Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. - John Rousset
By Bob Wilkiewicz
Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. Staff
There are places in his life; specifically race tracks.
And there are people, too; many, many of them who unfailingly say good things about John Rousset. Some of those words are about his loyalty, some about his enthusiasm, while other people mention his friendly nature.
It is no overstatement to say he’s never had a day he didn’t enjoy at the race track. Even a rainout is a day to rest, talk with friends and fans and look forward to a sunny tomorrow.
And lately with some attention paid to the 50th anniversary of the Beatles arrival and first concert in America, it was reasonable to think also think of the obvious song title which applies.
A Hard Day’s Night. That’s how it’s been for Rousset.
“Back then I raced a 383-powered Fury and it was also my daily transportation,” he said. “A Max Wedge was out of the question.”
There being no such person as a former United States Marine, some active duty time in Vietnam and then a many-year career as a field service technician for The Johnson Service Company, now known as Johnson Controls Inc., earned Rousset a solid middle class living.
But those jobs provided no pass to the paved portion of the pits. In older but fonder terminology, he is the veteran pipe-fitter and in the best sense of the metaphor, a free and self-sufficient man, an American cowboy.
Later, there was retirement, a disabling back injury, surgery and then a determined and remarkable physical comeback which now allows him to continue single-handed both driving and servicing a current race car more potent than that 383 Fury.
Rousset must have been the kid in school who raised his hand to volunteer for every new project that came along. When the club’s season schedules are arranged and event roll calls are made, he always has one of those big mitts in the air, saying, “I’ll be there.”
A charter member from the 1997 reorganization into Nostalgia Super Stock Inc., this spring Rousset will have earned another perfect attendance award, adding to a large collection.
In earlier years he worked off an open trailer, then out of of a small 20-foot enclosed trailer, unfinished with only bare plywood interior panels, not even a work bench. But that was enough.
In terms of technical know-how, few in the business are Rousset’s equal in getting a Super Stocker down the track in the most efficient way.
For example, he has always carried a medium-size tackle box which contains bolts, screws, nuts, washers, cotter pins, bar stock, coat hangers, paper clips - in other words, almost any type of connector, fastener or hardware known to engineering.
In a race-track repair situation, there isn’t literally any well-designed repair that he could not figure out and come up with the material for.
Now, the hard days and nights are a little easier.
There’s a well-deserved but still earned luxury, a larger trailer with a finished floor, wall panels and a work bench. But as always, when evening’s fatigue fades into fuzzy consciousness, Rousset doesn’t mind putting down his saddle roll and sleeping on that floor.
And the tackle box and track knowledge compartment both have a little more in them too.
As if drag racing isn’t enough action, some of Rousset’s other hobbies include bow hunting, bird hunting, training his bird dogs, bass fishing and bicycle riding.
“I’m thankful to have a wife who allows me to do all these things and am very thankful to still be able to do all this at my age,” said Rousset.
ARTICLE CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE HERE