Let’s Go Bench Racing
Just another WordPress.com weblog


ICS_II-No-139-56-Daytona_TNIllustrated Corvette Series No. 139 1956 Corvette
By K. Scott Teeters

“Zora Arkus-Duntov’s Daytona Flyer-The First Factory Supported Racing Corvette”

By K. Scott Teeters
Now that the ’09 ZR1 is finally in the hands of customers, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the first factory-supported racing Corvette. The ZR1 is a wonder of aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, and computers. By contrast, the ‘56 Daytona Speed Weeks Corvette was born of cast iron, steel, fiberglass, and pure guts.

Appearance aside, the first-generation Vette was far from a true sports car. The car’s steel perimeter frame was essentially the same as that of a regular Chevy sedan. What wasn’t obvious before Duntov started pushing the car’s performance was that without a steel body, the Corvette was rather flexible. When pushed hard in corners, the car understeered heavily and was challenging to control. Thanks to friends in high places in GM—namely, Ed Cole and Harley Earl—and the arrival of the ‘55 Thunderbird, the Corvette was given a second chance for ’56 with a completely restyled body. Clearly, the stylists were influenced by the stunning ‘54 Mercedes 300SL. The new design had forward-leaning front fenders, regular headlights, a cleaned-up tail section, and Mercedes-like hood bulges. Chevy’s 265ci V-8, new in ‘55, gave the Corvette a much-needed power boost.

To demonstrate the new V-8’s capabilities, Duntov drove a specially prepared ‘56 Chevy in the Pikes Peak hillclimb event. The car turned in a record time of 17 minutes, 24.05 seconds. During a party after the event, Duntov suggested to Cole that they show the world how fast a ’57 Corvette could go. When Cole inquired as to how just how fast that was, Duntov replied that the car could perhaps touch 150 mph. Although stock examples could only hit 135 mph at the time, Cole liked the challenge and made Duntov his Corvette-racing field commander.

Duntov started off with a ‘54 Corvette as his test mule. He knew that accomplishing his goal would require two things: more power and improved aerodynamics. First, he removed the stock windshield and built a small windscreen. A tonneau cover was then added to the passenger side, and a fairing with a long fin was added to the rear deck behind the driver’s head. Calculating that the car needed an additional 30 hp, Duntov revised the V-8’s camshaft to provide the required performance boost. This was the beginning of the famous “Duntov Cam” option. All of Duntov’s tricks worked beautifully. At GM’s Phoenix test track, Duntov personally drove the mule to a top speed of 163 mph. The green light for the upcoming Daytona race was on.

A month before the big event, in January 1956, Duntov took his mule car, fitted it with ’56 body panels, and blasted the Daytona beach with a 150.583-mph run. In February, he arrived with three race-prepared Corvettes—the mule car and two slightly modified stockers—all painted white with blue stripes and side coves. The mule now had cone fairings over the headlights and taping over almost the entire front grille opening and fender vents. The other two cars were similarly equipped, with tonneau covers and taped-up fender vents. Each Vette was powered by a 265 small-block with the experimental Duntov Cam, special 10.3:1-compression heads, and an output of 255 hp. But here’s the kicker: Because they were running on packed beach sand, the cars were equipped with snow tires!

Duntov drove the mule, while former Mercedes team driver John Fitch and airplane racer Betty Skelton drove the two other cars. There were two parts to the event: standing-mile acceleration and top speed. Ford and Chevy were in the midst of a speed war at the time. The Ford entry was Chuck Dalgh’s modified Thunderbird. In the standing mile, Fitch’s Corvette came in Third behind Dalgh’s 86.872-mph T-Bird. Duntov, meanwhile, was the fastest in the modified class with a 89.753-mph run. But the real bragging rights were reserved for the top-speed event. The Dalgh T-Bird didn’t compete in the top-speed runs, and the Corvettes romped. Fitch won the production-sports-car class with a top speed of 145.543-mph, and Skelton came in Second with a 137.773-mph run. Duntov had the fastest time in the modified class with a 147.300-mph run. It should be noted that there were strong headwinds at Daytona that kept the Corvettes from passing the 150-mph mark.

