Garner's first national title a long time coming

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					                                TOP DRAGSTER — 23rd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil, April 9-11, Houston

                               Garner’s first national title a long time coming


 After John Garner, near lane,
 jumped to a slight .009 to .018
 starting-line advantage against
 Mallori Rodgers in the final, he
 eased to a 7.33 (6.76 dial) win
 when Rodgers had problems and
 shut off. It was Garner’s first NHRA
 national event triumph.

by John Jodauga                                                                screaming as I headed               Garner resumed racing following his military
                                                                               toward the shutdown area.”       duties, then helped his father begin his drag


J     ohn Garner certainly
      isn’t the first racer to
      have waited a long
time for his first national
event win, but almost 44
                                                                                  Garner’s first racing
                                                                               venture was sneaking his
                                                                               parents’ car to the old
                                                                               Houston Int’l Raceway in
                                                                               1966, but his drag racing
                                                                                                                racing career in 1985 at age 69. Said Garner, “He
                                                                                                                was the track champion and was also named the
                                                                                                                rookie of the year in his first full season. I was
                                                                                                                really proud of him.”
                                                                                                                   In 1989, Garner moved up to Super Comp. His
years puts him pretty                                                          background goes further          last Super Comp car ran considerably high speeds
close to the top of the                                                        back; he remembers               of more than 192 mph on the 8.90 index. Said
list.                                                                          watching Gene Snow race Al       Garner, “The throttle stop was activated just .04-
    “This is my biggest win                                                    Vanderwoude, “the Flying         second off the line and remained on for about
by far,” said Garner, who                                                      Dutchman,” in a 1963 match
won a 2005 NHRA Lucas                                                          race at the same dragstrip.
                                                           A lifetime Ford fan, Garner raced a number of
                                                                                                                 About the winning car
Oil Drag Racing Series Division 4 event at Texas
Motorplex and a Quick Rod title at a 1999 IHRA         Blue Oval products in bracket competition, including         erry Herndon of Herndon Fabrication built
event. In 1991, he was the Super Comp champion
of the three-event NHRA Division 4 International
                                                       a 351-cid Windsor-powered ’67 Ford pickup that his
                                                       father, Allen, built and ran in the 15s and a ’61 Ford
                                                                                                                 J  John Garner’s Top Dragster, which has a
                                                                                                                 237-inch wheelbase and paint and graphics
Challenge Series.                                      Starliner with a 428-cid Cobra Jet engine.                by Rodney Hutcherson. Marvin Shaw built the
    “Other than that, my wins have been few and            His racing career was interrupted when he             622-cid Ford engine, and USA Racing
far between,” said Garner. “So you can imagine         served in the U.S. Air Force from 1972 to 1976. “I        Engines did the machine work. Parts include
how I felt when I won the final. My opponent,          was stationed at Clark Air Force Base in the              a Ford SVO aluminum block and C-460 heads
Mallori Rodgers, must have had some engine             Philippines and in Korat, Thailand, during the final      modified by Greg Good Racing Heads, a pair
problems as her engine started banging, and her        stages of the Vietnam conflict,” said Garner. “I          of 1250cfm Holley carburetors prepared by
car slowed down. When I crossed the finish line        worked on the F-105G Wild Weasel Thunderchiefs            Allen Bills of S&S Performance Carburetors
and saw the win light go on in my lane, I was          that specialized in attacking the surface-to-air          that are mounted on a Hogan intake
simply euphoric. I remember yelling and                missile [SAM] sites.”                                     manifold, a Nitrous Pro Flow system from
                                                                                                                 Wilson manifolds managed by a Spaghetti
                                                                                                                 Menders 4S8Tf controller, Comp Cams
                                                                                                                 camshaft, Jeff Johnston Billet Fabrication oil
                                                                                                                 pan, TEK headers, and MSD ignition. Garner’s
                                                                                                                 partner Steve Exner built the Powerglide
                                                                                                                 transmission with a JW case and Hughes
                                                                                                                 converter, and the Dewco-built Ford 9-inch-
                                                                                                                 type rear end uses Mark Williams axles and
                                                                                                                 spool. Hoosier tires are mounted on American
                                                                                                                 front wheels and Weld rear wheels. Garner
                                                                                                                 thanked his sponsors Polydyn Coatings and
                                                                                                                 TX-7 Oil Treatment; his company, Garner-
                                                                                                                 Fritsche Engineering Inc.; his main
                                                                                                                 crewmember and girlfriend, Kay Thompson;
                                                                                                                 his helpers Dee Kruse, Larry Edmoundson,
                                                                                                                 Mike Cobb, Matt Exner, David Schnautz,
                                                                                                                 Derek and Keith Purvis, Jack Cothren, Jimmy
                                                                                                                 Crump, and Alan Claunch; and friends David
Garner overcame the .011 to .021 reaction-time advantage of Britt Cummings for a 6.76 (6.71) to 6.78 (6.85)      and Andra Strain.
victory in the first semifinal race.
82 National DRAGSTER
                                                                                                                  TOP DRAGSTER QUALIFYING
                                                                                                                                                  (Top 16 of 37 qualifiers)
                                                                              (Left) Rodgers produced her           1. Michael Kile, Westlake, La. (Spitzer) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.308, 215.93
                                                                                                                    2. Douglas Barnhart, Katy, Texas (Monden) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.435, 206.01
                                                                              fourth 200-mph clocking in as         3. Phil Unruh, McPherson, Kan. (Spitzer) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.459, 212.73
                                                                              many rounds in her semifinal          4. Brandon Chauvin, Gonzales, La. (Spitzer) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.484, 207.59
                                                                              defeat of Mario F. Boesch Jr.,        5. Keith McCullar, McAlester, Okla. (Mullis) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.527, 205.63
                                                                                                                    6. William Kruse, Alvin, Texas (Hurst) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.550, 205.63
                                                                              who fouled by .003-second.            7. Scott Barker, Davis, Okla. (TNT) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.553, 203.28
                                                                              (Below) Keith Raftery’s bid to        8. Mallori McCullar-Rodgers, McAlester, Okla. (Monden) . . . . . . . 6.574, 204.98
                                                                                                                    9. Robert Cool, La Place, La. (Wort
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Garner's first racing venture was sneaking his parents' car to the old Houston Int'l Raceway in 1966, but his drag racing background goes further back; he remembers watching Gene Snow race Al Vanderwoude, "the Flying Dutchman," in a 1963 match race at the same dragstrip. A lifetime Ford fan, Garner raced a number of Blue Oval products in bracket competition, including a 351-cid Windsor-powered '67 Ford pickup that his father, Allen, built and ran in the 15s and a '61 Ford Starliner with a 428-cid Cobra Jet engine.
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