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!
©2006 Bill 'BADCO' Ott
*Well, I made the thing stop, then we started to inspect ‘er.
And found out she was missing one red reflector*
Buddy Cortines was pinned back in the seat of John Mundy’s Texas based AA/Fuel Dragster as it approached the traps at Green Valley Raceway. He couldn’t hear the car in the other lane, and to quote Ms. Martha, "That’s a good thing."
"Looks like I’ll be going one more round today," he probably thought to himself as he instinctively got off the throttle, hit the fuel shut off and mag switch, and then released the chute and grabbed the brake handle... all in one smooth motion. Rolling along with only the sound of the rushing wind, the quiet was broken by an almost inaudible ‘clanging sound’ followed immediately by the hit of the drag chute.
The clanging sound? That was another good thing. It meant the drag chute had deployed and opened correctly. Now the shut off area at Green Valley was notoriously short, and if the chute doesn’t hit real quick you’d better get on the brakes... fast. And even those Airheart dual spots would have had a tall order getting this missile stopped before Green Valley's infamous catch net.
Now for any of the preceding to make any sense... we gotta back up to about a half hour or so earlier that Sunday afternoon when Buddy and the crew were buttoning up the car in the pits. The next round was being called to the staging lanes and all that remained was to pack the Tony Burnett made drag chute. That’s when the guys first noticed something was missing.
You know that little pilot chute... the thing that comes out of the chute pack first and pulls the main chute out with it? Well... it had vanished! It was absent... gone the way of the buffalo... or, to quote crewman John Cox who was there helping that Sunday afternoon back in 1967..."It flat wasn’t around."
"Damn, Buddy... what are we gonna do now?" John asked.
Buddy told John to keep pressure on what they’d packed so far, be patient and not to go anywhere... he’d be right back. Then he disappeared into the trailer emerging a few seconds later carrying a ten inch adjustable wrench. In another minute or two, the lines that ran from the main chute to the MIA pilot chute were securely tied to that large hole at the end of the wrench. After a little grunting and groaning, twistin’ and turnin’, and tying together, that ol' chute pack was all buttoned up. And it all went together so neatly... that unless you knew to look for it... you couldn’t hardly notice the outline of the wrench. Or make out the name ‘ACME’ that was embossed on its handle. continued on next page...
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