SOCIETY OF LANDSPEED RACING HISTORIANS Newsletter #20. Websites posting the newsletter are:
President's Corner: By Jim Miller.
Editor's notes: The following was sent October 2006, but just received today due to computer problems.
1) Do you know of any contacts for info on AMC Funny Car Bodies. A friend has a Grant Ind Rebel AMC
401 running engine and is interested in finding an AMC Funny Car Body (vintage with history preferred).
Thanks in advance. I hope all is well with you and yours. Michale Kacsala
Editor's notes: The following is in response to a previous letter concerning the Fossett LSR attempt and was
edited slightly. I am unable to check out sources and research facts. There just isn't time for me to do that in a
volunteer organization such as ours. When mistakes occur I will run a retraction. If there is a divergence over
honest opinions, then I will always run both sides. I try not to use Bold Face or Capitalized words because it
implies anger. Topics in racing always have some degree of divergence and we try and work out what is not
as accurate until what we have left is the truth. That is a hard commodity to arrive at sometimes when there are
so many viewpoints. But it is worth working through the issues, because that is the only way we can end up
with the absolute facts, or come as close as we can to the absolute truth. Some editing done-editor.
2) I simply must clear up a few things about the Fossett jet car. (Richard) Branson was not, in any way,
involved with the purchase of the car. (Craig) Breedlove is not involved with the car and will not be
involved the record attempts. Breedlove never was, nor will be a team operations director, consultant,
or driving instructor/coach. The shop facility in Sparks belongs wholly to Fossett's Marathon Racing
organization and has nothing to do with Breedlove. The venue secured by Marathon Racing has nothing
to do with Breedlove, nor did he have anything to do with securing its use. Whatever work was done by
the Breedlove crowd has now been undone by the Marathon Team. The car was taken completely apart
and then parts were taken apart, inspected, repaired, replaced or trashed in deference to newly designed
and fabricated parts and systems. The set-up that led to the world's fastest U-turn accident has been
totally analyzed, corrected and refurbiished to a design spec that now exceeds 800MPH. The car will
have its first test-firing in the next week or two -- the project is moving forward. In my opinion, every
thing that has been corrected is of the highest quality performed by skilled designer/fabricators -- it is
a contender. Speedy Regards, "LandSpeed" Louise Ann Noeth www.landspeedproductions.biz
Editor's notes: Here's another one of those old emails that my computer lost for awhile.
3) 23 Mar 2007 Subject: SoCal Legend Robert "Pete" Petersen Passes Away. Robert "Pete" Petersen,
founder of Hot Rod Magazine and the Petersen Publishing empire passed away today. For link to
complete details: http://www.bench-racing.com/html/news.html, Regards, Charles Rollins, Editor
4) I noticed in the Historic newsletter that I put on the web that Henry Astor had a request as to Jack
Mendenhall's dates: I got a copy of the photo of the stone that Jack has at the cemetery. It is Nov 6, 1929
- July 4, 2005. The stone that is at Jack's place is the one that the Navy gave Mark for Jack and he put
it under the steps at the Museum. You should see the floor that Mark has put in the trophy room and the
building where the bandstand was before. It is 1st class. Great improvement. Be sure and let Mark know
that you have heard about it and I was too tired to take a photo of it. Will be doing some photo work on
the website and bringing it more up to date. Thanks to a new computer program that Will Scott bought
for me to learn and use. Hope to go over on Thursday night and photograph some shots for the site.
Evelyn Roth Readers: Jack Mendenhall has to be given a great deal of credit for keeping a lot of us together
and interested in land speed and other forms of racing. His Gas Pump Museum in Buellton, California keeps our
heritage alive and the Dry Lakes Hall of Fame is located there. Evelyn Roth is the owner/manager of the
www.oilstick.com website and has been supporting us for years. She gives us a place to post our news and
newsletters. A perfect website to mark on your favorites and to post your ads. Mark Mendenhall is Jack's son
and he has kept the museum just as Jack would have wanted it. Will Scott survived 12 weeks at Black Rock
Desert, longer than any of us. He bought my brother's '69 Camaro and plans to race it at El Mirage and at
Bonneville with his son.
5) Thanks for the reply. I am afraid that I have completely forgotten what information I was looking for! I
did however have a quick look at your work on www.oilstick.com and found it very interesting. I imagine
I was trying to find dates for one of the drivers you had written about. I wonder if you would mind if I use
some of your information on www.historicracing.com. We get about 1500 unique visitors per day, mostly
from the USA. We are based in Windsor in the UK and sometimes find it hard to get information about
early drivers in the USA especially if they did not drive at Indy or in NASCAR. We would give you full
credit and link back to any site that you would like. What would be even better would be if might consider
providing us with copy for your own column of historicracing...Let me know your thoughts. Best regards
Richard Copeman, www.historicracing.com. Readers and Website owners: Would you mind linking
your sites to Mr Copeman's in Great Britain. We can use some authorities on early British and European land
speed teams and time trials.
