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DRAG NEWS

VOLUME 12,  NUMBER 5 - JULY 15, 1966

LAKELAND HOSTS W H B Q DRAG FESTIVAL

By Larry Grace

MEMPHIS, TENN.--JUNE 2--The Western Tennessee Timing Assoc. and WHBQ Radio teamed up to put on the greatest drag racing spectacle ever seen at Lakeland. There was a field of five AA/F Dragsters running for top honors, and five hundred dollars. There was also two hundred dollars put up for the first car to go over two hundred miles per hour. But unfortunately, the old record of 199.28 still stands.

 

   The day got under way with the WHBQ Disk Jockeys having a non-sense race. The official starter for this race was the lovely Miss Mary Margaret Smith. Oh! by the way, she is Miss Tennessee Universe. As the race got under way, a cool head by the name of John Froland swept through a field of four other Jocks, to take top honors. His competition was composed of tricycles and wagons, but he was riding a two horse-power mini bike. His reward was a kiss from the WHBQ Drag Festival Queen.

DJ race at Lakeland.

   
   Next from smokesville, came the first round eliminations of the AA/ Fuelers. First, it was Bill Mullins going against Mike Heims. When the green lights came on, both machines moved out of the hole together as it appeared to be a close race. But when the smoke cleared it showed Bill Mullins the winner with an 8.05 et at 185.94 mph. Next on the line it was Ronnie Hampshire here from the west coast going against the Maynard A/Fueler, who with a lot of luck, hoped to bluff his way through the competition and take home the money. With Hampshire doing a giant wheelie coming out of the hole, slamming down and breaking. It looked as if he might know what he was doing. He registered a 9.10 at 154 mph. Upon returning to the pits, Hampshire let it be known he would repair his car and make a couple by runs to try and capture a new strip record and grab that two hundred dollars for a two hundred mile an hour ride. The final battle of the first round was to be between Billy Balkcomb's Chevy powered AA/Fueler and Raymond Godman's Chrysler powered machine driven by Sonny Atkinson. As the two cars pulled to the line, the Balkcomb car appeared to be leaking oil very heavily. It was shut off, moved back to the pits, and trailered. Godman's Tennessee Bo Weevil made a solo and grabbed the high speed of the day. He turned a very impressive 7.84 at 194.38 mph.

   After the cars were cool enough, we ran the second round of the match race. The Kingfish again got a half second spot and proved too much for the Gene McClanahan A/Fueler, as the dragster pulled a five foot wheelie out of the hole and forfeited all hopes of winning the match) The Kingfish traveled the distance in 9.61 seconds at 155.37 mph. Next came the second round of the AA/Fuel run offs. Bill Mullins made a solo, and Godman ran the Maynard A/Fueler. Maynard fell to defeat as Bo Weevil driver Sonny Atkinson backed out of it on the big end to save the engine for his next and final round. Then came Ron Hampshire to make a final try for the two hundred mile an hour money. When he pulled to the line this time, he had the top, label, and everything in the fuel tank. He came out of the hole this time with all four on the ground. I have heard of lightin' em up. But never like Mr. Hampshire did here today. Not only was there a tremendous amount of smoke coming from under those huge slicks, but there was also a long red flame The engine blew before the car got through the mile per hour traps. But he set a new Lakeland record for the low e.t., and one of the quickest I have ever seen. He turned a blistering 7.29 et.

   This left two cars still in the running. As soon as they were cooled, Bill Mullins and the Be Weevil were pushed off. As soon as both cars were staged and ready, they were given the green light. Both cars shot out of the hole together. But Mullins ran out of smoke too quick, and saw the Bo Weevil cross the finish line in front. Atkinson drove the car to an 8.20 et at 188.29.

 

WHBQ Drag Festival -1966 See a WHBQ photo of the local celebrities in the official car at this event.

 


The preceding article is Copyright Drag News.
Thanks to David Rubenstein for supplying this article.  Thanks to Alex Ward for the photograph.

 
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