Page 62 - NM Spring 2018
P. 62

side of the road, I got to drive the

          In 1972-1974, Griffin match
        raced his funny cars in an injected
        circuit.  “Showmanship was just as
        important as performance when we
        were match racing so I would do
        my extra-long burnouts to excite
        the spectators and encourage the
        track owner to book us again in the
        future.  We had four regular cars
        and some extras when needed.  We
        ran at several different drag strips
        in the Southwest including Monroe,
        Louisiana and Manhattan, Kansas
        and also for Norman ‘Moose’
        Pearah at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
        In 1972 we went up north and ran
        with the UDRA circuit for a month.
        That was fun especially for me       Aerodynamics!  I also was great at   keeps up with the sport on TV and
        since I won two of the races and     leaving first.  I learned years ago   through social media, with some
        we met some nice guys like Fred      that my body clock is such that I    strong feelings about the current
        Mandoline in Chicago.  Wish I had    can leave early on the last yellow   state of the pro categories……
        gotten to know more of my fellow     instead of waiting for the green
        racers but I was so concentrated     light, thus giving me a holeshot       “Today’s cars are cookie cutter
        on tuning, driving and winning I     advantage on almost every run.  My   cars, all so similar.  And the
        didn’t take the time to socialize like   tuning skills also played a part, too.”  funny cars are all so ugly and
        I should have.                                                            unrecognizable as to whose body
                                               When asked if he had ever          they are running.  Ford, Chevy,
          “Speaking of burnouts,” he added,  thought about jumping up into the    Toyota all look the same, like a herd
        “I learned from the BEST!  ‘Jungle’   AA/FC class, he shook his head      of pregnant turtles.  Those huge
        Jim Liberman.  His three-quarter     and said, “I would’ve loved to have
        track burnouts that had spectators   competed with the ‘Big Boys’ to      ugly wings on the back make them
        on their feet cheering made a big    test my holeshot skills against      look even more ridiculous.
        impression on me.  It brought me a   theirs, but the chance of exploding    “Nostalgia racing is the best and
        lot of match race dates and dollars!”  blowers, bad fires, etc. that they go   is growing in popularity because
                                             through, and the expense of it all   there are a lot of people that agree
          Asked about his enviable record    kept me where I belonged.  I did
        behind the wheel in both unblown     race a few times against the AA      with me!  Still 1320 feet and with
        nitro classes, Ben is quick to       cars, though, winning once at Tulsa   1970s-style cars.  They want to see
        answer.  “As far as the funny cars, I   and runner-up at a couple of others.”  the ’60s and ’70s cars again like we
        put a lot of thought into their stance                                    used to run.  Speed is not the issue.
        on the track.  I ran lower front       Today, Ben is retired and spends   Watching cars go 210 mph in six
        spoilers and higher rear ones than   time as a Bitcoin trader.  He and    seconds is just as exciting - maybe
        most guys back then, making lots     his wife, Joyce, their Standard      even more so since it lasts longer -
        of down force.  The Mustang bodies  Poodle, Jazz, and Bailey the cat live   than watching cars finish a race in
        had a nice downward slope on the     in Frisco, a suburb north of Dallas.    less than four seconds at over 300
        hood and top to help out with that.    He rarely attends the races, but   mph and racing only 1000 feet.

        62                                        Nitro Madness Magazine                                 Spring 2018
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