Photos by: Paul Hutchins, Warren Merriman, Glen
Cupit and Lee Schelin
a few members of Standard 1320, an e-mail group focused on Drag
Racing from 1955 to 1971, decided to hold an event similar to
the earliest drag races. Laid back, informal, no schedules, at
which Standard 1320 members and other racers in the area, could
meet and have an opportunity to fraternize and exercise their
cars, even if they didn't meet all the requirements for current
competition. Arrangements were made and the event was held at
Inyokern, which is near China Lake in the northern reaches of
the Mojave Desert.
Inyokern was the oldest continuously operating drag event
in the country, dating back to 1955. Held monthly by the Dust
Devils Car Club at the Inyokern Airport, the main taxi strip
was fitted out as a Drag Strip in the morning and disassembled
at night. The event was in April 2004 and drew only 20 or so
cars, but about 30 Standard 1320 members showed up Friday afternoon
or Saturday morning. A reasonable towing distance from Los Angeles
made the event a one day for those short of time.
Ron Miller, a former railroad worker, showed the talent to
organize had not been lost from the days when he had helped promote
and manage the drag strip in his home town, Winslow Arizona and
he took the bit in his teeth and has promoted an event each year
This year, as in 2007, the event
was held at Speedworld in Phoenix. The move was necessary because
the FAA closed down the monthly drag races at Inyokern and tracks
that are available for such a low turnout are scarce. Even so,
the Standard 1320 event was coupled with a gambler bracket race
and stuck in between Friday night's grudge racing and Sundays
Like last year, some of the Standard
1320 members came a great distance, with or without cars, to
participate in the Friday night social event and the gathering
on Saturday. Friday night, everyone went to the El Paso Barbeque
in nearby Surprise, AZ.
Floyd Head, a 60's racer from
Texas, brought his original 1967 Top Fuel car and parked it right
outside the outdoor dining loggia that the group had to themselves.
At dusk, Floyd lit the car up, to the delight of the crowd.
Event organizer Ron Miller (in
purple shirt) seen conversing with Nick Poloson, driver of the
Floyd Head Top Fuel car.
On Saturday, the Standard 1320
group set up in a dedicated area in the pits and started visiting
with each other and looking at the collection of cars. Steinegger
and Eshenbaugh's early 60's top fuel car was there as was the
fine 32 roadster built by Al Eshenbaugh.
The Old Timer was there again,
like the S & E car, it is a local car. Peter and Yvonne Broadribb
brought their rig with the "Moody Garage" 55 Chev D-Gasser
that they restored a few years ago.
Jim Lazok from Payson, Arizona
brought his new creation, a Fiat bodied street car/racer that
you will be seeing in car magazines when completed.
John Everett brought his brand
new contemporary dragster powered by a Nailhead Buick.
Lee Schelin, the fearless leader
of the Standard 1320 e-mail group, being a nailhead fanatic was
hopelessly smitten with this car and spent too much time with
Another historic car was the
"Rollin' Rice Bowl" roadster pickup originally owned
by Gray Baskerville.
Non-members cars included this
restored "Bud King" owned by Wayne and Caroline Galligan
from Mesa, AZ.
Marc McCormick brought his contemporary
Junior Fuel "B" dragster and put his crew chief, Kol
Johnson, in the car. Kol hadn't driven for a couple of years
after he and his Dad, Ron, quit running the Goodguys circuit.
Speaking of Ron, he brought his recreation of the early 60's
Shubert/Herbert dragster known as the "Worlds Fastest Chevy".
At Inyokern, in 2005, Howard Haight had made a couple of half
passes in "Shoobie" and really got a kick out of it.
As a "Main Attraction"
Ron Miller had booked in a match race between Nostalgia Top-fuel
Champions White and Neal and the only late hemi car in Nostalgia
Top Fuel, the Bethelo entry being driven for the last time by
Mendy Fry, who has moved into a Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car.
In the first round Fry
was shut off at the line with a slight oil leak leaving White
to make a single. Feeling out the track he shut off early to
Round two saw White setting a
track record with a 5.98 at 243 while Fry shut off at half track
second round due to an oil spray from a transducer to the data
Mendy on the left, Howard
on the right.
