EARLY CHRYSLER PRO STOCK: The Dodge and Plymouth "Missile" Cars

Beginning in 1970, through 1973, Chrysler Corp. supported numerous drag racers and racing teams campaigning its performance vehicles -- street-legal cars designed and built to standards that exceeded normal street specifications.  The period followed creation by the National Hot Rod Association of the "Pro Stock" drag racing class.  The company and its network of dealerships contributed engineering development, training and materiel to select Pro Stock racers and teams making a commitment to the "Mopar" brands.  Key to the program were four cars used for research and development, which were actually built and campaigned by independent contractors.  One of those contractors, North Carolinian Don Carlton (1940-1977), named by the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame for a posthumous award in 2012 Reunion ceremonies, raced those Mopars.  On the occasion of the award, Tom Hoover, formerly in charge of Chrysler race engineering, and some of Carlton's teammates, discussed the evolution of the four "Missile" cars.  The transcript below presents their recollections during a seminar on Sunday morning of Reunion weekend in Henderson, North Carolina.

Transcription Copyright: ©Eugene Yetter


Audience participation:

Moderator: Gene Yetter (M)

M: Joe, would you introduce the slides showing overhead.

J: Sure.  What we have here is something that . . . Dick and I took a lot of pictures over the years and we gave all of our pictures to Stewart Pomeroy down in Florida.  There's a collection of about 3000 pictures altogether.  Stewart produced this little DVD that we could show during the seminar.  It's just a little history of the cars in their order of build, and few shots of the people.  But in all honesty this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are a lot more pictures where these came from.

T: I've got a couple of old scrapbooks . . . See the guy up next to the wall with the black shirt?  They are right behind him.  You're welcome to take a look at those as well.  Specifically they're photographs of the IR inlet manifold, the first of the small plenum 4500 manifolds.  Most particularly there are some photographs of the twin torqueflite multiple-speed clutched automatic in there, which was a major thrust of the first year's activity.  So if you've always wondered what that thing looked like this is your chance to see some pictures of it.  It evolved later into a schoolbus transmission that was in production and was the great-grandaddy of today's A727 with a little splitter behind it, called A60- something or other.  I don't remember . . .

M: If any of these pictures . . . If you notice something and you have questions about it, try to keep track until the end of the session.  We'll try to move ahead . . .  I'll ask Dick Oldfield to talk about . . .  Dick apparently did a lot of development work on the chassis, the body.  And so I'll ask him to give a summary of what he remembers about the Challenger, the first car, the Barracuda, the second car, and the Duster, and so forth . . .

D: The first car was basically Super Stock, you know? We lightened the car up as best we could, but when we first ran it that was basically a Super Stock car, with a modified motor.  There wasn't a lot done to that car at all.  The Challenger, yes.

T: Tell them about taking it through inspection for the first time.  You poor devil!  Dick took the thing . . .   It was at York PA, an NHRA regional . . .  Dick somehow got volunteered to take the car through tech line.  The rest of us kind of hid somewhere.

D: (Laugh!) They were worried about the wheelbase and stuff like that; where stuff was located.  But, it was all in the area . . . !

(Audience laugh!)

J: That was as good as they could do it at the assembly plant anyhow, so . . .

M: And they let it fly . . . ?

T: Production variation, it's called.

D: Yeah, plus or minus a couple of inches.

TS: Really back at that time, before 1969, Pro Stock did not exist.  In NHRA it was just Super Stock racing.  With the factory-supported racers, the fans wanted to see one product race another.  Through match racing . . . kind of Pro Stock, everybody that match raced, they all came to an agreement on some sort of rule that presented at the NHRA.  And at that time I was contracted by Chrysler to build a development car, in the case of an automatic transmission.  Because not everybody was Ronnie Sox [ref. Sox's domination in manual transmission cars] back in those days.  And Chrysler supported a fair amount of guys that were good on a four-speed.  The company thought they could help them out with an automatic, a clutch-type automatic.  So the major reason that the Challenger existed was to be a development car, and then somehow it turned into a race car.  But it's job was to be a development car for the Chrysler race group.

M: And that's the Challenger that we see . . .

27:36 TS: That's the 70-71, that's the same car with two different paint schemes.

M: We all had an opportunity to see it . . .

TS: Yeah, that car is here.

Q: Did it start out as a "body-in-white"?

TS: Yes, it did.  And it was chemically "cleaned."  That would be the nice way to put it!

(Audience laugh!)

M: What about the evolution to the Barracuda?

TS: At the time I was contracted by Chrysler at my shop [Performance Automotive, Inc.].  So, with Chrysler Corporation, they had Plymouths and Dodges.  So one year you raced . . . I did . . . to keep everybody happy in marketing, one car was a Dodge, the next one was going to be a Plymouth.  That's how it worked out.

M: How did the two vehicles differ particularly?

TS: Well, two years of development.  Because back then Pro Stock, as it evolved moved very rapidly.  As we raced, you get a little smarter.  You learn more.  So what we learned on the first car, we were able to take that information and build it into the second vehicle.  A lot things changed in the suspension.  That was probably the big thing.

T: I think it's interesting to note here.  Let me defend Chrysler engineering.  That's my job.  The first E Body car was a Super Stocker suspension, basically.  To my recollection, it went through its whole two years of service.  The fundamental thrust of which was to do a clutch-operated automatic, just standard.  So it's amazing how well that initial set of biased rear springs and shock absorbers could do the job of launching the car straight, without excessive spin on the right rear wheel.  And keep it straight, through the successive shifts and so forth.  Even up to exaggerated power at the weight levels, compared to what it was intended for in the beginning.  In fact that basic suspension, even survived up through all the stock-bodied Ramcharger "funny cars." This was at 1300 horsepower on nitro-methane.  So that's my little thrust in favor of keeping in mind how good that rear suspension is: fundamentally unaltered!  It's even running well in pure Stock these days . . . they tell me!

(Audience laugh!  TH, laugh!)

30:54 Geoff Strunkard: . . . Just to kick back real quick into the Seventy season.  So you put together the Challenger together as a Super Stock car.

D: Oh basically that's what it was.

GS: Okay.  And you took it to York [by spring points race] to get it teched up and to run it through for the first time? When did you do the conversion into Pro Stock on that vehicle?

TS: By that time it had turned into a Pro Stock car.

GS: Oh, by that time . . .

D: Yeah!  Yeah.  

TS: We . . .

GS: It started out as a Super Stock program and it never really got raced in Super Stock per se.

TS: No, no.  It's intention was not that . . .

GS: . . . It got turned into the development vehicle for Pro Stock.

