Page 6 - Nitro Madness Magazine Fall 2017
P. 6

Shortly after that at their home
            strip, the former Minnesota
            Dragways in the Minneapolis
            suburb of Blaine, Dave had their
            car in the final round against
            Canadian Denny Darragh from
            Winnipeg.  Both cars were close
            together going into the lights at
            200 mph when the slicks broke
            loose on the BFK dragster causing
            the engine to over-rev and blow
            (Darragh also lost his engine
            as well).  As Fred Becchetti
            remembers:  “Despite the steel
            bottom-end cradle the crankshaft
            came out of our car and was run
            over, sending the car off the track   The 1967 BFK AA/FD, Minnesota Dragways, with the late Dave Anderson driving.
                                                 Colorized photo by Jim Cecil.
            into the dirt and sand where it      gas-welded by several of the team    incidentally, would later build
            flipped several times.  I watched    partners including Becchetti, who    the double-hemi Gopher State
            all this from the starting line and   said:  “We annealed most of the     Timing Top Gas dragster).  After
            was expecting the worse but Dave     welds to ensure suitable welds and   the modifications, the car was
            survived with just a broken arm.     adjacent tube strength.  In1967,     driven initially by Kalvestran and
            The car, however, was destroyed.”                                         then by Dave Anderson.  All of
                                                 the car was extensively modified
              When first built, partner          and lengthened to 182” by George     the remaining original welds and
            Terry Kalvestran drove the car       Wepplo at Minnesota Custom           critical tube sections fortunately
                                                                                      held up during the accident, but
            in 1965 and 1966, followed by        Fabricators, a SEMA-certified        watching a car flip several times
            Dave Anderson and finally with       builder approved by the NHRA         with some welds you may have
            Edstrom.  The chassis had been       under their new rules (George,
                                                                                      done can be unnerving.”

                                                                                        The partners then built a new
                                                                                      car and continued to race until
                                                                                      graduation was looming for them
                                                                                      at the University of Minnesota and
                                                                                      the team finally disbanded in 1969.
                                                                                      Becchetti had a real fondness for
                                                                                      that original car, though.  “We
                                                                                      built it in 1965 and copied Woody’s
                                                                                      ‘flexy flyer’ design where the front
                                                                                      engine supports between the top
                                                                                      and bottom rails were not welded
                                                                                      to the bottom tube but instead sit
                                                                                      on a cradle resting on the bottom
                                                                                      tube, and there were few vertical
                                                                                      supports.  By allowing the top
                                                                                      and bottom main rails to slip and
                                                                                      move relative to each other, weight
            Left to Right; Fred Becchetti, Pete Fitzgerald and Dave Edstrom - May, 1968 at NHRA
            Division 5 meet in Colorado.                                              transfer and compensation for

            6                                         Nitro Madness Magazine                                    Fall 2017
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11