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Cars > ProjectMopar’s Garage > Blog > Return to racing after a 30 plus year lay-off.

 

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ProjectMopar

M –74
Lehi, Utah
United States

 

ProjectMopar’s Blog Posts 1 – 3 of 3

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Return to racing after a 30 plus year lay-off.

By ProjectMopar

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I have owned a few nice, so - so, cool and junkers over the years, here's my list. Some I should have kept others should have never bought, traded for or swapped.

1. 1946 DODGE pickup/chopped & channeled/overhead value V8 w/auto.
2. 1933 PLYMOUTH 2 door sedan chopped/361 Mopar auto.
3. 1952 FORD 4 door taxi/ 327 Chevy 4 speed.
4. 1952 STUDEBAKER hardtop/394 Oldsmobile (early race car).
5. 1954 FORD 2 door sedan 312 3 speed overdrive.
6. 1954 OLDSMOBILE 2 door hardtop 374 auto.
7. 1960 OLDSMOBILE convertible 394 auto.
8. 1961 OLDSMOBILE 4 door F85/4 barrel/ D/S.
9. 1957 PLYMOUTH 2 door hardtop/318 Fury w/2 four barrels.
10. 1961 OLDS F85 2 door sedan/327 Chevy/2 four barrels/4 speed.
11. 1960 FORD F100 pickup w/327 Chev 4 speed.
12. 1959 DODGE D500 2 door hardtop H/SA-I/SA (race car).
13. 1957 PONTIAC 4 door sedan 389 3x2 auto.
14. 1948 DODGE pickup w/camper 6 cycle 4 speed.
15. 1966 VW WAGON camper 180 hp Corv. Spider motor w/supercharger.
16. 1964 DODGE Coronet 2 door sedan B/SA-C/SA (street/race car).
17. 1967 FORD RANCHERO 351 Cleveland 4 speed.
18. 1969-1/2 DODGE six pack D/SA, SS/FA (full time race car).
19. 1958 FORD pickup w/utility box F250 w/383 Mopar & auto
20. 1958 CORVETTE convertible w/hardtop 350 fuelie 4 speed
21. 1968 DODGE pickup w/camper 383 4 speed
22. 1972 FORD pickup 4x4 F150 351 windsor 4 speed.
23. 1973 FORD RANCHERO 351 windsor auto.
24. 1965 CORVETTE convertible w/hardtop 350 fuelie 4 speed
25. 1979 FORD pickup 4x4 F250 351 windsor 4 speed.
26. 1981 PONTIAC 2 door hardtop diesel auto.
27. 1984 AMC EAGLE wagon 4x4 inline 6 auto.
28. 1987 FORD pickup 4x4 F150 351 windsor 4 speed.
29. 1978 CORVETTE convertible w/hardtop Silvery Annv. 350 w/auto.
30. 1992 FORD explorer 4 door suv 4x4 v6 auto.
31. 1995 FORD club cab pickup 4x4 F150 360 auto.
32. 2001 FORD crew cab pickup 4x4 F150 5.4 auto.
33. 1970 DODGE challenger 2 dr hdtp PRO ET (race car).
34. 2002 FORD F250 crew cab 4x4 10 cyl w/auto.
35. Who knows, depends on which way the wind blows?

Can't remember where these fell into the list, didn't count them as they never where on the street or weren't completely finished.
• (2)-1940 WILLY’s coupes
• (1)-1941 WILLY truck = never completed-sold
• (1)-1968 CUDA/hemi car (race car) always broken with the power-sold.
__________________________________________

WELCOME

Return to racing after a 30 plus year lay-off.

1958
I started racing in the spring of 1958 with a 1957 Plymouth Savoy which could hold its own but still traded to a 1957 Belvedere I/SA, then a 1959 Dodge D500 running in H/SA. The Dodge was my "cup of tea " with the TorqueFlite transmission having the extra forward gear was a real advantage over the Fords and Chevy with their two speed arrangement. We ran 4.30 gears with small Atlas Burkon tires when racing and very large tires for the street helping with gas mileage.

