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The 1968 Manufactures FC Championships-O.C.I.R. (1 Viewer)

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Nitro Member
This was year #2 for the largest booked-in Funny Car race of 1968, the 2nd annual Manufactures Funny Car Championships at East Irvine, California's Orange County International Raceway. unreal people!

THE TEAMS
Chevrolet
1.Jungle Jim
2.Doug's Headers
3.Bruce Larson
4.Ward & Guzman's Assassination

Dodge
1.Nelson Carter's Super Chief
2.Gene Snow
3.Charlie Allen
4.Rodger Lindamood's Color Me Gone
5.Al Vanderwoude's Flying Dutchman

Ford
1.Tommy Grove's Going Thing
2.Dick Loehr's Stampede
3.Gas Rhonda
4.Boss Hoss
5.Stone-Woods-Cooke

Mercury
1.Fast Eddie Shartman
2.Jack Christman
3.Dee Keaton
4.Kenz & Leslie
5.Pete Gate's Gate Job

Pontiac
1.Lew Arrington's Brutus
2.Jess Tyree
3.Gene Conway
4.Rusty Delling's New Breed
5.Super Bird

Plymouth
1.Don Shumacher's Stardust
2.Fred Goeske
3.Candies & Hughes
4.Super Cuda
5.Big John Mazmanian

That would be 6 teams at 5 cars per team, 30 cars.

The Alternates
1.Burkhart & Schmidt
2.Rich Hammon's Samson
3.Gordon Mineo
4.Steve Bovan
5.Lee Jones
6.Psycho Mustang
7.Ray Alley
8.Souza Brothers
9.Eddie Pauling's Whinemaker
10.Parts Mart
11.Secret Weapon
12.Destroyer Jeep
13.King Rebel
14.Clyde Morgan
15.Randy Walls
16.Doug's Javelin
17.Vicious Too
18.Raunchy
19.Trojan Horse
20.Blue Fox
21.Travelin Javelin
22.Kansas Badman
23.Mako Shark
24.Larry Reyes

That is 24-cars on the property as alternates folks, 54 Funny Cars on the ground!!

General Admission:$4.00 Pit Pass:$1.00
Reserved Seat spect. Side:$5.00
Reserved Seat Pit Side:$6.00
Children 12 and under: Free.

What a stout line up this Saturday night, Novemeber 23rd, 1968.

More on my view and experience that day with my dad later. Oh yea, both Lions and Irwindale had good meets that night as well, we had it so good!


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Al

Nitro Member
This was year #2 for the largest booked-in Funny Car race of 1968, the 2nd annual Manufactures Funny Car Championships at East Irvine, California's Orange County International Raceway. unreal people!

THE TEAMS
Chevrolet
1.Jungle Jim
2.Doug's Headers
3.Bruce Larson
4.Ward & Guzman's Assassination

Dodge
1.Nelson Carter's Super Chief
2.Gene Snow
3.Charlie Allen
4.Rodger Lindamood's Color Me Gone
5.Al Vanderwoude's Flying Dutchman

Ford
1.Tommy Grove's Going Thing
2.Dick Loehr's Stampede
3.Gas Rhonda
4.Boss Hoss
5.Stone-Woods-Cooke

Mercury
1.Fast Eddie Shartman
2.Jack Christman
3.Dee Keaton
4.Kenz & Leslie
5.Pete Gate's Gate Job

Pontiac
1.Lew Arrington's Brutus
2.Jess Tyree
3.Gene Conway
4.Rusty Delling's New Breed
5.Super Bird

Plymouth
1.Don Shumacher's Stardust
2.Fred Goeske
3.Candies & Hughes
4.Super Cuda
5.Big John Mazmanian

That would be 6 teams at 5 cars per team, 30 cars.

The Alternates
1.Burkhart & Schmidt
2.Rich Hammon's Samson
3.Gordon Mineo
4.Steve Bovan
5.Lee Jones
6.Psycho Mustang
7.Ray Alley
8.Souza Brothers
9.Eddie Pauling's Whinemaker
10.Parts Mart
11.Secret Weapon
12.Destroyer Jeep
13.King Rebel
14.Clyde Morgan
15.Randy Walls
16.Doug's Javelin
17.Vicious Too
18.Raunchy
19.Trojan Horse
20.Blue Fox
21.Travelin Javelin
22.Kansas Badman
23.Mako Shark
24.Larry Reyes

That is 24-cars on the property as alternates folks, 54 Funny Cars on the ground!!

