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Ol Smoke

My short lived car racing days.

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In the summer of 1970, I got a graduation gift from my brother.  It was an all expense paid trip to Ontario, California and to the Bob Bondurant school of high speed racing.

There were three classes then; go cart, stocker, and formula.  I elected to do the formula series, but after a week, I switched to stock open road.  I finished the course in

three weeks and got my license in Formula Vee and in stock car open road and oval.

About 2 weeks after going back home I got a phone call from Vic Banfield of STP racing.  The had received my grades from the school and wanted me to come out to

Charlotte, NC and do a test drive of one of their stock cars for the junior series of the NASCAR series.  Today it is called the Nationwide series.  I tested out and went home.

About a week later they called me up to do some more testing, and I won a seat in the Petty junior team.  I went to their 1/4 mile dirt track to show them what I could do.  I did

about 50 laps with 3 other cars and won.  The next morning they took me down to the local 1/2 mile paved track and put me in a modified stock car.  This was a Dodge Coronet

with a 425 Hemi.  I took the car around the track for about 30 laps or so, and came into the pit area.  I told them how I thought the car behaved and they did some modifications

to the set up and sent me out with 3 other guys.  The cars were governed at about 100 mph, but it was enough for the 1/2 mile loop.  These guys were a lot more trained than the

guys I raced against on the dirt track.  I came in 4th place.  The next day we started off with class time and I listened to how the teacher talked about setting the car, steering, gas, brake,

and lots of other stuff.  How to dial the power in to the track's limits.  When and where to gas and brake.  Then we headed back out to drive.

There was 6 of us out there, to more show how real racing is done.  Three of the guys were prospects and then there was me.**  We went out and had a great time banging doors.  But when it

was all over, I came in 2nd.  Enough to earn a seat in the Summer series.  I went back home and everything was great.  Until I started bleeding from my kidneys again.  The doctor

thought that the kidneys had not healed long enough from my infection I got when I was 15.  He said the vibration and pounding was not good for my kidneys.  I phoned Vic and that

was that.

When the bleeding stopped, a friend of mine from California called and said some of the drag racing guys were looking for new pit crewmen.  I went to Pasadena and signed up.  A few

days later we both got calls and told us to come to the strip there and go thru testing.  I got on to a no name crew but after a few hours, I got pulled from them and went to Don Prudhomme's

tent and did some work there for them.  They took me to this area, and showed me this engine sitting in a short rail chassis.  I was told that I had 20 minutes to remove the oil, oil pan, and

the bottom bolts of the crankshaft.  Then I was to scrub the pan, put a new seal on it, retighten the bolts to the crankshaft, fill it full of oil and then check the filter for leaks.

I just barely made the 20 minute time interval.  I got hired.  I was 19 years old and bottom pan member of the Snake Prudhomme AA Fuel Dragster team.  Two weeks or so later, I had

to quit.  I started getting sick again and the bleeding wouldn't stop this time.

So I went home, went to bed, then went to OTI in Klamath Falls, OR and became a registered X-ray technologist.  I was really mad and sad for a while but I made some good friends at

school and learned a good occupation for my career.

Then I met Gary and got into professional bands.  But that is a story I have already told.


** Marvin Acton was one of the drivers that day.  He went on to a good career in NASCAR for a short time. 


Me...I wound up being a member of one of the greatest COD4 clans ever ! !    Then I f***ed that up and now I live in Neverland with a bunch of princesses.

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Cool, nice to meet other fellow who is familiar with fitted drivers seat :D (carting, rallying etc...)



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