T: From Chrysler management's point of view, Geoff, the whole progression . . . We began in the '62 model year with a package, both a street racer and a Super Stocker, progressed through Super Stock, '63, '64.  Things began to get "funny" in 1965 and '66.  We came to the realization that Chrysler Corporation was not selling "funny" cars.  They were selling street racers.  I hoped!  So we went back to Super Stock in '66.  And then, as Ted mentioned, the "match race" thing started to develop with the big name guys, and all that stuff.  And NHRA finally realized the potential of having a class that would be rather like the excitement generated by the match race thing.  From our point of view that was great.  These were still real cars!  Not funny cars.  And then in -- I don't know when exactly.  But in 1969 NHRA let it be known that there would be a "Pro Stock" class for the 1970 season.  Dick Maxwell looked at me, and I looked at Maxwell, and we said, "We're in big trouble!"  The reason, we thought, was that, over the whole progression, '62 to '68, we had one four-speed manual team: Sox & Martin.  All the rest of our well-known racers grew up on automatics with seven-inch tires.  You can't take those guys and put them into a 140-mile-an-hour four-speed manual car with tires like that.  So we knew we had to do something.  That's when we contracted Ted.  That was the purpose of the whole Missile program in the beginning.  What are we going to give these guys who had been raised on automatics and seven-inch tires to be competitive with the Fords and Chevys with four-speed manuals?  Well, the first things was the "clutch-flite."  It was followed up by a big contraption that Oldfield is very familiar with . . .

[D laughs!]

T: . . . generated with the support of B&M on the West Coast.  There are pictures of it in [the scrapbooks displayed here today].  It was just half of a 727 transmission tacked onto the back of a standard 727.  So it really had six ratios forward.  It had two shifters.  It was up to Dick to figure out which one needed to be pulled at the right time!  So the whole first year, the major thrust of the 1970 Missile car was to come up with something that the seven-inch tire, automatic transmission driver could be competitive with against four-speed manuals in the new Pro Stock.  It's that simple.  It evolved later in that having looked at this multi-speed -- which was not really successful.  It functioned fine, but, number one, it made the car heavier!  Number two, it vastly increased the rotating inertia of everything.  Although, we could have, we think, gained some performance for having more ratios available, and more abrupt shifts and so forth, the overall bottomline is: it wasn't really an improvement over the regular three-speed clutch-flite.  We never really convinced any of the big-name teams to go with the three-speed clutch-flite.  I can't remember where Ted was that weekend, but Oldfield and I, and somebody . . . Leonard Bartush maybe . . . we took the car to Indianapolis, to a points meet.

D: Oh, yeah!

T: Three-speed clutch-flite.  We had the thing working pretty well.  Dick was familiar with it.  We set the first new national record that weekend!  I can't give you the numbers.  They've faded into the ether.

(Audience laugh!)

T: But it wasn't by a little bit either!  It was by a real mouthful.  What was it: a mile-and-a half an hour?

TS: It was 9.98.  At that time . . .

D: Yeah, most of the . . .

T: Set the national record.  The idea there was to get our big-name people who had been born and raised on three-speed Torqueflite automatics and seven-inch tires interested.  But in the long run, maybe we gave them too much time.  They tried to learn to use four-speeds.  I won't mention the guy that we were worried about mostly -- but his name began with "L." He lived in Califonia.  Rest his soul.  A real showman.

(Audience laugh!)

37:39 TS: I didn't say that!  The first time we raced the car and set the record maybe, like Tom said, a mile and a half faster.  And this is faster than the manual-shift cars, . . .  

T: Yeah.

TS: . . . which are supposed to be the dominant car.  But as racers . . . the event . . .  We figured out the manual-shift thing too and the manuals started to excel.  And for the clutch-flite to be competitive it had to be at the top of its game every time it went out.

T: We didn't get to race!  Something happened to the starter, or its attachment.

TS: It failed.  The starter failed.

T: I remember.  And, you know, the clutch-flite being fundamently an A727 automatic, it had no rear pump in it.  That means you can't push it, drop the clutch and get the engine started.  The starter's got to work!  We set the record, but we didn't get to race that day because . . . I don't know . . . some bracket fell.  The starter didn't work.  And we couldn't fix it in the time that was available.

GS: Looking back at that point in time, Pro Stock technology, engine technology, was moving foward too.  Can you give me your recollections in the IR intakes, on the dual distributor situation the guys began to develop at that point?

TS: We first started with the IR's and the IR manifold worked well with the manual shift cars, because, you know, we didn't have a plenum at the time.  We tried with the clutch-flite for a long time to get the IR to work.

T: Yeah.  Holly had done a lot of work on that.  They had brought into their team, Zora Arkus-Duntov, a World-famous European guy.  Ross is shaking his head!  He knows what that meant.  But Zora had a sporty car background.  Cars had to go around corners.  They had to stop.  Who cares!  (Laugh.) You know? That kind of stuff.  I'd say his two fundamental contributions to thinking at that time were: number one, you had to have a valve gear that would run at very high speeds, because if you were running a sporty car and you'd be heeling and toe-ing it, you'd overspeed the engine.  So, the famous Duntov cam for the small block Chevy followed up.  Zora was also in favor of the Weber carburetor approach essentially of a single carburetor for each cylinder.  And Holly then put some time and effort into developing a so-called -- as Ted suggests -- an IR approach: "individual runner."  The Jap motorcycles all had one carburetor.  That's the same kind of thinking.  So this is a different 4500 that's required to do that.  Those carburetors were always really rich in the mid speed range because the pulsing would cause the air to pass the boosters more that once.  Hence, you got too much fuel.  Again there are some photographsof the IR manifold and Holly carburetors in the scrapbooks.  The way to notice them on a Holly 4500 is that the boosters stick up about an inch-and-a-half above the plane of the air cleaner gasket.  You look at any of the plenum manifolds, they don't look anything like that.  I digress too much!

M: No!  That's great . . .

TS: For geeks!

M: We're up to the Barracuda now.  Can we talk about the aerodynamics of the two cars?

TS: Yeah, you can talk about it, I guess.

T: An E Body is an E Body.

TS: Yeah!  This is what we were given.  It's pretty hard to change it.  I don't think we did any of the aerodynamic work until we got to the the A Bodies with Carlton.

GS: . . . a little more frontal area.

D: We did narrow the cars . . . narrow the front ends up.  And we did fill in drip rails and stuff like that.

TS: You know, and you pull the grille forward.  You just got to look at what the NASCAR guys were doing.

T: You run nose down.  Where's Arlen? He faded away already.  He ran that test for us.  Essentially with the fastback '68 or '69 Barracuda, you needed to be three inches nose down.  So that meant that all cars that we raced, fundamentally, went nose down, so long as you could still get a maximum launch, from having lowered the center of gravity a little bit.

M: There is a picture of the Duster undergoing aerodynamic testing.  It is pasted up with cotton strands.

