NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD
presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports
By Ben Griffin
Racing my '73 Mustang A/FC once, I was at maybe 900 ft. down the 1320 when all of a sudden it became harder to see out the windshield. I had to duck my head down as low as I could, which wasn't very much since I was tightly strapped in and also the goggles worn back then restricted your vision a little as well.
My brain couldn't process what was causing the problem, since it was busy getting me down the drag strip at 180+ mph. Got past the finish line, pulled the chute and I could see better. Still couldn't process what just happened, very puzzling. Towed back to the pit area, pulled the body off to do the between-rounds maintenance and when we set the body down I saw that the screws holding the Lexan windshield in the lower lip of the body had ripped out of the fiberglass! The Lexan windshield was stronger and more flexible than the thin, lightweight new bodies being made back then (before Kevlar and Carbon Fiber).
Thinking back to the run, I realized what happened. When the screws ripped out, the wind pressure at 180 mph forced the windshield back, then the thin fiberglass roof had no support so it came down and blocked my vision. How crazy is that! But when I slowed down, the top popped back up and I could see fine and everything looked okay.
Funny cars now have small chrome moly tubing supports inside, kinda like NASCAR cars have, but smaller and lighter. Since they are going 300 mph now, their problem is obviously much more severe than mine was back then.
We cured my problem by doubling the number of windshield screws, thanks to my Chaparral Trailer that had a generator to power the electric drill to make new holes so we could make the next round and then win the race. And as usual, a little duct tape helped add some extra support too. We called it "200 mph tape" back then. Maybe today's racers still do.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - By Ben Griffin - World Champion Drag Racer (Retired)
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