2005 High Altitude Flathead/Inline Nationals

Friday and Saturday were rain outs at this year's Nationals, but Sunday was a beautiful day for racing. My only objection was that the compressed schedule didn't leave me as much time to wander around the car show or the non-flathead pits, so you folks with interests other than flathead or inline drag racing will be a little neglected this year.

Because participation was a little low this year, there were only two classes - Unlimited and a single bracket class that combined the proposed bracket classes.

There were four unlimited cars. Bob Corbett's inline dragster and the flathead dragsters of Bob "Whitey" McDonald, Ron Sterbenk, and Tony and Kathy Lloyd. All were injected and using nitromethane for fuel. Ron Sterbenk developed mechanical problems before the day was over. Bob Corbett and driver Jerry Hall once again proved that without a supercharger, it's hard to beat overhead valves, even on a pre '54 inline engine. Hall won the unlimited class and was the only car running in the eights. Whitey McDonald has a lock on high altitude tuning and took second with the quickest and fastest flathead in the bunch running in the mid to low nines.

In the bracket class it looked like it would be a repeat of last year's Hot Rod class when Sherry Andreen and Janice Sayles made it an all lady finish. However, Wes Johnson in the Johnson & Johnson flathead dragster was the spoiler, ending a long dry spell by winning the combined bracket class. Sherry Andreen took second.

The pictures at this point are a hodge podge of images in the order I took them. There are race cars, a few show cars, people, and trailers. Of particular interest to me was the damage inflicted by a clutch explosion on Alan Samura's classic dragster. Like most flatheads, this car goes too slow to require a "scatter shield" as we used to call them, so the pieces flew all over the place including putting a divot in the concrete launch pad and hurling chunks into the stands. A few springs and pieces of metal came my way as I stood track side shooting pictures, but they ran out of gas before they got to me. Something about the whole experience reminded me of the hand grenade range in Army basic training. Luckily there was only one injury and it appears that the person struck will be ok except for a pretty good scar on the forehead. Alan was unscathed. The car got the worst of it, blowing the bell housing off the back of the 59A-style block, breaking the intake manifold, and twisting up the carburetor cover. I'm sure other things will show up as it is dismantled. The track investigated the situation very thoroughly and declared that Alan and the car were within all safety requirements for his ET and speed. I know you hear this all the time, but it is really true - Alan is one of the nicest guys in drag racing and it is unfortunate that this happened to him. Proof again that Lady Luck spreads good and bad fortune at random.

So here is the link to the pictures. It goes to the first of four pages of thumbnails. Just click the arrow or arrows at the top of the pages to get to the next one. And, of course, click the thumbnail to see the larger picture. I hope to organize them some day to make better sense, but at the rate I work, don't hold your breath.

Pictures from the 2005 High Altitude Flathead/Inline Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, Morrison, CO.