TS: Tufts.  I think we were in Gainesville when we did this.  We tufted the car.  Mr. Hoover was overseeing everything.  We were going to send the station wagon down, with everyone filming with their eight millimeter cameras.  Terribly unsafe, but this is what you did back then. And I remember Mr. Hoover explaining to Donnie how fast he was going to go, and how he was going to accelerate the station wagon.  And Donnie said, "Well, you go ahead and I'll catch up!

(Audience laugh!)

TS: . . . at about a hundred and fifty!  And Tom's going eighty, hanging on.  You know?

T: I got a "war story" to tell!

(Audience laugh!)

T: . .. If you don't mind.  We split a bore one time at Gainesville with the Missile.  And that meant change the motor.  We had rent-a-cars and Ted and I and the guys got the engine changed.  We thought we better see if it ran okay.  I think we called the cops.

D: Yeah!

T: We called the cops and they said, right!  If you go on this little road out through the bayou someplace, go ahead.  It was pitch black. I volunteered to drive one of the rent-a-cars so we would have headlights, and Donny would follow me.  That was one of scariest experiences of my life.  I didn't know whether I would survive that night or not!  Whaaaaa! behind ya.  No lights!  Pitch black.

M:  There's a photo that shows the Duster being tested with Donny at the wheel, and Dick Oldfield hanging out the window of the pace car photographing . . .

D: Yeah, I was sitting on door sill, my hands on the roof, taking pictures as the car went by.

J: To know how the picture was taken, I took the picture.

D: Yeah, he was inside the car.

J: . . . from inside the Missile.  I was behind Donny with my arms around the roll cage at 150 miles an hour.  And, God bless Mr. Hoover.  He told me to wear a helmit, so I wouldn't get hurt!  

(Audience laugh!)

But I really thought it was because they thought I was going to bump my head again.  Because I always bumped my head when I got in the car!

46:16, M: What about after the Duster?  The "wire car" is pretty much the same profile as the Duster.  True?

J: It is, but is a totally different chassis.  The wire car developed from the 1974 program we did with the A engine based on the old Stuart McDade car that Dick and I exploded and then rebuilt as a very light-weight test car.  It was known as the "yellow car."  It was our mule.  We beat the heck out of that car for a year in developing the A engine.  I don't think Dick and I were ever really privy to all the numbers because they were pretty close to the vest, but the car was pretty darn quick.  Ted and Mr. Hoover were working on developing the engine.  As the wire car was developed, Dan Knapp was contracted to build a very, very light-weight chassis.  And Al Adam was given the task of designing the chassis.  To my recollection, based on my recollection, this was done as a computer-aided design.  But back in those days you built a "stick model" and you gave every one of the sticks an element . . . or became an element.  So you could vary the tubing size, diameter, thickness.  It was a moly chassis.  So Al built this very, very stiff chassis.  Without the motor mounts in place, or without the block in place, or without the transmission in place . . . or without the "wires" in place, it was very flexible.  But when you put all of those elements together it was extremely rigid.  I think, Arnie? You just had some analysis run and found out it was extremely stiff, right?

A: Yes!  Actually when we were restoring the wire car, it was really an interesting experience because, as I started tearing this thing apart, and looking at what was in the chassis and everything, you know . . .  Being an engineer I was really curious as to what it was and how stiff it could get.  So we ended up doing a finite element analysis on the chassis.  I had one of our engineers who does all our structural stuff, and we went ahead and tested the thickness of all the elements that are in the chassis itself from the tubes on down, and then look at how flexible the chassis was given a horsepower number, if you had it just in that chassis.  And then we went ahead and assigned values to the stiffness of the motorplate, the midplate, the transmission, then the wires themselves.  And it turns out, and its really an interesting number . . . we did the same thing on the Pro Stock car that we run today.  That chassis when you put all that together is about 95% of the stiffness of our current Pro Stock chassis stiffness, from a rigidity standpoint.  So it's an absolute brilliant piece of engineering in 1974.  And I'm using all of this analysis now to convince . . .  You know we want to run this car a little bit.  Not a whole lot.  It's just such a piece of history.  But the engineering on this is so remarkable for its age.  I mean it really is a tremendous, tremendous testimony to the brilliance of the guys in front of this room.

M: What about the fabrication of the engine plate? How did that happen? Is that hand done?

Well, the plates were . . . Dan, when he built the chassis, mocked up an engine and, basically, it was designed for the A engine.  So it was a very simple task.  We always used a front motor plate at the very least.  The midplate really meant to stiffen the chassis.  That was done on purpose in Al's design.  Lot of credit to Al Adam because that was really a nice vehicle, and that vehicle . . . after the body was hung and we had a bare chassis it was brought to Dick and I at Donny's shop and we finished the car.  We essentially put all the panelling in, we wired it, we plumbed it, we got the rear-end hung.  Before we started that process of hanging the heavy stuff, Dick and I would pick the car up and move it without a jack.  We just picked it up and carried it.  It's pretty light.  I don't know what it weights today fully assembled.  It was pretty darn light.  Regis, from Trick Titanium made lots of titanium parts.  Most of the fasteners were titanium.  The rear axle tubes were titanium.  It uses a mag center section.  It was a full-floater rear end.  The four-link was all titanium.  This list goes on and on.  The panelling was magnesium.  It was a very light car.

M: I notice the magnesium panelling on the rear wheelwells is very boxy.  That's because . . . ?

J: Yes!  Magnesium doesn't bend well.

D: It breaks!

J: We only had an eight-foot break.  So we had to very carefully bend it.  It didn't want to form real well.  Honestly, it was just easier to do it that way.

52:26 M: Do you have any idea where Al Adam got his inspiration for the design?

J: We'd have to ask Al.  I think he worked for Tom Coddington, right?

D: Yes.

J: By that time I think Coddington had moved to a different job.  Al's a brilliant guy.  Mr. Hoover, Mr. Coddington, Al . . . brilliant!  We were very fortunate to have them as . . .

T: Okay!  A little history here!  The first E body primarily answered the clutch-flite questions for us.  The Barracuda . . .  Historically, the thing that was really significant there is, although we had answered the question of the clutch-flite applicability . . .  In the meantime, in the meantime our main people in the teams took on an enormous task.  It was called the "clinic program." This involved going to dealerships all around North America as often as twice a week.  It would surprise me: Sox & Martin may have done a week or two where there were three clinics separated by hundreds of miles.  Not to mention racing a full NHRA schedule and some match racing too.  This was an enormous logistics task.  What that tells people like Dick Maxwell and me is, these guys aren't going to have time to do any kind of engineering sorting on the cars for the NHRA major meets.  So, the Missile program, having put the clutch-flite question behind us for a while, then had the task of doing Pro Stock development to provide that information to the big name teams that were deeply involved in the clinic program.  Then the third stage was, NHRA got so sick of us winning everything . . .  It was like a Red Army marching through Eastern Germany in 1945 almost!  That they told Jenkins, and he told Chevrolet engineering, you guys do anything you want to, to beat the Mopars.  The outcome of that was a tube-frame car . . .  Some of your buddies out there knew about that.

