By Dave Pearce
The Red Wagon Restaurant was host to a car show this weekend and much like the people who drive them, each of the cars on display have a story. Billy and son William Schlumpf Junior’s 1965 Chevy II is no exception.
The rural Posey County residents are known on area racetracks as a team to reckon with every time they take the track. Billie and his son worked together to build the car and they use their expertise and sponsorship by Thisisbracketracing.com and Jegs Summer Door Car Shootout to keep up the car and their reputation on the track.
“Jegs Summer Door Car Shootout is the race we have coming up in Benton, Ill.,” explained Billy Junior. “We will run over there at the I57 drag strip. We also race at Chandler and Lyons Raceway Park.
The elder Schlumpf has been actively involved in racing for 40 years so the transition for his son was natural.
“He started me out in Junior Dragsters when I was about 10 years old,” the younger Schlumpf said. “I am 30 now. I have been the track champion at Chandler a couple of times and have won several races around the area, most notably a nice purse in Bowling Green, Ky., a couple of years ago.”
Schlumpf speaks of the car and the parts that drive it just like the professional he is.
“The car is powered by a 383 stroker, small-block Chevy built by dad and I at the shop there in Poseyville,” he explained. “My wife Stephanie and I live in Mount Carmel with our month-old son Lucas.”
There’s a reason the car still looks like new.
“I have never hit the wall and have always managed to keep it ‘shiny side up’,” the younger Schlumpf said with a contagious smile. “I have been racing this car since I was 17 and it has had a lot of runs put on it and has had a lot of wins.”
The car runs eighth-mile times of about 6.3 seconds at around 105 miles per hour and holds a ‘wheelie’ for about 30 to 40 feet.
So doesn’t driving the same car down a different dragstrip each time out get boring for the pair.
“I’m ate up with the competition aspect of it,” Schlumpf said. “It’s not something that everyone can do so that makes it unique. Drag racing is just the type of thing that gets in your blood and is passed down from generation to generation. It’s a family-type sport and that’s what’s great about it. We can all go to the race track and grill out and have fun. Then we race and hopefully win some money but even if we don’t, hopefully we can bring it back in one piece and keep it shiny.”
But the side most people see is the pretty side. Somewhat like college and professional athletes, viewers only see the moments of fame and glory. They don’t see the endless hours of labor and time that go into preparing for that big event.
“If something breaks, we work together and fix it,” Schlumpf said. “I have a couple of sisters who live in St. Louis and they are involved with raising their children, but they come out to the racetrack a few times a year.”
The elder Schlumpf is originally from Evansville but a job took him to New Jersey. He returned to the area in 1990 and opened the shop just outside of Poseyville.
“There at Trackmaster (the shop at Poseyville), he mainly balances racing engines and balances crankshafts for racing,” Schlumpf said. “He has been doing that for about 25 years. He loves it and this is something we can do together.”
By Dave Pearce
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