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(Part 2)



Mikio Yoshioka's "Stone-T" Fuel Altered gives off the death rattle at Orange County Int'l Raceway in 1971. DRO file photo.

The Fuel Altereds were everywhere in Southern California in 1968, and for three and a half months of the year, all over the East Coast as well. Counting best of three match races, standard eight-car shows, and Fuel Altered versus Funny Car formats, the class was hosted almost 40 times in California, Arizona, and Las Vegas. As stated in the last installment, this exposure resulted in more ink and more work. In terms of performance, the Fuel Altereds were outperforming the Funny Cars what with "Wild Willie" Borsch's 7.29 in the Marcellus-Borsch/"Winged Express" roadster at the '68 NHRA Winternationals best overshadowing Jack Chrisman's 7.60 in a Mercury Comet at the 1967 U.S. Nationals.

The speed was all-Fuel Altered as well. Leaving aside Emery Cook's 200.44 in Don Garlits' roadster (the old Marvin Schwartz/Garlits Chassis Spl. with a topless Dodge Dart skin), no Funny Car had gone over 200-mph.

The Fuel Altereds were doing that routinely, dating back to Borsch's first double century, a 200.44-mph scamper at Irwindale on September 23 a year previous. On March 24, 1968 Dale Emery really jolted the Fuel Altered class when he ran the class' best speed while beating Lee LeBaron's roadster at the Hot Rod Magazine Championships at Riverside Raceway. Emery wheeled Rich Guasco's "Pure Hell" Bantam by LeBaron with a sizzling 7.70/207.36, a speed that would remain unchallenged all year. That same lack of challenge would apply to Borsch's 7.29 as well.

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