Coincidentally, on Sunday Mendy
was being replaced by Howard Haight who has driven the Fugowie
car for the last 4-5 years. Howard was coming out to Phoenix,
to take a test ride or two in the Botelho Racing car, preparatory
to appearing at Boise, Idaho in two weeks. Howard called Ron
Johnson a couple weeks prior to the event and they decided that
if everything was right, they would do a smoky with the Shubert/Herbert
car, to make Howards trip a little more interesting.
The program got a little behind
schedule and Mendy had a plane to catch. Since the issue of who
was in the car for the last run was not of great importance,
it was decided to send Mendy to the airport and put Howard in
the car to race White and Neal.
White also won this bout with
a 5.99 at 244.82 while Haight had some top end problems running
a 6.27 and about 200.00. According to Haight it ran pretty good
to about 900 ft but was movin to the right real bad - then just
shot over to the wall on the left side so he shut it off.
On Saturday afternoon, during
a break in the tracktivity, the Shubert/Herbert car was pushed
out at the big end and fired by a push start headed for the starting
With a little help, Howard made
the 180 behind the line and Ron and Kol and Marc made sure there
was a little water on the tires and Howard nailed it.
The tires lit up again
and Howard kept them lit to about 800 feet.
He got out about 400 feet and
the car drifted to the left side wall, Howard lifted and after
correcting direction, nailed it again.
Right before the match race final
run, a few of the cars lined up at the finish line to do a push
down fire-up and line up in front of the grandstand. The Jim
Lazok Fiat followed Peter Broadribb in the Moody's Garage Gasser,
the Rolling Rice Bowl, then Johnson's Shubert/Herbert (with Marc
McCormick in the seat), and the Old Timer.
When the last car had shut off,
Floyd Head with Nick Poloson (sp) in the seat, was right behind
the water box. They fired up the 392 Hemi on a stout load and
rolled through the water box and Nick laid down a "John
Force" 8-900 foot burnout.
Paul Hutchins photos
Following this, with the exception
of the third run of the match race, the Standard 1320 gathering
concluded for another year. Participant count was down from last
year, partly due to NHRA's event at Las Vegas, only a couple
of hundred miles away.
Hal Sanguinetti, a long-time
Standard 1320 member, has been a track announcer and general
booster of the track at Speedworld for some years. He was very
helpful in getting the event set-up, he also displayed his announcing
talents for the days event.
back for more event coverage as they happen.
A "Smoky" Synopsis
by Ron Johnson
Speedworld was prepped well enough
for Rick White to make 2 runs in the 5s and 244 mph, so
the sticky lasted all the way to the finish line. To be able
to do a smoky on a prepped track is something that I have been
working toward, for both Shubert/Herbert and my other car, the
Tommy Ivo Barnstormer. I recently switched the original, weathered,
1960s M & Hs for new Hurst slicks on both cars.
These are new recaps on new, never used, casings and have a dimple
wall appearance similar to the original M & Hs. The
tires are a hard compound for use on Gas Coupes etc. and are
available in 9 (approx) x 15 and 10 x 15
or 16. The 9 x 15s are 29 x 8 ¾ and the 10
inchers are 30 inches tall and a full 10 inches wide.
I put 38 pounds of air in them
for this experiment and as can be seen in the preceding pictures,
the tires were still lit nicely approaching the 330 foot beams.
Shortly after this the car moved to the left and Howard lifted
and straightened it out. When he got back in the throttle, the
tires lit up again and stayed lit for another 2-300 feet when
Howard got out of it and coasted to a stop at the end of the
track. In discussion afterwards it was decided that tire pressure
of 25 pounds would probably be sufficient in the future. As can
be seen in the pictures, Howard had the car right in the middle
of the "groove". The combination of the hard tire and
the high air pressure seems to work, at least for Shubert/Herbert.
The Barnstormer will be next, perhaps at Bakersfield at Dragfest,
Saturday May 3rd. I'll keep you all posted.