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Wed, 27 Dec 2017, 11:15 AM

Homegrown Top Fuel Dragsters Part X
By Steve Reyes
Photo copyright 2017 Steve Reyes





Since I have mentioned The Wailer AA/FD in both parts eight and nine, I guess maybe I should share some information on this NorCal top fuel team and share photos of that infamous crash. The first time I saw The Wailer AA/FD race, was in 1965. The team was Hay, Haslum and Walsh with Tommy Walsh at the controls. It was in late 1966 or early 1967 when a new Lefty Hay built Wailer was debuted at Fremont with Frank Martinez at the wheel. The team was now Lefty Hay and Tommy Walsh. With Martinez departure in 1968, The Wailer was driver-less until Rich Zoucha got behind the wheel. When Zoucha's other AA/FD ride was parked he drove The Wailer. Dale Emery also drove The Wailer when Rich Guasco's Pure Hell AA/FA was parked. This took The Wailer went from no driver to two part-time drivers.

Late in October 1968, at a top fuel final in Fremont, California, Martinez in his own AA/FD faced off with Zoucha driving The Wailer. When the green on the tree flashed, the race was on, down the 1320. Right at the finish line Zoucha's ride pumped about seven quarts of hot oil into the driver's face/cockpit. Unable to see, The Wailer made a hard right and ran over the front of Martinez's AA/FD. Since Fremont had no guard rails and the area was wide open, the two cars tangled and tumbled forever on the Fremont turf. Both cars suffered heavy damage in the crash but both drivers did walk away with a lot of bruises. Frank Martinez was declared the winner as his partner Leroy Jorgenson gathered up what was left of their AA/FD. Hay and Walsh did the same for their wounded Wailer.

If you wish to purchase prints of the photos below or any others, they may be obtained by contacting us at breyes@reyesontour.com. Other photos for purchase may be viewed by following the links at www.reyesontour.com.



Tommy Walsh driving the Hay, Haslum and Walsh The Wailer AA/FD at Fremont, California in 1965
and The Wailer AA/FD vs. Crossley and Edmunds AA/FD at Sacramento, California, the same year.



Tommy Walsh and Lefty Hay debuted their second generation of The Wailer AA/FD
in late 1966 with Frank Martinez at the wheel. This was Frank's first venture into
the top fuel world but not his last.




This is Frank Martinez at the controls of The Wailer AA/FD. This car was built by co-owner Lefty Hay in 1966-67.



When Zoucha's regular ride, the Californian was parked, he could be found
at the controls of the Walsh and Hay The Wailer AA/FD in 1968.


Dale "The Snail" Emery was at the wheel of The Wailer AA/FD in 1968 at
Fremont, California. Emery had a free weekend from Rich Guasco's
Pure Hell AA/FA so he "relaxed" in The Wailer AA/FD.



A big bump in the top fuel road came in October 1968. While racing Rich Zoucha driving
Martinez's former ride The Wailer, Zoucha got oiled in and ran over Martinez at the finish
line. The crash pretty much destroyed both cars and almost put Martinez out of top fuel racing.


The end of the run of The Wailer and the Jorgenson and Martinez AA/FD occurred in 1968.
Rich Zoucha, in The Wailer, received an oil bath at the finish line and was unable to see;
he ran over the front end of the Jorgenson and Martinez AA/FD. The ensuing crash destroyed
both cars but both drivers walked away. The Wailer was rebuilt but the Jorgenson and Martinez
AA/FD was not rebuilt. Frank Martinez returned with his own AA/FD in the latter part of 1969.





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