FEEDBACK ARTICLE - When the Lions Roared
Thank you!!! Brings back so many memories!!!
Moved to Burbank in Feb of
1960, found my way to San Fernando the first weekend and Lions the next. Jack
Chrisman set a new record of 8.85 in the mid to high 160s (I think) in the "Twin
Bear", with a piece of plywood in front of the engines providing some "aero".
It took months before I saw anyone top 170.
Everything you said about
sitting on the tower side, with the cars just out of reach, the fog (sometimes
not knowing who won), wet seats, flames from the refinery, wondering if the
engines would fire as the cars were pushed toward the starting line, what
Leonard Harris was one of my heroes, still hurts to
think about him ("Sneaky Pete" @ Pomona, Mulligan @ Indy, Sorokin @ OCIR and
many others, too).
Did some time as a "gopher" and sometime helper on a
Jr. Fuel car run by Sam Rose (Butch Maas crashed and went through the END sign
at "The Pond" racing Danny Ongaias - sp?). That was in the mid 60s, the days of
the Allison bros ("The Wasp" and "The ______"?, Fedak and Crowe (right?),
etc.). What a wonderful sound to hear blown fuel cars from the "far end" as we
got ready to push back to the pits. Clutch pedal was so stiff it was all I
could do keep my leg straight.
Still have my original "Last Drag Race"
T-shirt, only wear it once or twice a year. Didn't stay for the final,
spectators were sitting right next to the guard rail and I was scared to death
someone would crash.
Although it's ben awhile, the sound of metal
grinding on asphalt is far too fresh in my memory. Spoke to Herm Peterson a few
months ago. I just happened to be at OCIR and standing at the fence near where
his car came to rest. As I'm sure you know, Herm was trapped upside down, with
fuel pouring out of the tank behind the seat. At first his arms were failing
around and then they stopped. The fire crew did a lousy job!!!! Amazed he
survived and if you want to ever speak to a person who doesn't know the word
"quit", Herm's your guy.
Bought what was left of Ed Pink's drag racing
parts in '86 and sold them at swap meets up and down the ocast. Had a great
time and met some wonderful people.
Thanks again, hope I haven't bored
you to death. - Jim Culp
PS - I still have four little reels of 8mm
movies I shot at Lions, Fontana, Half Moon Bay and Riverside in the early 60s.
Haven't looked at them in many years, don't know if there is anything worth
while, but I'd like them to go to someone who might appreciate them. Let me