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It was just over 65 years ago that history really started getting made at the airstrip located in Maxton, N.C. Back then, we were planning to take on the Axis in Europe with an assault on little Normandy, France, and we needed to figure a way to get multiple groups of soldiers over the target. Some would be by land (parachutes) and some by sea, at places we named for that day (D) like Omaha and Utah. A number of teams would have to go further inland in non-powered gliders, towed in by powered aircraft making their runs over a flak-heavy environment. Those gliders? Yep, they got their testing right here on this airstrip.
Today, this particular runway is no longer used for air flight; that ended decades ago when the subsequent owners, the municipalities of Maxton and nearly Lurinburg, realized they did not need to maintain three functional airstrips at their rural facility. From this opportunity, the East Coast Timing Association began using the aging strip and its adjacent taxiway for land speed trials. In April, I made the five-hour ride from my home in east Tennessee to the coastal plains 25 miles southeast of Rockingham to see this type of racing for myself.
The reason? During the last six months, we have been covering Gary and Pam Beineke’s creation of the G-Series Primal Scream Dodge Daytona in the magazine I edit, Mopar Enthusiast. Now, if you have read Mopar Max since we began, I covered the Beineke’s street-driven 1971 ‘what if’ vehicles in our first issue back in 2006. These cars use the 1971-74 era ‘fuselage’ body design with the wing car add-ons that NASCAR had already ruled uncompetitive by the time the 1971 models were offered. Since the factory had never built a wing car after 1970, the Beinekes have custom-built these cars, referring at times to the aero-styling and basic wind tunnel notes that were done on these bodies prior to the cancellation of the program; the factory never got beyond 3/8 models.
So, having done the street versions and a 1971 convertible GTX for fun, they decided the next step would be to replicate what a 1971 competition car would look like. And rather than just build another cool driver with Grand National-derived paint, they chose instead to take the next step by actually building a car that could race. When I took over the editorship of Mopar Enthusiast last fall, that project was already underway. We have covered it for several issues now, and when Gary told me the car would be ready for opening day at Maxton (after, of course, the ‘requisite’ seriously major project car last minute thrash), I jumped at the chance to go see it shakedown in person.
Painted up to look like the #71 K&K Insurance 1969 Dodge Daytona entry of Harry Hyde and Bobby Isaac (which set 27 records at Bonneville in September 1971), the goal was to see if this 21st century edition of the never-built wing could do likewise. Gary had contacted Indy Cylinder Heads for an engine that was pushing 588” on gas, and added in a Jerico five-speed with a big overdrive ratio, and Moser’s new 8.75 rear housing being built for the Drag Pak cars. The idea had been not to get too far from the OEM technology, and Gary painstaking worked on little details on the car to make it look authentic. You’ll have to wait until the story comes out in Mopar Enthusiast to find out how it went; we will tell you the three test runs netted a 181 mph best speed that left a lot sitting in the tank (since Gary never had to try 5th gear!).