Newspaper Archive of
The Ponchatoula Times
Ponchatoula , Louisiana
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July 4, 1985     The Ponchatoula Times
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July 4, 1985
 

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SPORTS THE PONCHATOULA TIMES, JULY 4, 1985, SEC. B, PAGE TWO !1 Mud truck racing, Punkin Center Raceway style contractor John Jenkins, who races the top-ranked Bud Bandit I, gave me the opportunity Friday afternoon on tLe deserted, dry 750 foot stralghtaway of Punkin Center Raceway I failed to get myself killed on this assignment and I found out exactly how it feels to take to the passenger seat in one of the nation's fastest mud trucks By DUANE E. HARRIS Sports Editor Imagine how it feels to hurtle forward in a supercharged 4 x 4 pushing over 600 horsepower at a speed in excess of 80 mph on a slippery mud track heading for a 85 foot hairpin curve? I know because Pumpkin Center Ford outpowers Dodge ! Tangi Lifetime Pools 12 Years in the area * Installations * Supplies allow 2-3 weeks  Repairs Lionel Barrett 386-6114 Sure. just about every Louisiana native has been to a mud race at one time or another, but the spectator's angle doesn't compare with actually racing one. Jenkins, who was busily grading off the i00 yard sand drag strip, was startled by my request to ride in one the mud races. I had no idea at the time that Jenkins was the driver of the famed Bud Bandit I. Common sense may have directed me otherwise if I had known that earlier "How much trouble would it be to bring out the Bandit." inquired National Stockcar Racer Larry Cummings. Jenkins' counterpart at the Raceway (Cummings recently finished as a quarter finalist in the 1985 Cajun Nationals). Do chickens lay eggs? All you heard of Jenkins was his short reply: "No problem '" In no time flat. Jenkins directed me to his truck and we left to tow in the Bandit from his nearby home. He took a left on Pumpkin Center Road and it was then that my jaw dropped to the floorboard. The Bud Bandit was proudly parked on a custom built trailer in his yard. Without delay, we drove off with the Bandit trailing behind us. Jenkins stopped off at Pumpkin Center Tire to fill up with air and before ] had a c'hance to bombard Jenkins with questions, we were at the track. "Stand back, it's loud " barked Jenkins. Huh? That was an understate- ment. Jenkins had hit the switch and after winding down she had reared to life. All 600 horsepower burbled up the header pipes extended through the hood of the powerful 79 Ford. The deafening noise silenced the entire metropolis of Pumpkin Center, as crowds were soon drawn and cars lined up along the raceway boundaries. There I sat inside the cockpit of the Bandit next to Jenkins with my camera and notes. It at first seemed to be all noise, you know, a no-go showboat. But when Jenkins punched the rig's accelerator in low gear, I was drawn to the rear of the cab as if I was seated in the spaceshuttle Discovery on liftoff. I couldn't exactly say what I saw then because it was all a blur that leaped violently in every direction. Jenkins geared to second which broke the speed limitation mark before we took the first 85 foot curve. Overall the ride was rough. Here we were racing one of the nation's fastest mud trucks with no mud. Out of curve two. Jenkins really let it loose Coal black smoke poured from the stacks as I almost lost consciousness from the sudden influx of speed. In only seconds we had taken high gear and screeched don the track's fnst 750 foot straightaway. Believe this reporter, one lap was enough to convince even the most doubting non-spectator that if the Bandit had wings and Jenkins was at the wheel, it would fly. He cut the engine and let out a contented sigh which satisfied his thirst temporarily for the sport. ] was still gasping for air. Moments later, his crew gathered around the Bandit when 1 took my first look at the Bandit's mighty powerplant and drive!rain. Jenkins and Larry Cummings began listing features that would fill Hot Rod magazine cover to cover. The truck itself is the finished product and design of Jenkins" mastermind mechanic and friend Steve Nicole. In only a few minutes I experienced / Official checks vacuum on stock racer the awesome power displayed by the Bandit and I saw a professional truck racer's personality change before my eyes. Fortunately, l lived to tell about it and I even brought back photos depicting Jenkins at the controls of the mon., d speeds in excess of 80 mph. LEARN TO DIVE FOR THE EXCITEMENT OF A LIFETIME All the adventure, fun ancl excitement of the under- water world can be yours when you becme a certihed dwer This is a sport you can enjoy year after year, always discovenng new stimulating expenences V0Slt or call our store for details on how yod can take part in our next SCUBA ADVENTURE-- 1) WEEKEND CLASSES 2) WEEKNIONT CLASSSS 3) PRIVATE CLASSES Gulf South Ski & Scuba, [ Professional Ski & Scuba Shop] MEMBER OF - $CUBA SCHOOLS1 INTERNATIONALJ (504) 542-7431 | O0 | N. OAK ST. HAMMOND, LA 7001 Get Ready For The 6- 10oz. With These Specials From 00y's Self- Serve 1 & 2 365 W. Pine 701 E. Pine o, Budweiser $2.89 Bud Light $2.99 6- Packs Milwaukee's Best.......... .................. ..$1. 99 Old Milwaukee................................$ 2.39 Bsh .................:........................$2.39 Coors/Coors Light ..........................$3" 19 Miller Bottles ..................,...............$3.29 12 - Packs 12 oz. Schadfer ...................................... ;3.99 Hey boaters, get ready for that 4th of July Sale. Come on down to Springfield Marine, Inc. Your Evinrude sales & service dealer, and see all .the great buys. SMR 78 Channel Marine radio $2499s ............. 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