The No-Return Drag Racer

Written by Mike Morris

 Of course, back in our high school years, most of “us guys” thought of our cars as our magic chariots.   We washed, polished, vacuumed and tinkered on them continually.   And some of us raced each other just for the fun of it.  And if we did this in town, there was always the risk of getting a ticket for speeding, loud pipes, etc..  So, we found the ideal place to do our drag racing out at a place on FM 868. 

I just now went on Google Earth and saw that the location we did our racing is now part of a residential development, but back then, it was way out in the country, far from a patrolling policeman. 

One of the races I remember was between my friend, Lewis Holiman and Nelson Nipp (I think).  Lewis had a neat little black, 48 Plymouth coupe.  He had just put dual pipes on it, and he thought the duals gave it a lot more power.  Nelson had a 46(?) Chevy coupe, and he and Lewis were always back and forth with who had the fastest car.  So, they decided to face off on 868.  We lined them both up even and I flagged them off.  They both left in a cloud of dust, and it looked like Nelson was winning.  There was a guy stationed at the finish line and he came back with Nelson, affirming that Nelson indeed had won.  But where was Lewis?

  I hopped in my Olds and went looking for Lew.  About a mile after the finish line, I saw Lew and his car on the side of the road.  The hood was up and all I could see of Lew was his backside over the fender.  As I pulled up and stopped behind him, I could hear the car’s engine screaming wide open.  I later learned from Lew that he could get a little more throttle (power) if he pulled the dashboard throttle out as far as it would go, however, it stuck wide open and he couldn’t un-stick it.  Back then, the auto engineers used these dashboard throttles as a cruise control.  Crude, kinda effective, but mostly dangerous, so they later discontinued them.

  Anyway, I ran toward Lew’s car, and in passing his open door, I reached in and turned the key off, shutting the screaming, WOT, (wide open throttle), engine off.  After it got quite again, Lew just said, “Oh, I didn’t think of that”.  Believe it or not, even after that engine was allowed to nearly trash itself to death at WOT, it actually started up like nothing had happened.  Tough engines back then!

3 thoughts on “ The No-Return Drag Racer

  1. Curtis Harvey February 14, 2023 / 9:39 am

    I participated in many drag races on that FM road while in high school.

  2. Max Berry February 14, 2023 / 9:00 pm

    I remember those guys, and the cars they drove.
    And was it the north end of 868 that ‘dead-ended,’ and that dead-end was a pretty good place to park with your date to discuss politics. But the one I am thinking of was not paved that far out. Must have been a county road in that area somewhere.

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