General Admission:$4.00 Pit Pass:$1.00
Reserved Seat spect. Side:$5.00
Reserved Seat Pit Side:$6.00
Children 12 and under: Free.

What a stout line up this Saturday night, Novemeber 23rd, 1968.

More on my view and experience that day with my dad later. Oh yea, both Lions and Irwindale had good meets that night as well, we had it so good!


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Talladega Announcer

About the alternates : Did they run in time trials only if one of the team cars didn't break ?
And where would they place an AMC Javelin or a Jeep ?
 

junglevsbrutus

Nitro Member
Oh boy, this is my favorite Mfrs. Meet—in fact, it's my favorite drag race of all time! Mark, going by your team list I wonder if you referred to the OCIR souvenir program. Because some of the final teams changed quite a bit.

CHEVY: The gorgeous Assassination Corvair made an early check out pass. That resulted in a big wheelie that damaged the chassis. Guzman's FC had to withdraw and was replaced by the Blair's Speed Shop Camaro.

FORD: I don't know why SWC or the Boss Hoss didn't race but they were replaced by a pair of near identical Torinos—Coleman's Super Ford w/ Sid Foster driving and Terry Ivey's Kansas Badman.

PYLMOUTH and DODGE raced as listed. So did MERCURY but w/ a huge asterisk. They only raced part of Rd. 1 and here's why. Halfway through the opening round a thick fog blanketed the strip which forced a 1-week postponement. But on that second SAT night it drizzled which made SUN afternoon the final actual race date. Schartman, Gates and K&L couldn't return while Chrisman and Keaton chose to race at Lions.

PONTIAC also raced as listed but for some of the newer fans the Superbird might need some clarification. This was Gordon Mineo and Tom Sturm's '68 Firebird FC painted in maroon and silver. Mineo would go solo in '69 w/ his butterscotch-rainbow-white Flash Gordon Firebird. Sturm returned to his Just 4 Chevy Lovers Corvairs.

We've talked about the transition from steel-fiberglass AWB funny cars to the flip-tops. The '67 Mfrs. Meet teams reflected this period w/ both types of FCs in competition. But there were still many AWBs at the '68 Mfrs. Meet. PONTIAC had Gene Conway's Hemi-Bird and the New Breed.
CHEVY had Kelly Chadwick's tilt-forward Camaro. FORD's Gas Ronda still had his "crack in half" Mustang where the front tilted forward and the rest flipped up in the standard manner. Further, the alternates that actually raced included a few AWB cars: Psycho, Secret Weapon and Destroyer Jeeps.

1968 was the year FCs took a giant leap in terms of wild psychedelic paint schemes. This 2nd annual event showcased the new flopper fashion w/ the best collective paint of all the Mfrs. Meets! So many teams wore their some of their most exciting paint schemes ever including the Super Chief, Rambunctious, Flying Dutchman, Doug's Headers, Stardust, Maz, Grove, Brutus and so many more. But one particular standout was Roger Lindamood's Color Me GONE. Roger first appeared w/ a terrible looking FC, a black primered Charger covered in flower power stickers and horrible shoe polish lettering. He and Jess Tyree were about to stage when a sudden fog bank rolled in and postponed the race. So the GONE and Tyree Headers FCs were the first to do burnouts when the race resumed 8 days later. During the week Dennis Ricklefs had applied a gorgeous combination of blue-purple-orange which included some fun "splotch" effects. This was the Color Me GONE Charger that raced in '69. However, here at OCIR it had yet to be lettered. But it still looked fantastic!

Another "best' for this Mfrs. Meet was the variety of body styles. I don't think it was ever surpassed. Ford had Mustangs and Torinos, Dodge had Chargers and a Dart but best of all was Chevy w/ 3 Camaros, a Nova and a Corvair! Soon each team would be represented by one body style and two was rare. Of course, the majority of FCs still ran true matching bodies, motors, trans and even rear ends!

