March 30, 2020
The story of Turbonique, the most insane speed parts company in the history of cars is amazing. it involves a NASA consultant, an obsession with hot rodding, dangerous fuels, deception, mail fraud, and prison time. It also involves rocket powered automotive speed parts that were sold to the general public for the span of a half-decade, many of which propelled cars down drag strips to astonishingly quick elapsed times. Bolt a thrust rocket to your go-kart? Sure. Bolt a rocket axle to your Chevelle? Sure. Crash at 150mph? It happened.
Here's a detailed look at the Turbonique story with period audio, quotes fro magazines, quotes from court documents, and some of the very words that landed company founder Gene Middlebrooks in federal prison on mail-fraud charges.
A story so weird that it HAS to be true.
March 25, 2020
There are strange days at the drag strip and then there are days you wish you never went to the drag strip. One of those days occurred at the 1975 NHRA LeGrand National at Sanair Super Speedway outside of Montreal, Canada. This was the only NHRA National event contested in Canada and was run at Sanair into the 1990s.
Anyway, this is the funny and semi-painful story of a pre-race ceremony gone wrong, a classic airplane, a beauty queen, and one fed up NHRA competition director. If you can believe it, they did not just have one airplane incident on this day but rather two of them!
Truly one of the funniest drag racing stories you'll ever run into...whoops, bad choice of words.
March 23, 2020
The sport of drag racing has many strange stories woven into its history, but perhaps none stranger than that of Broadway Freddie DeName. A funny car racer, a car thief, and ultimately a mafia killer for the most infamous crew in American history. DeName was a 4th grade drop out who could not read or write, but he was a brilliant mechanic.
Through historical research, interviews with people who knew and raced with him, and police records we piece together the mafia controlled New York of the 1970s, a funny car career that lacked any semblance of success, and a man who's life ranged from the bizarre to the downright evil.
This is a story of crime, drag racing, money, honor, and ultimately sadness. The man who lived a mafia life and a funny car racer's life at the same time.
March 20, 2020
In one of the weirdest promotions of all time, Diamond REO shipped a brand new prototype dump truck to Africa in 1967 and pre-ran the entire route of the East African Safari Rally. This was an insane feat of endurance and strength as the rally was basically a 3,000 mile trip on dirt roads with dangerous bridges, narrow roads, mountain terrain, and outright peril. Three guys drove the truck the whole way and they managed to finish the route with an claimed average speed of about fifty miles per hour.
Is that true? Who knows, but there's loads of evidence that these are some of the hardest core dump truck drivers who ever lived. A Detroit Diesel engine and a 13-speed Road Ranger transmission powered the rig over hill and dale. Incredibly a documentary film was made about the whole adventure.
Here's the story of the weirdest dump truck drive of all time.
March 16, 2020
Captain Jack McClure is one of the most fascinating stories in the history of American motorsports. A racer, a daredevil, and as brave a human that has ever lived, McClure's ticket powered life is the stuff of legend. Listen here as Brian Lohnes shares his story with period facts, period audio, and the most detail his story has ever been told with.
Jack McClure did many things but the fact that he raced a hydrogen-peroxide rocket powered go-kart for years and lived to tell the story is the best. Making 200mph runs at strips all across the country, McClure defied physics in front of millions of fans during this career. A boat captain when not drag racing, a racer who competed at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and a man who's real life exploits are better than any novel, you'll dig this story of American ingenuity and guts.
March 15, 2020
It was billed as the most expensive demolition derby in history. Vehicles like a Rolls Royce, Cadillac Eldorado, and loads of late model cars were pitted in a battle to the death in the LA Coliseum preceding an Evel Knievel motorcycle jump. Incredibly race drivers like Mario Andretti, Parnelli Jones, and Bobby Unser drove in it and all lost.
This is the first Dork-O-Motive "Short-o-Motive" a quick look back at an awesome and obscure event in gearhead history. Enjoy!
March 9, 2020
Mario Rossi was one of the smartest, most innovative, and hard scrabble crew chiefs in NASCAR history. His brilliant thinking and approach to racing is still applied in today's modern NASCAR world. Rossi nearly pulled off the greatest NASCAR upset of all time at the 1971 Daytona 500 with driver Dick Brooks. Relive that amazing moment with period audio in this podcast. Sadly, Rossi's story does not have a happy ending. He disappeared under cloudy circumstances in 1983. What happened? You decide.
Host Brian Lohnes takes you through Rossi's incredible career, his amazing near success at Daytona 1971 and his shocking and mysterious disappearance in the early 1980s. Unquestioned on the race track, his story ends with thousands of questions.
February 29, 2020
Back in 1959 Rodger Ward completed the greatest upset in American racing history when he drove a dirt track midget on a road course and beat the best sports cars and sports car racers in America at their own game. The event was held at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut and the short circuit was the perfect setting for the little midget to get the job done.
Host Brian Lohnes tells the story with the depth and historical perspective that you just cannot get anywhere else. This is an awesome tale of a great driver, a strange car, and a shockwave that went straight through the auto racing world.
How did the two time Indy 500 winner and national hero pull this one off? You have to listen to find out!
February 29, 2020
On this first episode of the Dork-O-Motive Podcast, host Brian Lohnes tells the story of how NASCAR great Fireball Roberts raced a Ferrari at the 1962 24 Hours of LeMans and nearly won! This is the story of a talented driver, a unique car owner, and a leader of NASCAR who was seeking to get his organization international acclaim.
Few people remember Roberts' foray into sports car racing nor how good he was at it. You'll learn the history of this great story, all the players involved, and how a near miracle was turned by a souther fried racer and his professional opera singing co-driver. A true racing story for the ages with historical documentation and quotes to back it all up.
Researched, explored, and explained. That's the Dork-O-Motive way!