SOCIETY OF LANDSPEED RACING HISTORIANS Newsletter #28. Websites posting the newsletter are:
President's Corner: By Jim Miller.
Editorial: Someone mentioned to me that the SLSRH has a lot of heavyweights in it. I looked at my girth, but that
was not what he meant. He meant that we have people who have spent a lifetime working in and around land
speed racing and hot rodding and know a thing or too. We do in fact have some heavyweights, skinny ones in
person, but big in spirit and dedication. Which makes it all that more important that each and every one of us
write our own biographies, caption our photo albums, put our files in order so that we can pass that information
down to the next generation. If we don't then we will lose what we have. Painfully, that happened when Wally
Parks passed on. David and I were working hard to put down all the data that he had and which he remembered
so that his book could make the November 7th date for the Museum's 70th Anniversary of the SCTA opening
exhibit. Dad went in the hospital for what appeared to be physical therapy on a slight hip fracture and we
expected that he would be coming out and going back to his keyboard. We had no idea that he would get a
staph infection and that it would end his life. None of us know when something small will turn into something huge.
I need material for the newsletter and that means that each of you needs to do your life stories. From there you
can help out by interviewing your friends and fellow racers. But it all starts with YOU. Once your photos have
been captioned and your life stories told, you can expand from there. Many of you have written your stories, but
as Jim Miller likes to add, HAVE YOU? I love to read what you write and I do book reviews for the websites.
You don't have to publish what you write, but you do have to write it. Another person told me, "I can't write very
well." That doesn't matter. Only you can tell your story and we don't care how well you write, stories are
stories. Jim, myself and others will help you, but our schedules are so full that you must start now and we will
catch up to you. To recap; WRITE, CAPTION and record your life for your children and the rest of us. Only
you can do it.
1) Hello, I am interested in how I might get a copy of Every Sunday Drag Races. I have been looking for
old photos or printed material re the old Santa Ana Drag Strip for a long time. I was fortunate enough to
have been able to race there from mid-1953 to early '55 in Heavy Gas Overhead Class. Would love to
re-live some of those days. Bill Jaques, email@example.com. Bill: The booklet was made
from old newspaper clippings, xeroxed and put in a book format by Don Tuttle. There aren't many of them
available and the only way to get one is to contact Leslie Long, who might have a copy left that he would part
with. I wrote about it as a book review because I use my copy constantly for historical purposes and it is
absolutely the Gospel on the Santa Ana Drags. Tuttle was one of the the announcers at the Santa Ana Drags
and has passed away. Long assisted Tuttle in compiling the Every Sunday Santa Ana Drag Races and is
actively compiling data on that racing track. Write your biography of your experiences and pass it on to me
and I will publish it in the Gone Racin' by-line and keep a record of it to add to what we know of the Santa
Ana Drags. Our main focus is land speed racing and hot rodding, but we do have a love for those early drag
racing tracks. There are only a few left from that era to tell the story and we would be glad to see it go public
on our websites.
2) I believe that Dave Seely recently joined the SLSRH but his name doesn't appear on the members list.
Dave is the son of Jim Seely and is now co-owner of the Darwin Beetle along with Rick Cannon, nephew
of Ted Cannon. Jim and Ted Cannon were founders of the Throttlers Club. Just a reminder! Regards.
Thatcher Darwin Thatcher: Dave is now on the list.
3) Hope that you're having a great Thanksgiving! Put Gale Banks on the list. Have you got an e-mail
for Jim Miller? Thanks - Stokes Doug: Gale is on the list and Jim Miller's email address is on the way.
Editor's comments: Several members have asked me for email addresses. Most of you know each other and
it isn't a problem to share email addresses, but my policy is not to send out newsletters without BCC'ing (Blind
Carbon Copying) or hiding the email addresses. It is also the courteous thing to do, because even though our
members might not abuse an email address, if the emails show up on the newsletter, which is published on
websites, then the entire world can get access to them. An alternative is to create a SLSRH Email Directory,
which I can send out to you on request. What do you think? If you want an email directory I will create one.
Also, if you do not want your email to appear in print or in any future directory, please let me know so that I
can honor your wishes.
4) I was at the November El Mirage meet and took almost 300 pictures. How long a story would you like?
I got there Friday afternoon about 4P and was there until the meet was called due to wind on Sunday. I
can cull the pictures down to some significant ones, cut them down to managible size, zip the file to speed
up the transfer and e-mail them to you. I assume you have PKZip, if not, I won't zip the files. Let me
know. Bob McMillian Bob: The size of the story does not matter. Kelley sends us some very long ones
and we run them. As Roger can attest, my stories sometimes are quite long, the one on the Grand National
Roadster Show totalling 14,000 words. What we want to avoid is having the spam filters stop the Newsletter
from going to our members. Write the story as you wish and then send it to me. If it goes longer than 5 or 6
computer screens in length, then I will divide it into Part I and II and run it as a serial. The photos are another
thing. I try not to be a middle man for the websites where the photos are stored and shown to the public. So you
should send the photos to the websites, especially Evelyn Roth (www.Oilstick.com), Mary Ann Lawford
(www.HotRodHotLine.com) and Jim Miller (American Hot Rod Foundation, www.ahrf.com). You can also send
your story at the same time as the photos to the websites. The only thing that will go into the Newsletter that I
send will be your story. The readers must go to the websites to see the photos. Someday I may become computer
literate and be able to use attachments, but for the time being I can only do this much. Make sure that you cc Jim
Miller with any photographs that you send to the websites. Jim is not only our President, but a film curator for all
photos. He never leaves his home anymore, dedicating his life to cataloguing and archiving our land speed racing
photo heritage. Thank you for putting this story together. A goal of the SLSRH is to compile ALL of the time
trials all the way back to the first one in 1927. Or earlier, according to Jim Miller.
