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Pete Madsen - Tom Hager Story

Pete Madsen - Tom Hager Story  

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Author: 3-Wide   Date: 2/19/2021 12:52:56 PM   

I received this neat little story via email from 70's racer Pete Madsen:

This starts at Hightstown. I was trying to pass Kenny Laureno for the last qualifying spot in the sportsman consi. He wasn't cooperating. As the laps went by, the adrenalin caused me to make a banzai move on the inside. The only other thing I remember after that was the sick feeling you get when you know there's gonna be pain, but it hasn't started yet. I got over the leader's right rear with my left front and went straight into the 1st turn fence! Hard! Oh, one other thing I can't forget about that night was my brother Mark stomping on his railroad hat and swearing that he will NEVER go to the races with me again! (I was qualified!!!)  He even threw in some expletives (not deleted), which was unusual for him!

The frame was bent in a perfect bow. I thought it was finished. Now it's Saturday night at Flemington. I stopped by Tom and he says "Pete, where's your car?" I told him I ruined it last night at Hightstown. He asked what I meant by ruined it, so I told him the story. He says "well, are you gonna fix it? I asked how am I gonna do that? He says "that's easy. just take an I-beam (!!) and chain both ends to the front and back of the car. Then put a jack in between and jack it until it's straight!" I asked him what kind of jack could straighten that? He goes around to the trunk of 'The Buck' (that's what he called his Buick tow car) and pulls out this little hydraulic jack and says "here, use this". I said "do you really think that that little jack can straighten that whole frame?" He says "sure--put a big enough handle on it!"

Now, my first problem was where am I going to get an I-beam long enough? That turned out to be less of a problem than I anticipated. Many people in my place of employment were race fans, this being New Jersey in the early '70s. Procuring the beam was not much of a problem. When I got it home, I laid it on the trailer (the car was still on it) and chained the ends as Tom said. Then I put that jack in between the frame and the I beam. Once I got the slack out of it, It became difficult to jack with the jack handle. I got a bigger handle and jacked some more. Now it was getting tight with the big handle. I got a 4 ft piece of pipe and started again. Now the car was starting to creak, fluid was leaking out of the jack but it was straightening the frame! I had to stop to put wood in between the jack and the frame as the jack ran out of travel several times, but when I was done, the frame was perfectly straight, but the I-beam was bent!

That's the kind of knowledge that you can only learn by seeing or doing!

Pete Madsen

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Pete Madsen - Tom Hager Story 3-Wide 2/19/2021 12:52:56 PM