(Dick Oldfield and audience laugh.)

T: This is a private matter between Ross and I!

(More laughs all around.)

T: Anyway basically what he did . . . he built a tube frame car, probably kind of similar to the first Butler car.

TS: Yes . . .

T: . . . except it had a three-link rear suspension . . .

TS: Yes . . .

T: . . . which was a little spooky.  And all wedges had the most favorable NHRA ratios of car weight to cubic displacement factor.  So Jenkins brought out his Vega.  So then our job was . . . Oh, my God!  We had just . . .  The '72 'Cuda car represented about as well as you could do with the NHRA rule book still in your hand.  Suddenly we were confronted with a whole new ballgame.  Now we build a whole tube car and skin it.  So that was the purpose of that stage of the Missile program.  It resulted in a Butler car, which is the one that Tom Coddington did a similar job on.  It is owned by the gentleman from Florida.

J: Ben Donhoff, and Larry Mayes . . .

T: By the way! Thank you guys for bringing these cars here!

(From the audience: "Amen!" Applause all around.)

T: Us old dudes . . . .  It warms our little black hearts!  What's left of them.  Especially mine and Oldfield's!  That's some history for you.  As to what the intent was for each phase of the Missile program.  Three major phases: clutch-flite and support the manifolds, cams and everything; clinic guys; and, then respond to the Jenkins Vega. 57:28

Q: That had to be pretty tough to run A Bodies against cars that were two-thirds their size, like the Vega and . . . .

T: Yeah.  Well that was a . . . The question is why did we go to an A Body? Why didn't we go to a Colt right away? And it was a question of whether or not you really want to push the imports out of the showroom, or do you want to push Dusters out of the showroom? So we bit the bullet and did the A Body.  Course, it wasn't another year later and the Pintos show up with a porcupine engine.  They were really tough.  And meanwhile they kept adding weight to us all the time.  I just knew walking out of that . . . I'll never forget this.  We were walking out of Indy at the end of the '74 Nationals.  We just said this is not worth doing anymore.  Pro Stock.  That was the end.  Pow! And I mean it was the end for us.  Why pour the company's money in there just to be fodder for the . . . ?

Q: Against a group that didn't want you to . . .

T: Hey, the factoring pencil can beat everybody, baby! I gut bullet holes in me all over the place with that factoring pencil? By "factor" that means how much the car weighs per cubic inch.  Okay, end of sermon!

M: You mentioned the A Body.  You know, the A engine program in '74? But that wasn't necessarily for Pro Stock use, correct?

T: Yes, it was!

J: Absolutely!

T: In the beginning . . .

G: Toward a Pro Stock small block?

T: Koffel's here! He led the effort to take what we had done with A engines . . . .  We had, what? At least four, maybe six.  We did everything we could think of.  We stress-relieved the blocks, we eight bore bored and steel sleeved one and so on.  The word came in that Glidden might be interested.  What year was that, Dave?

DK: It would have been towards the end of 1977.

T: '77?

DK: Yeah.

T: Maxwell and comrades made a deal with Glidden . . . .  You know, he did the Arrow A engine program?  Lenco.  I should mention also that, what we had hoped to do with the clutch-flite was achieved by the Lenco.  Bingo, just like that!  That was a step function in Pro Stock racing where anybody could, you know, . . . with the same engine and the same car and the Lenco, as long as they could steer . . . !  Anyway Glidden took the fruits of whatever we accomplished on the stuff Joe was talking about for the A engine test bed . . . took it all on a truck to Indiana, and using that as a launching pad, let's say, did the Arrow-Glidden Pro Stock thing with the A engine for

T: Two seasons, Dave?  I forget.

DK: One.

[?]; '79.  

T: Very successfully.

J: Very successfully!

M: Ted, could you start a thread about the engines beginning with the blocks that were in the Challenger.  How many engines where there over the four years?

TS: Oh, jeez!  A lot of them.  That would be tough because, say we probably had three engines for each car.  But you had race motors and test engines.  They kind of got mixed together.  They were pretty standard in '70-'71.  They were standard just 426 engines, and then as NHRA started to factor the Chrysler cars, then we developed the 400 cubic inch or 396-style motor.  Which was a little shorter stroke, so we could have that little bit better weight advantage.  And it allowed us to run a higher engine speed.  So of course when you raise the engine speed, then you have to have better valve springs, better cam.  It's a vicious cycle, as we all know.  But that proved out to be a good package for . . . right up to the end, when they decided to get out of Pro Stock racing, the 400 cubic inch engine.  And we had looked at . . . Westlake engineering in England had developed a cylinder head which Tom . . . which was a D5 engine.  On paper it looked real good, but in the car, I think, it was heavy and it was wide.

D: Yes.  Cast iron!

TS: It didn't really pan out as you're trying to move forward.  We couldn't really spare the time.  We had tried that and there were only a couple of those engines.  And those parts are far and few between.  You see some of that stuff around.  Once Donny started running the A Body, I think I built him a 383.  We had tried that.  It kind of gets all cluttered after that.

T: Well the best of Ted's Missile engines, in my opinion, was engine number 33.

TS: Yes.

T: That thing was a sweety.  It's got its own spot up there in Heaven somewhere.  I don't know what happened to it.  It was a 406.  It was a .60 over bore, 3.96 stroke.  That is to say: 431 inches by 3.5 stroke -- 406.  And it just got sweeter everytime Ted serviced it and brought it out another .20. VThe bores apparently got straighter and straighter at high speed.  But that was a really sweety-pie.  It was light too.

TS: Yes.  Those were the days when an effort . . . by today's standards . . .  You know, we've got aluminum blocks now.  Back then, we had the "wonder metal": cast iron!  And Chrysler blocks, because they were deep skirted, were notoriously heavy.  So we got into lightening the blocks and we were probably taking twenty-five pounds out of the block.  Which was a lot of material.  But it's risk versus reward when you do things like that because you make them thin and you lose rigidity which is not what you want to do if you are trying to keep the bores straight at wide-open throttle.  We found ways to get around that.  It's just an ongoing development thing.  It's not something that you just don't do once and say: oh, it worked, we'll go on.  It's not that easy.

M: I'm told -- no names! -- you had very strict rules about who worked on the engine.

TS: I guess!

Audience laugh!

M: Nobody is supposed to touch the engine!

TS: Yes, that was my job.  I had a fellow who worked with me -- one of the guys that worked in the shop.  We had guys that worked on the car.  I not only had the Pro Stock car, my job was to do parts development for the Direct Connection program.  So we had three or four test cars all the time.  Be it a Super Stock wedge car, a Super Stock Hemi car, or an A-engine-type car.  So I had at that time ten or twelve people that worked for me.  And Dick kind of ran shop, the chassis side of it.  And Ross Smith, a fellow here with us, . . .  He ran a program later on.  And so I just really had one fellow that helped me all the time; and that was Leonard Bartush, who worked for me.  Leonard ran up . . .  It's not like today.  You worked in the shop, and then you went on the road, and you still had to be back to work on Monday morning.  This is all fun, but you have to make a living, too.  Because you are not going to make a living racing.  Not back then.  Nowadays, I'm sure you can.

