Saturday, July 23, 2011

My SCCA Racing Days

My speedometer Test....

Me at the wheel of my little Corvette

One night late I flagged down a policeman on the Birdland flats in Des Moines, Iowa. That's the part of 6th avenue from the bridge going down across the bottoms by North High school heading north up the hill to Highland Park. I told him: I needed to check my speedometer before I started SCCA road racing and could he help me. After all who's better qualified than someone who is known for having an accurate speedometer. (we hope)

The policeman said OK, let's try it at 35 mph.  That was the speed limit. I said OK and we went side by side across the flats, deserted at time of night. At the other end we stopped and he said OK, Now lets try it at 45 mph. That was only 10 miles an hour above the speed limit so I said reluctantly OK . I thought what the harm? So we turned around and started back towards the 6th avenue bridge holding the cars steady at 45 mph as he kept up again right along side of me. We stopped at the other end, the place we first started. And he shouted OK? I said OK. Then he said: Now lets try it at 65 mph, that was 30 miles an hour over the speed limit. I agreed again reluctantly and we went speeding side by side across the flats only @ 65 mph this time. We continued back an forth checking out my speedometer with his until I was going 120 mph in the middle of town and me with a police escort by my side. Seems my Corvette had a very accurate speedometer. LOL

We became great friends after that me visiting his home. He eventually resigned from the police force to pursue his life long dream of being a sculptor. We kept in touch for years. Good memories.........

 Greenwood IR Racing

The competition package on my '61 Corvette included many things, like strapped rear axles and drive shaft so the suspension didn't fall out of the car when it was air-born over a bump or hill, racing drum-brakes with cindered brake linings, air scopes for the brakes, extra stiff racing suspension, close ratio gear box, quick steering and twin 4 barrel carburetors.  It had been raced hard the previous year before I had gotten it. The engine shelled out of the Corvette the first day at SCCA drivers school.

My '61 Corvette Borrowed the Axle

At most races, Saturday was practice day and Sunday was the race. One time on a Saturday I tore out a rear axle of my Corvette while shifting gears during a practice. I had a Positraction rear end so I was able to limp slowly back to my pit with only one rear wheel working. My day seemed over and I hadn't gotten enough practice in to find out what the car needed in the way of adjustments for that race. Some obliging official announced over the PA system that I was in need of a '61 Corvette rear axle. An unbelievably generous guy in the crowd volunteered to loan me the axle out of his Corvette. So we jacked up his car in the parking lot, took his axle out and put it in my race-car to finish practice. After practice we changed the axle back to his Corvette and towed my car back to Des Moines to be repaired for the race the following day.

My '61 first place in first SCCA race @ Greenwood IR (1963).

Fuel-injection Fix

Once when we were racing south of Kansas City for a Divisional race, my car was sputtering and missing during morning practice. At the noon lunch break a fellow from another pit crew came up and said: I think I know what's wrong with your car, your fuel injection nozzles sound plugged up to me. At my invitation, he proceeded to take my injector all apart to clean the little screens in each fuel nozzle (all eight of them), as I watched intently. The driver from his pit looking over his shoulder complaining all the time profusely about him helping me, the competition, even though I was not exactly in his class. Needless to say when that obliging crew member got my injector all put back together and within the alloted hour long lunch break, my car ran so good that I went out and beat that other guys car that he crewed for and that other car was in the A production. I came in second in A production that day, with a my little old B production car. That was beating all the B production cars and all the A production cars but one.

Second place in Mid-West Division of the SCCA in 1963.

'61 Corvette in last race @ Greenwood IR 1963

In the championship race of my first year of racing my '61Corvette, I slowed down in the last race so as not to pass for a second time the SCCA Central Division B production Winner. He was a acquaintance of mine, I had stayed at his house in Kansas city. He had amassed more points with his Shelby Mustang than I could ever overcome with my Corvette, starting later in the year. I didn't want to make him look too bad in front of his other friends. I had already lapped him once so I slowed down the second time so as not to rub it in any further and I just slowed down and followed him into the finishing line--But He knew who had the faster car! 

....Brings to mind somewhat the Soap Box Derby.  LOL

'61 Vette passing slower car @ Greenwood IR

When we were staying with the guy who won the SCCA Central Division that year, he had a little get-together for the visiting racers at his house in Kansas City. He kept saying during the party: Remember don't anybody get in the swimming pool because there's an alligator in it. Every time he said that we'd all chuckle or laugh, because we thought it was a joke. A pretty funny one at that! A few of us from out of town slept there that night. When we got up the next morning and looked out through the sliding glass windows at the pool. Low and behold there was a small alligator sunning himself on an island in the pool.

My competition prepared '61 Corvette always made a attractive prop for my photography of Cars and Girls, ................I used it quit often.

'61 competition prepared SCCA Corvette,1963 DM.Ia.
..........with another lovely standing on the trunk

Miss KSO Des Moines Bobbi Mattson, in 1962

Jeanie & '61 Vette 1963

Jeanie reclining on trunk, 1963 DM, IA