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Here's a fine example of how to blow a couple hundred thousand bucks $$$ in 50 years of playing in these sports. Looking back would I do it again?

Without giving the thought more than 2 minutes that's a "BIG HELL YAA".


MY FIRST 10 YEARS - 1947 to 1957


The sport of going fast started with "soap box derby" cars that my grandfather Conner promoted with the help of his neighbor Mr. Morris and his son. Sam and myself were around 9 or 10 years of age when we got the bug, it just went down hill from there. "Soap Box Derby", then old cars we got from neighbors backyards, serviced them, tuned them and finally got to drive them in the field next to Sam's and my grandfather's house. My grandfather got a kick out of this as he had never learned to drive a motor car as he called them.


PA - Junior Racing Series

   1954 PA Jr. Soap Box Derby Champion Chester, PA - Jr. Soap Box Champion, Lancaster, PA

   1955 PA Sr. Soap Box  Derby Championship York, PA  

   1956 PA Moto-Cross Rookie of the Year (Stock Class)

   1957 PA Moto-Cross Rookie of the Year (Unlimited Class)

   1958 PA Moto-Cross Performance Champion New York  (Modified Class)


From the the debry cars I started riding an old Moto-Cross bike of a friends in 1953. In 1954 I had my own and with some experience got to ride for "Berwyn Bultaco & Harley Shop" in that town until 1957. We ran in the Stock Class to the Unlimited Class Then moving from oval tracks to the dragstrip with a dual engine Triumph bike owned by "Triumph Sales" in Radnor PA. Lots of stories about motorcycles. Finally moved over to door slammers in 1959.


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"Berwyn Bultaco & Harley Shop" had some really nice dirt bikes with the "Bultaco" brand and then with "Triumph" brand, these were the ones to beat. The Bultaco bikes were so refined and good looking for their day, way ahead of most other brands in the late '50s and early '60s.

The first twin-engine drag bike appeared a  year later. Built by Southern Californian Bud Hare, Triumph-powered “Dubble Trubble” was ridden by Pat Presetti
This was one bad ass machine that I  knew I could handle (a big mistake that I still suffer from with weather changes).

One day while at work (summer vacation from school) my mother calls me - a bike shop was taking names to try out on their new "Tandem Triumph". The rest of that day was really hard thinking about a chance at riding such a machine. By the time I got home and cleaned up we had an hour to get to "Triumph Sales" in Radnor PA from our house. I was thinking we'll never make it before they close with all the traffic lights.


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Once there I had to stand in line with a half a dozen guys in front of me, but I got my name on their list. My luck held out and I was one of four chosen to try out on single engine drag bikes.

The first twin-engine drag bike appeared a year later. Built by Southern Californian Bud Hare, Triumph-powered “Dubble Trubble” was ridden by Pat Presetti, Bill Koch and Bob Thurston—and always quickly. The machine went 142.38 mph at Santa Ana in 1956 with Thurston riding.

Our shop got one on order, once there I made several runs and was chosen, my lucky held out. My career was short lived after falling off the twin-engine at Lancaster Dragway sliding through the lights at 104 MPH, but I did make a second run after returning that afternoon from the hospital. I was pretty shaken up and made a poor second run. The reason I fell was the new slick (not checked for balance) that had been installed before making a pass. The shake happened at 3/4 the way down the quarter mile (uncontrollable to ride through).

End of riding that fast drag bikes after that experience.



Up until this point I had some real junk and was a butcher in those days with a chopped top '46 Dodge 1/2 ton pickup to a '33 Dodge 2 door sedan with another chopped top. I drove my father nuts with the money I wasted, those early cars were real home made clunkers. Something that most other kids wouldn't even consider driving, we didn't care we were having fun. Then my Aunt Sarah bought me a reliable '52 Ford Sunliner 2 door sedan, nice car that I just drove back and forth to school and took very good care of which made the family happy. 

Here's where my real trouble begins; our new neighbor is a car guy (does tune-up, engine work and builds race cars in his garage). I start asking questions as he's a pretty cool dude and always has something neat to look at. The neighbors don't care for his little shop and put pressure on him to move his operation (which is part time at this time as he's an engineer for Sun Strand Corp. during the day). Folks didn't like the testing after dark with burning rubber and car's with open exhaust. Heck we though it was cool and were always talking about Bill Jenkins and what he was working on, mainly Chevy's - '55 to the latest ones, all neat stuff.


Mr. Jenkins moved his operation about 12 miles from home to a Sunoco gas station in Berwyn PA. That's cool as I go to school in that town so I start stopping at his shop after school to look at the cars. After several weeks of showing up he asks if I'm interested in working in the station, heck that's a deal. I couldn't stand afternoon classes with thinking about what I was missing at the station. All I did was pump gas, check air in customer's tires, check oil and wash windows (probably all I was capable of doing at 16 years of age and not get in trouble with screwing something up). Oh, my boss had a nick name which fit him; "Grumpy", boy did that fit him. In fact I was fairly low key on cussing until I started hanging around the station. Boy did that go down hill fast, some words I had never heard before but it didn't take long to know what they meant. I had a number of old cars through high school that aren't worth mentioning.





DRAG RACING - 1957 to 1965

Hangin' with the wrong group of friends that screwed me up for over 50 years of my life ...

Freekin' Drag Racing is a disease folks that you can't shaker ... this is according to several wives.

I finally paid my Aunt off for the '52 Ford with my funds earned at the station and then traded it for a '60 Olds convertible that was a big boat but the girls liked it. That was later traded for a new Olds F85 4 door sedan (2 door sedan weren't available at the time). This was a pretty fast car with an aluminum 215 cubic inch V8 and a column shift 3 speed tranny. Jenkins does a tune-up, works the distributor over, and a few other tricks he always had up his sleeve. I go with Bud Faubel, Dave Strickler, several other local drag racers all lead by our leader one Mr. William Tyler Jenkins to first Lancaster Dragstrip, York US 30 Dragaway the list just goes on.

