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Sprint Cars & Champ Cars The big brother(s) to the midget these open wheel beasts have a rich heritage in our auto racing memories.



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Old 03-16-2011, 10:00 AM   #1
Mitch G.
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Default Amazing sprint car performances

Not to diminish the talents of the current day drivers (they could not do this, sorry!), but check this out. The late great Dee Jones in the Morales Brothers "Tamale Wagon" Offy sprinter, on his way to winning the dash at Ascot 1962. Most drivers had trouble at Ascot with both hands on the wheel!! That's Dee's own notes on the picture.

Dee Jones daughter Debbie (thanks again!) was kind enough to send me some tremendous photo's of her father, this is one of them.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:56 AM   #2
Jerry Lee
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Default Re: Amazing sprint car performances

That's a fantastic pic. I never thought of the hoods coming up on Midgets or Sprints.
What used to hold the hoods down on the cars in those days, two leather straps and buckles?

Last edited by Jerry Lee; 03-16-2011 at 12:12 PM. Reason: hood popped
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Amazing sprint car performances

.....'Hey Mitch, NICE! 'Beautiful picture and typical Ascot Park: Smooth as glass and tacky! It's said that Roger McCluskey built the original "Tamale Wagon" with the spring front end so I'll have to assume that, that is the same car. And Alex and Gil ran that car all the way up close to 1970 before they updated to an Edmunds chassis. I'd have to go back and double check all of Tim Kennedy's CRA Yearbooks to see exactly what year that was that they switched over. 'Very nice of Dee's daughter to be so generous because a lot of us truly get a lot of enjoyment out of just those types of pics.

side note: You're right Mitch, no disrespect to today's drivers but, with today's cars, YOU CAN'T EVEN SEE THE DRIVER!
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:23 PM   #4
Mitch G.
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Default Re: Amazing sprint car performances

Jerry Lee,
Yeah, they used a simple leather strap and buckle, and later models had a sort of spring loaded over center clamp with a leather strap. Some had a piano hinge on one side, some had four straps holding the hood on.
LittleFauss,
Near as I can figure, going thru old books and magazines, looks like the McCluskey built car was replaced for the 1968 season, but I can't be sure. The roll bar has different forward bracing on the Edmunds, and the Edmunds has a outboard Oil tank, both beautiful sprint cars.
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: Amazing sprint car performances

.....'Yeah Mitch, When I saw your original post, I immediately thought of another very unique and amazing performance. And that was when west coast sprint car driver Gary Patterson won a USAC National Championship Sprint Car race at Ascot Park in November of 1976. Unless you were there or involved, you might not have payed much attention? Up until this time Gary had not received the national recognition that he would later. Because a year later, he won the USAC Midget Turkey Night Grand Prix and the rest is history. I remembered that this particular incident was duly noted in print and I finally found it in my library. Instead of me rambling on about it, I'll just let you read the article. 'One thing though about Gary, before he portrayed himself as the long-haired, pot-smoking, 'hippie' type, I remember Gary showing up at the races dressed in a nice shirt, pressed slacks and wing-tip shoes. And even before he died, he was still as generous and polite a gentleman as I've ever known. Today, his son, Jimmy ("Worm") has a website devoted to the memory of his Father.



http://www.garypattersonracing.com/index.htm
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Old 03-17-2011, 04:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: Amazing sprint car performances

Speaking of GP...
This is my favourite photo of Patterson.
He had just become the fastest sprintcar driver to circle the Liverool City Raceway, Sydney Australia.
Was there any doubt that the record was gone, with a look like that!
The man was a superstar in Australia... a promoters dream....

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Old 03-17-2011, 08:35 AM   #7
Mitch G.
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Default Re: Amazing sprint car performances

LittleFauss,
I posted somewhere earlier, and I may have been mistaken about which track, but Patterson drove an amazing main event one time with several broken ribs. His crew wrapped him in 100 mph tape, nearly passing out from pain, and still was 2nd or 3rd, that dude was one tough hombre. Can't remember if it was Ascot, Manzy or Calistoga. While reading your article, I realized what a tough sport it can be, Max Sweeney lost his life in a midget at Ascot, his son Mike had his career cut short by a bad sprint wreck and Manzy, James McLereath lost his life in a sprint car at Winchester, Clark Templeman and Mike Shaw were both killed at Ascot in sprint cars, and of course, "The Preacher" passed away at Calistoga. I cracked a rib one time, and could barely get out of bed.
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