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Morrison, Ill. 2011: This is Arnie Beswick’s second touring Pontiac exhibition car which will be attending 13-14 events this year. A truly ambitious schedule for a ‘young at heart’ farm boy of 80+ years who won his first National title at Great Bend, Kansas in 1955!
There has been so much written about Arnie Beswick over the years, that finding a new method of describing one of the sport’s true legends seems impossible. My source is twofold, first from my friendship from 1958 to 1967, and secondly from my telephone conversation with Arnie on March 17, 2011. DRO readers may recall my describing a race with Mr. Beswick with identical 1958 Pontiac Chieftains at Bob Bartel’s Quad City Dragway at Cordova, Ill. My ‘A’ engine, tri-power Pontiac seemed a world beater until that day. At the finish line, my front wheels were beside Arnie’s rear wheels, OH NO!.
Bakersfield March Meet, 2011: We just couldn’t pass up this 1958 Pontiac Bonneville on display at Bakersfield. It is not a Chieftain (the lightest Pont. Model), nor is it an ‘A’ engine tri-power; but it is a ’58 and the only one we have seen, anywhere for many years.
Fire and politics have been Arnie’s major opponents over the years. In 1961, he defeated Don Nicholson, driving Bill Thomas’ 409 Chevrolet, only to be told he had one cylinder .001” too big. Nicholson was a newcomer at the time; however Beswick had won Stock Eliminator, driving a ’54 Oldsmobile, at Great Bend, Kansas, during the first NHRA ‘BIG GO’.