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Misc. Photos from a Prior Life:
Drag Racing in the Early 60's

"The Shadow"
Owned by Dick Belfatti of Willow Grove, PA

#1: This is where I got my start with dragsters. This was built by Vernon "Smitty" Smith in a little shop a block from my house in 1959.
A Scotty Fenn "Chassis Research" TE-440 chassis, it featured a 392 Chrysler hemi. Initially it had 6 carbs and burned gasoline,
driving through a 2-speed gearbox. Then we upgraded to a 671 supercharger with Hilborn injection and the 2-speed went away.
Then we made the leap to nitromethane about the time this group of pics was shot in 1961.

Shadow 1 on trailer.jpg (19774 bytes)
  Shadow 1 and 60.jpg (11811 bytes)
 Ben Shadow 1 - 61 s.jpg (122263 bytes)  Mr Cool & Shadow 1.jpg (251454 bytes)


#2: K88 Chassis Research
Shadow 2 1961.jpg (308672 bytes)
  Shadow 2 Atco - 60.jpg (247769 bytes)



#3: Kent Fuller car, twin to Greer, Black & Prudhomme car.
(Sorry this photo is so beat up - it's been in my wallet for many years)
Shadow 3 on trailer.jpg (291076 bytes)

L-R: Don Maynard, Chris Karamesines, Dick Belfatti
shadowgreek.jpg (66516 bytes)
#3 seen also in York photos, below.


#4: Fred Allen chassis. The photo on this post card was taken at the NHRA Nationals
at Indianapolis in 1964, losing a hole shot to Connie Kalitta in time trials.

Shadow vs Kalitta - Indy Nats s.jpg (125964 bytes)
  cardback s.jpg (57194 bytes)
vodnick.jpg (107875 bytes)  Shadow 4.jpg (198827 bytes)
Bob Vodnik driving.
vodnick2.jpg (55066 bytes)  vodnick3.jpg (71780 bytes) 

#4 seen also in Vargo's, Scottsdale and Island Dragway photos below.


#5: Final stage of construction in Kent Fuller's shop in Belmont, CA in 1965. That's Fuller
on right and our driver, Bob Vodnik, on left of first pic. The blur in 2nd pic is Fuller laying a
2x4 in the nose to draw a centerline. End result on right...

fullers s.jpg (106384 bytes)  Kent Fuller - blur s.jpg (110554 bytes)
Fullers 2.jpg (51771 bytes)  Fullers 3.jpg (49433 bytes)

Here is the front of that building in Jan of 2012. It is 2 miles from my daughter's house!

DN 3-27-65 w.jpg (80394 bytes)  Ad on page 23:  732 w.jpg (118444 bytes)

Long Beach: 3rd out of state car ever to win! (Pete Robinson & Karamesines were the other 2)
shadow5.jpg (65322 bytes)
Ben & Bob V, Long Beach win.jpg (197751 bytes)
Hey, I just noticed the date: that was my 23rd birthday!

With paint:

   Shadow 5 1.jpg (143626 bytes)



32(?) Bantam (American Austin)
The body nearly ended up on a retiring dragster to revive it as a competition coupe.

Bantam cp ft s.jpg (88106 bytes)
  Bantam cp sd s.jpg (81647 bytes)


Atco Dragway, NJ 1964 (?)

2 unidentified rails take off.
Atco s.jpg (91042 bytes)

Arfons jet.
Arfons jet - Atco 2s.jpg (99952 bytes)
  Arfons jet - Atco s.jpg (98881 bytes)

Connie Kalitta's Bounty Hunter (Plymouth power).
Kalitta - Atco s.jpg (80123 bytes)

Sox & Martin.
Sox & Martin at Atco s.jpg (77597 bytes)

Charlie Seabrook straight-8 Buick.
Seabrook Buick s.jpg (94577 bytes)


Vargo's Dragway

Bad crosswind gust: Vargo's lost the finish line lights to our header and tire, and in the process Joe Nocentino caught our parachute.
Vargos ad.jpg (276723 bytes)  Broken Shadow 4 - Garlits - Vargos 63 s.jpg (112605 bytes)  Vargo time slip s.jpg (34629 bytes)

Unidentified rail red-lights at Vargo's.
Vargos - red light s.jpg (78804 bytes)


York US 30 Dragway

Shadow #3. Could have been the night of the big engine blow, below.
That's my back in right photo, foot on bumper.

shadow.jpg (40073 bytes)
  shadowyork1.jpg (79329 bytes)
shadowyork2.jpg (72776 bytes)

