One of my first writing heroes was Robert Benchley. The first book of Benchley's I read was when I was a freshman in LaSalle Peru, Illinois, high school in 1954.
While researching for materials to use as an exordium for an assignment I had written for English, the humor literature section caught my eye. I found Robert Benchley's short stories copy of, "My Ten Years in a Quandary - And How They Grew." Mr. Benchley penned that in 1936. I took it from the shelf and went to a table; after the first paragraph, I was hooked!
A book of that nature should be written about Pro Stock drag racing. Pro Stock has existed in a quandary of constant rule changes for 47 years. I was fortunate enough to have participated in PS for about 15 of those years, 1975 to 1989.
Prior to 1975, I had been a regional Sportsman bracket racer since 1969. In 1975 I leapt into Pro Stock. In 1990 I left Pro Stock to become one of the original Pro Modified racers but even with success in Pro Modified, my heart has always been with Pro Stock, small engines or mountain motors.
If I was to write about my Pro Stock years the title would be, "My 15 Pro Stock Years in a Quandary - And How They Grew."
After bracket racing with acceptable accomplishments, my quest in 1975 was to run in heads-up Pro Stock. No big dreams, I just wanted to run the local Chicagoland version. Only a few dragstrips hosted a local level Pro Stock program. . .ever! Logistically, I was in decent shape. I was only 100 miles from Oswego and 135 from US 30 in Gary. That was all I wanted to do, just the Oswego/US 30 Pro Stock racing.
The Chicagoland Pro Stock rules allowed the PS racers to race at US 30 in Gary, Indiana, Oswego, Illinois, Dragway and even the UDRA circuit. Those early ‘67 to ‘75 local and regional level Pro Stock rules were very liberal.
Most of the early Pro Stocks were made from real cars. Bodies had to be ‘67 or newer and for US 30 and Oswego, PS weight was 2700 lbs. without driver! No engine size limits but it had to be the same brand as the car. Front brakes not required, straight axles accepted, no headlights or side windows required. Plexiglas side windows and windshields okay. These cars had stock frames with some fiberglass body parts available. A four bar roll bar was mandatory, a helmet and some sort of racing type seat belts. If you could go 150 mph a chute was required.
The early PS engines were primarily warmed up Super Stock engines, the bigger the better. PS engines then were built from stock castings. Size was limited because there were really no large stroker kits like today or oversized aftermarket blocks to go into the later "mountain motor" size range. Many early PS racers still used flat tappet cams. However roller rockers and Jomar girdles had become vogue by then. The monster engines came later with the advent of better after market castings and rotating parts.