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When Bill ‘Grumpy’ Jenkins startled the drag racing world in 1970 by winning the first three major Pro Stock crowns, two of which were in California, he cemented the production of a wave of Chevrolet powered Camaros and Novas, hastily built for the new NHRA professional category.Click to enlarge »
There were three independent California drag racers with highly professional race cars to challenge the factory sponsored hot rods as the new category of Pro Stock exploded on the drag racing map. They are Don Lorentzen of Orange, Ca., Anderson & Bonn of Simi Valley (Ventura County); and Jack Manchester from San Diego.
The headline from the ‘Hot Cars’ magazine left says it all about this story: These guys were independent Chevy Budget Pro Stockers! And unlike several others of the era, they continued to fight nearly impossible odds from the early ‘70s into the ‘80s. All still live in Southern California and are, to a certain extent, involved in drag racing today. This is their story from my perspective, as I know all three very well!
|Santa Maria Drag Strip, 1972: The second version of the ‘GAP’ burns out during a Pro Stock show at the popular mid California drag way. The track’s popularity was enhanced by a ‘World Famous Santa Maria Bar B Q’ which was always part of traveling to the coastal complex. (Photo by Shell Anderson)|
Bob and Shell Anderson, plus Jim Bonn campaigned their ’68 – 74 model Chevrolet Nova for several successful seasons in the western U.S. They traveled everywhere, including Continental Divide near Denver, Colo. and Seattle International. In fact, this writer traveled to the northwest with the Anderson tribe where their cousins lived in the woods outside Seattle. They put on a feast for us which is still vivid in my memory from over 40 years ago.