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: So at that point you could make a living?

RL: Yes I did. So did Prudhomme. But then again, Prudhomme quit at the end of the 1965 season because B&M and Milodon were partners in this thing called a Tork Master. That was to replace the slipping clutches that we had. So he quit, because they gave him his own car and he took it and went back east. In the meantime, I got Mike Snively to drive my car. Right before Pomona, I started booking the car. I called the track managers back east, and I kept hearing the same thing: “Oh, we already got Prudhomme.” A lot of them didn’t know that Prudhomme had quit. I didn’t know what to do, so I quit calling. Well, after we won Pomona, guess what? That’s when they figured out it wasn’t the same car and they started calling me. And I guess after that I was the one that had to book the car and all that stuff.

: You were into drag racing from a very early point. If Wally Parks hadn’t come along, what do you think would have happened to drag racing? Do you think it ever would have evolved into what it is today?

RL: I’m the young guy of the old guys, that’s because I came along a little later than the older guys, and Wally Parks was already kinda halfway there. He’d already established national events in the late ‘50s. I didn’t come along ‘til ’64, or actually a little earlier than that racing a gas dragster on the Mainland, but like I said, to me Wally Parks was already established.

: So by winning the Winternationals, which was the only other national event besides the US Nationals at that time, that really put you on the map.

RL: We were fortunate at that time; it was the first national event that Don Prudhomme ever won. I won it with Danny Ongias in my gas car in 1964. Anyway, then we went back east and wound up winning the US Nationals at Indy. That really solidified our position. That was the first time a team had won the Winternationals and the US Nationals the same year. And then with Mike Snively we came back and did it again in 1966, which I guess really established myself as being able to be a professional drag racer.

: Do you know who or what got Keith Black involved with drag racing?

RL: Not for sure. When I came along, I was a twenty-year old kid and I wanted to go Top Fuel racing, and yes, I built my own gas dragsters, blown gas motors, and my own dragsters. I knew nothing about Hemi motors or fuel, and he’d already been running the Greer, Black, & Prudhomme car, which had a pretty good win/loss record on the West Coast. But then again, they went to some national events, but weren’t fortunate enough to win one up to that time. That was the first car that really put him on the map, that Greer, Black & Prudhomme car. And then of course, when I came along and he went with us.  At that time, he ended up owning the Greer, Black & Prudhomme car and decided to park that car because of his business, and then he had me, I guess. Who better to tutelage under than Keith Black himself? So that was a very good experience.

: Can you tell me something about Keith Black or Ed Pink that nobody knows?

RL: Well, surprisingly, I was invited to Ed Pink’s 80th birthday party. It kind of surprised me in the sense that I was a Keith Black guy. Way back when, everybody knew that Black had a hell of a combination, and then all of a sudden Pink had one too. A lot of guys at the time, Prudhomme, Ed McCulloch and Gene Snow went to Ed Pink. So like I said, when I was invited to his 80th birthday party, it kind of shocked me, not that I didn’t know Pink, I knew him but not real good except for the last four or five years. When I saw him at the Reunions every couple of years and we’d talk more and more and got to know each other better.

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