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Wed, 31 Dec 2014, 12:00 PM

Groundshaker Jr.
By Steve Reyes
Photo copyright 2014 Steve Reyes

I think anyone who has ever attended a drag race has come away with a favorite race car or class of race car. For me it was the front engine top fuel dragster that was king of the quarter mile. However, I was torn about what my favorite car was when I saw my first nitro burning blown roadster in 1964. That roadster was Rich Guasco's Pure Hell which was based in Northern, California, where I resided. Looking on it as a fifteen year old boy, it looked like it was going 200 m.p.h. just sitting there.

In 1967 there was a gathering of Fuel Altered's from Southern and Northern California to battle on Fremont's quarter mile. One car that I took a liking to right away was the high riding 392 powered Hay, Hovan, and Okazaki AA/FA. I found out the W.H.O. AA/FA was a team car to Bill Demarest's Groundshaker AA/FD. Soon after in 1968, I saw it race at Fremont and Sacramento and the name of the car had been changed to the Groundshaker Jr.

This car had the second ever altered chassis built by the legendary Woody Gilmore with the engine by Bill Demarest, Mr. Groundshaker himself. The car hit the Southern California racing circuit in 1967 with Glen or Gary Read at the wheel. Read's other ride was the team's AA/FD. The crew consisted of Bill and Mike Demarest, Paul Whitehead and Dale Kraskey. Back in the day, ol' Junior ran over 200 m.p.h. At the NHRA Winternationals, "Junior" took home AA/FA class honors over a flurry of top notch Southern California Fuel Altered's.

Today's Groundshaker, Jr., is a spitting image of yesteryear's car. Glen wanted to find the original car and in fact chased the car all over California until the trail went cold in Northern California. Undaunted, Glen slowly and meticulously assembled the current rebirth of the Groundshaker Jr. from the ground up, making it a mirror image of the original car. If you wonder why the name Groundshaker, it is because those who were on the team had to be over 225 pounds and have a love of drag racing.

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My first sighting of the soon to be Groundshaker Jr. was at Fremont in 1967 or 68.
I am not sure if Way was driving or Gary Read.
When Read drove he had to sit on a large pillow because Way was
much taller and heavier than the average sized Read.

This is Glen Way taking "Jr." for a spin at OCIR.
Way held the track speed record at 207 m.p.h. for Fuel Altered's.
He also held the m.p.h. record at Irwindale.

The August 1970 cover of Car Craft featured one of my shots of Way at Irwindale, California.
I didn't really care for the strange negative/positive cover, but hey, it was a cover!
I did manage to get a "normal" proof of the cover.

It's Gary Read driving the Bill Demerest Groundshaker AA/FD at Lions.
I believe this was in 1967 or '68.
The team mainly raced in California due to everyone having real jobs to attend during the week.

A big moment for the Groundshaker, Jr. team was AA/FA class win
at the 1969 NHRA Winternationals at Pomona, California.
Glen Way plowed through a stellar field of altered's for the win.

The Groundshaker, Jr. put on one heck of a show wherever it raced in California.
Big time smokey burnouts and wheels up launches were a Glen Way trademark.
Check out the butterflies, WFO!

Glen Way's work area, clean and with the driver's basic tools.
Way's six foot plus frame fit nicely into Jr's cockpit.

Junior gets his 100% nitro formula from this ample fuel tank placed over the rear end.

Glen Way went to great lengths to make sure his Groundshaker Jr.
was a mirror image of the original car. Way did one heck of a job.

Now here is a view many a Southern California altered saw of the Groundshaker Jr..
A close look and it reveals disc brakes and a Way design run off tube.
The chrome rear housing was a nice touch.

There is nothing like a monster wearing a diaper in the fuel altered's ranks.
Anyone want to change Junior?

When the AA/FA class was waning in SoCal, Glen Way
had a very short time in the funny car class.
He was a team Wonder Wagon driver for about a minute and then
gained his senses and went back to Junior.
That's Glen in the back towering over his Vega panel ride.

Here is Mr. Groundshaker Jr., Glen Way with his baby.
Glen loves to talk drag racing.
Just don't mention funny cars or he might sic Junior on you.

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