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Attn Tom Strunk: Hayden Proffitt info

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by trpshtr2001, Sep 12, 2008.

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  1. trpshtr2001

    trpshtr2001 TS Member

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    Frank, that was the first thing I thought of too when I seen his name.
     
  2. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

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    Paul, I just got off the phone with Tom a couple minutes ago. He had surgery on his right knee in LA and called me from his motel room. Everything went according to plan and he wanted me to pass along that he'd reply in a couple days when he gets home.

    Frank, yes, that's the same Hayden Proffitt. Hap
     
  3. don q

    don q TS Member

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    I remember Proffitt racing a 62 409. I bought a 425hp in 63 and tried to copy all of his mods. Got mine down in the low 12's after tons of trick stuff. Fun. don q
     
  4. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

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    Paul, I'm sure Tom will really appreciate the link you posted guy! Tom had a 62 409 that held the national record for quite some time for that class! The tire size was limited to what was legal during that time/class and Tom just out drove and out finessed many of the greats during those years! BTW, he starts his shotgun toward the clay in much the same manner as he did his tricked out 409, fast and furious off the line!! He could write a very interesting book on his drag racing exploits beginning with his 55 Chevy! Very interesting stories from a great guy that's my friend! Hap
     
  5. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

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    Anybody remember Bob Muravez, aka Floyd Lippencott Jr.? Maybe Tom Strunk does; Floyd is alive and very well fixing washing machines and dryers and driving the Peters and Frank Freight Train in nostalgia meets...
     
  6. Tom Strunk

    Tom Strunk Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so very much for this tread.

    I left a message for my old friend to call me. In the late 60's I went my way to grow a very successful swimming pool contruction business in Southern California and Hayden stayed in racing. My business consumed me as racing had before.

    Thanks again for this information.

    Tom Strunk

    P.S. Muravez and Lippencott names were well known, they were in dragsters I believe. But I did not personally know them. Kind of like sporting clay shooters and trap shooters, both are in the clay shooting sport but seldom cross.
     
  7. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

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    Yup Tom, they were dragster drivers...same person, see Muravez didn't want his parents to know he was racing. Tom, what did you race and what was the team?

    Thanks.
     
  8. JBrooks

    JBrooks TS Member

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    Hey Tom,

    Heal up fast.

    JT
     
  9. Tom Strunk

    Tom Strunk Well-Known Member

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    I've raced a 41 Ford, a 47 Chevy, a 55 Plymouth V-8 in D-gas, a 57 Chevy with 283 V-8 220 hp(track record holder at EVERY TRACK in SoCal), a 55 Chevy V-8 factory fuel injection and engine purchased from Hayden, with locked rear end gears, it was a street racer, a 62 409, 380hp, one 4 barrel carb, red Impala SS, 4 years national record holder,on 7 inch tires it ran consistant 12.30's at 112mph, 12teens and 115mph were my bests, won the 1966 ahra winternationals at Irwindale, was second in 1962 or 3 nhra winternational. Ran Hayden Proffitts team Plymouth 426 wedge, all aluminum front end, ran 11:40 at 125 mph, ran a 1966 Mercury Cylone for the Mercury factory at the 1966 Winternationals -- Tom Sturms 1963 Z-11 427 Chevy, with all alumnum front end for match races, #1 on Drag News Stock eleminator list until I missed a 2/3 shift one nite at Lions, Lost to Mickey Thompsons Tempest with the big 421 and all the goodies, the Z-11 ran in the 11's at about 123mph, not sure it been to long. And MANY OTHERS, did a lot of street racing when I was young and wild, but this was before all the people and traffic.

    The mechanical knowledge I learned was invalueable to me the rest of my life.

    JBrooks -- Thanks for the kind words, the surgery went so well I will be at Las Vegas after all, come in Friday, get squadded and shoot just the handicaps Saturday and Sunday. Hope to see a lot of my friends there, maybe you too??

    Trivia question -- I raced at the first drag race at Riverside Raceway in 1957, what was unique about this track at that time ??

