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"Big End Rapture"
(My stories will not be in any special order. I will write them at random as memory serves me) Rapture: Ecstacy. Overwhelmed or carried away in an almost trance by great joy or strong emotion. By the summer of 1987, the Outlaw Pro Stock concept a few of us started was coming into vogue in a big way. Match race proposals were coming from everywhere. Fans everywhere wanted to see these crazy Nitrous and Blown 200 mph Door Slammers. One such event in Milan (Michigan) Dragway had booked "Wild Bill" Kuhlmann vs. (me) "Animal Jim" for the 1987 4th of July match race feature. I had my heart set on beating Bill and running 200 plus while doing it. On the first run after several minutes of both the US National anthem and the Canadian version plus much pageantry and hoopla, Bill and I staged great side by side 600 ft. burnouts as always. We then staged up with nitrous purging like a steam engine. We left some & I made a perfect hard run and had Outlaw Bill covered. As I pondered the victory and the essence of what I was sure was a 200 mph run, I suddenly realized I had not released my chute (I still only had one chute on the Zephyr at that time) As veteran as I was -I got caught up in the moment with a late chute on a knowingly short shutdown track and ended up in the sand trap. I was buried up to my doors and could not open them. Bill Kuhlmann was first to show up and dug the sand from around the Merc's driver's door and got me out. Laughingly, Bill asked, "What the hell happened? I told this track owner we were a class act!" That is when I coined the phrase --"BIG END RAPTURE!" Next time out I had two chutes in case "Rapture" struck me again!
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