Petersen & Fitz


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In 1970 Herm Petersen of Poulsbo, Washington teamed up with Sam Fitz of Bremerton, Washington to field a top notch RCE (Woody) Top Fuel car. It was Petersen's second fueler and Fitz's baptism to drag racing. The team was a natural as Fitz was a fun loving and successful restaurant owner and Petersen an ace mechanic and excellent driver. Raced mainly in the northwest, the car was a serious contender at every event they entered. Until they switched to their first rear engine Top Fuel car in 1972, this Woody car earned Herm the nickname, "The Northwest Terror".


Artwork done by Phil Elliott for the 1971 Petersen & Fitz Newsletter envelope.



Woodburn, Oregon 1971
Flyin' Phil Photo


Bremerton Dragway WCS Meet 1971
Rich Carlson Photos



1971 WCS Meet Mission Raceway, Canada
Flyin' Phil Photo






In 2004 Herm Petersen attended the California Hot Rod Reunion and was offered the seat in the Chris Karamesines AA/FD for Cacklefest. Like so many others before him, once again he was hooked by the incurable drag racing bug. Petersen returned to Washington and immediately started the search for his last front engine dragster that he sold in 1971.

Herm's luck was far beyond most who've gone in search for an old race car. The most common result is not finding it at all. Then there are those who found their old cars but they were in need of major repair to be restored to their original state. Petersen's dragster had been through three hands over the last 30+ years and although raced, incredibly it had never been "butchered". The car was found in Idaho with nothing changed but the paint job and engine configuration. In short, Petersen probably had the easiest restoration in Cacklefest history.


Petersen got his car back in tact complete with an injected 460" big block Chevy engine... which he sold to help finance the conversion back to a blown fuel hemi.




The first thing Petersen did was strip the car down to the bare chassis and remove some extraneous brackets that had been added for the Chevy and Powerglide. The chassis was then repainted to its original blue.



With the chassis done, the car went to the paint shop for the multi-stage and very complex paint job.





While the car was being painted, Petersen was collecting and assembling engine parts.


Restoration done.


The car made its unofficial debut in September of 2005 at a local Auto Parts store.



Incredibly, Petersen who nearly lost his life in a firey crash in 1973 chose to be the first "Cacklecar" to do a fire burnout at Bremerton Raceway.


Every year two first-time Cacklefest cars are chosen to do a fire-up in front of the Double Tree Hotel in downtown Bakersfield on Friday night. In 2005 it was two of the best Northwest based fuel dragsters ever. The Petersen & Fitz car and Jerry Ruth's "business coupe" fueler.


After the CHRR Honorees Award Presentation a huge crowd exited the hotel for this annual event. Petersen put old friend Ken Logan in the seat while he tended the engine.




Saturday found Petersen back at the track and having a ball.


After some coaxing Gloria Gibbs got in the car Saturday afternoon for a fire-up. She loved it.



Nobody was ready for the main event more than Petersen. This is the Pre-Cacklefest Parade.



After push starting Petersen drives to his spot in line some 900 feet up the track.


Petersen in his spot running on all eight.







Event Co-Founder Steve Gibbs and Petersen following Cacklefest. Happy campers.


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