Editor's notes: The following comes from Ken Kelley, email@example.com, and is an update of the El Mirage
meet, dated Jul 17, 2006. I'm just now getting his email.
6) The Kelley-Prentice entry #120 BGMR ran really well until 0.23 miles from the lights. Right up to when the
blower/supercharger said "bang," and the belt said "ZZZZZIIINNNNGGGG." There was just a short flash
fire that burned some wiring. Pete coasted through at 220 mph. We needed 234 to bump our record 1 mph
and stay in the points race. It's still theoretically possible to win, but unlikely. I had watched the car go through
the lights and left the starting line duties to crew member Andy Bartfay and Ray Trobee who was there to help.
I seldom get to watch my own car go down the course. I'm either driving the racecar or the pushtruck. I drove
over to the car when Pete pulled out to the right, signalling possible parts on the course or some other problem
like a fire. This alerts the safety vehicles to respond. Thermocouple readings looked good. Must have hung an
intake valve open somehow. For non-gearheads, this allows the fire inside the combustion chamber to get into
the intake manifold and ignite the air-fuel mixture, thus blowing the supercharger off the engine. The safety
restraints restrict the distance the blower can go and the weak alunimum manifold bolts are supposed to fail in
tension or break so that neither the manifold nor the blower is actually damaged. Sometimes this doesn't work
and the blower explodes violently and the impellers and the case separates and the whole thing flies high in the
air. This is more common with a nitro engine on high boost. We run gasoline at 30# boost. In our situation,
everything was kosher except one of the 8 bolts didn't break. A piece of the blower case broke instead. There
are differing opinions as to whether to try to repair it or get a new case. No hurry to decide; I have another
blower. We were considering going home to get the spare blower after the plugs looked OK and the oil filter
was clean. It was only 9:30 in the morning. That is, the 1st 7 plugs looked OK. #8 had aluminum on it. That
says we probably had a burned piston. We decided to call it a day.
LEGGITT - LINDSLEY. They had their nitro burning blown KB engine on KILL. Taking off from the
starting line, it sounded like a Saturn V moon rocket (or maybe an atomic bomb). Tremendous power! Too
much to get traction. The guys at the far end said they saw both sides of the car as it yawed back and forth
trying to get a grip on the dirt. Larry finally shut it off. They detuned it some and made a second pass around
noon or so. It was really cooking, but blew a spark plug out of the head. It blew the plug clear through the
hood! Larry stayed on it a while until there was too much smoke and then hit the chute. Coasted through at
204 mph. So, they now have have a disadvantage in the points chase also.
COSTELLA - YACOUCCI. I watched their run from the finish line. It was beautiful. That 'liner is so slick
it just knifes through the air with a "swooshing" sound. It went 262 mph. I assume that was the top speed of
the meet. They were already in 1st place for points. Rick came over later to see what had happened to us. I
congratulated him on his nice pass.
GEORGE VOSE. I didn't see his run, but went over to his car when he fired it up near us. The nitro fumes
were cleaning out everybody's sinuses. His engine sounded really strong! "I love the smell of Napalm in the
LYNNE WINELAND. Talked to Lynne and his wife a while. Hadn't seen him for quite some time. He
used to be editor of Hot Rod Magazine a few years ago. Quite a few, I think. I'll bet he has a million stories
from the early days of our sport. I'm going to get him over here soon and take a trip to "Yesteryear." That'll
QUIET EVENING. There was a very noticeable lack of dirt bikes in the area both Saurday and Sunday.
Saturday evening you could have a quiet conversation and enjoy the cool evening breeze. It was wonderful!
Perhaps the hot weather will keep them away for the rest of the season! That's doubtful. Their mission in life
seems to be to aggrivate and disturb as many people as possible. How many of you know who John Stregner
is offhand? Let me know!
Editor's notes: The following was sent June 12, 2006 and just received due to computer problems. The email
is from Gary Wolfe to Joann Neumayer, Leroy's widow and is a copy of his eulogy.
4) Leroy Anthony Neumayer passed on to greater racing on May 7th, 2006. He was 75 years old. He was
born August 22, 1930 in Carroll, Iowa to Joseph and Teresa Poeppe Neumayer and was the youngest of five
children. The family relocated to Compton, California in 1931. He started racing motorcycles at age 15 and
was soon drag racing on the streets of Long Beach. He was drafted into the Army in 1950, served three years
in Korea, was decorated numerous times, including the Silver Star, our Nations second highest honor for
Gallantry and Heroism. Upon discharge he returned to California and continued building high performance
motors, drag racing on the recently constructed dragstrips and running at the Bonneville Salt Flats where he
became one of the earliest of the “200 Mile Per Hour” club. A 1955 issue of Hot Rod Magazine featured
Leroy and good friend Roy Reed with their Belly Tank racer built from a P-38 fighter plane fuel tank. This
Ardun powered Salt Flats car also set records at Bonneville.
