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Cool. The engines were in the right place and so were the drivers. While I was watching this video I was reminded that dragsters didn't always have reversers. None of the old diggers had a reverse, and, burnouts were not done in the old days either. And then there were the shields around the blower belts. This came about during the phase of using a motorcycle chain to drive the blowers. In the beginning, prior to the use of the cog belt, guys used multiple V-belts to drive the blowers, but of course, they slipped, so guys started to experiment with chains, and hence, the chain guards.
 

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Diggers didn't do pre-run burnouts back in the day? Why not?
Because they had no reverse gear. High gear only with only the depression of the clutch to disengage the engine from the rear end. Most of the tracks around here in SoCal had the dragsters push started on the track itself, starting at about the 1000' mark and pushing down towards the starting line. The procedure was as soon as you were rolling to ease the clutch out and make sure there was some oil pressure, turn the fuel valve on and when the push car hit about 70 or 75 MPH and honked the horn, to hit the mag switch. The engine usually barked to life right away and then it was pull back hard on the brake handle (a hand brake) and not run over anyone on the starting line while making the criss-cross turn into the opposite lane to make the pass. At some of the narrower tracks, you couldn't make that hard a 180-degree turn, there wasn't enough room. So guys would grab the rollcage and pull you back and then you could straighten it out and stage the car. The first time I ever saw a burnout was at Bakersfield. This track had the fire-up lane on one side of the track, kind of like a return lane, so you could fire up, stop the car, do a short burnout and keep going up to the starting line. Still no reversers.

To save time at Lions, when they were running the 32 and 64 car top fuel meets, they installed rollers right behind the starting line, which looked like a chassis dyno, and then started the cars on the rollers.
 

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whats the story about how they got the tires to stop hazzing..i know back in the day they would haze the tires to about 1000ft or so..aint it like some one put a clutch disk in backwards or some odd shit like that..
 

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whats the story about how they got the tires to stop hazzing..i know back in the day they would haze the tires to about 1000ft or so..aint it like some one put a clutch disk in backwards or some odd shit like that..
I hadn't heard about that one. I know that alot of guys started sliding the clutches with their foot. These were single disk clutches at the time. In the beginning it was always the tires vs. the horsepower. The early tires were terrible and so guys were backing out the HP and sliding the clutches. Then as the tires got better, the engines needed more HP to keep from bogging off the line. This trade off was going on all the time. There was nothing automatic about the clutches "locking up" at a certain point. If you let the clutch out, it was locked up. So the drivers began to learn how to do this only with their clutch foot. As the engines started to make big horsepower, sliding the clutch became rather dangerous and we had a rash of clutch explosions because of the excess heat. Mike Snively died as a result of a clutch that let go and cut the car (and part of Mike) in half. This was at Orange County International Raceway and it was very ugly. The multi-disk clutches came on after that one.

In the '60's and early '70's, there were the gas dragsters and the fuel dragsters. NHRA had banned nitro so all the national events were gasoline only. The gas dragsters could not run the fuel tires, they were too big and bogged down the gas cars off the line. The best blown Chryslers on gas were only making about 900 HP where as the fuel Chizlers were making about 1500 HP. The car that we ran in Top Gas was a dual engined SB Chevy combo called the Freight Train. The 'Train's biggest advantage was that we could run the big tires. We had enough torque out of the hole because of the dual engines. This was a big advantage at the time.

AT tracks like Lions, Fontana, Irwindale, OCIR, San Fernando, they always had both a Top Gas and Top Fuel show.
 

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Somebody had the bright idea to control clutch slippage by the design and setup of the clutch, rather than with the driver's foot. I think they were called slider or slipper clutches.
 

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Somebody had the bright idea to control clutch slippage by the design and setup of the clutch, rather than with the driver's foot. I think they were called slider or slipper clutches.
This came with the multi disk clutches. In the beginning there were no multi disk clutches. If you remember, the dragsters would typically blaze the tires all the way through the lights. It was not unusual for the tires to never hook up on the run.
 

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I'm too young to remember, but in all the period videos I've seen, there was lots of tire smoke. It kinda makes the current FEDs not as fun to watch, for me anyway.
 

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You are more than welcome ratchet, it's fun for me to reminisce too.

We were talking about the diggers hazing the tires through the lights, which reminded me of something. The helmets. The helmets in those days were all open faced helmets and you could always tell which drivers were fuel dragster drivers versus gas dragster drivers by there helmets. The fuel driver's helmets were all pocked marked on the top, gouged out like they had been used for shot gun target practice. You might have read about Pat Foster talking about "sliding low in the seat" nearing the stripe. I used to stand at the finishline and watch the drivers. They did what I called "bowing to the 6-71 God". As they approached the stripe, they would bow their heads until they were looking almost straight down at the floor of the car, trying to have the top of their helmet face toward the engine. Care to guess why? It was usually right near the lights that an intake valve would hang open, causing the entire intake manifold and 6-71 blower, both full of nitro, to let go in a mighty blast, and blowing the blower peices back on the driver. Getting hit in the face with a bunch of 6-71 pieces at 200 MPH could prove to be fatal and so, the drivers tried to get the top of their helmets to take the hit instead.

These guys were a hearty bunch.
 

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ok I have a question?
since they used the strip to start(push start) them up,or they might have had tracks with rollers...how did one start one up say in the garage to check it out at home?
 

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ok I have a question?
since they used the strip to start(push start) them up,or they might have had tracks with rollers...how did one start one up say in the garage to check it out at home?
I hesitate to admit how we did that, LOL. I'm sure that we were like eveyone else in this matter. If we raced on Saturday and Sunday (the usual practice, Long Beach on Saturday, San Fernando on Sunday or something like that), we would take Monday off, and tear both engines down on Tuesday (the fuel car, the Pulsator) and clean eveything up (new rings and bearings) and get everything back together by Friday. Then we had to make sure it ran, right? We would put in a couple of gallons of straight alky (just like we did at the track to warm up the car in the pits before we ran it. On a run we would drain out the alky, install the nitro plugs and fill the tank with 98% nitro) and around midnight, we would take the digger out on Crenshaw Blvd. in Torrance, and push it down the street at about 70 and fire the thing up. Very simple and we never got caught, ever. We did this every fricken Friday for about 4 years. The dogs would bark and the cats would go crazy and a few porch lights would go on, but that was about it.
 
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