The 4-link system – credit where due please!

The 4-link system – credit where due please!

In response to our Don Garlits article of 12 Nov 2013 on the pioneering of the rear-engine dragster, one of our readers, Mr D. Smith, made this noteworthy comment concerning the invention of drag racing’s ubiquitous four-link system: “Connie Swingle, who was instrumental in many of Garlits’ successes, was sharp, but Jerry Dawson of St Louis was clearly one of the first to build a rear-engine dragster. I have a faint recollection that Dawson and Connie knew each other. Sadly, intelligent inventors don’t always receive the credit they deserve. I conceived and produced the first billet 4-link system. It was adjustable in 1/8in increments. Although pictures were featured in an issue of an 1998 National Dragster after we debuted the design at the US Nationals on Labor Day weekend, it took NHRA a few issues before publishing it. Then miraculously, 3-plus years later, Don Ness is credited with inventing and patenting the first 4-link system with infinite adjustment. Actually, those were my exact words to National Dragster’s writer who wrote that exact phrase in the N/D issue, which featured a full-page article on the race car. Don’s patent used my exact verbiage to describe what everyone with an NHRA Dragster subscription saw years earlier. God bless Don, for Lord knows we all copied many of his innovative ideas. But he certainly copied mine, has sold millions of dollar’s worth of my intellectual property, and will continue to receive the credit because he patented it. Stealing intellectual properties is not just restricted to the dubious acts of foreign countries, it happens here everyday.”...
41st Classic Motorsports Mitty presented by Hagerty:

41st Classic Motorsports Mitty presented by Hagerty:

An annual festival celebrating historic and vintage racing. By Vic Moore:   It was Lord Melbourne’s unfaithful wife who said of Byron—he’s mad, bad, and dangerous to know. This was how I felt about Road Atlanta nearly two decades ago when I first took to the track in a 1-liter Suzuki GSXR-powered Radical D-sport. Reaching a 1m: 33s lap time took forever to accomplish and later persuading it into the twenties, with 1,300lbs and few of today’s aero efficiencies, was faster than I wanted to travel. At the track’s fastest point, on the back straight after it veers gently left and then plunges down into the second-gear left/right kink, Turn 10, the Radical reached 127mph. Then pointing northward, it was swiftly up the hill and under the bridge overlooking the track’s administrative building. At ever increasing speed, the car swept down the other side to conclude another lap, motoring through Turn 12 with its defiant bump awkwardly positioned on the racing line as well as a required gear change. But it was on the other side of the track, when rushing down through Turns 3 and 4 and the Esses in the wet that still reverberates in the memory. In those conditions, if the car touched a curb on the way down the mountainside it was instantly out of control and onto the grass and then… who knows. To those of us with mediocre talent but determined to press on anyway, it was intimidating but that’s precisely why the challenges of those Road Atlanta races, particularly those held in inclement conditions, remain burned into the consciousness. Like the adventures...