    Tom Strunk
     
  10. Tom Strunk

    Tom Strunk Well-Known Member

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    Old (arn't we all)Smoker --

    I remember the car, very clean and very fast, but never drove it or really looked it over. It was white. I believe it was a small block, probably a 327. Don't know about the aluminum, but could have been, a lot of the cars in that era were aluminum or fiberglass (
    Ford thunderbolt)

    Tom got a 65 Chevelle, after the 63 car, with the 396 "mystery motor" that he had prepped and wanted me to go to the south to match race the car as driver/mechanic I just didn't like the idea of living out of a suitcase. My business was really taking off. We're talking match racing FIVE nights a week. I always liked their rules thruout the southern states rules were as follows; "run what ya brung an be perpared to get yer best holt" Spread the rosin.

    Tom had some connections with GM, he alway had the latest factory Chevy hot rod.

    As a side note, Tom never worked, he got his money as a professional poker player. He only played when he needed more money.

    Tom Strunk
     
  11. Tom Strunk

    Tom Strunk Well-Known Member

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    OK I see no one is going to try and answer my trivia question which asks ;

    " I raced at the first drag race at Riverside Raceway, Calif. in 1957, what was unique about this track at that time ??

    IT WAS A ONE HALF MILE LONG TRACK, not the normal 1/4 mile. My 57 Chevy 210 Del Rey coupe with the 220 hp V-8 would run consistant 92 mph in the 1/4, it ran 107 in the half mile. I have never heard of another 1/2 mile drag strip, have you ??

    These times seem so slow compared to what is happening now, but remember the top dragsters were only running around 150 mph then in the 1/4.

    One of my best friends currently runs a Plymouth Barracuda with a Ray Barton hemi with a 4-speed ( not automatic ) in SS/AH runs 8.80's at 152 mph, his name is Joe Faherty.

    Tom Strunk
     
  12. Tom Strunk

    Tom Strunk Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again Paul for the information you provided to me about Hayden Proffitt. As I stated in my other posts I knew Hayden very well, but as things sometimes go, we went seperate ways about 40 years ago.

    Thanks to the link that was provided here I was able to leave a message on Hayden's web site. He called me yesterday from his home in Texas (my mother was born near his home) and we had a great conversation for a hour and a half. He will be inducted into the NHRA Hall of Fame next March at Gainsville, Florida, well done old friend.

    I told him that I shot at San Antonio last year at the Southwestern Grand and he told me that he lives about 70 miles from there. I will be going back again next year and will be sure to spend some time with him then. Again, Paul, thank you.

    Tom Strunk
     
  13. Ahab

    Ahab Well-Known Member

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    Yup the drag strip was on the backstrech between turn 8 and turn 9...slowing down before turn nine was a bitch because of the high bank. Incidentally, trun 9 was part of a circle track at tat en long ago!
     
  14. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

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    Tom: Here's a trivia one for you: Safford, Ratican, and Gaide won the dragster class at the Winternationals in the early 60's. The questions are: What type of engine did they run? And...who was the engine builder? And where did the engine builder work at the time? And whatever happened to the car?

    I know, mean questions 'cause it's a dragster.

    Ok..Superstocks: Who is Don Gay? (No non-"PC" jokes or snickers please re. his surname...) From what state is he from? What kind of car did he race back in the early 60's?
     
  15. Tom Strunk

    Tom Strunk Well-Known Member

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    Don Gays father owned a Pontiac dealership in the Houston, Texas area. He made a deal with Hayden to teach Don how to drive a race car, ect. Hayden first became nationally known for driving Mickey Thompsons Pontiacs in 1961.

    Met him a few times when he was out to SoCal, they would home base out of Haydens shop in Garden Grove,CA. Very nice young man. I helped on Don's pit crew once when he was running a funny car, sometime in the mid 60's. I still remember the smell and eye irritation from the hyrazine he was adding to the fuel, wow !! This was at the old Irwindale track.

    I know very little about the dragster guys, but I did build a very nice water feature at Kenny Bernstein's house in Corona Del Mar, Ca. about 10 years ago.

    Calvin Rice who won the very first NHRA Nationals with a flat head Ford fuel dragster would also come over to Jack Harts shop in Orange,Ca. his shop was next door to my fathers auto busness. Needless to say I was very impressed with all of the Hot Rods that were at Jacks shop all the time. This was before I even had a drivers license. Later Jack Hart moved his shop over to my fathers property. Jack went on to become a big wheel with the NHRA.

