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Roger McCluskey's Konstant Hot Specials

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  • Roger McCluskey's Konstant Hot Specials

    At a recent model collectors' fair a bought a set comprising 3 of Roger McCluskey's 1963 Konstant Hot Specials - a Sprint Car, a Dirt Car and a Midget.
    https://www.diecast.org/diecast98/ht...asp?id=GMP7683
    Could someone please tell me about what I've bought - I've never heard of Roger McCluskey or the Konstant Hot Special before. I only have a vague idea of the differences between the 3 types of car. eg did they all race on dirt tracks? One website mentions a Kurtis chassis while others say Phillips and Philipp - are these different makes or a misspelling?
    Many thanks.
    Last edited by D-Type; 03-24-2020, 06:26 AM.
    Duncan Rollo

    The more you learn, the more you realise how little you know.

  • #2
    The dirt car is a legal USAC National Championship car. It is technically legal for the Indy 500.and other races in that series. In particular, it has a longer wheelbase as required by rule and a larger fuel tank for the usual 100-mile championship dirt races. Dirt races were dropped from the National Championship after 1970; the descendants of these cars are known as Silver Crown and now race on both dirt and pavement. A dirt car could legally participate in National Championship races on pavement; AJ famously put one on the pole at Milwaukee in 1965 in a field of RE cars:

    https://youtu.be/okpj28E55U4

    Sprint and midget cars raced on both dirt and pavement. They usually didn't race on the mile ovals where Championship cars raced. They're both allowed to be smaller (or much smaller) and lighter than championship cars. The sprint car usually has a championship size engine; the Konstant Hot sprint has a pushrod Chevy V8. The Midget has a 97 cubic inch Offenhauser; this is a different design than the Offenhauser in the Konstant Hot dirt car or a typical Indy roadster.

    Roger McCluskey was a respected championship driver. He won the 1973 USAC National Championship. He probably had a better career in the sprint cars than championship cars, at a time when many championship drivers (like AJ, Mario, and Parnelli) often raced USAC sprint cars.

    https://www.mshf.com/hall-of-fame/in...mccluskey.html
    Racing ain't much, but workin's nothing. Richard Tharp

    Lying was a no-brainer for me. Robin Miller

    "I thought they booed [Danica] because she was being a complete jerk, but then they applauded for A.J. Foyt. Now I'm just confused."

    The real world sucks. Ed McCullough

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    • #3
      Jud Phillips built the Sprint Car (A Watson copy).
      The “Racing Reference” site shows the Champ Dirt car being a Phillips as well.
      I’m pretty sure the Midget is a Kurtis-Kraft.
      “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
      I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
      I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

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      • #4
        Roger McCluskey was also successful in the Stock Car division of USAC.

        ==

        Here is the photo page from Google of Roger McCluskey.

        https://www.google.com/search?q=roge...JYWusQWrpK-YBg

        ==

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        • #5
          Roger McCluskey was a pretty good driver.

          His stats:

          http://www.ultimateracinghistory.com...php?uniqid=170

          http://www.champcarstats.com/drivers/McCluskeyRoger.htm

          I count:

          USAC wins:

          Midgets -1

          Sprint Cars - 23, 5 paved ovals, 18 dirt ovals. Championships 1963 & 1966.

          Indy/Championship Cars - 5 wins, 1 dirt oval, 4 paved oval. Championship 1973.

          Stock Cars - 23 wins, 6 dirt oval, 11 paved oval, 6 road course. Championships 1969 &1970
          "It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny." - James Fenimore Cooper

          "One man with courage is a majority." - Thomas Jefferson

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          • #6
            He was also a high USAC official in the early 90's and, supposedly, one of the men behind the idea of allowing purpose built pushrod twovalve engines which was what Ilmor & Penske needed to come with the 265E/ M-B 500I

