American Jet Cars
Stories & Comments
Chip Tatroe

I have a lot of memories of traveling with Dad to a lot of different tracks all over the U.S..

 When we pulled into gas stations he would tell people that he had wild animals in the back and to be careful, then he would come and open the door and we kids would appear !

 We went to Texas, Dallas I think, to do a taping with the V.W. people once. They wanted to have Dad blast past a " bug " about 3/4 of the way down the track ! We made three or four runs with the " bug " getting blown away. Never saw the commercial, not sure it was ever made. I remember it was so hot that you couldn't stand still too long without sinking into the asphalt !

 Another time, on the way home, we were passing O'Hare airport and Dad pulled in, with the wife protesting all the way, so he could take us out on the tarmac to watch the planes take off and land. We just stood there in silence in the dark and watched, it seemed for a long time.

 Dad was like that, we saw every snake farm, cave site, or any other attraction along the way.

 On the east side of Ohio there were two tracks owned by " The Greeks ", one was 1/4 mi. and the other was 1/8 mi. . Actually one was in Ohio the other was in Penn. I'm not sure which is which but the one in Ohio was called Marion. One of them was part of an airport runway and every now and then the races had to stop so a plane could land or take off ! " The Greeks" always fed us breakfast on the big griddle in the concession stand and treated Dad like a king.

 Well one day we were there with the Dart and Dad made the first run ok, but as it got dark it also got foggy, real foggy. I remember them saying that it looked like that was it for the night but Dad told them to hold on, don't send people home yet. The starting line was still visible but about 1/3rd of the way down it got real thick. Dad made his usual inspection walk down the track into the fog. Much to the surprise of everyone here came Dad and car to the starting area like any other run !

 They fired it up, I remember thinking that he was just going to do a starting line show and shut it off, but that wasn't what he had in mind at all ! He did the normal pre-starting line show, which looked really cool in the fog since all the lights worked on the Dart, then he pulled up and staged, the tree did it's thing and Dad blasted off like any other run !

 Only this time he disappeared into the fog !!!

 We could still hear him, but it didn't sound right, you could hear the jet sound coming from everywhere it seemed. Then he popped back out of the fog and up to the starting line and shut it off !!! He had turned around in the fog and come back out !

 That was My Father, he never let the crowd down.

Chip Tatroe

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