*Photos courtesy Cheri
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Copyright Ewald Enterprises, 1998-2007. All Rights Reserved.
Part 1: A Photo Album
(staged shots) of Raynor/Herbert by Mike Bagnod (1972)
The first Raynor-Herbert
RED built by Don Long as it looked when it debuted in the spring
of 1972. The was the first day they brought the car home from
Longs. It was painted in SoCal and assembled there. This was
the first day it arrived in Sacramento, and they unloaded it
in the Togonotti's Speed Shop parking Lot at their 19th and T
Cheri Herbert Carter
still has the horizontal support brace for the rear wing. These
mono-wings were Don Long's idea (he is big into airplanes) and
was used on two cars Herbert's and that of Cerny & Moody.
Slick as they were, the more conventional wings proved to be
more effective. Cerny changed over early on, but Herbert ran
it through the 1974 season.
Jim Herbert was a die hard Donovan man and both of
his REDs used Ed's blocks for power.
One of the obvious differences between the early
and the contemporary REDs is the size and height of the rear
Note the Tognotti's Speed Shops acknowledgement on
the wing support; soon to be Jim's serious business rival.
The Raynor-Herbert top
fuel dragster also appeared on the face of Tognotti's business
Part 2: 1972
Chris Raynor and Jim Herbert
completed the construction of their first rear-engine top fuel
dragster in the spring of 1972. It had all the best pieces: Don
Long chassis, 417 cid aluminum Donovan block, Enderle injectors,
Danekas supercharger, Hays clutch, and Crower cam.
The team debuted the car at the Frank Pitts Benefit
Race at Sacramento Raceway in April 1972; Pitts had been seriously
injured in the crash of the famed Warlock AA/FA in 1971. Though
Shorty Leventon posted low e.t. and top speed (6.86-218.45),
Raynor-Herbert also dropped into the sixes with a 6.98-206.90.
R-H would be a frequent participant at Sacramento Raceway that
year. Many of those appearances were a two-out-of-three match
against friendly rival Gary Ormsby.
Match Race against Gary Ormsby at Sacramento (1972).
A pair of burnout shots from Sacramento in 1972.
Judging from the fact that the trailer
and tow vehicle are comfortably situated at the edge of the track,
this would have to be a testing session; Sacramento Raceway;
Part 3: 1973
The first real test of the car's
potential came at Sacramento Raceway in February 1973. This race,
a traditional warm-up for the Bakersfield March Meet, was loaded
with quality teams including Don "Big Daddy" Garlits.
Tampa Don was still smarting over a loss to 17 year old John
Stewart at Irwindale's Grand Premiere in January and wanted to
race the kid again. The rematch never occurred because Jim Herbert
sent "Big Daddy" back to the trailer in the semifinals.
In the all Sacramento final, the youthful Stewart, an El Camino
High School senior, got off the line first and just managed to
hold off the hard charging Raynor-Herbert team for the win. That
final round appearance was a promising start to the season, but
the real litmus test lay ahead the following week at the Bakersfield
March Meet. After barely slipping into the show at #31, Sunday
started off splendidly with a pair of wins that included a huge
upset over Clayton Harris. Herbert's 6.71 against Harris was
also the quickest run of the rounds contested thus far. With
many of the favorites eliminated in those early rounds, it was
anybody's race to win. Dreams of basking in the glow of victory
were cruelly dashed in the quarterfinals when a gauge showed
no oil pressure and Jim had to shut off the engine; the crew
had neglected to put oil in the engine. Dwight Salisbury, the
#17 qualifier, would go on to victory over Randy Allison (#30
qualifier) in T.B. Smallwood's top fuel car.
Sacramento Raceway, February 1973: Jim Herbert strapped
a hole shot (clearly evident) on Don Garlits and parlayed the
lead into a big win; 6.72-201.35 to Tampa Don's 6.68-213.28.
Mike Bagnod Photography
A qualifying pass at the 1973 Bakersfield
March Meet. Note the Enderle injectors that were added over the
winter replacing the 4-port Hilborns.
