1962 Corvette Drag Racer - The Sportsman Cometh

Dudley Racing resurrects a dragstrip legend

Randall D. Allen Jul 25, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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Don Spencer and David Dudley (standing) proudly display an AHRA National event plaque and Super Chevy Magazine Editor's Choice award beside the '62.

Next up were the brakes. After flushing out the lines and replacing the components, the original drums were turned, and new pads fitted. For the next nine months, David freshened up the interior, including constructing a fiberglass cover to repair the transmission tunnel's "easy access" hole, which resided there to facilitate quick trans and clutch changes. Other than re-covering the driver-side seat bottom, replacing the carpeting, and installing gauges to cover the hole where the radio used to reside, David left the interior as it was at the time of purchase.

Hours of family time devoted to restoring the brilliance of the paint and detailing the car just added to the anticipation of finally getting it back on the strip. After replacing the tires with new Goodyear rubber, the car was taken to Houston Raceway Park and let loose. On its second full pass, the Vette turned a 12.58, not too far off its previous AHRA times. After destroying the transmission on a routine 6,000-rpm launch, David rebuilt the gearbox, and the old Vette resumed its march down the tarmac. That the car's engine was built in 1982 and routinely sees 7,500-rpm shifts is a testament to the fanatical attention to detail that Spencer and Knape put into the car. Even in the blistering Texas heat, the Vette runs consistent 12.30s, with a best of 12.29 at 109 mph.

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Spencer and Knape Racing Enterprises aggressively marketed the '62 to all of the major contingency sponsors across the nation.

Thanks to the addition of the Vette, the Dudley racing team-consisting of David, his father H.R., and daughter Jessica-was awarded the 2005 Race Team of the Year by a local car club, and an outstanding performance award was bestowed upon David for his point-total achievements in the Texas Muscle Car Club Challenge Series.

The red Vette was a very popular car with the fans and media during its original racing career, and the same holds true today. In fact, the car was awarded an Editor's Choice award at the 2004 Super Chevy event held in Baytown, Texas. Competition these days is limited to races throughout Texas and the surrounding area, but watching the '62 compete in the King Muscle class at a Texas Muscle Car Challenge series-against both classic and modern musclecars-was a treat for all fans of racing. After all, how many authentic Sportsman racing entries are still pounding the strip while wearing their original paint and period-correct drivetrain? Some 22 years after its last AHRA win, this red '62 Vette still waves the Corvette flag with authority.

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