    Hayden told me yesterday that when he was just starting out and had no money he bought a car ( an later a second one ) from my father. He told me what a honest man my father was and he trusted Hayden to make payments when he had almost no money, he still remembered. Hayden was one of the most honest and hard working men I have ever met, I am so glad to make a re-connect after all this time as we were very good friends.

    Tom Strunk
     
  16. whiz-bang

    whiz-bang Active Member

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    Tom any chance you have any photos of some of the cars you drove especially the Mopar super stocks. If so can you post them here.

    Back when you were racing I was a fan of John Hagen from Minnesota. Just can't get the good old days of the Mopars out of my system.
     
  17. Tom Strunk

    Tom Strunk Well-Known Member

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    When I moved from California to Payson, Arizona five years ago all of my old pictures were boxed and I am not sure where they are. My wife has been very ill this past year with Lumbar Stenosis and we are expecting the surgeon to call any day now for a meeting to see what her options are.

    I really want to find them but don't know exactly where to look. You would really like the picture of my 62 - SS Impala 409, black bucket seats, Hurst 4-speed shifter, chrome wheels, solid red, with Hayden Proffitt and Associates on the door, sponsors were Jardine headers, Champion spark plugs, Hays clutches, Casler slicks and Guaranty Chevrolet.

    I can tell you how to get a picture of the Plymouth S/S I drove, go to Hayden Proffitt's web site. He has a lot of pictures of the cars he drove, for looking or for sale. He is standing by one of the Plymouth's that we drove, he and I both drove the exact same cars for a while. Later when he got the Hemi he sold one to a idiot that took it to Riverside raceway, and when he went thru the lights he punched the reverse button instead of the neutral button and rolled the car. It was distroyed. I kept on racing the twin car until I finally decided to retire.

    Don't get me wrong-- these cars belonged to Hayden, I was just a team driver and mechanic. My car was the 409 Chevrolet.

    Thanks for asking.

    Tom Strunk
     
  18. Tom Strunk

    Tom Strunk Well-Known Member

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    The story gets better.

    I talked to my friend Joe Faherty today, he's the man I mentioned that has a hemi Plymouth Barracuda that runs 8.80's @152mph. He is going to send his car and crew back to Gainsville, Florida to race there next March.

    After telling him of Hayden's induction into the NHRA hall of fame at that event he told me that he would fly his private airplane over here and pick me up and we would fly on to Gainsville where he would race. This car of his is so fine you can't even believe the workmanship on this car. It has already this year won two "best engineered car" awards at NHRA evens. I told Hayden about this car and now he will get a chance to see it. Can't wait to let Hayden know.

    Tom Strunk
     
  19. Tom Strunk

    Tom Strunk Well-Known Member

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    K-80owner -

    No I never had the pleasure of meeting Arnie "The Farmer" Beswick. He was well known for racing the various Pontiac cars, and he went very fast and won a lot of races. I turned down a couple of offers to go on tour and match race, so I never met people like Arnie Beswick who never came out to the west coast, at least I don't think he ever did.

    Which model K-80 do you have ?? I am shooting a top single combo trap special without screw in chokes. I sure love mine.

    Tom Strunk
     
  20. Tom Strunk

    Tom Strunk Well-Known Member

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    K-80 owner --

    I have never seen a factory install of the "mystery motor" in a 63 Chevy of any body type. The first one I saw, as I mentioned in a previous post, was Tom Sturm's 65 Chevelle. I'll ask Hayden about this next week when I call him. I have been away from auto racing for 40 years so I'm a little rusty. I have always kept up with what was going on just not in the detail I used to. This I know, everything you read in any magazine is a minimum of six months to two years behind what is really going on at the track.

    Although as I stated that I had never seen a 63 with a "mystery motor" I have seen pictures of both Junior Johnson's and Smokey Yunick's 63's with the "mystery motor" that were used at Daytona and other NASCAR events.

    In late 62 and 63 they did come out with the Z-11 with aluminum fenders and hood, I know because I drove them. That was the last modification Hayden made to his 62 Bel Air.

    I'm trying to remember, just not sure of the year, 64 or 65, I was at the old Beeline Raceway in Arizona, for I believe the AHRA Winternationals, when the Dodge and Plymouth altered wheelbase cars were introduced by the factory racers, they looked so funny -- so the were called funny cars and the name stuck.

    Best wishes --

    Tom Strunk
     
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