American Jet Cars
Stories & Comments
Leonard Cornelius
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Chip,

I just found your site tonight. My name is Leonard Cornelius my stepfather was Chuck Morris. It is great to see pictures of the old jet cars. It brought back lots of memories. My brother and I still have a lot of Chucks' photos that he took before he drove for Walt. I'll go through them and contact you about any that you might be interested in. Once again you have a great web site.

Chuck had been heavily involved in drag racing before he drove a jet car. He had built and driven many race cars from street stock to a Pontiac powered AA/Fuel dragster which he ran in a couple of NHRA national events in 1964/65. Plus he worked part time and hung out at Green Valley Raceway in Fortworth, TX. where he grew up. That's where he became friends with a lot of drag racers such as Gene Snow, Arnie Beswick and your Dad.

In 1966 Chuck left Texas because he wanted to start over after a failed marriage and moved to the Washington, DC area. His parents had moved here several years earlier. In June of that year he heard that a friend of his was racing at Capitol Raceway in Crofton Maryland. That night Chuck was talking to his friend and Miss Capitol when his friend, who was wearing cowboy boots, stepped on Miss Capitol's foot and hurt it so bad she could not walk, so Chuck carried her to her car. In January of 1967 Chuck Morris and Miss Capitol were married. Miss Capitol was my Mother (you might remember her, her name is Kitten) and the friend in the cowboy boots was your Dad. I had to tell you that story because I have always thought it was a neat story.

In 1967 Chuck was asked to be the technical director for the East Coast Fuel Funny Car Circuit. The ECFFCC was a group of 18 to 20 injected fuel burning funny cars that raced at tracks from Virginia to upper New York State. Chuck's job was inspect the cars. make sure the track was safe (and we went to some pretty bad tracks) and to make sure qualifying and elimination's went smoothly. In late '68 or early '69 he was asked to drive for Walt and the rest is history.

My memory is a bit fuzzy about this but I think we met as kids. The first time was in Bristol, TN. at AHRA '69(?) Summer Nationals. Your Dad was driving the Mustang at the time and I rode from motel to the track in your dads truck. The second time was in August of '70 Chuck and I stayed at your house for a day or two. The last time was at Chucks funeral your whole family was there and all of you went to my grandmothers house for the wake.

I have been keeping tabs on the some of the people from that time. I knew Bobby Motz is still racing the truck and both Freddies and Doug are still racing. What is Jimmy Taylor doing these days I had heard he quit racing not too long after Chuck's accident? I haven't heard from him in years.

I'm sorry this is so long but it's been a long time since I have talked about Chuck to someone who knew him during the jet days. It's been almost 32 years and not a day goes by that I don't think about him.

Stay in touch.

Leonard


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