DALE EMERY 1939-2018

Hot Rod Deluxe - - Roddin’ @ Random -

We’ve lost an­other of drag rac­ing’s pi­o­neers with the pass­ing of Dale “the Snail” Emery. Dale is best known as the driv­ing tal­ent be­hind Rich Guasco’s Pure Hell 1932 Ban­tam Aa/fuel Al­tered road­ster, but to sim­ply la­bel him as a re­tired fuel al­tered driver would be do­ing the man a great dis­ser­vice.

Dale got his start driv­ing a pretty po­tent ’41 Chevrolet B/gas coupe around the San Francisco Bay Area be­fore step­ping into the Oldsmo­bile-en­gine AA/GD of Emery &

Fuller. Then along came Pure Hell, which was known as some­thing of an er­ratic han­dler with its nitro-fed blown Chevrolet small­block, but Dale whipped the car into shape and made a name for both him­self and Pure Hell up and down the West Coast. In 1968, Guasco and Emery in­stalled a blown 392 Chrysler in Pure Hell and set the fuel al­tered ranks on its ear, record­ing a best 7.27/218.00 prior to park­ing the al­tered in early 1970.

Life af­ter Pure Hell in­cluded driv­ing as­sign­ments in the K&P Wailer and Rousin & O’hare AA/FDS; wheel time in Gary “Paddy Wagon” Wat­son’s Fly­ing Red Baron Mus­tang wheel­stander; a brief stint in Bob Rig­gle’s Hemi Un­der Glass Pon­tiac Fire­bird AA/ FC; and team­ing with per­for­mance parts mogul Jeg Cough­lin to drive the Jegs Log­ghe Mini Ca­maro. Their crown­ing achieve­ment was win­ning Funny Car Elim­i­na­tor over Frank Hall at the 1974 NHRA Win­ter­na­tion­als.

Af­ter Cough­lin and Emery parted ways, Dale took a driv­ing as­sign­ment with “Big Mike” Burkhart, wheel­ing his Chevrolet Monza and Mini Ca­maro flop­pers. An un­for­tu­nate top-end crash at the 1975 U.S. Na­tion­als put an end to Dale’s driv­ing days, but it led to a 14-year as­so­ci­a­tion with Ray­mond Bea­dle as crew chief on the Blue Max Rac­ing team, which in­cluded three con­sec­u­tive Nhra-win­ston Funny Car World Cham­pi­onships in 1979, 1980, and 1981.

Life af­ter Blue Max Rac­ing led to some very in­ter­est­ing projects for Dale, in­clud­ing mak­ing nu­mer­ous ad­vances in Top Fuel and Funny Car fuel sys­tems tech­nol­ogy. He also be­came as­so­ci­ated with John Rodek on a run of billet alu­minum 392 Chrysler Hemi blocks.

Dale spent his fi­nal days in semi-re­tire­ment liv­ing in Lit­tle Elm, Texas, with his wife, Belinda, work­ing as a con­sul­tant for var­i­ous Top Fuel and Funny Car teams. Dale died March 16, 2018, of con­ges­tive heart fail­ure at 79 years old. —BOB MCCLURG

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