J: I can add something to what Teddy's saying though.  When I went to work for Don, I had worked for Fons for several years and then came to work for Carlton.  When I worked for Ted, the first thing he did was, . . .  because Dick and I would be with the car, on the road.  Ted didn't always go.  Leonard hardly ever went.  So it was going to be Dick and myself and we had to do everything.  So Ted took me to the engine room and he said: okay, you have to have these particular tools.  And he made me write in a book everything I had to do and how I had to do it.  From changing the bearings to lashing the valves to doing anything.  And you will only do it this way.  There's no other way.  And that's exactly what I did.  I have to tell you that, everytime I changed a bearing in those motors, I was sweating!

Audience laugh!

J: It wasn't because it was hot out.  It was because I was thinking: Ted's watching me!  We did have one incident one time in Florida.  We had a new engine and we ran the motor in, and we were going to change the bearings.  So I changed the bearings in the motor.  Ted wasn't there.  It was Dick, myself, Donny, and Mr. Hoover and the rest of the engineers.  The car did a burnout.  We were going to make our first pass on the car.  Donny pulled the car up to the line and shut the car off.  He makes a gesture and says there's no oil pressure.  So we push the car back over to the truck and roll it up.  Obviously something had broke.  Mr. Hoover looked at me and gave me "The Look!"

Audience laugh!

J: I think Ted got a call to send Leonard down on the airplane, because Joe made a mistake, right?  I was vindicated the next day when Leonard got there and he found out he had forgot to pin the oil pump rotor and it spun.

TS: Oh, yeah! The median shaft!

J: I sweat bullets for a night.  But I swear, Donny came to me and, God love him, he's watching down on me.  He said: Joe, did you do it right?  I said I did it right!  He said: then don't worry about it!  That was it.  We just put another motor in and continued on.  I remember that to this day: the look that Mr. Hoover gave me.

T: Donny was a cool head.  He was a stabilizing influence.  You know a lot of young guys, just get excited and all.  But Donny was cool -- stable!

TS: You remember, we talked about changing engine bearings.  Nobody even does that anymore.  But back if you ran Chrysler in the old days and you had a manual shift you lived . . . .  The fuel guys have nothing on early Pro Stock people.  Believe me, you laid under the car alot.  I mean Chryslers were big and heavy and the bearings were at their limit all the time, and we ran bad with bearings.  They did their job but they wouldn't want to do it for a long time.  You got used to changing bearings pretty regularly.  Like valve springs.  Valve springs break, you change bearings.

D: And the end plate.  We were always checking the end play.

TS: You develop everything as you race your motor because that's how you get a better thrust bearing.  Everything, that's what you do.  The more you look at the parts the better they're going to get sooner or later.

T: Jake King had to nurse the thrust bearing, the end play.  I think when Sox hit the clutch pedal, he hit it pretty hard.

M: I'm told by one of Donny's crew, post-Chrysler Pro Stock that engine 33.  They found it.  The car had gone to Florida and it had engine 33 in it.  Their local motor mechanic couldn't hurt it.  He worked on it occasionally and, no matter, what he did to it, it continued to perform perfectly.  That was quite a tribute.

T: That's why I wish it were still around.  That was frustrating as the program began to fade, in the middle of 1974 and thereafter.  The funding was limited and so forth.  The idea of not letting motor 33 get away without adding some decent idea of why it was so good really bothered us.  Us, me.  You hate to allow things like that to happen.  Same way with the flat crank deal.  Remember the flat crank?

D: Oh, yeah!

T: In the 'Cuda?  That thing was quicker with the flat crank, baby.  I don't a little bit either.  But your late, and they pull the Jenkins bomb on us.  So we have to respond to that!  My recollection is that that flat crank was fifteen pounds lighter than the regular.  And we were trying to figure out whether there was a matter phasing the way the two banks blow down equally.  You know how a 180-header engine sounds?  That's the way the flat . . . .  It's not the normal V-8 rumble, normal firing order.  Anyway, that's another frustration.

R: Later on we'll talk about the flat crank because I did some Indy car stuff and they are required to run flat cranks.

T: Well, Arlen, he stepped up and put it in his A stick car at Pomona one year.  I think we had more than one.  It took a special cam obviously.

R: Right.  180 degree pole center instead of 90.

T: Yeah, exactly.

R: That's what the difference was in the . . .

T: Well in the Chrysler one, it turned out that the crank was fifteen pounds lighter.  Here's the deal.  When a crank is forged, it's forged as a flat crank.  Bang, bang, bang.  It's this way, all in one plane.  Then they twist it.  You can't balance it perfectly without balance shafts.  But the main counterweights achieved the balance that could be achieved . . . were small enough that the whole crank weighed fifteen pounds less.  If we had been able to keep pursuing the Missile program, the Pro Stock development program, I think that would have been a fruitful area to pursue.  Maxwell always accused me of spending all my time on the oil pans.  But you look in the mirror and say, "Gee, if we could only have had some time to do this or do that, we would have been better . . . .  But those frustrations are normal in a program like that.

TS: I think, too, alot like Tom was saying, you look in a mirror, whereas you look at racing today, because they have fixed rules, that you are not always chasing the rules.  You can understand why the cars are so much more competitive.  Especially in the case of Pro Stock.  They have lots of time to look at lots of stuff and they have good budgets.  It shows, by the performance level of those cars.  I mean they get sixteen cars within five hundreths of a second of one another.  That's phenomenal.

T: During the "golden days" of Pro Stock for us, we couldn't have done that if our life depended on it.  No way!  Pick the six best teams we had, put the same motor in the car each time, and ask those guys to go out on the same day, within a three-hour span in the middle of the day where the temperature isn't changing too much; and lay them in there like they do in Pro Stock today.  No way.  Never happen.  What they're doing today that makes that happen, is a mystery to me, baby!  When you find out, give me a call.  I want to know.  I'd call it impossible.

J: We got a question out there.

RH: Mr. Hoover, Roy Hill.  I just wanted to tell you and all your staff that you had, Teddy, Richard, Joe . . . .  The people that you had to get all this development, and hand-picking Don Carlton was one of the greatest things you ever did.  I know I wasn't one of chosen few that was on the team, but you had some good racers. And everything that I was able to learn from you guys . . . to come to Detroit for those seminars, or the time you took and talked to me.  All of you.

