1999 NNTA Flathead and Inline Nationals

Salt Lake City, Utah

To the Pictures

This race had its origins in a disagreement between between members of the flathead community and Bandimere Speedway over the dates of the 1999 High Altitude Flathead and Inline Nationals in Denver (actually Morrison), Colorado. Traditionally this race has been held over the Forth of July (American Independence Day) weekend, but Bandimere scheduled it in June at the same time as the long running Antique Nationals in California. This meant that the West Coast cars, which are a big part of the Denver race, would not be in attendance. This disturbed Kenz and Leslie to the extent that they withdrew their sponsorship of the event. Bill Peters and Andy Ganderton picked up the ball under the banner of the fledgling National Nostalgia Timing Association, and organized an Independence Day weekend race at Rocky Mountain Raceway near Salt Lake City. Despite the last minute organization of the race and a somewhat lower level of participation than hoped for, a truly great time was had by all who were there.

A real highlight for me was meeting Kenny Kloth, noted flathead Bonneville record holder. His Merc is really something. I had seen pictures of it in several books, but to hear that thing run is something else again. This was Kenny's first drag race. I was amazed to see a 267 ci flathead on gas pulling a heavy '49 Mercury down the drag strip in the 15s! That was with traction problems and who knows what kind of rear gear. Can you imagine what he could do with a fuel motor in a rail? Another amazing feat to behold was watching him drive his car onto the trailer using the starter motor. I asked him if that was the way he always did it. He said it was and he couldn't see the difference between that and an electric winch. He has a point.

Because of the car count, it was decided to run only two classes - a heads up unlimited class and a bracket class. Unfortunately it was not to be the day for flatheads in the unlimited division. Bob Corbett won handily in his GM powered dragster over John Bradley 8.53 @ 148 mph to 9.47 @ 127 mph. Corbett had been running near his own record all weekend and looked virtually unbeatable barring mechanical failure or human error. All the other unlimited cars were running mid to low 9s.

The bracket final pitted Fred Hultin against Jeff Andreen. If I can decipher my notes correctly, and my memory is just way to fuzzy to be sure, I think Hultin's 11.90 @ 109 mph beat Andreen's 12.53 @ 103 mph. If I have that wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me, but frankly, it didn't matter to me who won. Just being in the midst of all that flatheadedness was plenty for me. After all, I'm the lunatic who drove by myself all the way from Kansas just to watch!


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