charlie puls
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A part of NHRA Division 5 Drag Racing History

Charlie Puls - Racer - Drag Race Car Builder

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As modest as Charlie Puls is, after reading this story, one will very easily understand that he represents a big part of Division 5 Drag Racing history.

Street racing was pretty common throughout the 1950's, and Charlie was always willing to accept a challenge. One day in 1959, Charlie saw a friend of his bring home a beautiful trophy from the Lincoln , NE drag strip. Charlie thought how easy it would be for him to get a trophy of his own, since he knew he could beat the guy holding one as he had with his 1940 Ford Flathead many times. So, off to Lincoln he went to claim a trophy. Charlie quickly discovered the difference between street racing and drag racing on a professional strip. He said it took him about a year and a half before he won his first trophy. This was the start, as you will read, of some pretty remarkable donations to drag racing history.

From the early days of running the tracks in Lincoln , Omaha , Grand Island , Sioux City , Des Moines , Eddyville, and others, Charlie knew it was time to get rid of the ol' Flathead. Replacing the motor with an Olds engine, more trophies were won. Then it was time to move on to a '56 Chevy that he ran for a couple of years before trading it off for a '58 Chevy. Charlie was always one to move ahead and try new things. Roadsters were next on the list, and he ran those with great success for another 5 to 6 years. Back to a '52 Chevy was a transition he had that finally took him to three different Camaros that he built. Another 5 to 6 years was spent building Chryslers. Then, as he put it, “I got out.” After running just about every class from “A” gas to “F”, plus most altered classes, he got out leaving behind a bar raised very high for the others to contend with including trophies, plaques, and records set. When asked which car was his favorite out of them all, his answer was his '67 Camaro. There is not enough room on this site to mention all the cars he built and raced.

Making the statement “I got out” did not mean out of drag racing. He got out of driving, not building. A legacy was set into motion; for the next 20-years, Charlie Puls has built near 300 race cars for others. Over the years, C-T built cars have been a major contributor to numerous victories. To mention just a couple from the local Nebraska area would include Gene Bichlmeier of Norfolk who won the Winter Nationals 3-years ago. Another would be Eddie Rezac of Wahoo who won the Mile High 3-years in a row. Both of these cars were built by Charlie. On any given Division 5 track, you will see between 25 and 30 cars built by C-T Engine and Chassis Builders that will include many more victories.

Learning more about Charlie as a person led to even more respect for the man. The “T” in C-T was an old friend of his named Tom Hipke. Charlie was raised with Tom and through his early years of life, Tom was a big part of it. They started the business together. After an untimely passing of Tom, Charlie has always kept the name.

Even more admiration followed with a story by Charlie of going to the track one time and lining up to race. The other car lost its linkage at the start line and Charlie shut his car down and said “I'll wait”. Not only did he wait for the other driver, he went over with his tools and helped fix the car so they could race. They got it fixed, they ran, and Charlie got beat. He helped fix a car only to get beat by it. Many “sports” in this world today could really learn a lesson by this example of true “sportsmanship”. As Charlie will tell you, drag racing is all about winning, and helping the other guy to win too. That's the sport. That's why we're a family.

Charlie's advice for the beginner is to “jump in and get your feet wet and don't give up!” He says most everyone out there is willing to help. It's hard to find someone that won't give you advice, share their experiences with you, or loan you parts or tools that you might need to make the race. (One other mention from the Editor of this story would be for you to have Charlie set up your car for you.)

One more note: No matter what you need done, hot rod, street rod, classic, muscle car, or whatever chassis or engine work, Charlie HAS done it. Give him a call! While Charlie appreciates all business, he regrets no longer being set up for dune buggy work.

RaceWeb500 is extremely proud to present you — Charlie Puls.

Now that's drag racing!

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