The event was so successful, GM gave Duntov the go-ahead to build three more cars for the 12-hour Sebring race, just six weeks after Daytona. John Fitch was assigned the unrealistic task of preparing the cars. While the Corvettes performed well under their potential at Sebring, they managed to finish their first sports-car competition and set the stage for bigger things to come. A print ad showed one of the Sebring cars in the pits, dirty and race-worn, with the driver exiting the cockpit. The headline read, “The Real McCoy.” And that’s how the Corvette racing legend began.

Go to www.illustratedcorvetteseries.com to purchase the artwork and for more great Corvette stories and art.

Pen & Ink bt K. Scott Teeters

Pen & Ink by K. Scott Teeters



America was not in a good mood in 1973! It seemed like we were fed up with everything. The Vietnam War, the hippy culture, inflation, high unemployment, Nixon’s Watergate situation, the death of muscle cars, sky rocketing car insurance rates, and the first Arab oil embargo all weighed heavy on our minds. Even NHRA was cranky. Fire burnouts were becoming popular and NHRA issued a ban, stating that any NHRA track that allowed racers to do the nasty deed would be in jeopardy of losing their sanction. Jet cars were still illegal too. It just seemed like no matter where you went, you couldn’t have any fun.

Tony Fox got the bright idea to take a hydrogen-peroxide rocket motor and put it into a short dragster. There were two or three rocket cars that toured the country making exhibition runs at national events and local tracks. In the summer of 1973 we booked the “Pollution Packer” rocket car for two runs at Cecil County Drag-O-Way. I had read the stories in “Drag Racing USA” and “Super Stock” magazines about the car and wondered about the car’s validity. They were reporting some very low et’s and very high top speeds.

When the Pollution Packer team unloaded the car, it didn’t look like much. It was about the size of a sportsman class dragster, it sat up a little high, all four tires were like the tires funny cars used as front tires, and there was a goofy looking rocket motor behind the driver. It just didn’t look “tough.”

The schedule was to have driver Dave Anderson make his first pass at 8 pm before our regular racing and then another run at the end of the evening. The whole thing seemed kind of surrealistic. The basic operation was rather simple. Water was pumped into an expansion chamber along with hydrogen peroxide where it expanded. To launch the car, the driver sort of pops the cork and ZOOM! No revving engine, no burnout, no flames. The crew pushed the dragster into the burnout area and Anderson popped off a little burst to test the rocket. It was a loud hissing sound. Then the crew pushed the car into the staging lights. All of the regular cars were had their engines off and everyone was watching. The track was basically silent. It looked like nothing was happening. The tree blinked down to green and we all got to hear an extraordinarily LOUD HISS and a WHOOSH! At first the car didn’t seem to move off the line very fast. It was more like a very brief coast. Then with a poof for white steam the dragster turned into a horizontal 1320 cruise missile.


When the Chrondex timers stopped, the Pollution Packer had run a 4.99 et at 311 mph! The crown was stunned in silence for about a second them exploded in cheers! We had out track photographer come up into the tower and photograph the timers as proof of the car’s run. The following week the photo and a short report was in the NHRA’s National Dragster magazine.

To put the run into its proper context. At the 1973 NHRA Winter Nationals, Don Garlits was running 6.5’s at around 230 mph. Don Schumacher’s “Star Dust” funny car was running 6.1’s at 220 mph and the “Mopar Missile” Pro Stocker was running 9.2’s at 148 mph. Between the car’s quietness, its odd looks and unbelievable numbers it was a very strange car. A very unexpected but much enjoyed after effect was that all of the racers said how much better the traction on the track was. Everyone was really hooking up.

Most of the rocket cars eventually crashed and after NHRA lifted their ban on jet cars, no one was interested in rocket powered cars. No one wanted to see whooshy little rocket dragsters when they could watch fire breathing, fearsome jet cars. Drag racing has always has a circus-like aspect, and the rocket cars were one it the sport’s oddest acts.

Into nostalgia drag racing? Then check out my huge collection of nostalgia drag racing & muscle car art at: http://www.Precision-Illustration.com


Captain Jack McClure Update #2

Captain Jack McClure and the Bacardi Twins









On October 1, 201 I received the above image of Captain Jack McClure and The Bacardi Twins. Captain! You scallywag! You dawg! You’da Man!