Not shown in Mark's alternate list was the Warlord and King Fish Cudas. The Warlord in particular was an amazing looking FC, resplendent in maroon lace, lime green, gold, blue + a menacing dragon! Another good looking FC that didn't race was Larry Reyes' own butterscotch and lavender Cuda. Although he raced it at previous SoCal fall season races he chose to drive the Super Cuda at the Mfrs. Meet. Years ago Larry told me this decision was based upon his gratitude to owner Bill Taylor, who gave Larry his first major ride in the '66 King Fish. Larry would then join Roland Leong's first effort, the Hawaiian Charger in '69. Meanwhile, Candies & Hughes raced the Larry Reyes Cuda at Beeline and Pomona. Then it was sold to Paula Murphy which she drove at the '69 Mfrs. Meet.
 
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Cliff

Nitro Member
One thing I forgot was when the Max ran that 6.72, it was the first of the narrower bodies. Before the Max, the cars were a lot wider, maybe close to stock in width? Anyhoo, the Max was the first "next gen" car. At that race, Gary Cochren in his front motor T/F car had made a check out pass at 6.72. The Max ran a 6.72 later that night & it was just unreal. I think Big John Maz ran a 6.86 or like that & it was just wild with those ET's. F/C was always about .3 slower than T/F cuz of weight, until the last few years, where it has narrowed to .2. I still think the F/C cars of the 70's look cool, even today. The F/C of today don't look like the cars they represent, so let's change the name to Fuel Streamliner..... heh heh
 

[email protected]

Nitro Member
No James, I did not get the line up from the program. This was the last line up list before the actual race and obviously there was some shuffling and there was a few booked cancellations. Did ya notice the rather high admission prices, my dad pitched a mild fit about how much it cost.


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[email protected]

Nitro Member
Just recalled, the traffic jam getting out that foggy night was one of the worst ever my buddies told me afterward, it wasn't for dad and me cuz once again we parked way out there, about the first row when you drove in and not near the ticket booth/starting line area. My dad was a master of finding the best spot to park for easy get-a-way. When the ocean fog rolled in we knew, dad had weather esp, we headed to the car to put our gear away just in case knowing we could go back as we had reserved seats. Just as we got to the car, they called it. Dad and I and about 2 other cars were on our way out before the throng. We did go back for that Sunday finish.


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junglevsbrutus

Nitro Member
Cliff, 1970 was the first year NHRA permitted the narrowed bodies w/ a 6" max. But several teams continued to race their LSC Stage I's and II's (or similar) wider chassis. That's why we saw so many rounded out rear wheelwells on '70 bodied FCs like the King Fish and King & Marshall Cudas. Much like the AWB to flip-top transition the narrow chassis/dragster cage took a few years to completely overtake the classic Logghe design that had dominated FCs since '66.

M/T's twin '69 Mach 1's showed hints of the coming change w/ a dragster cage but it wasn't as narrow as the '70 season chassis. I believe the first can be credited to Woody Gilmore's early '70 FCs. That would be the Ramchargers and Diamond Jim Challengers. The Rams were credited w/ the first official 6-sec. runs, won the Springnationals and were r/u to Shoe at Indy. Diamond Jim w/ Mike Snively also ran very hard in CA. However, it's easy to forget that many top performing FCs raced the old style chassis MUCH longer than we might think. And they remained competitive throughout 1971.

So let's take a peek at '70s best performers. I'll center this around NHRA's national event winners but will include a few key events and record breaking runs too. 1970 began w/ Hawaiian-Reyes winning Pomona. That was still an LSC Stage II. The first Gators was won by C&H. Leonard Hughes was driving Don Hardy's transitional style chassis—dragster cage but still a wide chassis. The r/u was Larry Reyes in C&H's '69 Cuda. Reyes actually ran quicker than the team's new Cuda w/ a 7.10 but purposefully lost the final. The '69 Cuda had Hardy's version of an LSC Stage I—a '68 design!

A few weeks after Leroy Goldstein won the Springnationals he broke the 6-sec. barrier at NY National. His Springnationals best was a 7.03. But right behind him was Kenny Safford in Mr. Norm's Charger at 7.04. Norm's Charger still had an LSC Stage I! York PA hosted the first Summernationals. After 2 r/u's Snow's Rambunctious Challenger finally won. He almost dominated the rest of NHRA's season. The York r/u
was Gary Richards' Black Shadow Mach 1. Both used LSC Stage II chassis. The Chi-Town Hustler won the Pop Hot Rodding Championships in AUG. They were still racing their '69 Charger which featured a wide chassis and dragster cage. It would race for another 12 months, replaced by the '71 Chi-Town Challenger.

