80 Years of Adrenaline with Jack Bettio in Episode 75


Eighty years of adrenaline isn’t slowing Jack Bettio down. Join us on Episode 75 for a look back at the early years of rockcrawling. Jack has some gems in here.  East coast driver knows all the good guys.

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4:52 – the alternate runway for the space shuttle is 14 miles long

9:06 – I was teaching for GM, but didn’t want to travel to teach

11:10 – might as well do this legal like

16:29 – the car I set the SeaGas record in has been restored

22:07 – I slipped out of the seatbelt and fell 75 feet out of the airplane

27:41 – I put her through law school and she sued me for a divorce

40:09 – I got off the plane in Aspen and saw a beautiful white CJ7, I want to buy that!

45:57 – how I met Tom Wood

52:23 – what was it like competing in the first event?

1:08:08 – if you’re a gear head, you’re my friend

1:17:45 – we just finished first place, I was 68, time to go

We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.


[00:01:19.460] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we are going to talk to Jack Bettio. Jack is an original OG rock crawler drag racer. S-C-C-A. Skoda sports cars, grand prix racing hot rodder.

[00:01:39.880] – Big Rich Klein

We are going to get into all of the things that he has done. So here we go. Jack Bettio. It is so good to see you. Thank you for coming on board and going to share your life here with our listeners on Conversations with Big Rich and Jack. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you, but it’s great to talk to you.

[00:02:01.940] – Jack Bettio

Same here, Rich.

[00:02:04.340] – Big Rich Klein

So let’s jump right in and let’s let’s talk about where you grew up and your early influences. So where were you born and raised?

[00:02:14.040] – Jack Bettio

Cordwell, New Jersey. And then we moved to Trenton, and we lived in the Italian neighborhood. Then my grandparents were here since 1914 in Lakehurst. He was a metal Smith, chief metal Smith. And he went out for the Akron, and he was the last one, and he went under with the die off of the Barney Get Inlet. And my grandmother lived here until she was 92, probably a quarter of a mile from where I’m presently located now. Okay.

[00:02:51.100] – Big Rich Klein

And how is how is the spelling of your last name?

[00:02:55.990] – Jack Bettio

B-E-T-T-I-O. Okay, actually, the pronunciation in Italian. It’s Bettio. Okay.

[00:03:08.280] – Big Rich Klein

So good old Italian.

[00:03:09.880] – Jack Bettio

Yeah, all the way all the way.

[00:03:12.440] – Big Rich Klein

So let’s talk about those early influences and stuff. You you’re obviously a wartime baby. I would imagine there was a lot of industry in your area or nearby. Is that correct?

[00:03:28.170] – Jack Bettio

Well, Lakehurst Naval Air Station is where the Hindenburg blew up, so I guess it doesn’t get any more famous than that.

[00:03:35.770] – Big Rich Klein

Wow. Okay.

[00:03:36.840] – Jack Bettio

And I can throw a stone to the front gate of the Navy base less than an 8th of a mile away where I’m located now I’m in business. There commercial storage. I have two two buildings here.

[00:03:52.180] – Big Rich Klein

Excellent. Excellent. Storage is a good one. Do you do storage wars? What’s it like when you have those up for auction, you get a bunch of people showing up to try to try to bidon them.

[00:04:05.510] – Jack Bettio

Okay. First of all, we stored nothing for household or commercial storage and business. We have three very important government contractors here. One that makes the supports for the Black Hawks helicopters and two other ones are contractors from the Navy base. That’s what makes our location so premium because we’re so close to them assembling or manufacturing and taking it and distributing it to the base here. And I don’t know if you’re cognizant of this, but Lakehurst Naval Air Station is now a joint base for Dix, McGuire, and Lakerhurst, and they’re all intertwined.

[00:04:52.790] – Jack Bettio

And between Lakerhurst and McGuire, there’s a 14 miles runway. And that was the alternate for the space shuttle. If they ever had to use it, they would have a place to land. But I’m right in, I’m a quarter or an 8th of a mile from the main gate, so we’re very desirable for contractors that are on Navy Lakehurst, McGuire or Fort Dix.

[00:05:18.240] – Big Rich Klein

Okay. 14 miles runway, 14 miles.

[00:05:23.070] – Jack Bettio

That’s the alternate for the space shuttle if they ever had to use it, that’s how long it is.

[00:05:29.650] – Big Rich Klein

That’s incredible. I can’t even imagine what that would be like to upkeep and to level that thing and all that kind of stuff. That’s crazy.

[00:05:39.760] – Jack Bettio

I guess they got to have alternates, though, because things happen that they can’t land where they’re supposed to or come back or whatever.  READ MORE

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