Joaquin Arnett- Bean Bandits

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Well here it is again, and I have not written on this site.. Thinking of dad especially during the holiday season, we always loved the celebrations with family and friends.. I found this article written by Ron Muller It was in dad's multiple collections. It also mentions my Uncle, Emery Cook.  I miss those days of the long ago past.  Dad is wearing one of his favorite shirts, and is with my beautiful and sweet mom, Viola.  She was definitely the woman behind the man. Always going to the multiple car part-stores and junk yards finding him this and that... They had been together since childhood.. Nice can click on the article to enlarge it.. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

     Today, I have been thinking a lot about my dad, Joaquin, I am still trying to disperse his tools  & equipment.  His Lathe and Mill are now in Ramona, David Brown Blacksmith will repurpose them..  Jeff Arnett is attending to all his race cars.   I cannot believe how time rushes by.  I am trying to get myself going and organize his vast photos.. Thankfully Emmanuel Burgin is providing me with some motivation.  He is re-starting a book about Joaquin. So I am beginning to do my part in picture organizing So so so many photos...
I have been looking at all the changes in the last years from the Bean Bandit Racing Team the friends of my dad organized to the current situation.  I am confused as to the status of the racing and cars.  Although I did not mean this blog to be about the current issues of the clubs.  I intend it to be just a memory of my father, his contributions to drag racing along with stories of his doings, from family and friends.  I am now on Facebook, and have been able to follow some of those that knew him personally.

A couple of months ago Brad Sonka sent me a note he wrote to a friend about Joaquin. This is it; 
"My father in law from my first marriage , Jaoquin Arnett, was an early dragracer. He built everything from scratch himself with no sponsors and was eventually outspent by those with sponsorships. He ran a twin engine car in the early 50's that ran in six different classes by reconfiguring the car in minutes between races. One engine, two engines fenders on or off, The first time out they won so many of the races the NHRA limited them to four classes. Their club, The Bean Bandits were the top eliminator in many of the first meets but when you read dragracing acticles about the history of dradracing, they mention all the names people are familiar with and then mention the Bean Bandits won. He mostly ran a merc engine on a rear engine chassis,, one of the very first. The engine had  a set of  Ardun heads that he had further improved and that were the first set designed and manufactured by Xorius Duntoff, the designer of the Corvette. The engine is still being raced today by the club. Duntoff tried for years to trade Joaquin another set of the heads so Duntoff could have the original #001 set. Jaoquin finally agreed to give him the brass serial number tags off the heads.

When I look at the pictures of Ivos history it makes me smile as I look at the fancy machine shop equipment and then think about Jaoquin machining his own carburetors with a drill press in his garage, shaping his own sheet metal, and machining larger parts on a brake drum lathe. He has been inducted into both NHRA and Garlitts museum. I went to his induction in Gainsville Florida held in conjunction with the NHRA Gator Nationals and witnessed the first over 300MPH run."

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bean Bandit run from "This era of Bandits"

This was posted by Thomas Ommen Jr,  on facebook.  Thanks for the great post...

Entittled "131 Auto Power/Bean Bandits 8-14-13"
The Auto Power/Bean Bandits entry owned and driven by Derby Pattengill. Running a 392 this modified '29 roadster is running on a 253.475mph record (B/Blown Fuel Modified Roadster). You can feel this one in your chest, a THUMPER! Smell the NITRO? If you consider yourself a hot rodder but don't yet know the Bean Bandits' story, grab your history books

Dan Waldrop says:  Just to set it straight though we enter the car under the drivers name because Julio is not a SCTA member. The car was built for the 2002 racing season by Julio "Lefty" Hernandez. It was the first Bean Bandit car of this modern era.It is the workhorse of the Bandit franchise. In twelve years it has only missed 2 El Mirage meets (one because engine damage and one to attend a Mooneyes Show in Yokohama, Japan). It has never missed Speedweek.It has the fastest Bean Bandit records of our era at both venues (with the 3400 knocking on the El Mirage as we speak) Just some seldom told historyof this car. With all that said Lou Bingham is still the Man...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Joaquin Arnett

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."
If you are looking to find info on the Bean Bandit's @ Bonneville this year Please, .. take a look at this page entitled "Bonneville Speed Week 2011" my brother Jeff sent me the link and it pretty much sums up the fun times they had there. Next week it will be one year since my dad, passed.. I still have a hard time with that. I find comfort in knowing that his knowledge and spirit of racing are still with us all. He would have loved to have been a part of this years fun....

