The next El Mirage meet found me there, wandering around like a lost puppy. I finally ended up at the Tech trailer where I asked how somebody got started in this sort of racing. He asked me where I lived and, when I answered "the San Diego Area," he told me to go find somebody with San Diego Roadster Club on their racecar and see if they'd talk to me. I went up to the starting line and started pestering this gentleman with a red and yellow modified roadster. Jack Harvey, bless his heart, answered my questions (some of which pain me to recall), patiently explained how the race was organized, and finally invited me to come to a meeting of the club. I did, liked what I saw, and never stopped. Went to more El Mirage meets, met lots of racers and helpers, helped the friends I made in the club, and then -- one day as I was bemoaning how long it would take to turn my Mustang into a racecar -- someone said to me, "Why don't you race the Deuce?" Umm, why not indeed?
Martha's 1932 Ford 5-window coupe, Ruby, before she got
painted. This is the setup my son James and I ran there
several times. Best speed was 117 mph running a stock
Mustang 5.0 EFI engine. Hell of a ride when the wind
catches the front fenders and it starts wandering all over
the dirt. This car later became the donor of several street
engines to the Mustang -- as soon as we blew up an engine
in the racecar, we'd yank the engine out of Ruby. I almost
had an engine in it a couple of times. I finally got
another engine for here right now -- 302 Ford, of course,
made from bits and bobs from previous race engines.
Installed and running at last!
In July 2004, I ran the Mustang through tech inspection at El Mirage to make sure that the car would be ready for Bonneville the next month. Whoa! I ended up with a list of seven "DO THIS OR DON"T COME" items to correct. They let me run the car, very slowly. I think I did 132 my second run that day. Boy, was I busy for the next month!
The picture below is the Mustang at El Mirage in September, 2006 (also before paint). We got two runs that day. I managed 155 or so on this run (the car is entering the timing trap here). I was off the gas as much as I was on it, trying to keep the car going straight.
run, as I was approaching the traps, I decided to just keep
my foot on the gas and hope for the best. I pulled the
parachute release just as I crossed the line between the
cones. At the same time, the rear end washed out to the
right. I steered into the skid, got the rear end coming
back to the left. Over-corrected, of course, so I had to
give it left steering to try to bring it back straight
again ... when the chute blossomed! Jerked the rear of the
car completely around. A quick glimpse down the track where
I had started and then I was in a huge cloud of dust. Threw
in the clutch, held the wheel straight, and waited.
Boy do you attract attention when you spin out at El Mirage. On the plus side, after the Tech guys heard my story they went out to inspect the track near the timing trap and decided that it was unsafe to run any more cars.
Oh, yes. I did 163 this time. The record is 183 or so and is likely out of sight, especially now that I've retired the Mustang. However, my nephew is going to take it over maybe later in 2012 and, who knows, it might find it's way from Carson City back down to El Mirage again.