Bill Jenkins was located in Berwyn Pennsylvania, he setup the dist. with an advance curve, shimmed the valve springs and worked the carb. over to help with performance. We enjoyed winning every time the car was raced (not bragging just a fact). I credit all the wins to Bill Jenkins. In those days being a kid - trophies where the big thing when we should have been thinking run for the money - not a $5.00 trophy.

This 1959 Dodge D500 was the first Dodge in a series of Chrysler Corp. race cars and the beginning of "Bandito Racing".

1960
I purchased a new 1960 Olds F-85 which would run in D/S in that year. Again Bill Jenkins of setup the dist. with an advance curve, shimmed the valve springs and worked the carb. over on the little 215 inch aluminum V8.

We had to run '58 to '60 Chevy conv. equipped with the 348, 3-2 setup because of the light weight of the little Olds per AHRA / NHRA. Jere Stahl built a set of little headers that really helped (sounded like a bumble bee when on the line). Even had a few starters complain about the noise being different than most.

1961
With a suggestion of "Grumpy" I purchased Howard Ramsay's old '60 Pontiac when he got the lighter '61. Seen here at Cecil County MD in 1962 running in A/S tuned by Jenkins Competition - Berwyn, PA. I sold the Pontiac and purchased a 1964 Dodge 330 2 dr. (really wanted to return to Mopar) this car ran in B/SA & C/SA (thinking it would be an easier class).

This was the 2nd of the "BANDITO" Dodge race cars as known today. I kept the Coronet 2 dr. car for several years when moving from Pennsylvania to Colorado, but found it wasn't that competitive in the western states and was sold in 1967.

Home of the "Bandito" Dodges

. 1959 Dodge D500 H/SA - J/SA 1962-65
. 1964 Dodge Coronet B/SA - C/SA 1966-67
. 1969-1/2 Dodge Six-Pack - D/SA 1969-72

1969
When the newly announced 1969-1/2 Dodge Six-Pack became available Barry received the number #2 car of the first five cars released into the Rocky Mountain region. Within a month it was competing in D/SA until late 1971.

The "Bandito" Dodge with Al Crawford at the wheel enjoyed a successful tour in AHRA / NHRA Division #5 holding many of the local track records.

For most part - Al Crawford on a bad day was better than most with an automatic tranny, he could cut a good light with the best of them. Irv Beringhaus always commented he was glad we weren't in his class, boy that would give Al a big head that I had to deal with for the next week.

Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins sent me a "jet" tap to modify the end carb. metering plates as they where cased with no way to change jet sizes. Once tapped for Holley jets it was easy to adjust for our thin air with simple jet changes.

Don Hackenberg really helped us out from time to time with suggestions along with distributor and transmission work as needed.

At the time we had a small three car operation consisting of one Six-Pack ("Bandito" auto) one Six-Barrel ("One Shot" 4-speed) and a '69 Dodge RT 375 horse car, I was busy just keeping everyone running.

One evening at Erie someone said you "better get to the line, someone backed into Bandito and Al decked them". All I could think of was crap, we have just been thrown out for the season. Ends up Al Bronchi (track owner) throws out the guy that ran into our car, talk about luck.

Even our old tow truck was Mopar powered, an ex. Public Service truck with a 383 Dodge and a 727 tranny did a fine job of hauling us around Colorado and Kansas.

13.40's @115.00 was fast in the early 70's for a legal production car. Average times run in the thin air of Colorado in '69 through '71.

Usually to see the car perform all it took was another Six-Pack or Six-Barrel Mopar to line up then Al got his "game face" on and did a number on the other car.

At one event at Erie Raceway a guy brought his entire family from Kansas City, MO. to shut down "Bandito" in front of the home town crowd. Al got into a disagreement with this person and then went out and put him on the trailer with 3 passes. All the guy would say was "you made me look bad in front of my girl".

In those days we made pretty good pocket change with side wagers in the pits. That helped pay for entry fees, gas, insurance, etc.

