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'Bushmaster' Tops Night Of Fire

Californian George Schreiber Peels Rubber In Orlando For Another Generation Of Race Fans.

November 17, 1995 | By C. J. Tuttle of The Sentinel Staff

George Schreiber can tell you how it felt to work in a logging camp in Montana when the temperature was 49 degrees below zero and an 89-mph wind was blowing. Schreiber can also tell you how it feels to go 301.26 mph in a jet-propelled car.

It was, in part, the chilling days of Montana that drove Schreiber to become a drag-racing star.

''There wasn't much to do in Montana,'' Schreiber said. ''It was really easy to get interested in cars or girls, and I liked cars.''

Schreiber, 58, got his first car when he was in eighth grade.

''It was a 1935 Hudson coupe that my mom paid $75 for,'' he said. ''I couldn't drive it at the time, so I took it apart and put it together, then took it apart.''

In 1960, Schreiber headed to Long Beach, Calif., where he still resides. There, he worked for legend ''Big Daddy'' Ed Roth. Together, they built the Yellow Fang dragster in 1963, the first dragster to go more than 200 mph.

Schreiber has built and run nine top-fuel dragsters since then, before turning to jet dragsters in 1981. In that time, he has traveled to almost every state and out of the country, too. He also picked up the nickname ''The Bushmaster.''

He came by the name because with so many tracks in the California area, the publications that covered drag racing wanted to make it more interesting.

''They didn't want to write 'Bill will race John,' they wanted to write 'The Zookeeper will try to contain The Mongoose and The Bushmaster,' '' Schreiber said.

Schreiber travels 10 months a year with his wife, Shana, and their dog, Auggie Doggie, putting on exhibitions with his jet dragster.

''I do an average of 30 a year,'' he said. ''It's an exhibition car that you match race with other guys at national events and other bookings. The one I'm racing now was just built this year in Texas, and we were running 301.20 (mph) in English Town, N.J., a couple weeks ago. It had an estimated time of 5.30 (seconds) flat.''

Schreiber is in town for Saturday's Night of Fire at Orlando Speed World Dragway.

Part show and part competition, the annual Night of Fire offers a combination of events that draws the track's largest spectator audience of the year.

Competition is centered around four race divisions beginning at 6:30 p.m.: Outlaw Quick-32, Top Eliminator, Sportsman E.T. and Pro-Cycle.

Then, the entertainment begins. The featured cars take to the track at 8 p.m., and again at 10 p.m., starting with the Super-Stocks followed by the Wheelstanders and finally the Jet Cars and Dragsters.

Also making an appearance is Joe Klimarchuk's ''Hell on Wheels'' Army Tank, the only wheelstanding tank in the world, and Jim Neilson's Mercedes Jet Limousine that can go more than 230 mph.

Although Schreiber enjoys the accolades of his profession - he was named 1995 Showman of the Year by Pro Jet - interaction with fans is his favorite part of racing.

''I love people, and I get attached very easily,'' he said. ''I love it when a man comes up to me and tells me his dad used to bring him to see me and now he is bringing his son to see me. There's something special about that.''









 Copyright GEORGE SCHREIBER / 2010 / 2011



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