By John Thawley
times Tim and John Mulligan appear to have just stepped off the
drawing board of the prolific and painfully amusing Al Capp.
But the ink never dries on Beebe and Mulligan, and the characterizations
never set. They are characters, but they are real characters,
not interpretations locked in newsprint.
answers to "Chops."
do you call him Chops, John?"
I used to know this guy and ho was sorta round and we called
him Pork Chops. Then Chops came along, and we just sorta started
calling him Chops and ..."
OK, so Chops is
the engine-building and tuning half of this well-respected drag
race team, and he is knowledgeable far beyond his years (27)
in the ranks of those who build supercharged, fuel-burning Chryslers.
Beebe appears older than 27 - long hours extract an exacting
toll. A small bag under each eye attests to a continuing dedication
to the sport.
where I am or what I'm doing, I just keep trying to think of
new things to make the car run just a little better."
And so the car continues to run
better. After winning the 1969 NHRA Winternationals and placing
second in the Stardust meet two weeks later, the team appears
to have latched onto a streak of good luck that was not quick
to come, despite the fact they've held the NHRA speed record
at 229.50 for many months. "The Fighting Irish" hold
e.t. and speed
records at a number of strips
and have the dubious honor of claiming the runner-up positions
at six major meets in less than 15 months. This prominence in
a highly competitive sport did not come overnight for either
member of the team. Tim comes from a large racing family. His
father was a charter member of the California Roadster Association,
so there was always a sprint car or roadster being torn down
in the garage, and young Beebe started out cleaning parts for
roundy-round racers. For basics, he sat in on an auto shop class
in Westminster High and did "homework." He earned some
parts money by moonlighting in a body shop. The parts in those
days were for a '49 Chevy. Naturally, it was stock-two carbs,
bored, et cetera - just like any other stock Chevy you'd run
across: Following high school there was on year of junior college,
augmented by job in a combination market/service station and
one later as a fix-it mechanic in a rental operation. "Used
to do tune; ups on those Briggs and Strattons. . . ."
Beebe brothers Gerald, Dave, and Tim invaded
the gasser ranks of Southern California, and Tim picked up the
duty of engine builder for the team along the way. The duty held
into 1962 and the association of John Mulligan with Tim and brother
Roy (he's got five brothers) when they campaigned a blown fuel
Chevy altered. "Moe" (Mulligan) handle the driving
end of this weekend effort while holding down a succession of
job - gas station attendant, "pearl diver" [dishwasher),
and driver of a milk truck.
continued on page 2