“Everything was fine, until it wasn’t,” said Joe Morrison of the AA/Fuel Altered qualifying attempt that was rudely, suddenly interrupted by Famoso Raceway’s guard wall. Not even his decade of experience in short-wheelbase roadsters, nor successfully licensing a 5-second NHRA A/Fuel Dragster, prepared the New Jersey pilot for the notoriously bad behavior of a big, boxy, blown, nitro-burning ’34 Ford.
“It started drifting toward the center line from the hit and would not accept my corrections,” he explained of his first full-throttle pass in a fuel coupe previously piloted exclusively by owner Ted Brine. “There’s no downforce,” Joe said of the wingless body, “so you’ve got to be gentle. But when I lifted, the car made a hard left, at 150-plus. Getting the ’chute out might’ve helped put it back on all fours and spinning—instead of rolling.” Consequently, Joe escaped with nothing worse than belt bruises, and the fiberglass five-window that Ted built in 1980, sold in 1989, and reacquired in 2013 (from Walt Austin) survived surprisingly intact.