The California State Championship
Drag Races at Sacramento would offer the team an opportunity
for redemption. Originally scheduled for the weekend of March
31, rain forced a postponement until April 14-15. It was another
quality field that included Warren-Coburn-Miller, Dennis Baca,
the upstart John Stewart, and, of course, Raynor-Herbert. The
Warren-Coburn-Miller team was getting significant monetary support
from sponsor "Rain for Rent", and with lots of spare
parts in the trailer, could really bump the tune up as needed.
They completely dominated the field that weekend at Sacramento
Raceway; a first inkling that cubic money equaled horsepower.
Though always a contender at every event they entered, it soon
became obvious to both Chris and Jim that it would take a lot
of money to duplicate the success of The Lizard front-engine
dragsters. Advances in after market performance components made
it possible to build incredibly powerful engines, but at a great,
and sometimes, extravagant cost. The budget needed to build and
race a top fuel dragster at the highest level, soon became well
beyond the means of many of the drag racers. To that end, the
Raynor-Herbert team competed almost exclusively on the West Coast,
but did venture back to Tulsa for the PRO championship in September
1973. Herbert qualified 20th at 6.36-231.10, slightly better
than John Stewart, but lost in the first round to his old nemesis
James Warren. Art Glattke of the Sacramento Bee saw it like this
when he penned his column in his Pit Stop in February 1974, "Touring
Pros Will Run With Locals at Raceway". Jim Herbert was more
to the point when interviewed, "I don't have the budget
that Ivo has
you can't campaign on a national
basis without a major sponsor. Our trip to Tulsa alone, not counting
racing expenses, was something over $2,000.00; along the way,
we had to replace a fuel pump (Las Vegas) and two tires (New
Mexico) The purse at any meet less than "Nationals"
stature just will not cover that kind of traveling expense."
Part 4 : 1974
This picture was taken in 1973 on the American River
Parkway; a 23 mile long trail that parallels the American River
has it flows through Sacramento.
This advertisement ran in National Dragster in 1973
for six weeks prior to the 1974 Winternationals.
Raynor-Herbert at the 1974 Winternationals.
Raynor-Herbert racing John Stewart at Sacramento
Part 5 : 1975
Another full house at Sacramento Raceway; Jim racing
Jim Peace near side who, apparently, has fallen asleep.
Mike Bagnod Photography
Sacramento Raceway 1974. Look at the fans directly
in the background standing on the hood of their car next to a
fence that is no more than ten yards from the track. Compare
that to the distant and sanitized seating at today's super tracks.
Mike Bagnod Photography
Raynor-Herbert at OCIR
Racing Photos by John Shanks
Jim Herbert putting some heat into the atmosphere
on what had to be a very cold day at Sacramento Raceway; check
out the attire on the fans.
Mike Bagnod Photography
Jim launching the Raynor-Herbert T/FD at Sacramento
Raceway; do you get the feeling that Jim loved to race at this
Mike Bagnod Photography
In the 1970s, NHRA's divisional
races were called WCS (World Championship Series) meets. They
were a big deal back then because not only were the top fuel
dragsters still part of the program, but it was a 16-car show.
Sacramento Raceway always hosted one of the Division 7 events
and, typically, attracted as many as 30 top fuel entries. The
1974 edition at Sacramento Raceway was a much anticipated event
with 40 top fuel entries alone. There was also one spot left
in the prestigious Cragar 5-Second Club. Despite the likes of
March Meet winner Kuhl-Olson, James Warren, Dennis Baca, and
Frank Bradley, Herbert-Raynor led all qualifiers with a 6.11
elapsed time and a blazing 232.56. Though engine failure against
Olson in the semis would end their run that weekend, on a whole,
1974 was a very good year. At the Indy Nationals, Herbert did
better than any other California team. He lasted through the
long rainy weekend until the semis when he was defeated by eventual
champion, Marvin Graham. "It was misting so badly I had
to use the back of my driving gloves to wipe my goggles clean
everyone ran under the same conditions."
Later that year Jim summed it
up for Jim Rattie of The Sacramento Bee, "I'm not normally
extremely lucky, which is an important element in racing. But,
it seems we're running consistently well everywhere at both good
and bad tracks." That consistency paid off with a lot of
round wins in 1974 and an eventual second place finish in the
divisional standings to champ Warren-Coburn-Miller.
