Was it publicity or a prediction?
The closely fought battle for the A/dragster title at the 1959 NHRA Nationals came down to a duel between Kenny Lindley’s Miss-fire III and the Sidewinder II, one of two rails with east/west-mounted supercharged Hemis fielded by Chuck Jones, Wayne Reed, and Joe Mailliard.
As Bob Pendergast explained in his coverage of the “Motor City Spectacular” (HOT ROD, Nov. 1959), Jack Chrisman was driving both Sidewinders on that long September weekend but mistakenly eliminated himself in Sidewinder I—considered the faster of the two—when on a bye run he turned out of the lane when the engine’s chain guard came off rather than finishing the pass.
That simplified Chrisman’s weekend, and in the Sidewinder II he beat all comers to reach a class final Pendergast described like this: “The die was cast just 9.68 seconds after Don Hampton [in Missfire III] and Jack Chrisman leaped off at the flick of starter Leo Errara’s flag with Chrisman’s Sidewinder sailing through the traps out front at 153.06 mph.”
So was it a premonition or coincidence that, a month prior to the Nationals in Detroit, Eric Rickman shot publicity stills for the upcoming race with the cars that would become A/dragster finalists? And can anyone please help us identify the name of the young woman wearing the Miss Hot Rod sash? —DREW HARDIN
Hot Rod Deluxe (ISSN 1546-5063), May 2018; Volume 11 Number 3, is published bimonthly by TEN: Publishing Media, LLC, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, 18th floor, New York, NY 10036. Copyright 2018 by TEN: Publishing Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Printed...