Let’s Go Bench Racing
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Captain Jack McClure: One of Drag Racing’s Oddest Acts: by K. Scott Teeters

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…

http://www.the-rocketman.com/RPV/McClure.html

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

br_capt_jack_drusa_cover

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.

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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!”

br_capt_jack_1

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

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