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  • Writer's pictureDavid Story

Check the timing

I am showing my age but as a teenager, I remember waiting for the April issue of Hot Rod Magazine. In it would be pictures, commentary, and articles on the current batch of cars being prepared for the coming Indy 500 race. It was fascinating to look at what the racers and owners had created. There were Rambler six-cylinder engines with turbos, small-block Chevys with Hilborn injectors, tube frames built on shop floors, side-mounted driver pods, off-set suspensions, etc. I loved it. Today everywhere it seems to be some form of spec racing.

I understand why spec cars are necessary, but I struggle some with the sanitized and sterilized corporate racing programs whose cars are designed with sophisticated computer programs, and the assembly areas are cleaner and better organized than a hospital operating room. Today downforce and aerodynamics have become the determining component of a winning car, not the driver. If you doubt me, just look at the current F1 situation.

I miss the ‘git-er-done’' spirit and creativity of the cars that were built in some gear-heads backyard garage. Remember Lil’ John Buttera and his like. I miss the days when the little guy could get it done and did. Men like Kelly Petillo who drove his own car and won the 1935 Indy 500 and a chicken farmer named Shelby and Phil Remmington could create the Cobra.


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