5) I agree about Jim Travis. He set me straight on a number of key issues about the So Cal Coupe (or
should I say the Jim Travis Coupe) which resulted in a 2-part story in R&C. Yes a story on Jim would be
interesting. We talked for quite awhile at the Gas Up about his involvement with the Challenger. I didn't
realize he never asked for a dime to restore it. Dick Martin Dick: My brother, father and I have
known Jim Travis for a long time and yet there are so many things that we don't really know about him. That's
one reason that I do these short stories and keep them so that I can go back and refresh my memory. Travis
has done so much and is so quiet. Don Francisco and Jim Travis went to a lot of events when Don was alive.
They were like a father/son team and Francisco teased Jim constantly. I remember when we were all at Black
Rock in '97 and Francisco would take Jim's cigarettes and hide them. Don hated tobacco smoke and Jim was
addicted to cigarettes. Jim knew that Don had hidden them and didn't ask Francisco, because if he did he would
get a lecture, which he hated. Travis would cuss like crazy until he found them, but as soon as he turned his back,
Don would take them and hide them again. Once he put them on the top of the motorhome cab and Travis was
stuck in traffic and couldn't pull over to get them. They finally slid off the top and Travis ran over them. I only
saw Travis with a tear in his eye twice. Once when he smashed those cigs and the other time when his friend,
Don Francisco, passed away. Those two loved this torment. Do the story for us.
6) I received your #27 newsletter yesterday and read, with great interest, the blurb about Jim Travis. Jim
and I have know each other for many years, and I admire him greatly for many things, not the least of
which are his efforts to restore significant race cars. Well after reading the newsletter, I was off to
Irwindale for Turkey Night 07. I am sitting in the stands watching qualifying, and what to my wondering
eyes should appear but the smiling visage of none other than Jim Travis's son Randy. Right behind him
was Jim hisself. We had a brief "old home week" in the aisle and they took seats about four rows behind
me. I no more than settled back in my seat when Warren Bullis (esteemed SCTA Treasurer, among other
noteworthy accomplishments) appeared. The red sleeve on the right margin of the attached photo
belongs to Warren. Anyway, the main point of this communique is to inform you of probably (in my
humble opinion) Jim's greatest single achievement. About 8 years ago, in conjunction with the trip to
Lake Gairdner in Australia by a number of SCTA people for a dry lakes event (talk about a long distance
trip to go racing), Jim had occasion to meet Don Francisco. Don, as we all know, was and shall always
be one of the legends of our sport. Well, that event fostered a long term friendship which lasted until
Don passed away. At the time of their meeting, Don was still an active pilot and routinely flew himself
to and from Bonneville. One year on the way home, Don encountered some exceptionally bad flying
conditions and decided that he longer should be flying. A subsequent conversation with Jim led to Don
accompany Jim to Bonneville that year in Jim's motor home. Don enjoyed the experience so much that
he continued going to Bonneville with Jim until he passed away. I talked to Don a number of times and
he told me how much he enjoyed Jim's friendship. Jim feels that he got the best of the arrangement,
since he got to spend all those hours on the road with Don talking about the old days at the Lakes,
Bonneville, and all the other events Don attended over the years. Jim is now a walking historian of all
of Francisco's memories, and I greatly agree that those should be preserved for future generations of
racers who only know Don Francisco by name. Last year I had arranged to interview Joaquin Arnett,
to record his recollections of his many accomplishments. Unfortunately, prior to finalizing the arrange-
ments, those memories were taken away by Alzheimer's. We cannot let that happen again with Jim, and
others like him who have this vast storehouse of knowledge which is patiently waiting to be recorded. I
know we are all busy, with various things which seem important, but preserving all of this accumulated
knowledge is the most important thing we can do for future generations. All of us need to sit down, take
a little time, and set down these memories so they do not slip away when we shuffle off this mortal coil,
so to speak. I will now climb down off my soapbox and start working on mine. Bob McMillian
Members: Jonathan Amo, Brett Arena, Henry Astor, Gale Banks, Glen Barrett, Lee Blaisdell, Warren Bullis,
Gary Carmichael, Jerry Cornelison, 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,
Ken Kelley, Mike Kelly, Kay Kimes, Jim Lattin, Mary Ann and Jack Lawford, Fred Lobello, Dick Martin, Ron
Martinez, Tom McIntyre, Don McMeekin, Bob McMillian, Tom Medley, Jim Miller, Don Montgomery, Mark
Morton, Paula Murphy, Louise Ann Noeth, David Parks, Richard Parks, Wally Parks (in memoriam), Eric
Rickman, Willard Ritchie, Roger Rohrdanz, Evelyn Roth, Ed Safarik, Frank Salzberg, Dave Seely, Charles
Shaffer, Mike Stanton, David Steele, Doug Stokes, Bob Storck, Zach Suhr, Pat Swanson, Al Teague, JD Tone
and Jack Underwood.