The good captain isn’t blasting down the 1320 on a rocket-powered cart these days, but he’s catching the babes. Here’s what he had to say…

Scott, I was in a truck stop last  week, some where in Texas or Oklahoma having breakfast with a couple of dudes when the subject of drag racing came up. The young dude went on Google and your site came up, I think he emailed you and got a reply. As to what Capt Jack is doing now, I’m still working every day moving boats on land and sea, the pic is from the Miami Boat Show in Jan this year,as you can see I still attract the good looking girls, the Bacardi Twins! LOL haha. – CAPJAC

There you have it. Captain Jack McClure, one of the most unusual acts in drag racing hasn’t lost his mojo! – Scott

Captain Jack McClure Update #1

Captain Jack McClure

Captain Jack McClure Update: The Captain Is Alive & Well!!!

“Social media” is such an amazing thing. You post a blog entry and as long as you maintain the site, you never know who’ll find you. Since creating “Let’s Go Bench Racing” several years ago, the blog post that gets the most comments is this one. And I thought it was just Me. Apparently not! Lots of people were taken with what I called, “One of Drag Racing’s Oddest Acts.”

Captain Jack McClure's Rocket Go-Cart
Try to imagine laying back on a go-cart and blasting through the timing lights, feet first, an inch or two off the ground at 220.04-MPH with an ET of 6.862-seconds!!! Well, that’s what Jack McClure, aka, “Captain Jack” used to do for fun on the weekends from the early ’60s and into the ‘70s at drag strips around the nation.

Since there was no official class for go-carts within any of the drag racing sanctioning organizations, Jack and the rest of the rocket and jet cars were exhibition acts. Jack’s earliest rocket carts were traditional go-carts, the kind you might see in the back of Popular Mechanics, designed for Briggs & Stratton lawn mower engines. But for some reason, in the early ‘60s, Jack had an affection for rocket motors and started bolting small rockets where the mower engine was supposed to be. Eventually, his cars got slick and landed Jack the cover shot on Drag Racing USA Magazine.

So, time moved on, like it always does and Jack continued tinkering with blindingly fast carts, but kind of faded into the mists of drag racing history. I closed this original post with the following open request, “… if you know how this story turned out, let me know.” Then on September 24, 2010 I got an email from one David Vinson, saying… “Captain Jack McClure is alive and well sitting in front of me right now!! Driving escort cars for oversize 18 wheelers.” I wrote back right away and David informed me that Jack can be found on Facebook by looking up, “Captain Jack McClure.”

In doing so, not only did I find the Captain’s page, but also his own page at this website address…


The site, www.The-RocketMan.com covers all kinds of small rocket related topics, as well as a section on rocket powered vehicles – dragsters, funny cars, and carts. The rocket carts section profiles Jack McClure, Free Country, and Best Brothers and Lavgne. And if you think that a rocket go-cart is “out there,” the site also profiles rocket motorcycles, bicycles, snowmobiles, and a guy on roller skates! Kind’a makes rocket dragsters and funny cars seem tame!

So, Jack is still with us. Look him up on Facebook and give him a big, “HOWDY CAPTAIN!!” KST 9.27.10


I never got to see this act, but it’s kind of connected to the last story. Jack McClure was either the bravest man in drag racing or the chief of the “More Balls Than Brains” department. This little machine was nothing more than a single cylinder, gas powered go-kart frame and body with a small hydrogen peroxide rocket motor in the back.


The 36 year old Florida deep sea fishing boat captain had several years experience running various exotic go-karts, but never anything like this before. With 1000 pounds of thrust, Captain Jack would goose his little kart for 2 or 3 seconds and squirt down the track, 1-1/2” off the ground, pulling 3G’s, and stopping the timers with 6.3 et’s at around 215 mph! NHRA said, “Man, he’s gotta be crazy! No way is he going to run at a NHRA track!” IHRA and AHRA said, “Come on in!”


The kart had a few unusual safety features. Captain Jack had velcro on the seat to help keep him where he was supposed to be and he wore a parachute on his shoulders to help reduce injuries in case he was thrown from the kart. I’m sure that would have been a BIG HELP if he ever had to use it. In the beginning of 1973, Jack had over 50 bookings at $650 to $750 a pop. The entire machine cost Jack $10,000 to build and only about $90 per run for fuel.

