The DebraDee Weddings/Tri-Agro Services Years – 1992 to 1996

Diane’s 1965 Barracuda at Race City Speedway, Calgary, AlbertaAfter the busy three years with AutoTec Oil we decided to stay a little closer to home and at home more often. Sponsorship was obtained from DebraDee Weddings (a retailer of wedding dresses and formal wear with four locations in Saskatchewan) and Tri-Agro Services, a distributor of Esso Oil products, fertilizer and farm feeds.

We had just finished reconstructing our 1965 Barracuda to run NHRA Superstreet. We had also acquired another 1965 Barracuda which received most of the race parts from our first Barracuda and became Diane’s first race car. We limited our racing to Saskatchewan International Raceway, and four or five NHRA Division VI races a year. Highlights of these years included:

  • Diane’s 1994 Pro-Comp Class championship at Saskatchewan International Raceway (no wins but 5 runner ups that year)
  • A runner up in Superstreet at a NHRA Division VI National Open in Edmonton, Alberta
  • A 2nd round loss in the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle Washington that resulted in a write-up in NHRA’s weekly publication, National Dragster.

As the 1995 season progressed and I continued to drive the Superstreet Barracuda and Diane the Pro-Comp Bracket Barracuda events transpired to result in a major change in our approach to racing.

At the Seattle National Event my second round loss was due to driver error (brain fade on the starting line) and was followed up two weeks later at a NHRA Divisional Race in Calgary with more driver error. At the conclusion of the Calgary race I quit driving. Trying to concentrate on setting up the Barracuda to run Superstreet and driving was not working. I knew where to find an excellent driver and Diane became the driver of the Superstreet Barracuda. I was going to concentrate on setting up the car as crew chief.

Since that decision in August, 1995 I have not driven a race car.

George and Diane

 

Magazine cover

George Knight

Think of Canadian Super Street racer George Knight the next time you’re faced with a long journey after losing in the first round and you’ll feel better. The 45-year-old Chartered Accountant – the Canadian equivalent of a Certified Public Accountant – lives in the small town of Dalmeny, Saskatchewan,and must drive approximately 1,000 miles to race anywhere except for nearby Saskatchewan International Raceway.

For the Northwest Nationals, Knight towed his clean 1965 Barracuda 1,100 miles one way; he lost in the second round.

The car was near death when Knight bought it off the street 10 years ago. He bracket raced it for five years before Auto Trends in Saskatoon, which maintains the car, rebuilt it three years ago to its present condition.

The engine is a 360-cid small-block fitted with 11.5-1 arias pistons and Bill Miller aluminum connecting rods. The cylinder heads are rare prototypes – they have no casting or part number – that have port and combustion-chamber configurations that are a hybrid of Trans-Am heads and W-2 heads. The camshaft is a Competition Cams 360 SuperStock roller grind.

DebraDee Weddings/Tri-Agro Services Superstreet Barracuda at Ashcroft, British ColumbiaThe engine is topped by an Offenhauser Port-O-Sonic intake manifold and a 750cfm Holley four-barrel that is controlled by a Dedenbear throttle stop. A delay box is not used because the car is not yet capable of red-lighting. The spark comes from an MSD distributor and ignition system. The 904 three-speed automatic and eight-inch 4,200 stall convertor are from Turbo-Action. The Ford nine-inch rear houses 5.29 Richmond gears and Strange axles and spool. The car weighs 2,790 pounds but exceeds the 2,800-pound class minimum when Knight straps in his 5-foot, 11-inch, 300-pound frame.

The Village Press articleTHE VILLAGE PRESS

Racing by day or by Knight

By Keith Moen

When one thinks of an accountant, the first thought that comes to mind probably has nothing to do with greasy fingernails.

Likewise when one thinks of a pair of accountants, the idea of sitting over a desk poring over somebody’s balance sheets seems to be a natural one.

When thinking about George and Diane Knight of Dalmeny those thoughts may be accurate, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (give or take). But when it comes to the weekend, nothing could be further from the truth.

The husband and wife team have formed a unique bond, where not only do they work together at George’s home-based office, but they also share the same leisure activity.

By leisure, don’t take it to mean that they are in the same bridge club or that they compete in lawn bowling tournaments. No, this pair of accountants spend their off-hours racing down straightaways in excess of 100 miles per hour, in search of that perfect pass.

George said that he was the first to realize his racing bug, getting his first race car eight years ago.

“Basically we started out with this ’65 Barracuda, running in what was the Modified Class in the low 12’s (seconds),” began George. “I raced it for four years in that track and after the end of the fourth year, I wanted to step the car up to run the SuperStreet Class, which you could run at National Hot Rod Association Divisional and National events.”

In order to do so, the Knights needed parts for their Barracuda. And where better to get Barracuda parts than from another Barracuda.

“What we did at that time, was we purchased another ’65 Barracuda,” explained George. “And what we did with that car, was we took the drive train, motor, transmission, rear end, wheels (and) tires.”

“We effectively stripped my car and put all of the pieces into this other ’65 Barracuda,” he continued. “And that became Diane’s race car.”

Diane’s introduction to the sport was innocent enough she recalled. Having followed George’s racing career since its inception, she was perhaps more familiar with the drag racing routine than your average rookie.

“When we bought it (the second Barracuda), we were thinking that we would restore it,” Diane said. “Than I decided, ‘No, I wanted to race it.’ So we decided we would turn it into another race car.”

Because of the overall transformation of George’s race car, a considerable amount of time was needed to get it into shape. In fact, George says that he was out of racing for two years in order to see his car become what it is today.

Despite being a racing fanatic, George said that his time off of the track did not necessarily transform into time away from the track because that’s when Diane’s racing career was getting underway.

“I rather enjoyed teaching Diane how to drive,” admitted George. “At least I think I taught her – although she would probably say that she was self-learning.”

“She caught on very, very well,” George continued. “Before we built her car, she had made a couple of passes in my car, even though it wasn’t built for her – the seat was too far back, the shifter wasn’t in the right position – but she made a couple of passes and she enjoyed it.”

“Then it was just a matter of telling her what had to be done in the process of running the quarter-mile. Diane spent all winter just running it through her mind, whenever she had a spare moment, the various steps (needed).”

The dedication paid off, as Diane says that she was as prepared as she could have possibly have been.

“I felt really comfortable when I got in the car,” she admitted. “Mainly because I knew what I had to do already.”

Things changed, however, when the Knights no longer had the luxury of having each other in their respective pit crews. Last year, the first when they had both cars up and running was certainly different than what they had become accustomed to said George.

“The two years that Diane was racing and I wasn’t, I enjoyed acting as her pit crew,” recalled George. “And now with the SuperStreet car, when we travel, Diane reverts back to my pit crew.”

“When we’re racing here at Saskatoon with both cars, it particularly gets a little hectic,” he continued. “Because neither one can help the other. But we somehow seem to manage.” The thought of running one drag racing car would make many accountants cringe – when it came time to look at the recreation budget. So how do these accountants justify having two race cars?

“Certainly sponsorship helps us out,” admitted George, who noted that Diane’s race car has no major sponsor – something that they would like to see changed.

“But for us racing is our cabin at the lake, or boat,” he concluded.

It just so happens that their cabin and boat travel a lot faster than most people’s.


“When we’re racing here at Saskatoon with both cars, it particularly gets a little hectic, because neither one can help the other. But we somehow seem to manage.”

George Knight


 
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