Bill 'Badco' Ott recently underwent shoulder replacement surgery leaving him literally left handed. Being right handed he's unable to type, take notes, or even dial the phone. The story below is from his archives and was originally featured on Draglist.com. More of his earlier stories can also be accessed on www.Draglist.com.
Thanks, and a special thanks to Bill Pratt and the fine people at Draglist.com. Your site is the best, period!
Rocky’s 'NITRO-CHARGER' Debut
© 2001 Bill 'Badco' Ott
*It seems like only yesterday
I'd gaze through the glass
at ramblers... wild gamblers
That's all in the past *
Another Pennsylvania Department of Tourism type afternoon... no clouds, cool temps, low humidity. Great weather to mow the lawn, clean out the rain gutters, or paint the picket fence... NOT! Besides, I don't have a picket fence. Maybe we'll just throw the cooler and a couple of lawn chairs in the back of the van and head over to Rising Sun, Maryland. Heard that Cecil County Dragway is opening later in the day for a test and tune session and that our old pal Rocky "You gotta be from Philly with that name" Pirrone will be there making a few shakedown passes with the new 'Nitro Charger' funny car.
Keeping the Pennsylvania Department of Tourism theme in mind, The Boopster and I break out the ol' Pennsylvania State Highway map and plot out the most scenic route to Maryland. Hell, we have all day, so we'll just follow the Susquehanna River right down to the Mason-Dixon Line. If you want to follow along on your own road maps at home, we'll be heading south from Harrisburg, PA on route 441.
First point of interest... Middletown. And the infamous Three Mile Island Nuclear Reactor (home of America's first, most famous, and largest meltdown). Speaking of meltdowns, The Boopster has been waging a losing battle against a slowly spreading poison ivy infection, so we decided a few Gigs of Plutonium might help. So we drove by real slow. T.M.I. (as us locals get to call it) sits there about 2/3 intact now, a great monument to man's "It can't happen here” attitude. Hey, remember the Mothers (Zappa) tune with the same title? Now we ain't NEVER ran out of power in these parts, but every now and then, the reactor might 'freak out.'
Next point of interest further south... Marietta. Home of the Bob and Joe Carroll's Custom Auto Parts "Fiat Bug" A/Competition Coupe. Way back in '61 the Bug finished second to the Howard Cams Twin Bear (Jack Chrisman driving) in the NHRA World Points Championship. They also raced 'Sneaky' Pete Robinson for Top Eliminator at the U.S. Nationals that same year and held both ends of the NHRA National record for A/Comp. By the way, the driver of the Bug was a guy named Fred Zipp. That's right... Zipp! Anybody with a last name like that has gotta be a great driver!
Speaking of names, a lot has been said about the names of towns in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania. Starting with Intercourse and moving right along to Falmouth (Foul Mouth?), Rheems, Mount Joy, Mountville (!), Bareville, Lititz, Sporting Hill, Buck run AND Doe Run (wonder who ran first and fastest?), Reamstown, Paradise, and ending with the ever popular Blue Ball. Myself, I don't get what all the fuss is about, but maybe we should let the Amish start naming race cars. Ya?
Moving right along through Marietta, our next noteworthy town is Columbia. Home of Charlie Hill and Phil (Porky) Zartman's 'Filthy Forty' Willys, another real performer and eyesore from the ‘60s that also held the National record for C/Gas at one time. The 'Filthy Forty' got its name from its appearance, but it was better known for its bumper dragging launches off the line. The guys were involved with a few other cars, but I was living in Texas at the time, so there's a major gap in my knowledge of local goings on. Across the river from Columbia sits Wrightsville. Home of Steinbrenner/Gwynn/ Yankees top fuel pilot, Mike Dunn.
Picking up route 222 somewhere around Wakefield, we continue south and cross the Maryland State Line to Route 1 where we drive across the Conowingo Dam... this is out of the way to get to Rising Sun, but well worth the few extra minutes if you’re in the area and have the time. The water on one side is just about even with the roadway while on the other side of this narrow strip you can hardly see the river WAY down below! Cool!
Another must see in Maryland... the liquor stores. After living in Pennsylvania and putting up with its antiquated "State Store" system (the state runs the stores and doesn't allow any competition between them price wise). It was a nice experience to shop around. Triangle Liquors in Rising Sun had a great assortment of Tequila. Ole! continued on next page...
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