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My first time at the drags, I was thirteen years old. My dad, who had a repair shop, was into fast cars -- not race cars per se but quick street cars.
He liked Hemi power, trips or dual quads in anything he could fit it in. Well, he started to bring home Hot Rod magazine and Rod & Custom, the little pages.
While reading Hot Rod I saw an item about Big Daddy and his Hemi-powered slingshot rail. This left me with a lot of questions for my dad including, Why can't we have one of these and where can we go see one and watch it race?
After about a month’s worth of breaking his hump about seeing a fuel car run, Dad came home with tickets to go see Big Daddy run at Hatfield race track, a small roundy-round track with a 600-foot drag strip in the front straight. [It closed in 1966.]
To say that I went nuts is an understatement. I read all I could find out about these cars since the east coast didn't have many fuel cars. The big day comes and we go to the track and I am all but nuts out. Dad paid extra so we could go in the pits and get close to the cars.
Well, when they fired them up I almost ran away in fear. I never had heard or felt anything like that. We went in the stands to watch the run and it was awesome; my life was now complete. I knew what I wanted
After the run my dad took me over to ask Don for his autograph. He was not very nice about it and would not give me one. My dad was not very
nice about his refusal and we left.
Now I don't want to be unfair to Don because he did sign my FED at a meet at Island Dragway -- even if it was in my 67th year there.