Don Schumacher's first '70 Cuda also ran a Stage II chassis and the body was OEM width. A few weeks prior to Indy he debuted Buttera's narrow chassis/dragster cage Cuda. Shoe promptly nabbed OCIR's $1000 bounty for the track's first 6-sec. FC run. Then he won Indy over the Rams. C&H copped Low ET w/ a 6.80 using Hardy's transitional chassis. Gene Snow returned to the winner's circle at the World Finals. He defeated Whipple-McCulloch's Cuda which had Fletcher's narrow/dragster cage chassis. Snow ended his greatest season by winning the Supernationals. Both he and the r/u Larry Arnold barely made it to the starting line and both broke in the final. And the King Fish was yet another Stage II chassis.

Earlier I mentioned how Annin-Snively won a lot of CA races. The other dominating CA Challenger was the Dodge Fever, campaigned by the Beebe Bros. It was the first to attain an NHRA national record for a 6-sec. run. This was a 6.99 at OCIR's September Div. 7 race. Believe it or not the Dodge Fever still ran a Stage I chassis! With regards to the Blue Max, Harry Schmidt and Jake Johnston began '70 w/ a FC that debuted in OCT '69. It was originally just lettered "Harry Schmidt" on the doors until '70. That Don Hardy chassis was a near duplicate of an LSC. By '70 Beeline the Mach 1 had its "Blue Max" lettering in place. Jake drove the Blue Max to r/u behind Tom Grove's late '68 "Going Thing" Stage I at the AHRA Winter Nationals. I just found a Steve Reyes photo essay where he says the original Blue Max and rig were totaled in a JUN towing accident. Its replacement was one of Don Hardy's first narrow/dragster cage designs. That's the Blue Max that ran the amazing 6.72 at the Mfrs. Meet and won the race. Rich Siroonian's best that night was a 6.81, in Rd. 3 and again in the final. Big John's '70 Cuda was an Exhibition Eng. narrow/dragster chassis.

I think the engine and trans developments probably kept those old chassis competitive through '71. Still, LSC, the old standard of the original flip-top concept, saw the writing on the wall and began to make narrow/dragster cage chassis for 1971. One of their first efforts helped the Hawaiian to repeat at Pomona. Other new style LSC funny cars included Snow's 2 Rambunctious Chargers, Bergler & Prock and Brutus Mach 1. Yet, 2 "ancient" chassis did well in '71 at NHRA national events. Bobby Rowe placed r/u to the Rams-Goldstein at the Gators. Rowe's Super Duster still ran Hardy's version of a Stage I. Jungle Jim, who won NE Dragway's FC Nationals—a 32-car elimination marathon—used a Stage II. JJ didn't get his first narrow chassis until early '72. And the last wide chassis NHRA winner was Larry Arnold's King Fish at the '71 Supernationals. He defeated Big John's Gilmore Cuda in the final when Snively broke the rear end. Still, that 6.72 was one of the greatest FC runs ever. We were at that '70 Mfrs. Meet and it was sheer bedlam when the number came up on OCIR's scoreboard. I'd go so far as to say it was the single greatest run in the history of the fabled Mfrs. Meets!
 
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[email protected]

Nitro Member
Dodge was the winning team in 68 at the County. Beebe,Lindamood, Snow, Allen and Vanderwoude. Siroonian nabbed Low ET late with a 7.48 after Shumacher held it with a 7.50ish I recall. Snow ran 204 and 205 for Top Speed. Took forever for Snow to run as he was pushed back by hand after the "burn thru,lol." He had that direct drive stuff. It was a heckuva event even though it took a lot of days.



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Cliff

Nitro Member
James, thinking of the Chi Town Hustler that you described. Didn't that car have the engine offset to the right so driver could see better? And the car was kind of a left hand drive car? That car was a legend. Saw Jungle drive it once at OCIR. Thanks for the info on the 1970 meet & history of the Max. Was also thinking that some of the funny cars had chassis that didn't look too different from Pro Stock, kinda, sorta, like a full cage VS a dragster type cage. The Max chassis doesn't look too much different from a 2021 F/C chassis. Did have 3 point roll cage & I know some of the F/C had only 120" wheelbase, altho the engineering has radically changed from the 70's. The chassis today just don't look that much different, altho I know they are.
 
