Page 73 - NM Spring 2018
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parts inventory, three years ago     three runner-ups at the California   friends via cyberspace’s Facebook,
        he moved his dragster’s operation    Hot Rod Reunion.                     greeting each other with, “Dang…
        to the end space in his building,                                         it’s good to finally meet’cha!”
        into what he calls the “race shop”     John built the new N/TF car to
        (one non-auto-related business, his   mainly match race and is a tribute    There was another Tulsan at the
        wife’s hair salon, sits between the   to his old friend from nearby Sand   party that few would’ve guessed
        two.  “I don’t get any rent from that   Springs, the two-time NHRA Top    as an attendee at an affair by
        space,” he laughs).                  Fuel World Champion, Bennie          and for drag racers – Roy Clark.
                                             “the Wizard” Osborn.  It shares      Recognized around the world as a
          The race shop also offers services  basically the same engine set-up as   first-class guitar and banjo virtuoso
        such as nitrous oxide refilling,     the A-Fuel car, albeit with a blower   as well as decades as co-host with
        distributor and magneto set-up and   up top.                              Buck Owens of the popular (and
        repair as well as a large inventory                                       still running in syndication) TV
        of several grades of racing gasoline,   Now, on to the fun!  Whether it’s   show, “Hee-Haw.”  Roy, a long-time
        methanol and nitro.  The spacious    a party like this, the annual “Drag   friend of Jon and frequent visitor to
        front part is not only home to the   Geezer Reunion” in Texas or any      his shop, is a gearhead with a large
        A-Fueler but Jon’s latest go-fast toy   other get-together of drag racers, I   car collection and was also drag
        as well – the modern front engine    consider them must-attend events     racing back in the 1970s and 1980s.
        “Bennie Osborn Tribute” Nostalgia    and this one was no exception.  I
        Top Fuel dragster that will hit the   saw old friends like my high school   Later, as the crowd thinned a bit,
        strip this summer.  It was built     classmate, Bob Alberty.  Bob raced   I had a chance to sit down and ask
        per the current N/TF design with     unblown fuel dragsters before        Jon questions about his success in
        the longer wheelbase and higher      moving to his popular “Thunderin’    what has traditionally been a very
        cockpit seating, but the beautiful   Okie” Top Alcohol Funny Car and      tough business with no absolute
        paint and lettering re-creates what   was there with his son, Bob Jr.,    guarantees of staying power.
        “the Wizard” carried on his late     who currently races his own Top      Expecting a longer answer, he was
        ‘60s National Championship T/F       Dragster.  Rick Balentine, crew      able to sum it up in only three short
        cars.                                chief on Dick Moritz’ funny cars     paragraphs……
                                             and Todd Martin, racer and owner
          Brook has also added a lathe,      of Tulsa Raceway Park were both        “Well, over the years, we’ve
        mill, flow bench, Rockwell           my subjects for articles in previous   been able to develop great
        hardness testing machine, clutch     issues of Nitro Madness.  Paul       relationships with the distributors
        grinder and other goodies just       Schultz, owner and driver of the     and manufacturers.  We’re large
        for his crew’s use, keeping the      “Spirit of Tulsa” Nostalgia Top      enough now and by scrupulously
        A/F and the new N/TF capable         Fuel car and Oklahoma City’s         maintaining an excellent credit
        of putting checkmarks in the win     Larry Brown.  Yes, that Larry        rating, we can buy from distributors
        column.  The A/Fueler’s body and     Brown.  The one that famously        at the very lowest possible price
        chassis was built by Dave Uyehara    dumped the engine completely out     as well as direct from many of the
        and uses a 392 Rodeck aluminum       of Bob Dumont’s AA/FD in the         manufacturers themselves, just as
        block with Alan Johnson heads,       lights at the PRA race at Tulsa in   a distributer would.  This results
        Comp cam, Sonny Bryant crank,        1972.  The one captured forever      in saving money that we can pass
        GRP rods and JE pistons with a       in the great photograph by Steve     along to the customer.  We can
        Hilborn “shotgun” injector and a     Reyes that pops up every so often    usually sell an item for the same
        normal 98 to 100% nitro in the tank.   on Facebook.  From 1977 to 1980,   price you’ll find with an internet
        With a best elapsed time of 5.98     Larry and Jon Brook campaigned       store.  Some of those will offer free
        and speed of 230 mph, the car has    the “Okie Smoker,” a late-model      shipping, but only if the purchase
        wins at Phoenix, the 2017 March      hemi-powered Plymouth Arrow          is over, say, a hundred dollars.
        Meet, twice each at Bowling Green    funny car.  There were also          They’ll usually charge ten or twelve
        and Tulsa’s Nitro Nationals, and     several I met that had become my                     Continued on page 75

        Spring 2018                               Nitro Madness Magazine                                          73
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