Ontario Motor Speedway - 1974 World Finals; Buster
Couch pushing the buttons (on the right).
Steve Reyes Speed Photography
Raynor-Herbert vs. John Blanchard (Rance McDaniel
driving) at the World Finals; Ontario Motor Speedway.
Steve Reyes Photography
In 1975, the team started off
with a semi final placing at the Bakersfield March Meet, won
the California State Championships at Sacramento, and ran as
fast as 245 mph at the Indy Nationals. It was then that Jim took
a hiatus from the driving seat to concentrate more time and energy
on his Jim Herbert's Performance World speed and parts shop located
at 1717 Bell St. (at Arden Way) in Sacramento.
In 1975, Raynor-Herbert showed up at Sacramento Raceway
with a new look and paint scheme. Gone were the canard wings
and spoked front wheels. A new, conventional Don Long wing was
over the rear tires.
Where else except
at Sacramento Raceway could fans get this close to the action!
Racing Kuhl-Olson at Sacramento Raceway; 1975.
Ron Burch Drag Photos
Jim out on Ken
Moitoza and Gary Gachis at Sacramento Raceway; 1975; Note: Ron
Burch was also the track reporter.
Ron Burch Drag Photos
Jim Herbert vs.
Bob Williams at the '75 divisional event at Sacramento Raceway.
Ron Burch Drag Photos
The 1975 Governor's
Cup at Sacramento Raceway; Gary Beck, having just lost the NHRA
world title to Garlits, came up short once again against Herbert
in the first round of eliminations: 6.34 to Gary's 6.44.
Photography by Gale Jones
Another of Herbert's
victims at the Governor's Cup was Shorty Leventon; Jim made it
all the way to the final, but lost to his usual nemesis, James
Warren (6.14 to 6.74)
Photography by Gale Jones
was very lucrative in the 1970s and a way for many racers to
finance their operation. Here Jim in his top fuel car vs. Ed
McCullouch's funny car showdown at Fremont Raceway. In these
match ups the funny car usually got a .020 head start.
Ron Burch Drag Photos
Jim did a lot of match racing whether at Sacramento
Raceway or Fremont Raceway; challenging Jim Dunn at the "Lions
of the North".
Owner/ Starter Dave Smith ready to launch a Snake
vs. Lizard confrontation at his track.
OCIR's PDA Meet in 1975; then, the top fuel dragsters
had a totally different idle system for the injectors. This is
a typical stage shot; pedal clutch; and rpms UP for the launch.
Exactly what the cackle cars do today.
Candid shot of Jim Herbert in 1975.
Indy 1975; R-H squeezed into the field #32 with a
Les Welch Photography
Indy 1975 vs. Tom Toler in Dick Stahl's top fuel
dragster; Jim upset Tom with a 6.15-241.93 to 6.20-236. In round
#2 against Ted Wolf, Jim went red, but still ran a 6.10-242.
Barry Wiggins Photography
Part 6 : 1976-1978
Other than a few rides now and
then, Jim was more of a businessman than a drag racer during
1976 and most of 1977. Then, at the 1977 Governor's Cup, he hopped
back in the seat to assist Ed Wilson (Battleborn) who needed
a driver for one race. Despite blowing the engine, this experience
rekindled his interest in the sport and he began planning the
assembly of a new top fuel dragster.
Later, he would tell Steve Connell,
a staff writer for The Sacramento Bee, "Once it's in your
blood, it's awful hard to kick. It's very expensive and relatively
dangerous, but I don't know of anything that's more personally
satisfying." By February 1978, and at the cost of about
$50,000.00, Jim had a new 247 inch Don Long car with a 417 cid
Donovan engine ready to race.
Teamed with horsepower guru John
Garrison and with additional support from Ed Donovan, the new
rail debuted at the NHRA Winternationals. "It was a great
race car, but it always had so much new stuff on it, we never
did any good at all." This was in reference to the fact
that the car actually doubled as Donovan's on track laboratory
for new ideas and experimental engine components. But, it was
a concession Jim had to make if he wanted to continue racing
top fuel dragsters.