I’m not really sure of what happened with Captain Jack and his rocket-kart. He may have gone to that big drag strip in the sky or hopefully he telling his grand kids about the nutty thing he did when he was in his 30’s. If you know how the story turned out, let me know.- ST

You can check out my collection of over 240 nostalgia drag racing & muscle car art here: http://www.Precision-Illustration.com



I had a great part-time job right out of high school. My local drag strip, Atco Dragway, in Atco New Jersey was looking for a new track announcer because their long-time announcer, Bob Fry was planning to leave. After a lot of coaxing from my girl friend I decided to try out for the job. The same day I went for my first tryout, there was another young fellow who was also interested in becoming an announcer.

It turned out that Tony and I both got jobs, but since Tony lived so close, he would work at Atco and I would fill an open spot at Cecil County Drag-O-Way in Maryland. During the 1960s Cecil County had developed a reputation as a great match racing track for the emerging Super Stock, A/FX, and Pro Stock classes. It’s just a small track situated in the beautiful rolling hills of northern Maryland. Because of its small size, large national events were out of the question, but it was perfect for match races and 8 car shows.


In 1974 Roy Hill was one of a handful of young upstart racers who were making their marks in drag racing’s latest darling class, Pro Stock. Grumpy had already reinvented the class in 1972 with his famous tube frame Vega and by 1974 everyone was running tube frame cars with the new and exotic Lenco transmissions. Roy was campaigning a beautiful Duster for Richard Petty Enterprises. The car was very low in the front, a little higher in the back and sported the standard Mopar hood scoop. It was rather menacing looking, not like the Motown Missile, but it had that tricked out look.

Roy was a real happy-go-lucky sort of guy who’s crew-cut hair made his stand out among rock’n roll drag racer look of the day. The show started at 8 pm and Roy and his competitor were in the staging lanes just hanging out and talking to his crew. It was that short, quite time of the race day, the sun was getting ready to set and racers were ready to fire’m up. I was milling around the starting line, about to go into the timing tower, when the started asked me if I’d tell Roy that he could move his car closer to the line, since we were minute away from the playing of the national anthem.


This was one of those, “if I’d only been older and a little more savvy” moments. I walked up to Roy and told him that he could move his car into the burnout area. Roy flashes his big smile and tossed me the keys and said, “Here! You move it up there!” What I wished I’d done was open the door and got in. But instead I stammered and stuttered and said, “Oh no… er ah… I don’t think so Roy… ah…” He’d clearly caught me off guard and had a good laugh about it. But it left me wondering how far he would have let me go if only I’d just said”Thanks Roy!” and gotten in. Hmmm…

If you’re into the wild and wooly world of the early days of Pro Stock, you’ll enjoy my collection of Pro Stock art at: http://www.precision-illustration.com/Prints_Drag_Pro_Stock.html


Question: Is the “Grumpy” Corvette for real?"Grumpy's Toy" Corvette at the K. C. Kerbeck tent at the Corvettes at Carlisle Show, August 2007.

Answer: I’m going to make a broad assumption that everyone reading this knows who Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins is. If not, we’re going to have to suspend your drivers license for a month while you take Muscle Car and Nostalgia Drag Racing Sensitivity Training Classes. There’ll be a test at the end.

But seriously folks, Bill Jenkins is a true living legend, right up there with Zora Arkus-Duntov, A.J. Foyt, Don Garlits, and lots more. Da’ Grump doesn’t live too far from the Carlisle Fairgrounds – just up the PA Turnpike a ways. It seemed that the bright guys from K. C. Kerbeck, in Atlantic City, thought it would be a lot of fun to dress up an out of the box, $44,950 Corvette with a few official Corvette accessory items, add some stripes, letter the car with “Grumpy” and “JENKINS/KERBECK” graphics. Then, to really send up the flag, they got the grumpy one himself to come by on Saturday, sign autographs, and grunt through endless bench racing stories.

