In the fall of 1962 we bought a sprint chassis that was built by Jim Thompson of Granite City, IL for Ray Howard. Ray also had an Indy roadster, the Turtle Drilling Special, that ran at the Speedway although I don't know when. The sprinter was built with a 255 Offy and I believe the only race it ran was the IMCA Florida races in 1958 or 1959.
In any event, we set the car up to run a Chevy and put it together to run the Florida state fair in 1963. We had become friends with Sammy Sessions when he drove the 44 car at a Winchester race in 1961. And Sammy agreed to drive for us at Tampa. He qualified fourth for the races and considering that was his first time on dirt it was a tremendous bit of driving. We ran well in all 5 races and due to the fact that our car had a 24 carat gold flake paint job it was the featured car for the 50th anniversary of IMCA; lots of picture taking and interviews.
We were going to race that year with Sammy in USAC but when we got to Eldora, Sammy told us that he had accepted a ride with the Iddings Brothers to drive their sprint and champ cars. We were disappointed but we didn't have the financial backing to run all the races for him. We wished him well and Duke Cook jumped in the car but missed the show.
We took the car home and ran local Supermodified races and a few IMCA and USAC shows. We had qualified 24th for the Terre Haute, IN race that year but got bumped out of the field by A.J. Foyt in a Wally Meskowski sprinter. A.J.'s car had a 4 cam Ford engine in it. I still don't believe A.J. beat us but they ran the race and we went home.
In 1964 we took the sprint back to Florida with Bill Myers who had become our regular driver. Bill and his neighbor friend Bill Putterbaugh who was driving the black Bardahl #2 for Hector Honore both made the show. We ran well that day and ran the rest of the year in the Supermodified, USAC and IMCA.
We were running out of funds after 1964 since we had no financial backing. We decided to sell the cars and my Dad retired. I don't recall where or to who we sold the 44 but the sprint was sold to Jim Moughan Sr. of Springfield, IL.
I got involved with drag racing and ran the '66 season at tracks around St. Louis. It was a lot of fun and at last I was able to drive which is something I had always wanted to do. My friend and partner had bought a front engine sling shot dragster and we put the sprint car engine in it and raced it for about one season. The following year we traded for a blown 327 Chevy and flirted with the national record for "A" Fuel dragster for the entire season.
When we had the Modifieds, I couldn't drive because of the car wreck and by the time the related lawsuit was settled, the cars were too fast for me to learn. We needed the money from good drivers winning to keep the operation going. With the dragster I was consistently running about 1-2 mph off the national record for A fuel dragsters. I still have a desire to drive and every couple years I go out to the speedway here in Las Vegas and drive an Indy Car. The last time I hit 156 mph. That will get anybody's adrenaline flowing!
I hope the Circle Track readers enjoy this little bit history of one racer's experiences.