Bonneville SpeedWeek was held. Art has done it all. He is a pioneer in the sport of drag racing and his son Mike carries on today as a racer and a hot rod builder. Art is still active building engines and cars. There just aren't very many originals left in the sport of drag and land speed racing and Art is one of them still active and still searching for records. Tim Kraushar was interviewed next and he is another pioneer. Tim is from Seal Beach, California and his Bonneville car was built by Steve Davis, another well known race car and hot rod builder. Tim and John Rodek have built over 12,000 small block Chevy motors and you can expect that whatever powerplant Kraushar puts in his cars will go very fast. Dion Wilcox and Craig Sutton are two Aussies and they were interviewed on their trip to Bonneville. The cameramen follow Dion and Craig as they explain how they bought their hot rod, then to several car shows and on the long, hot and dusty drive from Southern California to the Bonneville Salt Flats.
There is a pilgrimage of sorts for land speed racers as they retrace the original trip to Bonneville from Los Angeles over 60 years ago. That first trip occurred in 1947, just after World War II when the servicemen were being discharged and sent home. John Cobb brought his famous land speed car from England to go after the ultimate record and magazines and newspapers published accounts across Europe and America. Many young men made the long and lonely drive from Southern California to the salt flats to see this event. My father, Wally Parks, led a contingent of young men from the SCTA, and was so enthralled by the hard, flat surface and miles of runway that he lobbied for the SCTA to promote land speed racing at Bonneville. As the Secretary and General Manager of the SCTA, he wielded great influence and backing him up was Ak Miller, President of the SCTA. In 1948, Parks went to Salt Lake City, Utah, with Robert Petersen and Lee Ryan, to see Ab Jenkins, the Mayor of the city, and see if they could lease the salt flats. Ab took to the young men and put in a good word with the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce, who was at that time in charge of the lease agreements with the salt flats. They were given a lease to run one meet there in August of 1949, and if these "hooligans" from Southern California behaved themselves, the CC would consider a second lease. The SCTA/BNI organization must have been model citizens for they are celebrating their 60th anniversary racing on the salt flats. All land speeders make that first trip to Bonneville and if they are traditional they will do it the same way as the first trip was made, in a truck hauling a trailer with the race car. The truck won't be air-conditioned and the crew will squirt each other with a water bottle and try and keep as cool as possible while they travel down two lane highways across the Mojave desert in California, through Las Vegas, Nevada and then north along the old Snake Highway, going north through eastern Nevada. The long, monotonous and tiring 13 hour trip is offset by the stunning beauty of the dry, sere desert, the tall mountains on either side of the valleys along the way. Ely is like an oasis and then comes the trek through the White Horse Pass. More than one person has encountered a run-in or into the wild horse herds that cross the road.
Nevertheless, Dion and Craig successfully made the trip and glide out on the great salt flats. The nostalgia for Bonneville burns deeply in the Aussies and Kiwis, but they have their own rite of passage in their trek from Adelaide to Port Augusta and then west across the desert to Lake Gairdner, a pristine salt lake some 60 miles across. Dion and Craig join others at the Silver Nugget in Wendover, Nevada, where a car show was staged. Gail Phillips was the first woman to go over 200 mph at Lake Gairdner, Australia, at a sanctioned timed meet. She hopes to go over 300 mph with her new Streamliner, which she crashed at Speedweek 2008. Gail has set records in a Modified Sports Healey and in her 1999 Corvette. Gail is a friend and one of the fastest women drivers in the world. The car show paraded street rods, Bonneville cars, rat rods, traditional hot rods and all sorts of unique and interesting cars. Tex Smith, an original Bonneville racer from 1949's first meet, was interviewed. His interview alone is worth the cost of this DVD. Tex is an old friend of the family, who worked for my father and step-mother at Hot Rod magazine and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Tex is a writer, photographer and publisher and he has seen and done it all. I was hoping for much more on this grand old man of hot rodding. Finally we are on the salt flats and Dave Green, who is a car inspector, is interviewed on what the inspectors look for in a race car and any danger signals that have to be resolved before they give their okay to let the driver race. Inspectors have been maligned and cursed for decades, but their job is paramount. They make the final decision and if they say you can't race, then you have to fix the problem or go home.
