Crash at the Track

As my octogenarianism grows into its fifth year, my mind continues to wonder as I wander.
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Ford cars were part of my life in high school. The ’41, the pickup I crashed, several Model As, and the 1932 Ford two-door which two friends and I pooled part-time income to buy for racing. One George’s father was an aircraft mechanic and built the rollover cage for us. He also supplied the aviation four-point aviation safety harness.

I’m sure someone somewhere has a picture of that car, but who knows? Anyway, our first race day was a Sunday. In those days, such activities were akin to sacrilege. Except for diving to Minneapolis for a major league baseball game of course.

Dean and I cruised the gut and other places in my 1941 Ford to advertise the July 18, 1954 event. I have to say an octogenarian however – it may have been Dean’s 41 Ford.
Well, the Alexandria Stock Car Association rule was that the cars bodies had to be 1930s models, but the engines could be up to 1946. We had an 85 hp V8 but talked about upgrading to a 90 hp – the most popular Ford engine at the time.
The three of us took turns driving the races at the Douglas County Fairgrounds track. I don’t remember much about the season, but that summer was my only one.

One of the Sundays, I was holding my own against older much more experienced drivers. I was riding rather high into the first corner and trying to turn closer to the inside of the dirt oval. An experienced driver maneuvered me off the track. I went end over end. Those who were watching said I flipped once in the air and two more times contacting the ground.

Yes. I did wet myself. But the four-point harness and roll cage kept me from physical injury.

I raced only one more time – mostly to prove I could, but I also left for National Guard camp the next week and the car was inoperative when I got back.