T: Hey, Roy!  We had a real team there.  I think that the biggest . . . another "war story."  The '69 Nationals, Roy, baby!  That was something else.  The NHRA never forgave us for that.  You know, that was the time when they had bracket racing qualifying?  You had to pedal it, so that you didn't get too far below the record and all that stuff!  And, one of the guys came up and said: hey, why don't we go off somewhere and settle this?  Find out who the two fastest cars in each class are, then we'll come back and bracket qualify.  So, Koffel got on the bugle!  We went to Hamilton, Ohio.  Remember that, Dave?

DK: Yes

T: Those were the glory days!  We really stuck it to them that time, and they never forgave us either.  We paid and paid for that one!  But it was worth it.  It was beautiful.  The guys just kind of oozed out of the Nationals . . . .  This was Nationals!  Dave had things lined up in Ohio.  Everybody oozed over there. and Ted calls it the best race we ever had . . . to find out who was fast and who wasn't!  Then you come back and you bracket qualify because you've already sorted out who ought to be . . . the two . . . not accidental, with pedal on it!  That was neat.

M: Any figures on that race?

TS: Nope.  There's probably not one time anyplace.  It was a big street race, but legal!

GS: They didn't let us reporters go over for that either!

TS: You got to race wide-open throttle with no penalty.  That's why you drag race.  And that's what the mini-nationals was all about.  It was cool.

M: What about carburetion and fuel over those four years?

TS: Yeah, we had much better gasoline in the old days than we do now!  That's for sure.

J: They didn't like us when we brought our own.

TS: Pretty much everybody brought their own fuel.

R: 150, 145.

TS: Yeah, aviation fuel.  Because that is what we had in this country.  We don't have that anymore.

M: Who was the carburetion specialist on the team?

TS: His name was John Baumann and he's since deceased.  But Tom Coddington . . . John worked for Tom and Tom was a fuel systems engineer.  Tom and John took care of all the fuel systems.  There job was to work on the DC program to sort out the carburetor, manifolds, not only for the DC parts that they sold, but as well to work on the eight-barrel program.

M: "DC" being Direct Connection? 1:20:41

TS: "Direct Connection," or I don't know what they called it back in the old days!  "Rapid Transit System," Direct Connection.  What else did they call it back then? "Performance Parts!"  I think it was Performance Parts.

GS: What about ignition stuff?  Development like the cross distributors and the crank triggers?

TS: We tried the twin distributors, which was essentially a Hilborn fuel injector drive.  And where you would run a distributor and a fuel pump for your Hilborn fuel injection, we adapted another distributor with the twin plug cylinder heads.  We tried it for a long time.  In the end it made the engines run smoother, idle better, but there was no real performance gain there.  We never felt . . . .  Ronnie Sox was probably the only one that continued and he, like guys talking to Dave Christie yesterday, who worked at Sox & Martin with Jake King.  And that . . . .  Ronnie was very comfortable, he said, and if Ronnie was comfortable, then everything was going to be okay at the race.  Because Mr. Sox was particular!

T: When the dust settled, for absolute power, the D position at 37 was the equal of the twin plugs at 33.  That was the bottom line.  But like Ted said, it would . . . all the jerking around that occurs in the water and . . . .  Especially with Ronnie.  He liked to do little erp, erp, erp!  He didn't just drive up to the line.  He went erp, erp, erp.  Every three feet it was another chirp!  Thank God for the Dana 60!  But the twin plugs kept it idling and clean alot better that way.  Because the carburetors get kind of confused with all that jerking around.

M: When did telemetry come in?  Was that a factor with the Challenger, or did it . . .

T: It came in with the double-stack Torqueflite at Cecil County.  Remember?  Killen came up in a little white pickup from Huntsville.  The rocket works down there.  It was a real simple deal, eight-channel reel-to-reel recorder, tape.  The frustration with that was, in order to understand it well, the tape doesn't do you any good after you've made the run.  Killen had to go back to the van and transcribe what was on the tape onto a little needle printer.  He would stretch it out.  I remember at Cecil County, we had paper stretching out thirty or forty feet!

M: Dick and Joe, how was it to attach the sensors for data pickup?

J: It was easy.  It was just transducers.  Ron would wire the car.  In a lot of the pictures you see the wheel speed indicators front and rear.  So we could monitor wheel slippage and wheel speed.  We had pressure transducers and temperature transducers.  We had, I think you call it, a linear transducer to measure suspension travel.  So, whatever you wanted to monitor you just plug in and take the data.

D: Yeah, pretty simple stuff.

M: The computer was in the car right?

D: We just had it in the car for testing.

J: NHRA made you have a second seat in the car. So, where the passenger seat was is where we put the . . . .  Basically, that was a junction box and the recorder would sit in the trunk.  It was a little metal box with donuts around it to keep it vibration free.  That all came out of the car for racing with the normal racing configuration.  . . . Put the seat back in and have at it!

D: It was a hundred pounds of equipment.

T: The answer to the frustration I expressed to that . . . It took a couple of hours to get from the run to a tape you could look at and see what happened . . . was radio.  An outfit named Schembechler down in Florida someplace built a transmitter-receiver.  So the car transmitted back to the van radio and it would put the paper out with the ink trace in real time.  Big improvement.  That was late in the game, with the A Body.  The Butler car, I think.

J: Yep. 1:26:22

M: Where did weather analysis figure in?

TS: That was Al Adam's job!

T: Well, it was not my job!  So I can talk about that if you're interested.  Basically it takes the Society of Automotive Engineers dynamometer weather correction for correcting dynamometer data and applies it through George Wallace's finesse to the behavior of the car.  That's what it amounts to.  We're using that now in our "pure stock" activities.  If you're looking for five hundreths, you better have weather capability, or you're going to get lost.  It's that simple.  God knows there are enough variables to deal with that you can't control, but you better be able to keep track of the weather.  The track temperature changes, especially when you are running with other cars.  People spill oil and drop water.  The tires start to wear out.  It'll drive you nuts.  For Missile-program-like activity you've got to be able track the weather.

M: What are some of the adjustments that you have to make.

T: The toughest part is to follow the barometer.  We had put a mercury column in the van.  That's the right way to do it.  That eliminates all the guess work.  What we do today is, we call the local . . . .  On the Internet today, these days . . . .  Each strip in this country, there's a reference table on the Internet that tells you which weather station to call.  It's usually a local airport, hopefully very close to the drag strip.  They can give you the barometer at that airport close to the drag strip, within about a half hour.  That's only half of it though.  They're in the business is for airplane pilots to get an idea of what the weather is going to do.  They take the mercury column they're looking at at the airport . . . they correct everything to sea level!  Okay?  So, I've got a little plot made that we carry in the trailer, how you correct all the drag strips we go to back to so-called, absolute.  What Killen's mercury column would say. . . .  So that's how we do it now.  The barometer, you've got to watch it.  The most potent factor is the ambient air temperature.  I'm talking about the air that goes into the carburetors.  You can go to Radio Shack and for about twenty-five bucks you get a little meter that'll read you the relative humidity very accurately.  You have to figure that in.  It's not an easy calculation to make.  You have to take the square root . . . No, sorry!  The point-two-eight (0.28) root of a complex equation.  So you need the right calculation to do that. . . . Years ago, one of the times I first went back to Indy to watch some Pro Stock racing, the GM cars had humidity correction charts that they were tracking the weather.  They had my name down in the corner, baby!  Warren Johnson, those guys.

