The Auction You Weren't Invited To
What happens when an industry bigwig decides to clean out his garage? More cool artifacts than a King Tut exhibit. To continue the 2006 theme of party-all-the-time 60th anniversary events, So-Cal Speed Shop founder and former CC editor, Alex Xydias, attended a gala in his honor-and gave back in the form of auctioning off a little history to benefit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California. In the audience were recognizables such as Parks himself, Vic Edelbrock, and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. In fact, Billy forked over $12,000 for Alex's original pith helmet, worn when he set the first land-speed record at Bonneville in 1949. His first "fire suit" (a silk-screened T-shirt) fetched $1,100, and even an autographed poster board of the Oct. '49 cover of Hot Rod was up for grabs, bringing in $4,200. All told, the museum landed $32,050. -Tori Tellem
The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida, has inducted 11 new members into its hall of fame. Here's a glimpse of why. They are in alphabetical order, not by prettiest:
Arnie Beswick: "The Farmer" has been credited with being the first person to drive a stock-bodied car to break the 9-second e.t. barrier, as well as the 8-second. He won the A/FX and B/FX in 1963 and plans to compete in 2006, his 51st year of racing.
Jim Brissette: An engine builder and tuner, he has been behind winners of the NHRA Top Fuel championship and the IHRA World Championship.
Gordon Collett: After winning the '64 NHRA Nationals, he was handed the keys to a brand-new Mustang. Nice. He was constantly ranked in the top three on the Drag News Top Gas Mister Eliminator list.
Jim Deist: While working for a parachute manufacturer, he experimented with a chute on a dragster. Mickey Thompson suggested he make the Drag Chute a commercial item, and next thing you know, Deist Safety was formed.
Jim Dunn: Number 27 on the NHRA list of Top 50 Drivers for the First 50 Years and recipient of the Special Recognition Award at the Car Craft magazine All-Star Drag Racing Team in 2000, he's been a driver, tuner, and the star of his own movie, Funny Car Summer.
Steve Gibbs: He's been a manager of dragstrips, vice president of competition for the NHRA, a name behind the modern Safety Safari, and the person who formed NHRA Historical Services. In 1991, this magazine gave him the All-Star Ollie Award for career contributions to drag racing.
Bruce Larson: In 1965, he drove a Ford Cobra to national records for the NHRA A/Sports and AA/Sports, and also had wins at the Winternationals, Springnationals, and U.S Nationals. Sporting USA-1 colors, he had to reveal the first all-fiberglass, Camaro-bodied Funny Car and set records in Funny Car racing as well.
Joe Lunati had a reputation for racing ugly cars. He set eight records and won Street Eliminator at the Indy Nationals in 1966 and 1969. Joe transitioned from building and racing to building racing and performance parts via Lunati Cams.
Joe Mondello: An engine builder, driver, and designer, he won back-to-back IHRA Comp Eliminator titles and set a class record at the '69 NHRA Indy Nationals, which stood for 10 years, until the class was dumped. In the late '60s, Car Craft named him both All-Star Team Engine Builder and All-Star Team Crewchief.
Shirley Muldowney: She was the first woman licensed to drive a Top Fuel dragster, to win an AHRA and NHRA professional national event and a professional NHRA Winston World championship (three times), and she was honored with a Car Craft Ollie. Plus, there's the 18 national event titles and records she set.
Jon Asher (Founder's Award): A photojournalist and writer for the NHRA, AHRA, and IHRA, he was even editor of Car Craft and co-owner of the Jade Grenade Top Fuel dragster. (He didn't do those things at the same time, so don't worry Glad, you have nothing to prove. Enjoy that Twinkie and nap.)-Tori Tellem