Where Jack Crashed

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Was de­lighted to read about the best year in drag rac­ing his­tory—1966—in the Sept. 2017 is­sue (“Power Strug­gles”) of my fa­vorite magazine. One glar­ing er­ror popped out, though: Jack Chris­man’s earth-shak­ing, top­less, blown Cam­mer-pow­ered Funny Car burned to the ground af­ter run­ning off the end of New York Na­tional Speed­way way out on Long Is­land, not York US 30, at the Su­per Stock Na­tion­als. I know be­cause my fa­ther was driv­ing us (I was a car-crazed 13 at the time) into the park­ing lot the day it hap­pened, and I still re­mem­ber the plume of black smoke ris­ing from the thick woods at the end of that iconic dragstrip. Jack es­caped the con­fla­gra­tion un­scathed, thank God, and the rest of the week­end was truly heaven on earth for Funny Car fans. It was one of the few ma­jor events ever held where the cream of the crop of steel-bod­ied, al­tered-wheel­base, in­jected, ni­troburn­ing steel/fiber­glass hy­brids, and Mer­cury’s first col­lec­tion of tubechas­sied, flip-top Comets, were all run­ning on the same week­end. It was truly the great­est drag race I have ever seen, be­fore or since.

Chris Baum

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