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Anyway, at his birthday party I said, "You know Ed, not too many guys know this, but you know you guys had the combination. And I wanted to go over to you (Pink) guys but I couldn’t and I’ll tell you why. In 1972, when I got my funny car, my whole rig stolen, it was a brand new state-of-the-art John Buttera car, a Revell-sponsored car, I’d just gotten it built the first of the year and it was stolen the week before the Spring Nationals at Columbus in June. They emptied the truck, took everything I went drag racing with. When I got home, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I spent about a month with my kids because I hadn’t seen them during the summer for a couple of years because I was always on the road. Then I got bored and decided to go back drag racing again. When I did, Keith told me I could charge whatever I wanted and pay him when I could. That was the reason why I never went over to be an Ed Pink guy." We both kind of had a laugh at that.

Keith Black was one of the straightest guys I knew. I remember one time we were working on a car at the shop. It was me, Prudhomme and Black. It was a holiday, so we went and got us a six-pack of beer. It was just me, Black and Prudhomme, and Black wouldn’t let me and Prudhomme drink that beer in the shop. We had to go outside into the street at the time to drink that beer. Like I said, he was one of the straightest guys I ever met. To have put up with our language and all the drag racers that were always around, sometimes you just have to laugh and shake your head if you knew what kind of guy he was.

: What do you consider the single most important technical development in drag racing?

RL: That’s a tough one. Well, there were so many.  There was the aluminum block, which was a big deal. Okay, first of all, I was one of the first guys to run a three-disk clutch that was a big deal. You ask why that was such a big deal. Well, guys were getting killed with a two-disk clutch!  They were exploding; the floaters were coming apart, cutting the clutch cans in half. You know, that’s the way Mike Sorokin got killed. So that’s another one. Over a period of time,  the addition of computers.  There were so many that it’s hard to put your finger on just one that was more important than the rest.

: Remembering back in the late ‘60s, ‘70s, it was pretty common that drivers were killed and safety or technical developments came out of the death of somebody. Is there one incident that you can point to as a catalyst for a really important safety or technical development that came out of somebody dying?

RL:  To tell you the truth, I don’t remember one specific one that did. I remember Larry Reyes got hurt and a lot of people were having trouble at that time, one of them was Dickie Harrell. In fact, when Harrell got killed, we were racing him. I was the first guy that got to him. At that time, what it was that the front tires were going flat and blowing out. Basically the inner tubes, it’d suck the valve stem from the tubes in and the tire would go flat and come off the rim and wrap around the steering and then you couldn’t steer it. That’s the way Dickie Harrell got killed. He hit a telephone pole in the shutoff area, the only telephone pole in the whole area. Talk about the luck of the draw! Or un-luck of the draw. That’s the way Larry Reyes got paralyzed. I don’t remember exactly what they did to cure it. I think at that time they went to a tubeless tire with no valve stem. That’s one of them. I think I saw that same thing happen early on to a car on the West Coast racing at Orange County. He didn’t get killed, but it wrecked the car because of the same thing.

: Who’s the greatest Hawaiian drag racer that we don’t know about?

RL: Probably he’s not born yet!

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