The interviews are mixed in with live action scenes, rousing music and various officials examining the cars and going through their routines. The bedlam is actually quite organized and thorough. Scott Goetz and Pete Aardema are members of the San Diego Roadster club, a club with a long history from the very early days of the SCTA. Frank Morris was a newby at the lakes and part of the Morris/Grieve team. Paul Sattler and Dave Alexander came from New Zealand and they recreated Art Chrisman's #25 car which raced at the dry lakes in the early '50's. Casey Hill is from New Zealand. Garth Hogan was part of the Hogan/Martin/Rea team. Erik Hansson displayed a belly tank car that was last run in 1955 by Bob George. Belly tanks were extra fuel tanks used by fighter planes and bombers in WWII to extend the range of our warplanes. When they were emptied they were ejected. They were built to be very aerodynamic and after the war the land speed racers found them to be perfect bodies for a race car. Larry Bohnen was interviewed about his motorcycle streamliner. These motorcycles are built low to the ground and are elongated, then covered with a shell to create better aerodynamics. The goal of the motorcycle streamliners is to exceed 400 mph. Cliff Gullett gave a passionate overview of his attempt to set a record. When he first started to race his young son was his only pit crew. Sadly, Cliff was killed in a crash shortly after this interview was recorded and it remains in the video as a memorial to a brave land speed racer. While injuries and deaths do occur, the safety rules, equipment and training make this one of the safer sports in car racing. Bill Taylor was interviewed on what it is like to be the (main) Short Course Starter at Bonneville. Jim Jensen, from San Diego, has been the chief starter at Bonneville since 1996. The job of the starter somewhat parallels that of the inspectors, in that the starter has to make sure that everything possible is done to insure the driver's safety before he is allowed to make a run down the course. The starter will check the safety harnesses, helmet, suit, neck and arm restraints, fire suppression bottles and other gear. He will check the driver and see if he has any questions or doubts. When the starter is certain that the course is clear and the driver is prepared, he will give the signal to the push truck to give the car a start down the race course.
The next voice is that of Glen Barrett, the timer, who will record the speeds and announce them back to the starting line and to anyone else on the same radio frequency. After all, the race teams have spent a lot of time and money and they want to hear whether their driver has done well. Some very good racing footage was shot by Ray Crowell. Most of the scenes show a normal run, then the parachutes pop out and slow the cars down, but Crowell caught a few spins and the pencil roll crash of Gail Phillips' streamliner. Gail spoke to the interviewer about the crash and how she came out of it without a scratch and just a headache. The cars are all designed to save the driver's life in a crash, but nothing is a certainty when one is going 240 mph as Gail was speeding at the time of her accident. Jerilyn Kugel reached a speed of 181, but is going to return in 2009 to attempt to go over 200 mph. Rick Vesco was interviewed. The Vesco's are another pioneer racing family. Betty, Gene and Tom Burkland raced their streamliner and set a record over 400 mph, though not at this meet. Betty related how she was supposed to race the car after her husband had set a record, but one thing led to another and her son Tom took over the racing duties. It wasn't until years later when another racer offered to let her drive his car that Betty set a record over 200 mph and joined the prestigious 200 MPH Club. Norm Bradshaw, an Aussie, said in his interview that he was glad that Bonneville had "no flies," a reference to what Australians have to suffer through on their dry lakes. He also averred that Lake Gairdner had much harder salt to race on.
Greg Samson, from Maine, explained how his father had passed away, but that the team was dedicated to continue racing in honor of his dad. Richard Hollywood, a New Zealander who raced at Lake Gairdner, spoke about the different venues. Two other Kiwis who were at Bonneville were Chris and Lincoln Harris. Lincoln drove and his father, Chris Harris crewed on the car. Chris had an accident at Bonneville about 20 years ago that left him wheelchair bound. Eric Langstroth talked about his team from Canada. "I'm the first Canadian in the 200 MPH Club," he said. He was wearing the "cool shirt" which cools down the body temperature, especially when the drivers are wearing the required fire suits. Dave Green, a member of the Canadian team said their door slammer is capable of 250 mph and later the car went over that speed. Ron Tesinki was interviewed about gaining entry into the 200 MPH Club. Casey Hill painted the words, "Kiwis can't fly, but they sure run fast," on his car. The interviewer took us through the impound area where cars are kept until they can back up their record run. Then we were shown the fuel check area, where the gas is checked to make sure that it is legal for the class the driver is running in. Isaac Harper showed the camera crew the Ford Ballard electric car capable of going 225 mph. Ron Ceridono, editor of Street Rodder was interviewed. Ron worked for Tex Smith Publishing. Tex Smith said, "It's only you against you. Parks used to talk about that all the time, this is pure hot rodding out here. The only important thing is what you can do with a car, not how fancy your car is." The grand old man of hot rodding summed up this movie video better than the rest of us could. Bonneville is all about what you can do with a car, but it's also what you can do with a man, or a woman, in testing them against the clock, the elements and life itself. The video gives a snapshot of the 2008 SpeedWeek as seen from the eyes of our racing friends from Australia and New Zealand. As a documentary this is definitely a film for your library. I rank the quality of the film, sound and content as a 7 sparkplugs (out of a possible 8).
Gone Racin' is at [email protected]. Bonneville Salt Flat Racer; go fast or go home can be ordered at www.kickassfactory.com or contact Norm Hardinge at [email protected] .

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Speed Demon Bonneville Speed Week Aug 8-14 The legend returns with double the horsepower. Speed Demon - the new superpower streamliner - experience our shockwave on the Bonneville salt flats

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