Minor started his career in Sand Sports during a Jeep trip
to the Glamis Sand Dunes on Thanksgiving weekend 1959. At
the time Larry’s jeep was a CJ-6 with a shortened wheelbase.
On the way back from Glamis, he blew a motor which led to
the installation of a small block and the first of many
Chevy powered Jeeps.
In 1962 Larry joined the Hemet Jeep Club and became active
in competitive racing. In 1963 he won a major event, the New
Year’s Buttercup meet, running a 409 Chevy motor in the
Jeep. During the next two years Larry won a number of Top
Eliminator races in the 409 Jeep in Bakersfield, San
Jacinto, Pismo, Glamis and Fallon, NV.
In 1965, the California Four-Wheel Drive Association
(CA4WDC), the organization responsible for the rules that
governed 4-WD sand competition at the time, released a new
set of rules that restricted engine sizes. Working with
fellow Hemet Jeep Club member, Harry Bushert, who was also
on the board of the CA4WDC, Larry proposed the addition of
an un-limited 4-WD class. The new class was accepted by the
board and in 1966 Larry introduced the first fiberglass 4-WD
Jeep powered by a 352 cubic inch S/B Chevy with a 6-71
Blower running on a mixture of nitro-methane fuel. Taking a
page from the folklore of the day, Larry named the beast
“Flower Power” and the Jeep dominated the unlimited class
for the next four years.
In 1971 Larry had Herman Booy of San Jacinto, CA construct
rear engine Top Fuel dragster and funny car frames to help
keep him on the leading edge of the competition. He stuffed
a 500 cubic inch blown & injected all aluminum Hemi engine
in the top fuel dragster and it became virtually unbeatable
during the 1970’s.
When organized off-road racing got started in the late 60’s,
Minor was successful in that venue as well. In 1967 he
teamed up with Rod Hall to win the inaugural NORRA Mexican
1000 in a stock 4-WD Jeep. The Hall/Minor team was the first
4-WD to cross the finish line that year and teamed up again
in 69 in a Bill Stroppe prepared Bronco. This time the pair
won the race overall and remains the only 4-WD truck to ever
win the Mexican (Baja) 1000 event overall in a 4-WD truck.
Minor also took class wins at the National 4-WD Grand Prix
in 1967/68 and in 71 teamed up with Jack Bayer behind the
wheel of Bill Stroppe’s Bronco Pony race truck and took
class wins at the Baja 500, the Mint 400 and a number of
other major off-road racing events during the early 70’s.
In 1978 Minor decided to go asphalt racing and built Top
Fuel and Funny Car teams to compete in NHRA racing. He hired
Gary Beck to drive the dark blue Al Swindahl-chassised Top
Fuel dragster, with Bernie Fedderly turning the wrenches.
The team won four times, and amazingly, was low qualifier at
ten of twelve events during the dream season of 1983. At the
Gatornationals, in the same year, Beck set a new national
mark of 5.44. In October, at the Golden Gate Nationals in
Fremont, California, Beck trashed Gary Ormsby in the final
with the sport’s first 5.3-second blast (a 5.391) and then
followed it up with a backed-up 5.391 at the World Finals
event at Orange County International Raceway. Minor & Beck
had the Winston/NHRA Championship won during a season that
saw Beck run 17 of the quickest 18 runs in Top Fuel history.
As remarkable as this was to accomplish, dominating the
competition seems to be business as usual in any form of
racing for Larry Minor.
In 1999 , Larry returned to Sand Sports with a 2-WD tube
frame, Fiberglass Jeep for racing and recreational dune
riding. To date, Larry Minor Motorsports in Hemet,
California has built 21 of these special Jeeps and demand is
on the rise.