Wow - again time has gone by.., lots has happened since my last post. The fair has passed, Jeff is now playing with the young Bandits, and mom and I are thinking of dad, their 65th anniversary would have been (tomorrow), 9-8-1945.. This was always a celebratory event for our family... I will post a couple of photos soon.. and have re-committed myself to adding to the history of dad's group of friends... Time is moving swiftly...

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."
Here it is another month has gone by.. Dad's dragster will be in the Del Mar Fair 6-20-2011-->6-27-2011. This month has been one of joy and memories. It has been 16 years as of 5-07-2011 that my brother Sonny passed. I have a hard time getting past the time frame. How time flies keeps coming to my mind.. Mom's Birthday is in 4 days, 5-25-2011. We are doing well but still have so many thoughts of dad and sonny.
Jeff has been working with Julio and going to the drags again. This is a mixed bag of feelings for us to deal with. Jeff seems happy playing with the cars and seeing the young bandits and the elder bandits.
They went to El Mirage on the weekend of 5-15-2011. According to Dan " Derby ran a 195 mph on a 196 record and just missed it. Fabian got a new record in a different class 196 mph. Julio and Jeff ran the Bellytank with your Dad's Ardun in it , Just shakedown runs but went very smooth and all were excited. I actually think emotions ran high to see it go down the track" end quote.. june 12 is next run..
Well I am out of things to say without rambling on.. signing out for now..


It has been a while since I posted on the blog. I seem to have run out of words, and need to get back on task and finish my project. We are doing OK after dad's passing. I can still hear his voice and see his smile. Think about him everyday, Mom really misses his presence. Time is helping but when you are married to a person for over 60 years it is quite a large chunk of time to overcome.
Posted 10/24/10-10:30am
Joaquin Arnett Memorial Nov. 6th, 2010
I was told by that the run was verying moving.. Jeffrey went with the guys and I will post a couple of photos they sent me. It has been a heartfelt month. I went to the San Diego Auto Museum for the Exhibitors Reception. It was very nice and Dad's car (the dragster) was there with wonderful company of a diverse car culture.. the exhibit is called the California Roll.

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure." author unknown

Dragster to run....... 10-16-2010.... see link below...