This was really cool following the big guys that everyone cheered for each week. Myself and a few friends though we were big deals (in our own minds) following our hero's to the races. 

My little Olds F85 does pretty good on its first outing going to the semi finals before loosing. Hell I was excited that my car did that good running in D/S against big block Chevy's, weight to horsepower killed me for this class. That didn't stop Grumpy the next week he had the car in the shop again (I'll never collect another pay check). Shimmed the values, richened the 4 barrel carb, a guy had just teamed up with Jenkins, Jere Stahl made headers for race cars and hot rods. The two of them build a set of headers, and with the new tune-up my car is ready the following week. I pickup more RPM's and can damn near make it to the finish line in second gear (Studebaker 3 speed transmission had better gearing) and with the 3:30 gears (only one's available which were killing me). I win my first trophy, one of many with this setup and these fine gentlemen taking me under their wing.


Jenkins, Stahl, Strickler, Faubel and dozen other sponsored racers that hung out at the Sunoco station were all into setting AHRA/NHRA records, having articles written about them, making money while I was into just collecting those wonderful $5 buck trophies as my father called them.


Somehow - with my dumb luck I started getting a few of the lower class records on my own with no sponsors (really because of the Jenkins - Stahl connection), and my own hard earned bucks $$$$ .... for those "wonderful $5 trophies", thanks Dad for the support.

My parents hated the sport and the funds considered wasted, they never let up. They would come home and I would have another vehicle in the garage and hear about my latest mistake forever.





I sell the Olds F85 to my parents as they were needing a new vehicle and this car was like new other than racing it at a few strips for a couple years. Everything was put back to stock and the race items; headers, 4 barrel carb, dist. and transmission were sold. Take their '58 Plymouth in trade, swap the original 318 inch motor for one Faubel knew about, a '61 Dodge Crossram motor with a 727 transmission, got 4:10 rearend gears and I was back to racing. This car performed real well in the AHRA Modified Class, but the small block Chevies were killing me half the time.


Sold the '58 for a '60 Pontiac Catalina factory race car (not legal for the street) turned out it was to well know which was a handi-cap. Plus trying to make payments on a vehicle that was a duel purpose ride (street and strip) was killing my pocket book.


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Here's a true and funny story that I almost got my butt kicked because of Jenkins. We are at York US 30 in 1962, "Royal Pontaic" has come to town to run "Old Reliable" advertised for weeks. They bring their old 1960 Pontiac along with current cars. One of their well known drivers is handling the '60 while Al Wilson is running the later cars. I have my '60 "Poncho" car entered and I worried about the out come of this race. Strickler and Jenkins tell me "Blow the horn when he goes for second". I'm like "I can't do that" and am told "DO IT". I do as told and their driver misses the shift - I win. I get back to the pits and my friends are having a good time laughting. Then here comes Wilson's driver making 6 foot steps as he runs at me, Jenkins is sitting on the hood and Al swing at him as he runs by. Out of no where AHRA officials take him to the ground, he is thrown out for starting a fight. I came close to carrying my teeth in my hand that day.




I had a kidney removed when I was 17 years of age, within a year my hair started to tune gray on the sides from the drugs I was taking for recovery from the operation. It wasn't but a few years and I was being called "The Sitting Fox" (like a gray fox) with being low key, watching and being prepared with my racing compared to Jenkins and the others we ran with being loud. I found it was better to not run off at the mouth and just put it to them on the strip with our performance. Thus the nick name "The Sitting Fox Performance" name came about from my friends, later change to a business venture that followed us for 50 years. "Bandito Dodge Racing".



Traded a guy for a '59 Dodge D500 that was like new in 1962 along with cash from him to pay Pontiac off, this turns out to be the best car deal todate with the "Grumpy" one putting his skills to work. With the three speed auto transmission it could hold it's own against the competition setting the H/SA-G/SA records several times in a three year period.


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This was the beginning of my race car operation (like the big guy hero's we all followed).  I get back together with an old girl friend (you know the story - first real love), get married and then she wants to move to another state because of her mother. Flip a coin with (7) locations in mind and Denver wins. Have to sell some of my toys, '59 D500 goes down the road with some pretty nice firearms to cover costs of moving. We rent a U-Haul with a tow hitch for the '57 Olds J-2 and away we go to Colorado.


While working and racing the race cars I worked part time to off-set costs as a Tech Official for AHRA.
   1958-1960 Tech Official - Lancaster Drag-O-Way, Lancaster, PA.
   1960-1962 Tech Official - York Drag Strip (now York US 30), York, PA.
   1963 Tech Official – Atco and Vineland (once a month at each track), NJ.






The Dodges were the start of the TV and radio ads that got Jenkins Competition on the map. Those ads ran every week, everyone knew the "Good Guys" with the white cowboy hats from those Dodge dealer ads. "The Dodge Boys" Dodges were famous in those days. I spent much of my time at the station playing guard over all the race cars sitting around waiting for their turn to have Jenkins or Stahl put their magic on that vehicle. We were selling $ .24.9 a gallon gas needless to say the kids would come in get a $1.00 worth of gas and then think they could hangout. I ran more damn lookie-lou's off than you could count every night.  Fun times that will always be remembered.



Bud Faubel was a really great guy, he would get new performance parts from Mopar and sell me the used items replaced at super cheap prices. He got the parts for nothing, I was buying these items up for "his pocket change" he called it.

Next is the move to Colorado ....           "click" on the Mopar sign.