Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Have you heard about the time when Jungle Jim was stuck in traffic outside the dragstrip, and running late?

At Atco, NJ. In about '72, Pat Foster was going to race Jungle in a match race at 8 sharp, but at 7:45 there still no Jungle. He was stuck in traffic a 1/2 mile or so from the gate.

In Pat's own words:

 We pull up and I'm dressed and just getting in, everyone in the joint stands up and begins chanting "JUNGLE! JUNGLE! JUNGLE!"

All eyes are on the highway that goes by the track. The starter starts yelling at my guys "Get him in the car! Get him in the car! I look where everybody is looking and here comes Jungle, strapped in, motor lit and sending flames above the roof, driving that bitch from where they unloaded it out by the highway, past the gates and the ticket booth, through the parking lot and one end of the pits, right out onto the starting line, and then through the water for a huge, smokey burn out!

And the crowd went WILD! I had time for one squeaky little chirp behind the line, they booed us. Then we blaze the tires against Jungle and again the crowd goes INSANE!!

but there was a lot of showmanship to Jim, to give the crowd their money's worth, like when
Jungle Jim was up against Richard Tharp in the "Blue Max."

"It was sometime in 1970 at New England, Jungle and Tharp did side-by-side burnouts. As the smoke began to clear, we noticed both cars had swapped lanes. The only ones in on it were the drivers themselves. I mean, they told no one, so it was funny watching the crews scramble to switch lanes."

Though he only won a single national meet, Jungle is arguably the most famous racer to ever go down the quarter-mile, at least in a Funny Car.

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