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Wheelstands and World Records Immortalized “TV” Tommy Ivo’s First Dragster in 1958

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 8/27/2018 Hot Rod Network Staff
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Wheelstands were so new and controversial in 1958 that pioneer promoter C.J. Hart supposedly disqualified Tommy Ivo for failure to maintain steering control of his first rail at Santa Ana, California. Sixty years later, we popped the question to the movie-and-television actor who became one of drag racing's earliest stars and greatest showmen.

"After going down to Isky's on Monday to beg a set out of him, I went off to Santa Ana. After the first run, 'Pappy' Hart told me to knock off the wheelstands, or he'd throw me out. So I hose-clamped some weight on the front end, but it wasn't enough. Up she went again, and C.J. told me not to let the door hit me in the ass on the way out. Being the egomaniac showoff that I am, I was pleased to death that I could be the leader of the pack with a new one of my antics."

"The biggest shock came in 1960," Tom adds, "when I got to Minnesota Dragways with my twin-Buick car. They had painted my old, single-engine dragster across the front of their tower—doing a wheelstand!"

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