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            • #7
              The Konstant Hot machines were owned by Bruce Homeyer. His family owned Konstant Hot, a company that produced small water heaters for coffee vending machines. He was known for his high living: women, drinking, antics, and so on. He was once caught hot lapping the speedway in a station wagon. He was killed in a private plane crash in 1965. The story went that he had spent the morning drinking with friends and got the idea that they should fly down to Houston to keep the party going with friend and fellow car owner Gordon Van Liew. Van Liew operated a large citrus company (Vita Fresh). A security guard at the airport tried to prevent the tipsy Homeyer from taking off, but backed off when threatened with bodily harm. Homeyer managed to get in the air, but never got to Houston. The wreckage was found a month later. He had flown into a New York hillside, having flown in the wrong direction (he had taken off in New Jersey) before crashing.
              Real drivers don't need fenders!

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              • #8
                He (Bruce) was married to Lori B. She owned an offy midget when they married. It was a good ride. Ernie McCoy won numerous races in it.
                "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
                body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting
                "...holy $^!+...what a ride!"
                >

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post
                  The Konstant Hot machines were owned by Bruce Homeyer. His family owned Konstant Hot, a company that produced small water heaters for coffee vending machines. He was known for his high living: women, drinking, antics, and so on. He was once caught hot lapping the speedway in a station wagon. He was killed in a private plane crash in 1965. The story went that he had spent the morning drinking with friends and got the idea that they should fly down to Houston to keep the party going with friend and fellow car owner Gordon Van Liew. Van Liew operated a large citrus company (Vita Fresh). A security guard at the airport tried to prevent the tipsy Homeyer from taking off, but backed off when threatened with bodily harm. Homeyer managed to get in the air, but never got to Houston. The wreckage was found a month later. He had flown into a New York hillside, having flown in the wrong direction (he had taken off in New Jersey) before crashing.
                  This reads like something from a Scalzo book, where everyone is wild-eyed and crazed, living like madmen. If so, take it all with a large grain of salt, or better yet, the largest bag of salt.
                  "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

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                  • #10
                    D-Type
                    If interested in some reading here are some notes on the cars (not the midget) you mention from Tucson's Don Brown - He sent me these notes a few years ago. He was associated with Mc Cluskey, Hank Arnold and the cars you inquire about.
                    Here is the link to 7 photos with his notes beneath.
                    Hopefully you can access them
                    https://s1011.photobucket.com/user/c...tml?sort=6&o=5
                    Best Regards
                    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

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                    • #11
                      I became a fan of Roger when I was about 13 and I read a book I think was called The Brave Ones. Half the book was about McClusky on the road for a season of racing and the other half was about I believe Larry Mahan on the road as a rodeo star.
                      Ring a bell with any of you guys?

                      Also, IIRC Roger got a two-page spread in LIFE with a spectacular sprint car flip.
                      "Charging a man with murder here was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500."- Capt. Willard, Apocolypse Now
                      "Ain't nuthin' like [being with a woman], 'cept maybe the Indy 500."- Bunny, Platoon
                      "To alcohol! The cause of- and solution to- all of life's problems."- Homer J. Simpson

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                      • #12
                        The flip was the Reading opener 1964. Badly broken arm, missed the 500. I visited him in the hospital. He was sharing a room with Don Branson who had a broken arm from a rock!
                        "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
                        body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting
                        "...holy $^!+...what a ride!"
                        >

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          He may have driven the ugliest car to ever grace the speedway(72 Antares)
                          It's on the photo link shared above in post #4
                          Delta Force Theme... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQUeQOIlcDM You're Welcome

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JThur1 View Post
                            This reads like something from a Scalzo book, where everyone is wild-eyed and crazed, living like madmen. If so, take it all with a large grain of salt, or better yet, the largest bag of salt.
                            Ha. ha...you are correct! I could not remember where I had read it, but going back and looking it was from Joe Scalzo's Indianapolis Roadsters 1952-1964. It's a fun read with some great photos, but yes - a large bag of salt needs to be factored in.
                            Real drivers don't need fenders!

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                            • #15
                              Wow, well done Jim. I was going to dismiss it as a Scalzo story due to the absence of a made up nickname - Bruce "Fatty Wildman" Homeyer or something similar.

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