Retrospect: CKC Racing Chevy II Fastback Funny Car

Bill Thomas Race Cars Built It. The CKC Racing Team Campaigned It!

Bob McClurg Mar 28, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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"Big Daddy" Don Garlits once commented that Kristek was undoubtedly "one of fuel racing's true unsung heroes." In this 1964 Pete Peters photo, Kristek is shown tuning the Carter carburetors on the team's 427 Z11 big-block.

Although the CKC Chevy II was primarily match-raced, history records that the team of Callier, Kristek, and Cortinnas won the first F/XS Eliminator class at the AHRA Nationals held at Green Valley Raceway in '64, beating Kelly Chadwick in the final. Team driver Callier recalls what a handful the CKC Chevy II fastback was to drive in those halcyon days:

"Up until that time, the fastest car I had ever driven was a Corvette. That car [Chevy II] used to do some incredible wheelstands, which made it a handful to drive. There was no way you could get off the throttle and get back on it again once it stood up on the back bumper, and it used to do that a lot! I remember one time at Houston Raceway during a match race with Dickie [Harrell], we both stood our cars up on the back bumpers, and the crowd went absolutely wild. Another time, I bent the front axle so badly on re-entry that J.E. had to use a floor jack and a torch to straighten it out just so we could load the car back on the trailer."

As you can imagine, Kristek kept making running changes to the Chevy II fastback to make it more and more competitive.

"We sold the Z11 engine and replaced it with a 396/427 Chevrolet 'Semi-Hemi,' or 'Mystery Motor,' as they were called in those days. First we tried a set of Enderle (and later Hilborn) fuel injectors and blew the engine up two out of three times out.

"What we didn't know at the time was that these systems would leak down. You had to pull the plugs and clean the engine out or [the engine] would hydraulic and blow up. Talk about stupid. What a learning curve that was. We also installed a GM Turbo 400, but that didn't work out too well, either. Finally, we installed a Chrysler Torque Flite transmission and a set of traction bars I built here at the shop, and the car started runningmore consistently."

As time progressed, the CKC Chevy II ran low 9's in the 150-mph range when injected with nitro-methane. In late '66, the team built a supercharged 468-cid Chevrolet big-block but never really ran the car in that configuration. Instead, they ordered an all-new race car and sold the fastback to San Antonio racer Ray Doyan prior to its fading away in history. "The car was really stressed out from all those huge wheelstands. It was also far too heavy, and no longer competitive," Callier said.

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After losing their Camaro to an untimely top-end crash at Green Valley Raceway sometime in late 1967, the team repaired the chassis and installed a brand-new candy tangerine '68 Chevy Nova body. The new CKC Nova would run a best of 7.20-190.0 with Chevrolet power, and a best of 7.00-200 with a Chrysler. In this Pete Peters photo taken at Alamo Dragway, Callier is seen going up against a "Brand-X" Camaro driver, the late Cecil Lankford.

Kristek was quick to chime in. "In November '67, we installed the blown engine in a Don Hardy-built '67 Camaro. That was probably one of the nicest cars we ever had. Unfortunately, the Camaro crashed on the top end at Green Valley Raceway after the parachute failed to open. In '68, we installed a Chevrolet Nova body on the same chassis. We ran really well with that car, first with a blown Chevrolet in it running a best of 7.20-190.00, finishing in the runner-up spot to Gene Snow at the '69 AHRA Spring Nationals, and later with a blown Chrysler running a best of 7.00-200.00."

Callier and Kristek continued racing funny cars throughout the early '70s. In July '74, the team could no longer continue the torrid pace financially and hung it up for good. Kristek returned to his auto repair business, but briefly came out of retirement to wrench local Top Fuel sensation Jody Smart to a runner-up finish at the '74 NHRA Springnationals. Callier first went sport fishing, and eventually got into the wholesale car business.

As for the CKC fastback Chevy II, the car was sold and resold a number of times prior to disappearing from the racing scene completely. However, we've recently learned that San Antonio, Texas, musclecar collector Gordon Chisenhall (who restored the team's Logghe-Stage III chassis '72 Chevrolet Vega AA/FC) is currently in the negotiating stages with the Chevy II's current owner, and with a little luck (and a LOT of bucks), he may have the CKC Racing Chevy II fastback back in San Antonio by the time you read this! Only time will tell.

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