Kerbeck wanted to celibrate the Corvette’s new “base” engine, the 430-horsepower, all-aluminum LS3. Remember when the all-aluminum ZL-1 seemed exotic? Now “all-aluminum” is stock. And that 430-horsepower figure is “net” horsepower. Back in the golden days, power ratings were based on “gross” dynamometer reading. That is, readings without a fan, mufflers, alternator, power steering pump, etc. That means that if the famous old ’67 – ’69 L-71 427/435 engine (the solid-lifter version with the 3×2 carb setup and the triangle air cleaner), the net power rating would have been somewhere in the high 300-range. But unlike the old L-71 beasty, ther LS3 is so trackable and easy to drive, your Mom could drive to the flower shoppe in your Vette.

The F.C. Kerbeck guys also added the official Corvette accessory stripes, wheels, and rear spoiler. So, to answer the initial question, was the Grumpy Corvete “real” or not… yes, it’s a real car, but no,it’s not for sale.

But I’m sure that if it was for sale, someone would have bought it.

Too cool!

PS – Don’t let that “Grumpy” thing fool you. He’s a pussy cat.

"Grumpy" being grumpy.

“Grumpy” being grumpy.

Bill Jenkins’ 1968 Pro Stock Camaro. At the 1970 NHRA Winternationals, Grumpy won the very first official Pro Stock  national event win over the Sox & Martin’s Pro Stock Hemi Cuda.

I have a HUGE collection of over 435 Corvette art prints that cover every production Corvette from ’53 to ’09. I’ve also covered almost every important Corvette show car, prototype, engineering study, and MANY famous Corvette race cars. You can check’m out here… http://www.IllustratedCorvetteSeries.com


A GREAT story from the wild and wooly early days of funny car racing.

Match Race Maddness, by Grady Bryant

Match Race Maddness, by Grady Bryant

We need to start this chapter by explaining just how some racers are not afraid to try new ideas, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t, but nevertheless they still try. Their innovations of how to keep cash flow going has lead to the longevity of some well known racers. They will try anything to stay in the game of drag racing. I hesitate to use this racer’s real name for various reasons, so let’s just call him J.J. Now J.J. was a hard racer and went through parts faster than some racers did so he had to try to stay ahead of his game plan, like keeping a good inventory of parts. As he was taking inventory of his parts in the middle of the year he realized that everything he had was worn out or was outdated. It’s hard to be competitive if you don’t have the newest parts. His idea was to sell everything he had; trailer, car, everything, and start out next year with new and fresh pieces.

This was a good idea, but he figured out that the price he could get wouldn’t get everything he wanted, he would be short several thousand dollars. The plan just wouldn’t work, he needed too much equipment. After a few all-night hauls with his rig, he had a lot of time to think on those long race trips, he came up with the prefect idea. He would sell tickets to the people at the races for a drawing of his race car and trailer. By doing this, he would raise more money than the rig would be worth, give the rig to somebody, and start out fresh with a new operation. A prefect idea. Not only would he sell tickets for the rig, he would give away free t-shirts with each purchase, what a perfect idea this was going to be. His sponsor was supplying his with free t-shirts, so it would put more t-shirts our for the sponsor too. The plan was perfect. He sold tickets at every race and at all displays. The ticket sales were good.

About the last of the year he realized that he might not sell enough tickets for enough money to buy everything he needed, and if that did in fact happen he would be worse off than he was now. The fear was starting to set in, but that’s what gets some people really going. He for sure wasn’t going to give away his whole rig without enough money to buy a new one. The real plan started to formulate. Keep all the money that the ticket sales generated and keep the rig too, not very legal, but profitable. He would have enough money to buy a new chassis, body, trailer, and salvage the parts from his old car, but just how was he going to pull this little caper off. Thousands of people had purchased tickets and were eagerly waiting for the drawing which was supposed to be held at a track at the end of the year. It would take some planning, but he decided to go for it. Some racers start out trying to do the right thing, but somewhere along the line greed gets to them and they end up trying for the whole brass ring inside of sharing it. The plan was to be top secret or it would fail, and be embarrassing too. He tried to rationalize it like the people got a free t-shirt for the price of a ticket so they weren’t hurt, it wasn’t like stealing, it was just like not giving them everything they thought they were going to get.

