174th Assault
Helicopter Company

SP4 Gary Barnes--1968

Tethercar Racing in Vietnam

SP4 Gary A. Barnes and SP4 David T. Nimmons (l to r) making adjustments to a model race car at the Duc Pho Raceway in late 1968. Photo taken by SP4 Dean T. Pohland, 11th Inf. Bde.

For all of the guys at Duc Pho wondering what the concrete ring behind the latrines was, it was the DUC PHO RACEWAY.

The following article was written by SP4 Kevin H. Howe 11th Inf. Bde. and published in the Southern Cross on September 27, 1968.

Model Racer Roars At Duc Pho Raceway

LZ BRONCO--Buzzing, roaring, high-winding engines; spurts of dust raising clouds over a dirt race track; these have been a part of the
American scene since the invention of the automobile.

And Americans, as everyone knows, take the trappings of their culture wherever they go.

Two electricians with the 409th Trans. Det. (Avn. Maint.), the "Witchdoctors," are no exception. When SP4 Gary Barnes and SP4 David Nimmons knock off from a hard day of tinkering with complicated machinery, they relax and unwind by tinkering with more complicated machinery!

Like Offenhausers

The two enthusiasts have constructed a model raceway and a racer to run on it-a completely homemade model car patterned after the sleek, Offenhausers that run at Indianapolis.

The car is powered by a model airplane engine bolted to an aluminum frame. The axles are made of steel rods, with the rear wheels connected by drive gears to the engine.

Red Finish

The front axle has individual wheel suspension and the body is of styrofoam plastic coated with a sleek, red finish of metal-set material similar to epoxy.

"I traded one of the guys in the detachment for the engine," Barnes said, "and the rest of the parts came from an old tachometer generator and a windshield wiper motor." The brass parts, he added, were made from an old 105mm shell.

Dirt Track Raceway

The car runs on a tether around a dirt track, dubbed the "Duc Pho Raceway" by the two inventors.

With a scrapyard full of broken down parts and unlimited imagination, these men have brought a breath of excitment usually associated with the Bonneville Salt Flats or the Indianapolis 500 to Vietnam.


The raceway was never really dirt, it was concrete, using old ammunition boxes for the concrete forms. --Gary Barnes

Copyright K&G Enterprises 1998
All Rights Reserved.

Gary Barnes at garyb@midtown.net
Visit his Website at http://www.tethercar.com

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