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junglevsbrutus

Nitro Member
Cliff, it sure did!
If you can get a good left side photo you can see how the escape hatch actually reached the side window opening. Coil and Minick raced the first Chi-Town Charger for a full 2 years—from its debut at the JUL '69 Rockford Mfrs. Meet to just before the '71 IHRA All-American Championships at Bristol in AUG. That's when their '71 Challenger debuted. Minick drove it to r/u against the winner, Gary Dyer in Mr. Norm's Challenger. During its life the CTH Charger wore 3 distinct paint jobs. The first was the best, done by Dave Puhl's House of Customs. It had a soft yellow glow on the white side panels plus a "meandering tape line" design on the rear deck. But a trip to Hawaii after our fall '69 season ended up damaging the roof while in transit. The 2nd paint was a bit funkier w/ a more roundy looking "Hustler" lettering and a brown glow around the same white panels. The 2nd paint raced until the late summer of '70. Then it was repainted a 3rd time. This final paint looked very close to the 1st but there was no yellow glow or meandering tape line design at the rear. But casual viewers often can't tell the difference. That 3rd version was the one that raced at the '70 Mfrs. Meet.

I have the ND coverage of the race you mentioned. It was OCIR's All-Pro event which featured an open 8-car eliminations. The race occurred on 12-27-70. JJ qualified both his Camaro and the Hustler, crazy huh? But ND says JJ chose to drive the Hustler cause the Camaro suffered several burnt pistions during qualifying. Jim Dunn's "discount FC" won the event, defeating Snow's Challenger in the final. If that wasn't enough he did it again 5 days later at Irwindale's New Year's Day race, an open 16-car eliminations. Tom McEwen's battered Duster was the r/u (everything front the windshield forward was in gray primer). Two days later Snow won Fremont's New Year's Day race, this time over the Snake's flashy new flamed Hot Wheels Cuda.
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
Jim Dunn's car was as quick as anyone. I usta hear stories that it was underweight, and Dunn had a lead lined helmet that he left in the seat when the car was weighed, so it would pass inspection. Maybe, maybe not, but the car ran a lot of races & he could run with the best of them. I think it had a 392 Chrysler engine.
 

junglevsbrutus

Nitro Member
Mark, it's so heartwarming to hear how your dad was into drag racing and took you to so many races. My father, uncles or friend's fathers weren't fans at all. To this very day I can't believe how we got them to drive us to the major drag meets, especially OCIR which was an hour away! When we got very desperate we would take a local bus to the downtown LA Greyhound station. From there ride the Greyhound bus to Santa Ana, then take a taxi to OCIR. But getting home was much more difficult. One time we hitchhiked to the Santa Ana Greyhound station. Then we napped on a park bench until 6AM, waiting for the Greyhound station to reopen!

The '68 Mfrs. Meet's winning Dodge team had to be the best looking bunch of FC winners ever. Green FCs were rare but here we had two of the very best, the multi-green and gold Super Chief and the mint green Flying Dutchman. Snow's Rambunctious Charger was his best ever, a beautiful job by Nat Quick in candy red, deep blue w/ gold accents over the red. I've already mentioned the shocking transformation of the Color Me GONE Charger. The 5th Dodge member was Charlie Allen's Dart. It didn't have fantastic paint like the others but its bright red and silver was a handsome look, and Dart FCs were very rare by '68.

A Drag News photo caption says Snow ran 205.00 but it wasn't during the 3 rounds of team racing. It may have been a check out pass and therefore not an official race run. Snow did run the 204.08 in Rd. 3 to defeat the Stardust. But Shoe got the final spot by running a 7.50 while
defeating JJ's Nova in Rd. 2. Big John-Siroonian hit 7.48 in Rd. 2 to defeat Kelly Chadwick's AWB Camaro. The Rambunctious' 204.08 was the first time we saw a 200 MPH funny car run. To put Snow's 200+ runs into perspective the closest anyone got to that was Shoe's 196.50 and the Super Chief's 196.06 by Dave Beebe. But these weren't Snow's first on the West Coast. There was a NOV 9th OCIR funny car race where he hit 205.46 and another 205 (DN didn't give the hundredth digits). Tommy Grove's new "Going Thing" Mach 1 also ran a 200.00. This was the same race where Shoe recorded the astounding 7.38 at 202.70. This was the '68 equivalent of the '70 Blue Max's 6.72 because the best FCs were in the 7.5 range!

