Thursday, December 17, 2009

My favorite racing story ever...

Stock car racer Bob Flock, wanted for moonshine running, drove onto the track at Lakewood Fairgrounds on the pace lap. The cops immediately followed. Madcap hijinks of the lights'n'sirens variety ensued for a couple laps, culminating in Flock driving his race car off the track and through the streets of Atlanta, Johnny Law in hot pursuit, until he ran out of gas. This resulted in one of the all-time great racing quotes:
"I would have won that race if the cops had stayed out of it."
You just don't get that kind of entertainment in Formula 1. Come to think of it, you don't get that kind of entertainment in stock car racing these days, either, although I can picture some Finn in a decal-slathered Subaru doing it.

21 comments:

OA said...

I can't figure out why the Southeast doesn't get behind WRC. Fast cars on dirt roads lined with drinking revelers cooking over open fires. It's what NASCAR should have been. Then again I pretty much just described Talladega...

Jay said...

+1 to OA
I just can't see how running shine on back country roads translates into 500 miles of left turns. i honestly think the issue is with advertising more than anything else.

pdb said...

My favorite racing story is also from NASCAR(ish). Boris Said was making some money warming a seat on a 3 truck team when his engine blew halfway thru the race. On the back straight of the oval and still coasting at triple digit speeds, he radioed his crew: "Hey, y'all need a yellow?"

They demurred.

Ride Fast said...

[...] Save NASCAR, bring back Flock [...]

That is flat out hilarious.

Ken said...

My favorite racing story is from Roseholme's back yard. In the 1912 '500, Ralph DePalma and riding mechanic Rupert Jeffkins had a sizeable lead late when their Mercedes Grey Ghost threw a connecting rod. It finally croaked on the backstretch of the last lap...

...and DePalma and Jeffkins got out and pushed it the rest of the way. They were DQed, but it's the kind of "all go no quit" that makes me love sports in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Ah, sadly, NASCAR is now basically SLOTCAR racing.

That's not a slight on the drivers, but that's the best way to describe it. Boring as hell, there's only so much identical cars doing identical, boring laps I can take, with the monotony broken up only by the occasional wreck...

It's all about the advertising...

alath said...

My favorite auto racing story is the 1935 German Grand Prix. Nine Nazi-funded state-of-the-art Goliaths versus one Italian Tazio Nuvolari in the David role, driving an obsolete, underpowered Alfa Romeo for Enzo Ferrari. Hitler was there, and eager to see one of the German cars to win. He'd heavily bankrolled Mercedes and Porsche. The German cars were technically superior in every way, and their teams were professionally organized in a way that would be recognizable to a racing team manager today (not so the disorganized French, British, and Italians). The track was the legendary Nurburgring, a 14 mile suicide circuit through forested mountains. Manfred Von Brauchitsch, nephew of the Generalfeldmarschall, held an apparently insurmountable lead going in to the the last few laps. Nuvolari drove brilliantly the entire race, just to keep his hopelessly outclassed car in the hunt, but going into the last few laps he began performing miracles, gaining on Brauchitsch, maintaining the pressure, and forcing Brauchitsch to out drive his tires. Nuvolari nipped him at the wire and stole the German GP from under Hitler's nose.

I can't believe this thing hasn't been made into a movie.

For more: http://www.grandprixhistory.org/ger1935.htm

alath said...

OK, now it's on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATWZgxlCknw

The white (silver) cars are the Germans. The dark (red) one is Nuvolari.

Watch Nuvolari dirt track sideways at about the 43 second mark. Dude had some serious stones.

Frank W. James said...

The Sixties were probably the absolute apogee of American racing and American Racing Drivers. In the taxi-cabs you had Junior Johnson, Curtis Turner, Fireball Roberts and a whole bunch of characters who didn't know how to spell 'press agent', let alone use one.

In open wheel, you had drivers like Foyt, Andretti, the Unsers, Jim Hurtubise, Parnelli Jones, Eddie Sachs, Don Branson and a whole bunch of others who would just as soon as throw a punch as drift sideways through the 1st turn and into the short chute at Indy.

