Fans of Byron Dragway’s World Power Wheelstanding Contest certainly know the lore of Launching Larry and his Badfish Racing Plymouth Barracuda, which is the undisputed king of wheelstanding these days. Larry was the big winner at Byron’s festival of bumper-dragging insanity last year with his wheelstand that went a full eighth of a mile, and his exploits have taken him from just another contestant in the annual event to a booked-in attraction at events around the upper midwest, including the recent World Series of Drag Racing in Illinois.
Launching Larry and his Barracuda perform their acts sans a wheelie bar, letting the bumper drag in epic fashion for as long as he can keep the nose pointed skyward. His machine isn’t a purpose-built wheelstander, but it certainly entertains like one. But the Barracuda, without any of the tools commonly found on a wheelstander to make them controllable, tends to swap lanes and use up the entire width of the racing surface to put on its show. Unfortunately, the ‘Cuda’s feisty-ness created more excitement then Larry bargained for this weekend at the Central Illinois Dragway in Havana, Ill.
Competing at the tracks’ Fall Nostalgia Event featuring vintage Top Fuelers, Gassers, Nostalgia Super Stockers, and of course a wheelstand contest, Launching Larry drifted left of the centerline with the wheels still high in the air and made contact with the guardrail, climbing up and over the wall near the 1/8-mile finish stripe. After going over the wall, the car reportedly took out one of the light poles situated near the track, but did not appear to have rolled over. The car is considered repairable, but it will certainly take some time and money to get the infamous car back on track. And we certainly hope that happens, because drag racing would be a lesser sport without a showman like Launching Larry.