GS: A few minutes ago, Tom, you spoke about the three-inch rake you needed on a '68 Barracuda.  Obviously you guys had to deal with aerodynamic problems when those Vegas and Pintos showed up, and some of those A Bodies.  You really didn't want to have a stock car parked next to it when they were teching those cars out.  Tell me some of the stuff you guys were doing: was that based on gas . . . looking at droop and narrowing.  Was that just trying to think how much you could take out?  Or was there a scientific formula behind doing it? 1:32:04

T: The toughest part is to follow the barometer.  We had put a mercury column in the van.  That's the right way to do it.  That eliminates all the guess work.  What we do today is, we call the local . . . .  On the Internet today, these days . . . .  Each strip in this country, there's a reference table on the Internet that tells you which weather station to call.  It's usually a local airport, hopefully very close to the drag strip.  They can give you the barometer at that airport close to the drag strip, within about a half hour.  That's only half of it though.  They're in the business is for airplane pilots to get an idea of what the weather is going to do.  They take the mercury column they're looking at at the airport . . . they correct everything to sea level!  Okay?  So, I've got a little plot made that we carry in the trailer, how you correct all the drag strips we go to back to so-called, absolute.  What Killen's mercury column would say. . . .  So that's how we do it now.  The barometer, you've got to watch it.  The most potent factor is the ambient air temperature.  I'm talking about the air that goes into the carburetors.  You can go to Radio Shack and for about twenty-five bucks you get a little meter that'll read you the relative humidity very accurately.  You have to figure that in.  It's not an easy calculation to make.  You have to take the square root . . . No, sorry!  The point-two-eight (0.28) root of a complex equation.  So you need the right calculation to do that. . . . Years ago, one of the times I first went back to Indy to watch some Pro Stock racing, the GM cars had humidity correction charts that they were tracking the weather.  They had my name down in the corner, baby!  From the old days.  That's a fact!  Warren Johnson, those guys.  So, if it was good enough for them, it was good enough for us.

GS: A few minutes ago, Tom, you spoke about the three-inch rake you needed on a '68 Barracuda.  Obviously you guys had to deal with aerodynamic problems when those Vegas and Pintos showed up, and some of those A Bodies.  You really didn't want to have a stock car parked next to it when they were teching those cars out.  Tell me some of the stuff that you guys were doing: was that based on gas . . . looking at droop and narrowing.  Was that just trying to think how much you could take out?  Or was there a scientific formula behind doing it? 1:32:04

T: You'd be surprised how important some little facets of all that were.  We tried to keep in mind all the information that had been collected by Chrysler over the course of a number of years.  I'd call the most significant thing that had been done in that regard was that before the introduction of the 426 Hemi at Daytona in 1964, Cahill and Thornton and the aerodynamics guys from . . . one of the aerodynamics guys . . . I forget his name . . . Gary Lambert's boss . . . they took a car to San Antonio, the Goodyear track, and from that developed a list of recommendations for what you need to do to make a NASCAR car smoother aerodynamically at a hundred-and-sixty.  Little things.  Like the A-post trim because it determines whether or not the air coming the edges of the windshield is turbulent going back along the windows.  Stuff like that.  And they were also very specific about flow of air through the engine compartment and out through the wheel houses around the front wheels.  We kept all that in mind.

GS: So, with the A-body program though, it became a lot more evident . . . was that . . .

T: I'd say the other real fallout of that is that the Missile program contributed to drag racing in general.  Not just our program.  What a hood scoop should be.  And things like what Ted and Dick were talking about when we were in the Missile and you photographed the little yarn tufts.  Took us about two hours . . . maybe three.  We only did half the car.

D: It took a half a day!

T: Half a day, okay.  You draw a line down the middle.  The right's the same as the left.  So you only have to do half the car.  You determine where the air is turbulent.  The little gizzies are going like this, instead of lying straight back.  We put a lot of effort into hood scoops, which yielded the "Baumann" boundary layer bleed-off.  A&A or somebody made the first one.  Look at the BF 109 G next time you are at the German technology museum on the Rhine River in Speyer, Germany, and you'll see the original.  There's a Gustav (Messerschmitt) in there.  That was a whole new ballgame on hood scoops.  That was the way to do it and everything else wasn't even close.  We even made a . . . I had one trick thing I had!  Boy, this is the golden hope.  But it didn't work for diddly.  Little trap doors.

TS: We had taken a boundary layer bleed-off . . . it was kind of a rectangular-shaped box on top of what covered the carburetors, and we made little "side doors."  The idea was, when he was on the starting line, the vaccuum would open the doors, and when he mashed the gas, they would automatically close.  It had to work, right?

T: Didn't do a damn thing!

TS: Looked cool, though!

T: Yeah, that would have kept the enemy all confused . . . 01:36:49

R: There are a lot of pictures in the books of different hood scoops on those cars.

TS: Oh, yeah!  We went so far as to put hood scoops on sideways just to see what they would do.

T: This includes cowl . . . .  If your boundary-layer bleed-off scoop is right, it's better than anything you can do on the cowl.

TS: The little "trap-door" thing was pretty cool.  We should have saved that scoop.  It went in the trash.

T: Yeah. We should have mounted it on a little board or something.

M: We have about 15 minutes left.  Nancy wants us to be done by noon.  Can we talk about logistics.  You know, getting the cars to the track, wherever you were going, and racing and going to the next track.

TS: Yeah, you took turns driving!  We just had a truck and a trailer.  In the early days with the first car, I think we flat towed, with a stationwagon and an open trailer.  Then I finally got some sponsorship money and I was able to buy a van-type truck.  That's pretty much what we did.  We didn't have tractor-trailors like they have nowadays.  We were still on a budget; believe me!  And a very small budget.

T: Oldfield showed up with an huge aircraft-carrier-sized Dodge stationwagon.  It was known as the "Queen Mary."

D: The "Queen!"  Yeah.

T: A big old thing!  I got a "war story."  You put new heads on it one time, just to freshen it up a little bit.  Guess where the old heads are?

D: I don't know.

T: I gave them to Bobby Karkagian years ago -- pure stock racer.  And today they are running on a fast 440 six-barrel in New Jersey someplace.  Bobby ported them.  Yeah, the original heads off the Queen.  We learned something else too.  We carried the car one time with a canvas cover on it, on a trailer.  Don't do that for cross country.  The canvas covering flapped and wiped off half the lettering on the car.