Well, the day of the drawing was getting close and some planning had to go into this or it wouldn’t work. A girlfriend of one of the crew members was chosen to be the person who would do the drawing of the lucky person. She was chosen because of the way she looked, stacked was an understatement, and she was a little short in the brain department too. Anyway, he figures that if she wore short shorts and a halter everyone would be looking at here and not paying too much attention to the drawing. J.J. had worked with the girl on how to not read the name on the ticket, but read the name he had given her before the drawing. Believe it or not, this little trick was practiced several times before the real drawing so that there would be no mistakes.

Now the rig was parked at the tower, after the last pass of the race, where the drawing was going to be held. They had built a special platform just for the occasion. The announcer had been talking about it for two days at the race and the fever pitch was really high. Someone was going to win this car and trailer they thought. When the girl that J.J. picked to draw the lucky number started up the platform the cheers started, you know how drag racers are when they see a pretty girl with shorts on. This was just what J.J. wanted. As she was moving and kind of grinding her hips around she reached into the hopper and drew out a name. The crowd was going crazy. After she did a little dance for a few minutes she stood perfectly still and read out the lucky person’s name. “The winner is Martha McNally.” Now the rules had been stated all along that you didn’t have to be present to win, and sure enough, Martha wasn’t. The crown cheered and J.J. took the ticket from Miss Sex Pot and read the name again. That is when J.J. exchanged the ticket with the one he had been holding all along. He reread the person’s name and handed it to the track owner to check the name and address and phone number. Now of course there wasn’t a Martha McNally in Thibodaux, Louisiana. J.J. had checked and double checked that before the drawing. J.J. said that since Martha wasn’t here he would deliver the rig to her in person, and of course everyone thought that was real nice for him to do.

J.J. took the money and bought a new trailer, chassis, body, and then used parts from his old car to build a pretty good looking new car. He had found a good hiding place for his old rig and no one at the time knew what he had done, except his crew. But something happened the next year that got everyone thinking. A close friend of J.J.’s had a bad wreck and completely destroyed his chassis and was going to out of commission for the rest of the year. J.J. didn’t like to see his friend in that position, not when he could help. That is when J.J. brought his old chassis to his friend’s shop and told him that he could use it to finish out the year. Everyone asked where the chassis came from and J.J. just said not to look a gift horse in the mouth. We all knew then what had happened.

About a year later J.J. confessed to everything and explained how he had switched the names at the drawing to a fabricated name and had taken the rig to a hiding place, which he never did tell where it was, and stripped the car of all of the good parts. No matter what a drag racer does with his personal business he won’t let one of his friends down, and will sometimes jeopardize his own life for the help of a fellow drag racer. J.J. is not with us anymore, but I’m sure he is laughing about this where ever he is.

We all loved you, J.J.

By Grady Bryant, Author of “Match Race Maddness”


Untitled Page

Showing Grumpy Jenkins & Dave Strickler How to Speed Shift!

NHRA’s inaugural Supernationals in 1971 at Ontario Motor Speedway east of Los Angeles brought all the big name drag racers to town. As a cub reporter for Car Craft Magazine, a prominent drag racing publication, I was part of the circus surrounding the first drag race at OMS, which was built for round track racing.

One evening early into the 4-day race, my editor, Terry Cook, invited me to have dinner with him and two east coast buddies named Bill Jenkins and Dave Strickler. Would I? Woodeye? Are you kidding? What red blooded American boy brought up on burnouts and 4-speeds wouldn’t want to break bread with two of door car drag racing’s biggest heroes? Although they were the original “Dodge Boys” in 1965, Strickler and Jenkins had kicked ass with a pair of small-block Chevy Camaros running in Super Stock Eliminator. They’d graduated to big-blocks and were there at the beginning of NHRA Pro Stock in 1970.

After dinner and mucho cocktails, we took the long way back to the hotel. I was driving a magazine test car, a ’71 AMC Hornet SC360 with a sweet-shifting Borg-Warner 4-speed. Terry and I had just taken a trip to Mexico for an off-road race, and one night during the Tequila Nationals he’d asked me to show him how to power shift a 4-speed–how to change gears with the hammer down. We went out on some bumpy road and I demonstrated how to kick the clutch pedal, not push it.

