Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. - Driver Profile - Bob Wilkiewicz
By Bob Wilkiewicz
Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. Staff
This month’s feature is not routine - for both the writer and the reader. That’s because the story is about one of my NSS cars, the ‘Psychotic ReAction’ 1963 Plymouth.
The starter watches Joe leave the starting line during class runoffs during a Chrysler Classic event at Pittsburgh in June 2007
After giving a lot of thought about structure, I decided to write in the first person. It’s easier, eliminates the work of verbatim quotes.
Frankly, this is an assignment, not my choice. When I have to perform, I prefer doing the show and then retreating into anonymity.
In public expression as this, there is always tension between being creative and commercial. A dancer must balance the demands - have quality, be marketable and also be on time.
However, that’s hard work, for the muse appears when and where it wants to.
The other thing is it’s easier to write about other people’s deeds and dreams; about my own, much harder. This story might not have a happy ending.
See, these words already reveal too much, they need to be more cryptic. They must not heed the hardships. They need to be maintain the realm of romance, the illusion of the toy box.
So despite my experiences as an owner, driver, crew chief, wrench, journalist, administrator, confidant and general observer of the sport at the local, regional and national levels, this time there will be limited personal or ‘inside’ information about me.
That’s because while I certainly have my history and present, my viewpoints about people, about policy - what it was, is and about what it should be in the future, in my position - discord - I must use the wisdom of discretion.
Here is as good a place as any for a metaphor, with some credit to Stevie Nicks - ‘I keep my visions to myself.’
I might not - ‘Someday.’ That will be a book.
Enough muse for now, I’ll show you what I can. While this is about the third car, we can’t get there without first going back.
(L) Jeff Meece and Russ Berens leave heads-up in the NSS Eliminator final of the NMCA/NMRA Super Bowl at Chicago (Joliet) Route 66 Raceway in July 2010 (R) Also at Route 66, an NMCA official, Jeff Meece, Bob Wilkiewicz, Don Meece and Richard Duvall Jr. enjoy winners circle festivities after Jeff drove to victory in the Super Bowl final
Instead, I’ll write about two other men who made the third edition of ‘Psychotic ReAction’ possible, Don Meece and Dave Duell. Perhaps ironically, probably a coincidence - I sure don’t know if it has any cosmic meaning - all of us have lived in Evansville, Indiana.
Don Meece has the longest tenure, a lifetime resident, who has a resume as good as anyone in drag racing - an owner and driver of many machines of various classes. He could row a four-speed with the best.
Having done everything - no hyperbole - everything in the sport, Don is the essence of what the magic and thrill of drag racing used to be about - do-it-yourself.
In 1967 Evansville, I was a nomad in a strange land. But Don reached out, he befriended me for no other reason than we both loved the sport. For that, he will always have my dedicated devotion.
(L) I am either waiting patiently or taking a nap in the staging lanes at Houston Raceway Park at an NMCA race in November 2007
(R) Don and I watch starting line action and stay protected from the 30-degree wind behind the tower at Beech Bend Raceway in November 2008
For the GTX, from researching the NHRA Stock Car classification guide, to fabricating a bracket, to tracking down a essential part - DIY, With the car on jackstands, two weeks of scraping off undercoating with a propane torch and a putty knife - DIY.
Painting the car. In a dirt-floor shed, masking with brown paper and tape, panel design blue and silver. On paint night, hot-and-humid, two cases of beer, the shop heater control knob turned turned full to the right and from five p.m. until five a.m., spraying coat after coat of single stage lacquer - DIY.
For transporting, the first job was building the transporter, using a week to burn through a box of stick welding rods to set support I-beams and full length service ramps on an old Ford flatbed truck - DIY.
Veteran readers remember handicapping was done off national records. Obviously, at 11.35, a 440-cubic inch, 375 horsepower single four SS/H was not competitive running at 11.50. Now that combo is rated at 356 HP but is still not there.
A hard lesson, we had let our hearts rule our heads, sunk before we started. Failed race cars didn’t stay together long. By then the general economic background has also turned dark and I needed to leave town to find work. But Don and I promised each other we would run another car someday.
By 2005, a class called Nostalgia Super Stock had been born and I had kept the promise. We had another car. But the effects of time had taken their toll.
Continued on next page...
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