Leroy went on to run with nearly every competitive racing organization in the country starting with the
California Racing Association and then the International Motor Contest Association where he was “Rookie
of the Year” in 1957, driving for Dizz Wilson. He moved on to USAC, driving for most notably, Eddie
Kuzma in his Gray Ghost Sprinter and later for Jud Philps in the Konstant Hot car. During his career he held
drivers credentials with every major racing organization in the U.S. including NASCAR. During this time he
was one of a select group to represent Ford in its competitive promotions of the new Mercury Comet in racing
events in South Africa and the endurance event from the tip of South America to Fairbanks Alaska. His last
race as a driver was in a Midget at Ascot Park in 1969. During his career he became one of the most sought
after mechanics at the Speedway where he wrenched for some of the best drivers to run the Brickyard in Jim
Hurtibise, Roger McCluskey, Parnelli Jones and spending nine years with AJ Foyt where they won the 500
In 1965 he came to the Circle S Ranch at Cora Wyoming with Elmer George the son-in-law of Tony Hulman,
owner of the Indiannapolis Speedway. He fell in love with the country and soon moved to the area where he
helped Elmer guide hunters, pack meat and put up hay, but would still return to the Speedway as a mechanic
and later as a spectator, taking in the Memorial day event and visiting his many friends. He married Joann
Hicks-Dyess in 1976. For several years after he and Joann were married, he hauled cattle, fuel, heavy equipment
and worked on several ranches. Leroy is survived by his wife of 35 years, two step children, Amy Belveal and
husband Phil of Pinedale and Corey Dyess and wife Kim of Laramie, four Grandchildren, one great Grandchild
and one sister, Norma Lesperance of Apple Valley California and several Nieces and Nephews. He was
preceeded in death by his parents, three brothers, Walter, Paul and Donald and one Nephew.
After Leroy's combat experience in Korea the dangers involved at Bonneville and the open cockpit Sprint car
competition, where they sometimes reached speeds of 150 mph on the treacherous old one mile dirt ovals, must
of seemed mild in comparison. Leroy enjoyed a successful career in the old IMCA driving for Dizz, and Dizz
changed drivers often, all except for Leroy I am told. He liked Leroy because he could set up any car to handle,
could tune any engine, Dizz liked the Offy’s, could repair or fabricate body components and “He stood on the
Gas.” Leroy once told me he had developed the perfect specifications for a Sprint driver in those days. “You
had to have a size 13 shoe, wear a size 50 jacket and sport a size 3 hat.” When once asked what it took to be
a driver, Leroy replied without hesitation, ”those of us too lazy to work became drivers.”
Last year I introduced Leroy to Jack Hahn of Moran, Wyoming and the two really hit it off. Jack ran Sprinters
in the Midwest and at the Hill Climb and the two had a lot to talk about when it came to racing. It was a real
priviledge to be present at the care facility in Jackson when they got together and just listen. During the last
phone conversation I had with Leroy he told me Jack had been in to see him and “We left rubber all over the
ceiling.” Leroy made a request sometime ago that the following be read at his funeral. With the approval of
Deacon Kostelc to do so. I will add that the language is a little racy, so protect yourselves. “LIFES JOURNEY
IS NOT TO ARRIVE SAFELY IN A WELL PRESERVED BODY, BUT RATHER TO SLIDE IN SIDEWAYS,
TOTALLY WORN OUT SHOUTING, HOLY SHIT WHAT A RIDE!!!“ I would also like to mention that Leroy
has been nominated for induction into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame at Knoxville, Iowa, but the number
of votes received in the past has not been sufficient to achieve induction. I would offer to you the opportunity to
assist in this process by writing to this organization and nominating Leroy for this honor he well deserves. The
address is: National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, P.O Box 542, Knoxville Iowa 50138. Later this week, Corey
Dyess will head up to Bacon Ridge on horseback and spread Leroy's ashes at his favorite hunting camp.
Members: Jonathan Amo, Brett Arena, Henry Astor, Glen Barrett, Lee Blaisdell, Warren Bullis, Gary Carmichael,
G. Thatcher Darwin, Jack Dolan, Ugo Fadini, Robert Falcon, Rich Fox, Glenn Freudenberger, Don Garlits, Bruce
Geisler, Stan Goldstein, Andy Granatelli, Walt James, Wendy Jeffries, Mike Kelly, Mary Ann and Jack Lawford,
Fred Lobello, Dick Martin, Ron Martinez, Tom McIntyre, Don McMeekin, Tom Medley, Jim Miller, Don
Montgomery, Mark Morton, Louise Ann Noeth, David Parks, Richard Parks, Wally Parks (in memoriam), Eric
Rickman, Willard Ritchie, Roger Rohrdanz, Evelyn Roth, Ed Safarik, Frank Salzberg, Charles Shaffer, Mike
Stanton, David Steele, Doug Stokes, Bob Storck, Pat Swanson, Al Teague, JD Tone and Jack Underwood.