As far as Snow taking so long to back up w/ no reverser, SS&DI has a photo of EIGHT people pushing the big Charger back to the starting line.
And one of them is a photographer w/ his camera in one hand! 😜 The grand final was Siroonian defeating Schumacher, 7.61 to 7.93 when Shoe split the driveshaft. The Stardust kissed the guardrail and subsequent photos show a thin black line running through the Crane Cams logo. It was a fantastic race and I'd have to say Big John Mazmanian's career triumph.
 

ocdart

Nitro Member
Wow, does this thread bring back a ton of memories!
I was there at OCIR and remember the fog, the drizzle and the beautiful paint jobs. Big John's 'Cuda FC was absolutely gorgeous with his signature candy red paint and gold leaf lettering.
I lived in Whittier at the time not too far from Irwindale, but OCIR was always my favorite track.
Again, thanks for bringing back all the memories.
 

junglevsbrutus

Nitro Member
Cliff, SS&DI reported another rumor about Dunn's featherweight Cuda FC at the '70 Mfrs. Meet.
It says, "...and only later do you learn that when the car went over the scales the parachute was draped inside the car, covering what is reported to be 300 lbs. of lead so the car can make the 1900 lb. NHRA minimum weight." 😮
 

junglevsbrutus

Nitro Member
"About the alternates : Did they run in time trials only if one of the team cars didn't break?
And where would they place an AMC Javelin or a Jeep?"—Allan Kean


Allan, no, they were simply available if needed. At the '68 event the participating cars wore 3 types of big OCIR neon orange stickers. For the first 2 years the team cars were selected by OCIR manager Mike Jones. Each team member wore a "1" sticker which meant if you won a match you earned 1 point. About 2 cars per team were selected as specific team alternates. If those cars were called upon to race they'd earn 1/2 point and their sticker had "1/2" on them. The remaining alternates were considered floating alternates. If called upon they couldn't earn points. They could only act as blockers so their stickers read "0."

The team-designated alternate FCs matched their chosen team. For instance, Burkhart & Schmidt's "Doran" Camaro was a Chevy team alternate and the Psycho Mustang was a Ford alternate. But if a team-designated alternate failed to fire or appear a floating alternate ran w/ no concern for its body style. The floating alternates that actually raced during the event included the Secret Weapon and Destroyer Jeeps, along w/ the King Rebel AMC. And here's something I never thought of until now. Gene Conway's candy orange-black roof "Hemi-Bird" Firebird raced on the Pontiac team. Previously he had driven the Destroyer Jeep. I wonder if Gene drove both FCs at the '68 Mfrs. Meet or if someone else drove the Jeep. Lew Arrington did drive both his new Firebird and old GTO for the Pontiac team at the '67 Mfrs. Meet!

After '68 the rules were simplified. There was just one kind of alternate and they could only block team cars from earning points. Also, the OCIR stickers were used just one more time. This was for OCIR's spring version of the Mfrs. Meet called the Big Four Championships. Then, when the '69 Nov. Mfrs. Meet came around the rules were drastically changed. Now race was now an open qualifying meet which occurred on FRI night w/ the race on SAT night. The 6 teams were reduced to 4: GM (Chevy-Pontiac), Ford (Ford-Merc), Chrysler (Plymouth-Dodge) and the Saturday Morning Cartoons-inspired Wacky Racers. Those were either mismatched motors (ala Brutus and Frantic Ford running Hemi power) or AMC's and Jeeps. The '67-'68 teams consisted of 5 team members. The '69-'72 teams consisted of 8 team members. By '70 the Hemi-powered cars were so numerous the Wacky Racers team was dropped and Chrysler was divided into 2 teams to create the 4th.