With the responsibility of raising a family I sold my baby, the "Bandito" 69-1/2 Dodge and became a tech official for AHRA until it closed in the 1970's. (At that time I settled for just hanging around the pits with different cars in the Colorado Denver area).

1973 - 2003
I became a tech official for AHRA until it closed in the 1970's. (At that time I settled for just hanging around the pits with different cars in the Colorado Denver area). Pretty boring not having the money or the time to follow that dream. I got to the point that I stopped buying magazines that had race cars in them and switched back to hunting, buck skinning and living history to try and stop those old feelings about drag racing. This sport is like a disease that doesn't take much involvement to fire up again, be aware of this.

All I had was the past to think about during these years, but what a time it was. Friends say they would love to have experienced those times gone bye.

Retired & return to racing 2004
After retiring in 2002 from the telephone industry we started looking for another Mopar to fill in spare time when not working at Bandimere Speedway as an SFI certified tech official.

In the summer of 2004 a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T - F/SA - G/SA class car was found in MN, it had been sitting for several years, stored in a heated garage. A deal was made and the car was moved to Colorado checked over and tested at Bandimere Speedway to see how competitive it would be in the thin air of Denver.

This was testing only before going into a rebuild / upgrade stage and total restoration back to its hay days of the 1970's. Boy did we take on a mess, once we started you can only keep going to reach the end result.

BAD MOVE ......

Car was tested in Denver CO as a G/SA - 2004, @ 5,860' with ET's in the 12.70's @ 109.98 in 2004.

REBUILD & TESTING 2005
Car testing in Denver CO at Bandimere's Speedway - now in NHRA Pro ET, with corrected altitude of 8,750' - ET's in the low 11.80's @ 116.00's for 2005.

With the upgrading to today's tech knowledge completed the vehicle is ready for fine tuning of motor, suspension and driver duties to make car perform.

COMPLETE RESTORATION & TESTING 2006
With the upgrading to today's tech knowledge completed the vehicle is ready for fine tuning of motor, suspension and driver duties to make car perform as it has in past years.

This has turned out to be more expensive than originally planned on when purchased. Be aware of what you are buying when looking at a used vehicle.

In the case of this race car the history of the vehicle's activity for the number of years run in competition should have been a warning of parts being stressed or just worn out.

Car testing in Denver CO at Bandimere's Speedway - NHRA Pro ET, with corrected altitude of 8,820' - ET's in the high 11.60's @ 119.00's for 2006. We are now ready to start fine tuning for the 2007 season.

WOW 2007

Now that I'm retired I work as an SFI Certified Tech Official (NHRA / IHRA) inspecting race cars for safety and SFI requirements. Provide customer service in helping racers pass through the inspection process for their vehicle, making suggestions for failed safety issues as needed.

Tech jobs I have worked at part time over the years.
1958-1960 Tech Official - Lancaster Drag-O-Way, Lancaster, PA.
1960-1962 Tech Official - York Drag Strip (now York US 30), York, PA.
1963 Tech Official – Atco and Vineland (once a month at each track), NJ.
1965-1968 Tech Official - Mile High Raceway Drag Strip, Erie, CO.
1971 Tech Official - Century 21 International Speedway, Aurora, CO.
1975 Tech Official – Dragway Denver (formerly Denver International Raceway), Denver, CO.

These Tech jobs where easy, not must done in the early years when compared to what we look at now. That's kind of scary when you think about it.

2001-present Certified SFI Tech Official - Bandimere’s Speedway, Denver, CO.


Check out my car website at: http://banditoracing.tripod.com/index.htm
Or my part time business website at: http://sittingfoxagency.tripod.com/index.htm

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humbler’s Profile Photo
humbler
May 23, 2007 at 9:42 pm
wow so cool. you have meet people and seen vehicles that i have only read about. to be invovled when the horsepower wars got started and to see the the cars evolve must have been so cool. Keep up the good work
 

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Cars > ProjectMopar’s Garage > Blog > Return to racing after a 30 plus year lay-off.

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