Chris Raynor adds, "I don't
know so much that it was a concession. It was a lot more than
that. Yes, it was a deal! However, he was kind of a factory based
car, and with that goes a lot of first hand expertise from Ed,
and kind of being higher up on the priority ladder when it came
to getting parts, etc. Being a sponsored car like he was, back
in those days was a big deal, and running out of Ed's shop had
some prestige and clout to go along with it. It was my sense
that this was a way for him to get to the next level in the sport.
However, with experimentation comes risk."
Keeping the tune up manageable
and parts in the engine was the first and foremost consideration
for Herbert. When discussing what it would take to run one of
those sub-six second elapsed times, Jim told Jerry Eagen of The
Sacramento Union, "It's too expensive to go after times
like that anymore. To do it you have to risk the entire car.
It's kind of like pulling a pin on a hand grenade and hoping
it won't go off in your hand. You could conceivably ruin an entire
car and not even finish the race."
Friend and racing rival Gary Ormsby. Herbert's name
was on this car for a short time, maybe just one race, the 1977
Jim Herbert's Performance World also sponsored many
a local circle-burner dirt track racers.
Mark Clayton on local
circle tracks: "Their were numerous dirt tracks operating
in the central valley and foothills at that time. The most local
and historically popular was West Capital Raceway, located West
Capital Avenue in West Sacramento, California. It was a quarter
mile clay oval with some of the best clay in the west. It was
somewhat close to the Sacramento River, and the underground water
table helped make the consistency of the clay nice and sticky.
We sponsored a load of cars that raced around the circle tracks
and West Capital Raceway, i.e the late Gary Patterson, Billy
Garcia, Rendy Boldrini, Brian Crockett, Rick Hurst, Jimmy Seals,
Tim Green, ect, etc., etc.
West Capital raceway
featured numerous vehicles that raced their. Jim and Gary Ormsby
were never during this period of time actual competitive circle
track racers. However, they did I believe in 1976 or 1977 race
in a celebrities race at West Capital. Jim Herbert's Performance
World catered to a wide variety of circle track customers, to
include those in Australia, Washington, Hawaii, and all of the
United States. It was a thriving part of Jim's business and he
did well as it."
Clayton worked at Jim Herbert's Performance World during the
1970s; he still drag races today with a B/ND. Here is his recollection
of those exciting times at the drag strip and Jim Herbert's Performance
laboratory at the Bakersfield March Meet, 1978. Some of the experimental
parts were cylinder heads with different plug location, and Donovan
Magneseum fuel injectors. This was a beautiful car with its black
paint and gold stripes. What most people don't know about this
car, is that the paint scheme has it roots in formula 1. During
the era of the 1970's their was a popular Lotus formula 1 team
called "The Johnny Player Special", which was driven
by Mario Andretti at the time. Chris and Jim really liked their
color combination on their cars which was always black with gold
stripes. Thus, they set out to use some of Johnny Player team
Lotus color cues to define their new look for the Garrison, Raynor
and Herbert car.
Jim raced the Garrison-Raynor-Herbert
top fuel dragster through the end of the 1978 season after which
he hired on to drive Ed Wilson's Battle Born entry from Reno,
Nevada. After three years in the seat he turned the driving reins
over to his buddy Gary Ormsby, but did stay on to help with the
tune up. Jim would not return to the drag strip for several years,
but like he said, "Once it's in your blood, it's a germ
that simply won't go away." By 1987, Jim was itching to
get back into racing, and the only kind of race car that piqued
his interest was the top fuel dragster.
Ed Wilson campaigned a series of Battle Born top
fuel dragsters; the one Jim drove at the 1979 March Meet was
an Attebury car powered by the late model Keith Black hemi engine.
This shot was taken in the parking lot of Jim Herbert's
Performance World at 1717 Bell.
Jim Herbert's Performance World official T-Shirt
as seen on Mark Clayton in 1978.
