"Night of the Comets " Pete Gates vs. Dyno Don Nicholson.... Drag Racing Art

The Art Of David Carl Peters

$ 25.00

Limited-Edition Print of 500 (13x19) prints
Signed and numbered by the Artist. 
Pete Gates Winning the 1966 Super Stock Nationals, is arguably one of the Greatest upsets in the history of Drag Racing. 
The scene was the 2nd. Annual "Super Stock Magazine" Nationals, held at New York National Speedway. After the initial 1965 "one-day" action packed race, (which would go down in History as Drag Racing's "Woodstock,") the 66 gathering promised to be an even more spectacular event, stretched out over 3 full days.
The odd on Favorite to win was "Dyno Don" Nicholson in his "State-of-the-art" "Flip-Top" Mercury Comet Cyclone. The Mercury contingent, featuring Don and Ed Shartman in twin "Cyclones," had been tearing up the tracks across the country, with their first ever "'One-piece" fiberglass bodied Injected Funnies.
Shartman had set Low Et. and Top Speed of the meet, running an 8.41, at 172.74mph in the 2,000-lb class. However, no one expected upstart Pete Gates (in the newly purchased Ex. Don Nicholson 65 Comet) coming on strong, winning the 2,700-lb class running times of, 9.19, 9.28, and a 9.09 to take the class Win on Friday. Pete managed to dip the (battle- worn) Comet down to an 8.97et on his way to winning Saturdays class runoffs.
 Pete wasn't as lucky on Sunday's Final 2,000-lb runoff, as his car failed to fire in the first round, allowing the Mopar's "Golden Commandoes" to take the class win.
However, the race day wasn't over yet, as the "Mr. Super Eliminator" would settle who had the "Baddest" Hot Rod at the event. All class winners, as well as Low Et. Cars, would be brought back for this final "handicap- start" clash.
Pete Gates downed the "Seaton Shaker" in the first round with a 9.02 to a Shaker's 9.70. In the mean time, Nicholson (the odds on favorite) ran a stellar 8.42 to put away the "Ramchargers" hard charging Dart.
In the second round, and for the second time, Pete managed to get the Comet to run another 8.99 et, to outrun the coming on strong charge of Arnie Beswick's Pontiac. Arnie ran an 8.48et while keeping both front wheels off the ground, doing a wheelstand to half-track. Nicholson had a bye run in the second round but kept his foot in it to an 8.64 at 161.29mph. 
The third round was the race everyone was anticipating, as Gates would face off with Nicholson, both cars being tuned by crew chief Earl Wade. 
The crowd was on its feet, as Gates was given a 0.50 Head start. Both cars screamed down the track as the crowd roared with approval, Gates little Comet charging hard to hold off the Factory's "Big Gun" all the way to the finish. The crowd went crazy, cheering for several minutes, as no one expected the outcome!   
The final round would prove to be no-less exciting, as Gates would face the factory team's number two "Big Dog" and the meet's low et man, Ed Shartman.
Yet again the crowd was on its feet for this second "David vs. Goliath" match of the day. 
Once again Gates would be given a 0.50 Head start. At the Green, Pete caught a good light, and the little red Comet leaped off the line charging hard. Unbeknownst to Shartman, an oil-line on his Cyclone had come loose during the burnouts, causing the left rear slick to be sprayed with oil. Ed immediately went sideways at the green, causing him to shut the car off.
Pete screamed down the track alone, and into the History books, completing one of the greatest upset Victories in Drag Racing. 
For the Victory, Pete was given full "Factory" credentials and honors, assuring him a place on the team, and a new "Flip-Top" Cyclone of his own...    

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