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I drove it everywhere.We’d all pile

into it to drive down to Ocean City

Maryland, a 150-mile round trip, just

to get saltwater taffy and fried

chicken. I drove to the mountains to

travel down Skyline Drive to see the

trees, mountains and vistas. A local

guy named Jimmy Caldwell had a

1967 Mustang fastback with a 289

that he had done a lot of work on, and

he always told everyone how much

faster his was than my car. After hear-

ing his bragging, I did the only thing I

could do: I challenged him to a race.

Things were a little looser back

then. You could get away with a lot of

things and street racing was one of

them. So off we went to the local road

affectionately known as “Triton Beach

Drag-A-Way,” a mile-long, three-lane

road. It wasn’t perfectly straight, but I

had “tuned and tested” enough on it to

know its limits – and mine.

Caldwell had only one arm so he

let loud-mouthed Billy drive it. This

was a serious street race with $100

being wagered – about what I was

earning in a week. But the gauntlet

had been thrown down and pride was

on the line. I couldn’t let the Shelby be

shown up. It was like the TV show

“Street Outlaws,” where almost a hun-

dred people showed up to watch the

race. We both handed the money to a

really big guy to hold and lined up on

the street at the 50mph sign. It served

as the starting line. Somebody had

measured it off and the finish line was

where the road made a slight jog to

the right and dipped down. It was

marked with a white line.

We lined up, both cars were

staged, the flagman looked at each of

us and then, in a blur, he waved us off.

I got a little jump on him but he had a

4.62 rear end and was really winding

up fast. All of a sudden a pair of head-

lights appeared down the road. A car

was coming towards us and common

sense took over. I backed off. Cald-

well’s friends were saying I lost and

my friends were saying it was not a

race. Cooler heads finally prevailed

and it was decide that unless the race

was legit, no one could claim the

money – and the bragging rights. So

we lined up again and were flagged off

again. I got the jump on him again,

and even though he was coming on

quickly, I crossed the finish line a car-

length ahead of him. Mayhem then en-

sued. Side bets had been made and

money was changing hands faster

than at a cockfight in Tijuana.

Later that summer I took the car

to a legitimate track and guess who

was there? That’s right, Jimmy Cald-

well and his driver, Billy. They were

loaded for bear: they had open head-

ers, a narrow set of slicks and they

wanted revenge. I had made several

runs just to see what the car could do

and it was running consistent 15.1-

15.2 elapsed times at about 91-93

mph. I moved through the staging

lanes and who should appear beside

me but that dreaded red ‘67 Mustang.

Little did I know that my friend Dave

was up in the stands sitting next to

Jimmy Caldwell. He asked Dave if he

wanted to bet on a rematch and Dave

said, “

No I don’t want to take your

money again


Billy tended to be a bit of a hot

head and would let his emotions take

over at times, and this was one of

them. We pulled up to the line and I

dropped the car into gear. I held my

foot on the brake and very slightly in-

creased the idle to about 1,000 rpm.

Meanwhile the Mustang was in low

gear and was being torqued up as high

as the convertor stall speed would

allow. The lights flashed down and I

left on the last yellow. I jumped out

several car-lengths, not knowing the

Mustang was just sitting there, spin-

ning the rear tire through that 4.62

open rear. It finally hooked up and

started the run of revenge. Billy

twisted the engine too hard in first

gear and ran it to the red line, floating

the valves. He then slipped it into 2nd

gear and gave chase. By this time I

was ahead about ten car-lengths. Up

in the stands, Dave said he could hear

Jimmy cussing under his breath at

Billy, saying, “

Shift, damn it!

” But it

was too late. I had time and momen-

tum on my side when I hit the first

light and could now hear his car

screaming beside me. I crossed the fin-

ish line ahead of him by about half a

car-length. He passed me in the sec-

ond mph light and he had turned his

best time – 13.98. I had turned my

worst time – 15.31. He was so mad I

thought he would pass out. I had

jumped him off the line by more than

a second and a half. The Shelby had

proven itself a winner – again.

I let all kinds of people drive the

car – probably had more drivers than

when Hertz rented it. The next year I

was ready: Bonneville here I come.

The day before I was going to leave the

headers rusted through at the edge of

the collector where the Tri-Y’s came

together. Jimmy Wilson owned a weld-

ing shop and I drove over to there and

he quickly patched them up for the

trip. I had asked my friend Dave if he

wanted to go, but he said he didn’t

have any money so I headed off alone,

leaving on a Friday after work and

heading west. Little did I know that

minutes after I left, Dave’s father had

offered him the money to go. He

jumped in his car and tried to track

me down. He went north before head-

ing west, but I had taken a more

southern route and he returned disap-

pointed after trying for an hour to

catch me.

I called home from a pay phone

that Saturday evening and my mother

told me to call Dave. He told me his fa-

ther would fly him out to catch up with

me and we could continue to Bon-

neville together, so we decided to meet

Sunday at the Salt Lake City airport.

At the time of the phone call I was in

Kansas, near the center of the state, so

I got up that Sunday and drove like a

madman to get to Salt Lake City.

Across the flat plains of Kansas into

eastern Colorado, the flat land seemed

to run on forever, all the time driving

between 5500 and 6000 rpm, near the

car’s top speed, an indicated 125 mph

or so. About every fifteen minutes I

would have to slow down to around 90

mph to let the car cool down as it was

running hot above 115 mph.

I turned north at Denver, cutting

up over Route 287 into Laramie and

across the expanse of the miles and

miles of miles of miles known as

Wyoming and then down into Salt

Lake City. I made it to the airport just

as Dave was coming out of the build-


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