Drag Racing has been a part of my lifei since the early 60's. At the age of 15 I bought my first car. It was a 54 chevy. A year later I was putting a straight axle, 283 and a 55 chevy rearend in it. I would take it to DRAG CITY in Springfield IL. to run it.
In 1970 I bought a 62 Nova. I ran D/Hot Rod. It had a small block chevy with a tunnel ram. After a short while I moved to fuel injection. MOTHERS DAY 1973, would turn out to be a bad day. I had buried my uncle that morning. That night my mother would visit me in the hospital. I had rolled my Nova 5 times at 112 mph. I was racing at Assumption Race Way in Assumption IL. The wind got under the front of the car and I just started rolling. What a ride! Four weeks later I was back at the track. I had purchased a 66 Super Sport and was back in action.
In 1975 I put my slicks on a self to gather dust for a long time. Drag Racing had become too expensive for a man raising a family. I next moved in to showing cars.I purchased a "basket case" a 62 vette . After extensive restoration it was ready to show. I showed it from 1975 until I sold it in 1987. I won a lot of awards with it.
In 1988 I purchsed a Funny Car body from Haywood and Neer. I built this car from the frame up. I made it street legal. It had to be inspected by the state before I could get it licensed. I spent a number of days before a judge proving that it was street legal. There was always one officer or another stopping me for one reason or another. I won all of the court cases, except one . It was on bumper height. I solved the problem. After a few more stops by officers they finaly gave up and left me alone.The body raised on hydraulics so you could get in and out of it. After a couple of years I was ready to move on to something new.
I sold the funny car . I started building up a 65 Chevy Impala that had belonged to my son. The front of this car (all steel) slid out 8 inches then raised all on hydraulics. I showed it at Car Craft Nationals and at Super Chevy. I had top 5 finishes. The high light of having this car came in 1989 I won a engineering award from Competition Engineering. I was so emotional at the ceremoney my wife had to tell everyone about the car. I sold this car in 1991. For the next 4 years I spent my time painting cars for other people some of which has appeared in magazines.
I wanted to get back into drag racing. I felt it was time to take the slicks off of the shelf. I teamed up with Wes Deweese. He had a 1972 Nova SS. I purchased a motor (my wife didn't speak to me for a week after I told her how much I paid for it ) and we put everything all together and went racing with the NMCA. The first year out we finished 11th in points. In 1997 the NMCA dropped Modified Street. The NSCA was formed in 1998. We ran modified street in the 8.40's. We qualified in the top 5 most of the time. We finished 3rd in points the first year with the NSCA. In 1999 the partenership broke up. Wes needed to spend more time with his family.
My son and I started building the 1979 Trans Am in June of 1999. (Click photos to see the process). Dave Whitaker built the chassis. On one hot sunday as we were tearing apart the front end of the car my son got quit a surprise. He was leaning down by the firewall and a snake stuck it's head out of a hole. I didn't think my son could move that fast or turn that white. The snake must have been in the car a long time and was ready to get out.
The car was finished in April 2000. Went to Cordova IL. to get some runs on it and see how the new driver (Keith McCoy) was going to do.We made a few passes without the bottle. He had a 1.70 60 ft time. He said, "it launches hard". This was on a friday night. The next day we returned to the strip and I decided to "Bottle Feed Him" (NOS). You have to remember this driver had not run faster than 11 seconds until friday night. New Driver , New Car I was nervous! Keith had made some 10 second passes on friday. Saturday was going to be a whole new experience for him. I told Keith it would launch a little harder. He just didn't know how much. New car, never been launched on NOS. I told Keith if the car did something stupid to get out of it. On the first pass nothing happened. He came back and said "that wasn't too bad.. The crew chief found the problem. Went up to try another pass.The front wheels came off of the ground about 3 foot and it headed for the center line, Keith got out of it like I told him. Warmed the bottles up and adjusted the preload and went up to try it again. The wheels came up again it went to the right he got out of it and then back in it just like I told him not to do. But, we blasted off an 8.73 run. He comes back to the pit ,still shaking and hands me the time slip it shows that we had 1.30 60 ft . time and says DAMN THAT LAUNCHES HARD, let's do it again. This from a guy that couldn't do a burnout the day before and had to be shown by Charles Bandell how to do one.
The next weekend we went to Byron IL. to get his NHRA license. Then we went back to run with the Outlaw Super Stocks. This would be the first race that Keith had ever participated in. We qualified ok.
We went out on the third round. We got beat with a 8.466 to the other guys 8.460, both cars went 170mph. This was good experience for Keith. I have always liked running with the outlaws they are a bunch of great guys.We were gearing up for the NSCA at Cordova IL. At the NSCA race we qualified 4th with an 8.32. We went 3 rounds. Then we headed for Bowling Green KY. Where we qualified 4th with an 8.29. We went 2 rounds. Then it was on to Stanton Michigan. We qualified 5th with an 8.37. We made it to the finals . I called my wife to fill her in on how we were doing and ask her to call Jim Brown our crew chief who couldn't be with us at this race. My wife told me later that when she called ,his wife said he was in the shower. My wife told her to take the phone into him it was important. When Jim heard we were in the finals he hollered so loud we should have heard him in Michigan.
We ran Jerry Morgano. We lost to his 8.05 to Keiths 8.24 . Morgano had a reaction time of .507 Keith had a time of .479. We went to the final race in Ohio we didn't do well. We had a shifting problem.