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VOLUME 14,  NUMBER 20 - NOVEMBER 2, 1968

Sanders Takes Funny Car Championships

MEMPHIS, TENN. - OCTOBER 20 -- Lakeland Dragstrip held its annual Fuel Funny Car Championships today witnessed by some 6500 fans of drag racing. Sixteen of the top cars of the nation were present with such notables as "Dyno" Don Nicholson, Dick Harell, Pete Seaton, Arnie Beswick, Hayden Profitt, Pete Gates, Biggers & Manion and Della Woods. Hometowners Larry Coleman and his Super Ford Torino along with Bill Taylor-Pat Collins and their Super-Cuda did the low et and top time honors with Sidney Foster driving the Super Ford to low et of 8.04 and Larry Arnold doing the chores in the Super Cuda with top time of 185.18.

   Clare Sanders drove "Jungle Jim's" 69 Chevy II to take the overall top purse of $2000 to be the champion of the meet. Henry Garcia drove the Car Shop Camaro to runner-up honors and Dick Harrell was to have raced the winner of a round between Roy Gay and Paul Steffansky for the second eliminator money, but both Gay and Steffansky broke on the line, so Harrell split the money three ways.

FIRST ROUNDClaire Sanders and Henry Garcia at Lakeland - October 1968

    First round competition began with Della Woods driving the "Bernella Funny Honey" Dodge Charger thru for a single when the Biggers and Manion "Bear A Cuda" broke an oil line and weren't able to run. Roy Gay then paired up against Larry Coleman's Torino for the next bout and when the smoke cleared it was Sidney Foster out front with a 8.21-184.80 to Gay's losing 8.92. Paul Steffansky's "Boss Hoss" Mustang was next up against Henry Garcia in the Car Shop Camaro. The Mustang stalled and Garcia singled with a 9.28 solo. Terry Hedrick was up next with the Seaton Shaker Camaro to face the "Kansas Badman" Terry Ivey in his new Ford Torino. It was Hedrick all the way with an 8.39-197.64 blast and Ivey shut off on the run.

   Peter Gates was the next contender with his "Gate Job" Mercury Cougar to face the Rebel SST of Hayden Proffitt. Proffitt redlighted and Gates bonzaied on thru for he automatic win. Dyno Don Nicholson now rolled his "Eliminator" Cougar up for the next round over the Bobby Woods Camaro from Birmingham, Ala. Nicholson took the final analysis of the run with a 8.41-173.74 pace with Woods shutting off early. One of the crowd favorites was "Mr. Chevrolet" Dick Harrell in the Courtesy Chevrolet Camaro and the next bout was to be between the formidable "Super Cuda". Harrell redlighted on this run but the "Cuda" proved its mettle by netting an 8.32 charge against Harrell's 8.36. Arnie Beswick crossed the line on the next round and gave the win automatically to the Tom Smallwood "Kingfish" Barracuda. Smallwood netted an 8.90 trip, but a popped windshield caused him to drop from further competition. Clare Sanders brought up the "Jungle Jim" Chevy II for a bye run of 8.56-175.43.


   Della Woods started out the next round by getting her doors blown off by Sidney Foster in the Coleman Super Ford's 184.80 run. Foster netted an 8.29 to Della's valiant effort of 9.01. Terry Hedrick lost a torque converter on the next race against the Car Shop Camaro who came out on top with an 8.82-163.33 run. The next race was to be Pete Gates in the "Gate Job" Cougar against an identical Cougar under the banner of "Dyno" Don Nicholson. When the tree gave the green it was Pete out front with one of his gate jobs and he had Nicholson covered until half way and found out that third gear was not any more part of the trans and Nicholson came through at the top end for the win with an 8.29-176.12 win. Next up was the "Super Cuda" against Jungle Jim. This was the last run of the day for the "Cuda", but it was its best as it took the win over Clare Sanders with an 8.05-185.18, garnering low et and top time of the meet up until this moment. Larry Arnold who has replaced Larry Reyes as driver did a good job of handling this resplendent car and taking another round, but the run cost him the engine and so Jungle Jim was back in via the break rule for further competition.


   Sidney Foster in the Coleman Torino went out in the next round against the Car Shop Camaro via the red glow, but in doing so he bested Larry Arnolds low et by .61 to claim low et of the meet of 8.04. Henry Garcia in the Camaro turned in a 8.58-174.75. Clare Sanders drove the Jungle Jim Chevy II to a very close 8.20 lead over Dyno Don's 8.24.


   This round would decide the money winner for this championship Funny Car Spectacular and the two big contenders were the third round winners of Claire Sanders in the Jungle Jim Chevy II against the Car Shop Camaro driven by Henry Garcia. Garcia was now suffering with a seven cylinder engine and Sanders was prepped and ready to go against anybody who dared. When the tree gave the go signal, it was Sanders out for the win with an 8.24 to Garcia's ailing 9.93 and the $2000 purse went to Sanders who had thrashed all day to win the '68 edition of the Lakeland Funny Car Championship drag races.




The preceding article is Copyright Drag News.

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