Two shots of Garlits taken the
day that would change the face of drag racing. It was March 8th
1970 and Lions was hosting the AHRA Grand American - their first
big race of the year.
The stands of Lions Drag Strip
were still full of the 25,000+ fans who'd stayed to see the Top
Fuel final between "Big Daddy" Don Garlits and the
infamous Richard Tharp in the Creitz & Donovan fueler. After
their burnouts both cars staged without any games. Starter, Larry
Sutton flipped the switch and in an instant Tharp red lighted
and Garlits headed into history.
The car ran without a hitch and
we were using the Winternationals as a shakedown, because it
was close to home. We had the same gear in the car that we had
run at Indy where the car was in the final with the 392 Chrysler,
the 3:23 gear was way to long, it needed a 4:10. We also were
running 50% nitro on the shakedown. The pistons were cut down
.050 thou. on my small Craftsman lathe to run 75%.
Coming home with the best engineered
award and a new car in perfect shape with lots of good changes
to make felt like a great success to us.
However, the Monday morning following
the Winternationals my phone rang and it was Leonard Faas (Indy
Car team owner). He told me that I was a genius, I said why,
he said USAC has changed the rules back over the weekend to allow
the Cammers back in and you have all the engines!"
Photo and story from Jim Busby
There are other shots of this
car on WDIFL (Busby
John Collins in Dave
McKenzie's "Blue Streak Special" at Lions in 1969.