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Budman

Waldo Harper

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I've got a Waldo Harper story that I think is kind of interesting.

 

A couple of years ago I was at SAS for a ROMCO race. It was before the races had actually started. I was sitting in the stands scanning the activity in the enfield with my binoculars.

 

When I took them down, the gentleman beside me commented that he usually brought his binoculars, but on this evening he had forgotten them. I offered mine but he declined. We struck up a conversation. (I wish I remembered his name now, but I've forgotten it.) He was very knowledgeable about racing in general and SAS racing in particular.

 

He told me about the time years ago he was sitting as we were that night in the stands at SAS scanning the enfield on race night with his binoculars. He said he happened to pause at Waldo Harper's wrecker. (I don't think Waldo ever owned a trailer, always towed his race cars behind his wrecker.) Anyway, there sittiing on top of his wrecker watching the races was Waldo and A.J. Foyt. This was during the time when Waldo was no longer driving, but still owned race cars.

 

Seems Waldo and A.J. had become good friends from the times they had raced midgets with each other here in Texas back in the 50's.

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i think waldo harper did the direct drive deal one time also if i remember correctly back when super stocks where like the late models today-that was the thing-guys came up with their own stuff back then-either it worked or it didnt-you came up with and idea-tried it-now days they see it in a magazine or catalog or on the web, so you get out the plastic and order it-or for that matter,you can order the whole damn car-just get in it and drive it-back then you made your own edge-now you buy your edge-say one thing-it was alot more fun back then than it is now-just like i see in my job-rich guy buys a $60,000 race car,never been in a car,but hes got to start at the top cause hes got $$$$-the truth is he couldnt drive his finger up his B*#@ and on his 7th pass(the first 6 scrared the S*#% out of me) i got to peel him off the wall cause he wouldnt listen after i said, ok, go ahead and do it your way,just trying to show your where to line up cause your way out of the groove and when you hit the throttle and the nitrous kicks in, all hells going to break loose-it did, and the first thing he says to me when i get to him after he gets out of the car after plowing the wall,with eyes as big as 2 tortillas is how much is it going to cost to fix it-didnt even realize he just cheated death- i told him be glad your alive-and then he says,man that was a $5,000 paint job,and i said YEP-WAS-then i said remember what i told you back there a few seconds ago-i told him i been around this s*%# 39 years and i know a little bit about it-he went silent-didnt hear another word-funny thing ,havent seen him in 5 months or has anybody else,maybe when he got by himself later on, it might of crossed his mind just how lucky he was and realized that he didnt know as much as he thought he did or he seen how quick you can lose 60 grand which was in about 7 seconds from start to finish, out of control at full throttle with way over a 1000 horses and no experience in the seat-

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He told me about the time years ago he was sitting as we were that night in the stands at SAS scanning the enfield on race night with his binoculars. He said he happened to pause at Waldo Harper's wrecker. (I don't think Waldo ever owned a trailer, always towed his race cars behind his wrecker.) Anyway, there sittiing on top of his wrecker watching the races was Waldo and A.J. Foyt. This was during the time when Waldo was no longer driving, but still owned race cars.

 

Don't remember San Antonio, but I recall at least one race at Speedorama about '89 or so when Waldo and A.J. sat on a Harper wrecker talking about stuff. At the time, Jerry Schild was running TIDA late models, and A.J. was putting money in the car. Waldo raced against A.J. a lot, but also Charles Schild, Jerry's father.

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Received the following Email for Clarence Parker, Jr. today.

Nick,

Please post with the following caption:  

 

Since we're talking about Waldo and since TAMS is scheduled for tonight at THR here is Waldo's 1961 version of a Texas Asphalt Modified.

 

Nick Holt

post-2-1116089025_thumb.jpg

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The caption on the back of this photo says "Waldo, 1961 Stelfox Body Works, Austin".

It looks like it just came out of the paint shop. Doesn't look like it has the steering wheel nor seat in it.

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Papa,

 

That's Waldo with his son Buddy. The car (#10) is an Off-set Kenny Weld Super-modified.

Notice the advances in technology (and cost) in a decade of racing. The driveline is off-set to the left, for better handling. The photo was taken at Meyer Speedway in Houston about 1971. Waldo's grandson gave me this photo.

 

Also, notice the Halibrand "sprint car" type wheels. No lug nuts. That's a true knock-off tri-wing hub nut you used a magnesium or lead hammer to knock off, or on when changing out a wheel. Much quicker than lug-nuts. Also, notice the Hillborn fuel injection stacks. These were nick-named hilborn "leakers" by the racers. High maintenance items. All these cars also had Halibrand "quick-change" rear ends in them too, to facilitate quick rear gear ratio changes. Another interesting thing when you look at this car, is the torsion bar front suspension. Had the springs mounted horizontally.

Edited by Budman

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This of course is another picture of Waldo Harper. This photo was taken at Austin Speed-o-rama around 1964. This car was driven by a number of different drivers over the years. Its probably the most "famous" car ever built in the Austin/San Antonio area. In this photo, it has a fiber glass body on it. There is another picture of this car being driven by Buddy Jerkins on my thread titled "Who ARE these crazy characters". Then it had the "iron" T-bucket on it. This car was probably driven to more feature wins than any of its time. The car was built in 1949 by none other than Paul Jett. Paul must have built a pretty good quality car back then. The car was raced for over twenty years. At first, it had a five window '32 Ford body on it. It was raced in the dirt at old Pan-Am-Austin Hwy (up until they paved it in the late 50s) and at Oak Hill Downs in Austin. Then it was raced on pavement at San Antonio, and in Austin at Speed-o-rama in the 60s. I've even seen a picture of it being raced at Pan-Am-Top several years after this photo was taken. The car was owned by Donald Bragg up until Waldo bought it.

 

(Look real close at him in that pic. Looks awfully young in that pic doesn't he. Hard to believe he's no longer with us.)

Edited by Budman

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