Southern Indiana Living

JUL-AUG 2012

Southern Indiana Living magazine is the exclusive publication of the region, offering readers a wide range of coverage on the people, places and events that make our area unlike any other. In SIL readers will find beautiful photography, encouraging s

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I built this last one with extra horsepower, and it scares me some. But with these cars, you'd better be a little scared. They'll hurt you. -Roger Brown Seconds later, everything changed. The next yellow light on the pole came on. Brown nudged the accelerator and watched the tachometer climb to 4,000 RPMs. The engine smoothed out and the "urump-urump-urump" changed to a roar. Another yellow light, and Brown JULSSHG WKH VWHHULQJ ZKHHO ÀUPO\ ZLWK his left hand, his right hand still on the gearshift, waiting for the green one, mus- cles tensed. Too soon and the red light would come on, disqualifying him. Too late and the car in the other lane would JHW Rff WKH OLQH ÀUVW $QG HYHU\ JRRG GUDJ racer knows that races are won and lost at the starting line. :KHQ WKH JUHHQ OLJKW ÁDVKHG RQ Brown's right foot was already slam- PLQJ WKH DFFHOHUDWRU WR WKH ÁRRU DQG DW the same time, his thumb released the transmission lock button. The rear tires screamed and smoked, the front wheels OLIWHG Rff WKH JURXQG DV WKH HQJLQH ZHQW from a roar to a deafening noise that shook the eardrums of nearby spectators and caused the bleachers to vibrate. The car shot down the dragway like a Jeff Hanger 0DVWHU &HUWLÀHG Sales Representative 385 Bypass Rd. Brandenburg, KY 40108 Bus: (270) 422-4901 Fax: (270) 422-3937 Cell: (812) 613-9000 -XO\ $XJXVW • EXOOHW DQG SDVVHG WKH ÀQLVK OLQH DQ HLJKWK of a mile away, before the smell of burn- ing rubber from the tires reached the au- dience. Brown braked hard to slow down before running out of pavement. His car is equipped with a rear parachute that he uses sometimes on quarter-mile tracks where the car can reach high speeds, but on the eighth-mile tracks, his disc brakes serve him well. He exited the raceway and eased along to the spot where his trailer was parked. The car once again idled with a "urump-urmp-urmp". Brown, of Elizabeth, is one of about 20 members of a group of drag racers called "Geezer Gassers", made up of mostly retired men who have been drag racing most of their adult lives. Brown, at 72, is the oldest of the group. As he got out of his car, the look on %URZQ·V IDFH ZDV RQH RI D NLG JHWWLQJ Rff D UROOHU FRDVWHU DIWHU D ÀUVW ULGH "It's a rush," he said. "Even after doing it all these years, I still love the thrill you JHW ZKHQ \RX FRPH Rff WKDW VWDUWLQJ OLQH You have just a piece of thin sheet metal between you and a 500 horse-power en- JLQH DQG ZKHQ \RX EXLOG D ÀUH XQGHU LW DFFHOHUDWH DQG FRPH Rff WKH OLQH WKH pressure pins you back in the seat, and the whole interior of the car becomes vio- lent. "The noise, the shaking and actual twisting of the car as the engine torques up and the thrust is transferred to the rear wheels and the tires are squealing — I just love it," he continued. Brown, who was raised on a Harrison County farm, was always fascinated by fast cars. He graduated from high school on a Thursday and entered the Navy the following Monday, so it wasn't until after his military stint and landing a job that KH ZDV DEOH WR EXLOG KLV ÀUVW GUDJ UDFLQJ car — an old British-made 1948 Anglia, sometimes referred to as an English Ford. "During the second World War, they pretty much quit making cars in this country," Brown said. "Most of the fac- WRULHV ZHUH SXW WR XVH LQ WKH ZDU HffRUW So that's how quite a few Anglia auto- mobiles ended up being shipped here.

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