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Outstanding Wager

Circa 19 sixty - one or two there a-bouts, was an outstanding bet that I heard of - in one of the small northern Illinois towns, with a highway main street of a few stores in a mall and a gas station.

An older guy with his say '58 or '59 Studebaker-hawk, would race for a hundred dollars starting mid-town main street straight, 4 am Sunday morning; slightly up-inclined out of town to curving up and down two lane ribbon of concrete - to route 41 say seven miles distant east and back. A hundred dollars was worth something in those days.

The turn around at route 41 was a stop light, gas station and some shops on the corners. Up and down, curves, tree-lined, two lanes, old concrete, downhill to a long flat at the end, right down Main street, with many side streets incoming at in excess of - one hundred to 120 miles an hour.

I had a factory-souped 409 Chevy with truck clutch - posi-traction two wheel drive rear end - four speed gear shift on the floor - two four barrel carbs of eight barrels in all - double set of condenser points - tachometer and lakes plugs behind and below the front fenders; that when uncapped was for the helicopter sound - and I used to have to shut it down and coast past a police station.

How many times did I race this race without ever getting off the line ? The measure of insanity. I had him on the take-off, sixty in first and ninety in second. Now he has got to get by me. Pass me in miscalculation - in a dip or on a curve, over one-hundred miles an hour - a head-on ?

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