Before ultra controlled suspensions, this was the standard launch style of Pro Stock racers.

Terry never really caught on, but that didn’t stop him from saying, “Hey Stevie, why don’t you show these guys how you can drive this thing?” What? Show off for these guys? Hey, these guys are gods. I’m stoked just being here. Why would I want to ruin that by flaunting my incompetence in front of Bill Jenkins and Dave Strickler?

Of course, all this was tough talk from the guy inside my head. What I said instead was something like, “Naw, T, whyn’t you show ’em what you learned in Mexico?” Cook tried, but he kept pushing the clutch pedal with his left foot, which went past the point of engagement causing the engine to over-rev. When the clutch engaged again,the passengers were rewarded with a sharp “clunk” from the rearend.

After setting everyone on their ears with his Pro Stock Vega, nearly every Chevy racer switched to the little Chevy. Even pal Dave Strickler ran a small-block Vega.

From the back seat Jenkins muttered, “Pull over.” He got behind the wheel, pulled away from the curb, and promptly missed second gear.

Then it was Strickler’s turn to say, “Pull over.” After testing the clutch pedal and adjusting the seat, Strick rolled away from the curb. What happened next was 4-speed poetry.

He matted the throttle and worked the shift handle like the master craftsman he was . I couldn’t see the clutch pedal, but the transmission changed gears as smoothly as an automatic, with barely a whisper of protest from the rear tires. Boy, what’ll the guys back at the car club hear about this!

Back at the hotel, Jenkins banged his head getting out of the Hornet’s rear seat. “Damn foreign cars,” said Mr. Chevrolet.

From the late Steve Collison, editor of Super Stock & Drag Illustrated Magazine


I have a large collection of Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins art print here: http://www.precision-illustration.com/Collection_Grumpy.html


Hey! Dude here!
A very long time ago (back in the early 70s) I had a “to die for” job as one of the track announcers at Cecil County Drag-O-Way as one of their track announcers. It was just a weekend gig and I was getting paid cash, so it was a pretty cool deal. I was there every weekend from early March to late November calling the races.

We had top fuel dragsters, funny cars, pro stockers, gassers, you name it! We even had a 300-mph rocket car once. I got to know the racers and the track crew – I even mooched a ride in George Curitin’s SS/LA small-block Chevy Nova once. One of my track crew buddies was a colorful fellow named, Omar Bolden, we were both Chevy guys and Omar has a stunning 1967 427/437 Corvette Roadster. That car was loud, strong, and FAST!

One day I got to the track early and saw Omar. “Hey Scotty! Come on over and lets do some bench racing!” I figured out right quick that he wanted to talk about Corvettes or Grumpy Jenkins or that evenings funny car show or something to do with cars and racing. So I parked on a bench with Omar and we just started shooing the breeze till it was time for us to get to work. Omar was one of the tech officials.

But I never forgot the expression, “bench racing.” Let’s fast forward to 1999 when I started my first website, http://www.Precision-Illustration.com. By that time I had been writing and drawing for car magazine for 25 years and had a large collection of amusing stories that I started adding to a special page on the sites called… you guessed it… Bench Racing. The pages are still there and occasionally I get an e-mail about something written there.

So, let’s fast forward again to today, October 2008. Last Summer when I was working with my website developers at SolidCactus.com on my NEW Motorheadgear.com website, they strongly advised me to start a blog and link it to my new site.

Motorsports is a HUGE topic. My areas of interest are:

* Nostalgia Drag Racing
* Detroit Muscle Cars
* Corvettes
* Sports Cars
* Sports Car Racing

Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be adding my old Bench Racing stories, as well as stories from my monthly newsletter, The Corvette Report. Each month in The Corvette Report, I have a section titled, “Let’s Play Corvette Odd-Ball” where I highlight quirky, unusual Corvettes. And there are PLENTY of them to be sure. Another section in The Corvette report is called, “Vette Videos” and I usually share 3 or 4 each month.

Over the last few years, the internet has dished up two very cool, interactive features. YouTube and GoogleVideo has made it easy for us to share and experience all kinds of videos. And Blog enable us to read and easily chat and make comments.

So, pull up a bench and lets go BENCH RACING! – Dude Out!