Roger Lee and his Western Summer Tour
by Roger "Riceman" Lee
Friday night, August 16 was the next stop on the Western Tour for my cackle car, the Jim Brissette 1964 Top Fuel Dragster, at the Lincoln Center in Stockton, California. The event was the largest car show in Stockton with 250 pre-entered cars to show off their stuff. At 6 pm the City closed off part of Ben Holt Avenue and out we rolled down the middle of the four-lane street. It was long enough for a push start, but that wasn't going to happen.
“Kackle” Ken Riley and I rolled the Beasty out to the largest crowd that this show has ever had. It was completely packed and on a beautiful night. At 7:30 pm we started getting ready with spinning the motor for oil pressure, put in new spark plugs, and poured 85% nitro into the tank. The crowd started to gather around the 30’ barrier around the car. I couldn't see how deep the crowd was, maybe 2500 people. Ken was getting ready and suiting up while I did the final checks. Soon it was time to light off the Candles!
With Ken in the seat, we went over our usual routine: I backed the motor down, hooked up the starter and opened the gas bottle, then gave the injectors a good squirt. I gave Ken a thumbs-up and hit the starter. It lit off and with a cold motor there were small flames. As the motor warmed up, though, the flames got bigger, bigger and bigger. I felt the motor to see how much heat it had and gave it a few whomp-whomps. Now we had the wall of flames reaching 3 feet!
I was watching the crowd and we made a few "jump" with every blip of the throttle. What fun for a few minutes on a Friday night! Finally it was time to shut it down and the crowd loved it.
Cackling in front of a crowd like this is different, because it is not a drag race crowd. There were a lot of families there enjoying the car show and have never seen a very loud nitro-flaming AA/FD at night. A lady came over and asked me how can you sit in there with the rear end that close to your family jewels? I told her it has 16 bolts holding it in and it’s made for racing, which is completely different than a street driven car. “Isn’t it hot?” Yeah, but I like “hot” rear ends…. We had a good laugh!
I want to thank the Lincoln Center Properties Management, Gary Cox, Kingdon Drag Race Group and all the car nuts for coming out! This show is held every year to help fund high school scholarships for Stockton area schools and giving back something like this for the school kids makes it all worth it.
From Gary Cox, Car Show Manager for Lincoln Center Properties:
I'd like to thank Roger “Riceman” Lee and "Cackle" Ken Riley for contributing to the success of FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE. Last night we were able to raise over $4,000 for this fund. A very large part of this was due to the ‘fire up’ of Roger's car on one of the main streets in North Stockton. One of the big questions from spectators: Will Roger be back next year? This show, in its 14th year, attracted 240 cars this year.
Thanks again Roger for your most generous contribution!
Next year will be a special one with my Masters & Richter Special Top Fuel Dragster. Fifty years ago, in 1963, after setting top speed of the event at the Smoker’s Meet (aka: the March Meet) in Bakersfield, the M & R Special won the Kingdon Klash against Don Garlits, the Greek, Art Malone, “TV” Tommy Ivo, “Terrible” Ted Gotelli, Heidt & Heidt, and the Capital Speed Shop to name a few. At three different drag strips in 1963, Masters and Richter ran 196.92. Yes, all the same speed and twice at Fremont! We will be there next year, and with the “weedburner” headers, the nitro fumes will be thick!
See you in the Lanes, Roger Lee
Nostalgia Drag World - by Roger Lee; photo by Mark V Reynolds - digitalhotrods.com