Personally, I much preferred the invitational format. This ensured that we California fans who waited all season for the Eastern stars would see them compete at the marathon Mfrs. Meets. But much too often those cars would run poorly and several locals would qualify better. So the '70 event had JJ, Flash Gordon and Whipple-McCulloch not racing on their respective teams. In '71 it was even more drastic. The Fighting Irish, Ramchargers, Whipple-McCulloch, Custom Body, Bergler & Prock, Drag-On Vega, Big John and Shirley all failed to qualify. That would've been a top draw show outside of California! I think the lack of a guaranteed spot contributed to the big drop off Eastern stars in '72 and thereafter. It's why I consider the '71 event to be the last great Mfrs. Meet.
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
When this race first started, didn't they have rules that Ford & Mercury cars had to be Ford powered, Chevy / Pontiac with Chevy engines, Dodge & Plymouth with Chrysler engines? And then later an "outlaw" class for Fords, GM, AMC, etc with Chrysler engines. I never remember any AMC F/C (Javelin, AMX) that ran AMC engines, with the exception of Hayden Profit, who had a real AMC engine in his car on nitro.
 

Al

Nitro Member
"About the alternates : Did they run in time trials only if one of the team cars didn't break?
And where would they place an AMC Javelin or a Jeep?"—Allan Kean


Allan, no, they were simply available if needed. At the '68 event the participating cars wore 3 types of big OCIR neon orange stickers. For the first 2 years the team cars were selected by OCIR manager Mike Jones. Each team member wore a "1" sticker which meant if you won a match you earned 1 point. About 2 cars per team were selected as specific team alternates. If those cars were called upon to race they'd earn 1/2 point and their sticker had "1/2" on them. The remaining alternates were considered floating alternates. If called upon they couldn't earn points. They could only act as blockers so their stickers read "0."

The team-designated alternate FCs matched their chosen team. For instance, Burkhart & Schmidt's "Doran" Camaro was a Chevy team alternate and the Psycho Mustang was a Ford alternate. But if a team-designated alternate failed to fire or appear a floating alternate ran w/ no concern for its body style. The floating alternates that actually raced during the event included the Secret Weapon and Destroyer Jeeps, along w/ the King Rebel AMC. And here's something I never thought of until now. Gene Conway's candy orange-black roof "Hemi-Bird" Firebird raced on the Pontiac team. Previously he had driven the Destroyer Jeep. I wonder if Gene drove both FCs at the '68 Mfrs. Meet or if someone else drove the Jeep. Lew Arrington did drive both his new Firebird and old GTO for the Pontiac team at the '67 Mfrs. Meet!

After '68 the rules were simplified. There was just one kind of alternate and they could only block team cars from earning points. Also, the OCIR stickers were used just one more time. This was for OCIR's spring version of the Mfrs. Meet called the Big Four Championships. Then, when the '69 Nov. Mfrs. Meet came around the rules were drastically changed. Now race was now an open qualifying meet which occurred on FRI night w/ the race on SAT night. The 6 teams were reduced to 4: GM (Chevy-Pontiac), Ford (Ford-Merc), Chrysler (Plymouth-Dodge) and the Saturday Morning Cartoons-inspired Wacky Racers. Those were either mismatched motors (ala Brutus and Frantic Ford running Hemi power) or AMC's and Jeeps. The '67-'68 teams consisted of 5 team members. The '69-'72 teams consisted of 8 team members. By '70 the Hemi-powered cars were so numerous the Wacky Racers team was dropped and Chrysler was divided into 2 teams to create the 4th.

Personally, I much preferred the invitational format. This ensured that we California fans who waited all season for the Eastern stars would see them compete at the marathon Mfrs. Meets. But much too often those cars would run poorly and several locals would qualify better. So the '70 event had JJ, Flash Gordon and Whipple-McCulloch not racing on their respective teams. In '71 it was even more drastic. The Fighting Irish, Ramchargers, Whipple-McCulloch, Custom Body, Bergler & Prock, Drag-On Vega, Big John and Shirley all failed to qualify. That would've been a top draw show outside of California! I think the lack of a guaranteed spot contributed to the big drop off Eastern stars in '72 and thereafter. It's why I consider the '71 event to be the last great Mfrs. Meet.

WOW. Thanks so much for sharing your vast knowledge with us. That answers my questions with fascinating info. Thanks again.
 
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