Badly blown engine!
(ya think?)
Broken 484-2 s.jpg (103981 bytes)
  Broken 484 s.jpg (113352 bytes)
Broken 484-3.jpg (30608 bytes)  Broken 484-4.jpg (44914 bytes)

Karamesines Chizler in front of the watering hole near York Dragway.
Chizler at York watering hole s.jpg (82056 bytes)


Connecticut Dragway

Chevy s.jpg (112982 bytes)  Injected chevy s.jpg (148166 bytes)
Dead End Kids - Ct Dragway s.jpg (101590 bytes)  Dead End Kids 2 s.jpg (112382 bytes)


Bee Line Dragway, Scottsdale, AZ
1965 AHRA Winternationals

Chris Karamasines "Chizler"
(Light colored 63 Caddy in background is our tow car)
Chizler at Scottsdale s.jpg (134768 bytes)

E.J. Potter, the "Michigan Madman" Chevy-powered motorcycle.
EJ Potter - 65 s.jpg (152059 bytes)

Bud Faubel's "Honker", one of the original altered wheelbase "funny cars".
Honker Scottsdale - 65 s.jpg (95291 bytes)

Shadow #4
(Check the light bulb!)
Shadow 3 at Scottsdale 65 s.jpg (96237 bytes)  Shadow 3 Scottsdale - 65 - chk light bulb s.jpg (95756 bytes)

Connie Kalitta's cammer Ford "Bounty Hunter".
Kalitta at Scottsdale 65 s.jpg (143288 bytes)
  Kalitta cammer s.jpg (127631 bytes)

Ramchargers Scottsdale 65 s.jpg (143052 bytes)  Safford Gade Rattigan - chk valve cover s.jpg (123345 bytes)


Island Dragway, Great Meadows NJ

Shadow #4.
Shadow 4 - Gt Meadows s.jpg (91187 bytes)  Shadow 4 Gt Meadows 2 s.jpg (99492 bytes)

Don Garlits Swamp Rat #?. Below he runs 199 mph.
The next day he turned 200 for the first time at Cecil County MD.

Garlits - Gt Meadows s.jpg (118132 bytes)
  Garlits at Great Meadows s.jpg (119671 bytes)
Garlits runs 199 s.jpg (95076 bytes)


Speaking of Cecil County, that's where I spotted this cool hemi-powered Model T phaeton.
Hemi T - Cecil County s.jpg (115773 bytes)


I still have these:

Front            Back
100_2948e.jpg (140564 bytes)  100_2947e.jpg (142658 bytes)

I worked in Frank Bash's engine shop in the early '60s.
We did "Grumpy" Jenkins' balancing for years.

100_2949e.jpg (103829 bytes)

This suede leather jacket was awarded by York US 30 Drag-O-Way for our first time out on fuel. Belfatti couldn't fit into(!) it so he gave it to me.
I recently donated it to the Eastern Museum of Motorsports Racing where it now hangs on display. 

100_2951e.jpg (188612 bytes)

On display at EMMR
EMMR_3801.jpg (157761 bytes)
  EMMR_3836.jpg (160446 bytes)  EMMR_3806.jpg (105723 bytes)


2006 York U.S. 30 Reunion
Legion of Honor

Dick Belfatti and Don Garlits inducted!
82040867_Gyh6U-M.jpg (77950 bytes)
  82040868_3ro79-M.jpg (78445 bytes)


This Week Magazine
From the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin
August 16, 1964

TWM 8-16-1964 cover w.jpg (159481 bytes)

TWM 8-16-1964 1 w.jpg (96819 bytes)

TWM 8-16-1964 2 w.jpg (217819 bytes)
TWM 8-16-1964 3 w.jpg (142312 bytes)


I found these 4 letters I sent home while on the 1965 California trip.
They detail a lot of what happened on that trip.

Jan 31, 1965
01-31-65 p1e.jpg (119517 bytes)
01-31-65 p2e.jpg (108226 bytes)

Feb 8, 1965
02-08-65 p1e.jpg (130173 bytes)
02-08-65 p2e.jpg (130038 bytes) 02-08-65 p3e.jpg (135679 bytes) 02-08-65 p4e.jpg (131200 bytes)

Feb 16, 1965
02-16-65 p1e.jpg (147860 bytes) 02-16-65 p2e.jpg (117329 bytes)

Mar 8, 1965
03-08-65 p1e.jpg (128600 bytes) 03-08-65 p2e.jpg (132238 bytes) 03-08-65 p3e.jpg (135648 bytes) 03-08-65 p4e.jpg (133085 bytes)


National Dragster
May 5, 2000
(Bob Vodnik sent me this clipping in 2000)