Things I Would Never Admit in Public

My best guess on the year this happened would be summer of '67. I had a '65 Chevy Impala SS, it was the classiest car I had ever owned. The color was Evening Orchid (a purplish/pinkish gray) and it had a white SS interior. It was a 250 hp 327 with a powerglide transmission. All I remeber doing to it was add dual exhaust and put on an aftermarket air cleaner. For what it was, the car was fast, beautiful, and drove like a dream. The car was somewhat intimidating to faster cars. I ran some fast cars and pissed some guys off. I ran 300 hp speed cars, running up to 80-90 mph and they would only have a door or fender on me. Guys used to open the hood just to see what was so special, whatever it was it was not obvious.

One weekend i headed to Nashville, Illinois dragstrip with a couple car loads of friends. I remember my buddies Bill, Ronnie, Donnie, and maybe a few more went there. I remeber in my class there were two '65 Ford Galxie hardtops. Whether it was legal or not, I don't know, but instead of brake torqueing it off the line, I would rev it in neutral to about 3 grand and drop it in low and shift out about 70 or so. I came off the line like it had a 4 speed. Both of the Fords were 352 automatics and they ran just the same against me. I would get them a car length off the line and they would start pulling on me. The first one I got by a fender but he was coming on strong. The second guy may have run a little better and I got him by maybe half a fender. If we had been running another hundred feet they would have got me. When I picked up the time slip, the guy was grinning, I thought maybe he was glad a Chevy beat the two Fords. On the return road people were pointing, cheering, yelling, hell, I didn't know, it was the first time I had won my class at a dragstrip and I thought that was the way people acted when you won. When I got back to the pits the guys were laughing their asses off. My buddy Ronnie was literally rolling on the ground. I parked the car and got out and wondered what the big deal was. Ronnie yells, "the girl in the Chevy wins". I said what? again he yells loud enough everyone in the pits hears him, "the girl in the Chevy wins, ha ha haha" and everyone was laughing again! Now remember the year was 1967. The Beatles were still fresh, long hair was not a common hair style, especially in southern Illinois. It seems the announcer had good enough eyes to see some blond hair sticking out the bottom of my helmet, Well, maybe he didn't have such good eyes! Anyway, I guess he thought I was driving a chick car.

Well, at the end of the day I took my timeslip up to pick up my trophy, but this was not my lucky day, or so I thought. The guy ahead of me got the last first place trophy. Well, the gal handing out the trophys looked around and said "I'm sorry, no more trophys". Then looked at the back wall and saw the track jackets hanging there, turned around and picked one off the rack and handed it to me and said "will this work". All right! Somehow, it is one of the few things that wasn't around when I got out of the Navy years later. There are not many Nasville Dragway jackets around, but I do know of another one that survived, I don't think it's for sale though.