The last known Jim Herbert's
Performance World Jacket that exists. It is Mark Clayton's, and
was the orignal series jacket Issued by Jim in 1976. It was a
red quilt stiched, with white stripes running down the sleeves
Parnelli Jones Firestone Jacket. Which featured a PJ Firestone
patch on the front of it. As you can see it had the name of the
shop embroderied on the back. It could be ordered with a matching
red down vest that many wore over the top of it when it was cold.
It was exclusively issued to Jim Herbert's Performance World
staff, Raynor and Herbert Performance World Top Fuel, Gary Ormsby,
and a few folks that particiapated on a local bracket racing
team we sponsored at the time.
Their was a second series of
Jackets issued for 1978, they were blue Simpson down jackets,
with orange and gold stripes on the sleeves, and had gold embroidery
on the back.
The best way to relieve a bad
itch is to scratch it and Jim did this by going to the races
at Sacramento and Fremont. He knew that racing a contemporary
top fuel dragster was out of the question, so he searched around
for another way to get back into nitro racing. His good friend,
Ted Taylor, had formed a team with Ron Welty and Steve Wiles
(the original WW2 members) who were racing an injected nitro-burning
Chrysler dragster. It did not take much to get Jim involved,
and in no time the WW2 Racing Team (Wiles, Welty, and Two Other
Dummies) was complete. The first order of business was to put
a supercharger beneath the injectors. It was soon apparent that
the short wheel-based Shoemaker car could not handle all the
horsepower, so they ordered a 225 inch Rob Stirling chassis.
Throughout the 1990s, the nostalgia style of drag racing organized
and operated under the Goodguys umbrella, gained in popularity
with fans and racers alike. During this time, WW2 Racing was
the undisputed performance king of the top fuel dragster class.
With Ted Taylor, and later, Jim Murphy driving, they would become
the first nostalgia top fuel dragster to go 6.00, break 250 mph,
and the second car to crack the 6-second barrier. More importantly,
they would go on to win consecutive Goodguys VRA top fuel championships
in 1997 and 1998. (see below)
The original WW2 dragster of Wiles-Welty before the
supercharger was added; John Shoemaker chassis.
Jim Murphy took over for Ted Taylor in late 1996.
Salt Lake City in 1998 for a match race against Jack
Bakersfield March Meet 1998; the starter is none
other than Larry Sutton.
Bakersfield March Meet 1998: victory for WW2 Racing.
See if you can find Ted Taylor, Ron Rapadas, Jim and Cheri Herbert,
and Jim and Judy Murphy (look hard).
Ten days before the 1999 March
Meet, Jim, while at home in Roseville, suffered a rupture in
an aortic aneurysm which caused massive hemorrhaging killing
him almost immediately. Understandably, the team was totally
devastated, but with encouragement from Cheri Herbert, the grief-stricken
team soldiered on and towed the dragster down to Bakersfield.
After a discouraging start to the event where they barely made
the show qualifying in the last position, WW2 Racing came back
on Sunday to wallop the competition.
With Jim Murphy at the wheel,
WW2 Racing beat Gerry Steiner, Denver Schutz, and Bill Alexander
to win the 40th Annual March Meet. Murphy, speaking of the struggle
to qualify said, "Jim was so good at dialing (the car) in,
and we really missed him." Then adding, "We would have
run quicker if Jim was here, but I think he'd be proud we didn't
beat ourselves." There wasn't a dry eye around when the
Jim Herbert Memorial Trophy was presented to Murphy and the WW2
team. "You couldn't have scripted this any better,"
said Murphy. "I think we had the Lord riding on one shoulder
and Jim on the other." Today, WW2 Racing continues to flourish
under the ownership of Jim Murphy.
March Meet 1999; the only year the car sported the black-brown-red-white
Jim Murphy - "WW II" - AA/FD - March Meet,
Final Round. Jim sat like this for a minute... reflecting on
the moment. One can only imagine the emotions he was feeling.
The crew at the top end - more deep emotions.
"This one's for you, Jim" - Winners Circle
- March Meet, 1999
This shot sums up the weekend. In one of the most emotional moments
in drag racing history, the entire WWII team salutes their fallen
leader, Jim Herbert.
James Edward Herbert
Jim Herbert Story - Part 1
Fuel Dragsters is a Left
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