In short, they drove because that was what they believed they were meant to do and it had nothing to do with the 'right' ride, being 'fan' friendly, sponsors, t-shirts sales, or all the things that today's drivers do.

Those old guys in both venues were just happy to DRIVE and make a little money doing it for however long they were able to stay alive.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Ken said...

You make a case, Frank, but I'd extend into the '70s for the taxicabs ;-) at least, to get the heyday of King Richard and Cale Yarborough and guys like that. Mario Andretti and Richard Petty are my all-time favorite drivers.

Windy Wilson said...

My favorite story is the one with Danny Sullivan at the Indy 500, spinning out on the back straight, but still travelling in the correct direction, albeit with unplanned rotation. At one point after a number of rotations, when the car was pointed in the right direction again, he "popped the clutch" and went on to finish the race. Usually such spins do not end so well for the driver and crew.

My other favorite story involves Danny Ongais who only needed ONE set of brake pads for his entire (first?) season. His theory on going fast was to not go so fast that he would have to brake. He was known as "Danny-on-the-gas".

DirtCrashr said...

Eddie would go.
Eddie Rickenbacker that is, he was a madman in cars before he flew planes.

reflectoscope said...

I admire WRC because it is the extreme of development of streetable cars. Sideways on dirt a 100 miles an hour? Almost enough to make me want to hook the teleweiner up to something.

Jim

JP said...

I've a few good stories of my own racing, but I'll not inflict my own racing past on y'all.

My favorite racing is WRC.
A good WRC story is from Portugal one year. This was Post Group B, and the Ford team was running Escorts (Possibly as a Group N) and as anyone who has seen a WRC event in Portugal, they barely get out of the way of the car, and the real "brave" try to touch the cars going by.
After a stage, the driver brought the car into service and the crew found a finger stuck in the rear wing.


Group B was great stuff.
Also known as Killer B's. The ultimate expression were the mid engined sub compact cars running turbos and supercharging making around 1000 bhp and 4 wheel drive.

Audi had the run of B for a few years, then everyone else caught up and passed them, as Audi has poor balance as the engine is too far forward.
Anyhow, you can see here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ts29KKhKXds
Walter Röhrl driving through "Bushes" at speed in an S1 Quattro

Top of the Chain said...

In reference to cops chasing crazy Finns, I'd like to relate a short story about John Buffum.

It was the early 1980's and Buffum was competing in I believe a Lancia with so much power it was stupid. He was competing in the Rallye in the 100 Acre Wood. The local sheriff was not impressed with the rally or anyone associated with it to say the least. Buffum was on the stage and it was hot, meaning cars were at competition speeds. All of a sudden Buffum sees flashing lights in his rear view mirror. The sheriff was going to arrest Buffum and anyone else he could catch. Buffum, already thumbing his nose at authority by competing in a socially unacceptable manner downshifts and leaves the local yokel in his dust. I don't know what was more impressive.... the fact that the early 80's popo POS could catch a then state of the art rally car or that the rally car walked away from the POS.

Jeffro said...

Then there was Bob's brother Tim, who raced unsuccessfully with a rhesus monkey in the car.

JP said...

Don't forget Fonty and Ethel. . . Gotta Lot Of Flocks in NASCAR

tjbbpgobIII said...

Bobby and Donny Allison, Daytona 500, best finish and a win for Richard Petty who was 1/2 lap down at the time. I can't imagine any of the drivers today even having a cross word. I really don't pay attention anymore but I did hear where one driver threw a paper cup of coke at another. Bring back dirt track.

JP said...

you must be referring to 79 and the crash and then the fight between Donnie and Bobbie vs Cale.
Cale is a tough little fellow.

tjbbpgobIII said...

JP, they were all tough then, they had to be. I still can't see any of this new crop doing anything like that. Probably got a no fighting rule in their contract.

JP said...

the no fighting is a nascar rule now