TS: Back then, like it is now, if you race you have a passion for it because you are not doing it to get rich.  The amount of time you put in . . . you just can't count the time.  With us, if we tested, we would test and then if we knew we had to go to a race, you had to bring the car back to the shop, switch over what was necessary.  If it had a motor that had parts in it that were evaluated and you had to switch engines, and by the time all this gets done, it's ten o'clock at night.  You got to get in the truck and go because you got to be at the track the next morning.  So sleep wasn't always . . . .  So everybody took turns driving.  Thank God you race when you're young!  Not when you're old.

D: One trip, we switched driving about every five minutes!

J: Yeah.  We had been up for about three days and we left Detroit to go to California.  I drove to Dick's house in Huntington Woods, which is about six miles away.  He took over and drove about twenty miles.  I took over.  Finally we got sleep.  The unfortunate thing was, we had borrowed the old Sox & Martin diesel.  That thing was terrible.  It had a broken injector line and it was spewing diesel fuel.  We stopped twice on the way to California to have the injector line repaired and twice to have the truck washed because it was bathed in diesel fuel.  And Dick and I got arrested in New Mexico . . .

(Audience laugh!)

J: . . . because -- It was his fault! -- we decided we had driven straight through non-stop.  No sleeper.  We looked pretty bad.  We decided we wanted to go up Scandia Peak.  My wife and I have been up there since then.  It's a tramway up to the top of Scandia Peak.  We drove in there.  We went up, and enjoyed the view.  We took some pictures, like we always did.  We came down and went to a truck stop to get fuel.  The guys says, where's your diesel fuel permit?  We said, we don't need any stinkin' diesel fuel permit.  This is owned by Chrysler Corporation. [ . . . ? we almost threw you under the truck! ]  So the guy says, no, no, you've got to buy a diesel fuel permit.  Didn't you get it at the port of entry.  Heck no.  They just waved us through.  They saw it looked like a circus wagon, so they waved us through.  Pretty soon, the deputy shows up.  Two pearl-handle revolvers, a big Stetson, khaki uniform, aviator sunglasses.  He says, where are your log books?  We looked at each other and said, what log books?  The wrong thing to say, and he started writing tickets.  We got up to about three-hundred dollars in tickets, which back in that time was pretty steep.  He asked us, where are you from?  Detroit.  When did you leave?  Stupidly, we told him.  Double-teaming it back in those days, you could spend twenty hours in the truck but you had to get out.  We were thirty hours into the trip and we had never gotten out, except for fuel.  He said, you have a choice.  You can give this man five whole dollars for the permit, pay for your fuel, and I'll escort you to this motel.  So we went to the motel where he waits for us outside.  We asked the proprietor if we could stay there a few minutes and talk to him.  Soon the deputy left.  We waited another twenty minutes, got in the truck and drove to the Grand Canyon.  We wanted to see the Grand Canyon!.


Q: Who the hell was taking the pictures?

J: I was taking pictures, and he was taking pictures of me taking pictures in the Grand Canyon.  He didn't let go.  And he hasn't let go all these years!  So he's my buddy and that's never going to change.

M [To Dick]: I remember the story you told me about you and Donnie going to race and taking the two boys, young Donny Carlton and your son.

D: Yeah, we were at Indianapolis.  We both took our sons to the race with us.  The instruction was: we were going to make a pass and if the car's running good we were going to load up and get the hell out, and go back to the motel.  So every time the car goes out on the track, you kids make sure you come back to the truck.  Make sure we were going to stay or leave.  Well, they didn't come back to the truck and we left.  So we went back and we got something to eat, and went to the room to get some sleep.  All of a sudden the Sox & Martin truck pulls up out front and drops the kids off.  Of course they're hungry.  We said, we already ate.  You'll have breakfast in the morning.

RO: Donny and I were walking around the pits going: who's going back to the hotel?

J: How old were you, Richard?

RO: Oh, heck.  We had to be what, twelve?

J: He's still mad at me too.

Q: How long before the moms knew about that?

TS: Just today!

J: Sorry, Jonnie!  We abandon your son!

JC: . . . ?

M: What about that sleep routine?

D: When the kids rode with us they had to do the same thing.  If you're driving they had to be up front.  It was four on and four off.  So, if you have to get up at two o'clock in the morning, they had to get out of the sleeper and sit up front.  They didn't care for that either.

T: Tell them the "wooden indian" story!

J: No, no!  That's . . .

T: You want to stay away from that!

D: Yeah, we're on tape!

J: Mr. Hoover actually rode with us one time, to Englishtown.  And I think Tommy, you were in the truck too.

T: Yeah, we picked him up in Dubois.

J: I was driving . . . must have been through Pennsylvania or New York.  It was kind of foggy out.  Tom was asleep in the sleeper.  Coming down a long mountain way too fast.  I see this little light in the middle of the road.  I thought, we're going to be good samaritans and pull over.  It was a state trooper.  I stopped and got out, and he said you were doing like ninety, coming down this mountain.  I think the speed limit at the time was fifty-five or sixty-five.  Pennsylvania was screwy.  Mr. Hoover was in the sleeper and we didn't want Tom to know that I was getting stopped for a ticket.  He woke up and wanted to know what was going on.  Dick said Joe is checking the tires.  Got back in and went a little slower for a while until I got out of Pennsylvania at least.  You never knew that, did you, Tom?

T: No, there are a lot of things I don't need to know.

M: Five minutes . . .

T: Well, Coors beer was a big issue, too, back in the old days.  When the guys would go to Pomona, they'd hide Coors beer everyplace they could think of in the truck.  And getting through New Mexico was a challenge.  I never had that experience personally.

D: We had all the beer in the car, and the car got a flat tire.  There was beer running out the back door!

T: The New Mexico cops in those days could tell what a race truck was.  It was so obvious.  They would give the guys a hard time.

J: Dick Oldfield and I bought about fifty cases and we went to North Carolina.  Remember the old house, Jonnie?  We used to use as the shop, before Donnie built the building.  We backed up and we unloaded the car first, and then all the beer was stacked in front of the car.  The house was just down the street from a little prison camp and it was not uncommon for the highway patrol to come by.  They'd see the truck there and they wanted to see what was going on.  Trooper walks in, and there's fifty cases of beer sitting there.

D: It was a dry county!

J: I said to the trooper, I'd really like to see your car.  He flips me the keys and I opened his trunk and threw in a case of beer.  He was our best friend!

T: I'm not sure that would have worked with those New Mexico state cops.

D: No, we used tee shirts there!  We were hauling all that liquour and he said you can't do this across country.  So we took him inside the trailer and we had some tee shirts and stuff.  He needed one for his kid, one for his uncle and so on.  He walks out with a pile of tee shirts and he was happy!

M: Any other questions? . . .  No, well, that about does it.  Thank you very much, guys.