Joaquin Arnett has Passed
October 12, 2010 From Cousin Cookie.....
Good Morning and thank you all for coming,
My name is Orlean Cook Mireles; most of you know me as Cookie. Joaquin was my Uncle, my mother’s brother. To me he was my Uncle Darling. My mom said he got that nickname from a baby sitters daughter when he was very young. As children it was always Aunt Vi and Uncle Darling it wasn’t until we were teenagers that it felt odd calling our Uncle “Darling” so my brothers and I shortened it to Uncle.
Most of you know Joaquin as the founder and driving force of the “Bean Bandit’s” but that was just a small part of the man that was my uncle. He introduced my father Emery Cook to his sister, Boogie and they married that following year. My uncle and dad had a mutual respect for one another as rivals in the racing community but outside of that they were brothers.
My uncle was the top body and fender man in San Diego in the days when cars were made of metal. He could finesse the damaged metal on a car and you would never know there was a dent. He was good, very good. He and my dad built my first car from two different salvaged Volkswagen Beatles to make one, it was an orange Superbeatle. I loved that car.
In th
e late 60’s and early 70’s uncle and my dad both built dune buggies. The competition took a new form, off roading. Those were fun days. They used to race up the face of Paradise Hills, not far from the old Paradise Drag Strip of the 50’s. We went camping to Ocotillo, Pismo Beach, down into Mexico, south of Ensenada, dune buggies and motorcycles in tow. Camping on the beach in Mexico, riding the dune buggies to Punta Bunda, the Blow Hole and the long ride to San Filipe. It was family time, moms, dads and kids.
Then into the late 70’s and early 80’s uncle’s interest turned to bicycle riding. He started a riding group affiliated with AYH, American Youth Hostel. They would ride on Sunday mornings at 9 am and leave from the County Administration Building downtown and ride for 2 - 3 hours. My dad past away in 82’ and uncle got mom into riding as a form of therapy and so my brother and I joined the group, along with other member of our family. Our Sunday riding group on average totaled around 20 to 30 people every Sunday morning and we would ride at least 10 miles. Usually down Pacific Highway to Shelter Island and back and sometimes to Mission Beach. When we’d go to Mission Beach we’d stop at Carlos Murphy’s and have a margarita or a beer and then continue on our ride.
Uncle discovered spandex and started sewing bike shorts for everybody in these crazy colors. And because the fabric stretched 2” he made the bike shorts two sizes too small. We all looked so cute, especially the guys, what fun we had. If uncle noticed someone having a difficult time going up a hill he would ride up behind them and put his hand on their back and give them an extra push. He was always such a strong man. Riding uphill with one hand and pushing someone else with the other. Amazing. He organized bike rides from the Administration Building downtown, over the Coronado Bridge, down the strand to Imperial Beach and back to downtown, Rosarito to Ensenada, Tecate to Ensenada, Carlsbad to downtown San Diego and the big one Mexicali to San Filipe, 120 miles. Uncle was usually the first to finish in our group.
He also had a boat and would go fishing for lobsters. He did that for a few years. He was a man of many talents and interest. Always busy. In his later years you could find uncle and his beloved dog Katy going for walks in the neighborhood and hills of Encanto.
Feeding the neighbors horse carrots and making sure his homeless friend had food.
These are some the memories I have of my Uncle Darling. He was a very unique man with many talents and we will miss him but he will live on in our memories.
Two of my Uncle’s favorite saying were “Well anyway…” and “If it does not grow from the ground we can make it...”
There was a quote I found on the internet and it just happened to be one Jackie found also that touched our hearts, the author is unknown it is “When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.”
This is Katie...his dog...
I have been working on a place to put all his accomplishment and a collection of his stories. He loved stories, to tell them and to hear them.. Many have shared them with us and it makes me happy to hear them. Please add your comments below .... Thank you Jackie

10-10-2010 SDUT article:
By Blanca Gonzalez
Friday, October 8, 2010 at 2:36 p.m.
Joaquin Arnett Jr. had a way with cars and machines.
A drag-racing pioneer, he was known to beat well-financed competitors with hot rods he built using junkyard parts. As a youth, he once turned his mother’s new kitchen mixer into a sander, and as an adult, he used a weed-Wacker motor to fashion a big blender to make margaritas.
The native San Diegan was a cofounder and leader of the legendary Bean Bandits racing club. The tight-knit group won nearly 400 trophies in the early 1950s in races throughout the country, but their shoestring budget sometimes forced them to sell their trophies back to the drag-strip operators to get gas and food money for the trip home.
Mr. Arnett died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease Sept. 24 at Country Hills Health Care Center in El Cajon. He was 83.
His passion for cars started at a young age, and he was driving by the time he was 13 years old. The money he earned from a paper route went to buying his own car from a junk yard. He learned to weld and repair and modify cars at a neighborhood shop. “He loved to tinker. People have called him a mechanical genius,” said his daughter, Jackie Arnett Sonka. “He had an aptitude for it. He was a do-it-yourself guy.”
Pat Durant, a longtime friend and Bandits club member, said Mr. Arnett was the undisputed leader of the group. “He was an amazing guy. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do,” Durant said. “He built his own house. He built three (racing) streamliners. We were the first to go 130 (mph) and 140 on a drag strip in 1951. Those were records at the time.”
The Bandits group helped establish legal drag racing in the region at the Paradise Mesa drag strip. Their competition rules became standard for drag strips nationwide. The group was mostly Latino but also included Caucasian, Asian and African-American members.
“They relished that here they were a bunch of renegade kids and they were beating racers with big sponsors,” Arnett Sonka said. “They were touring all over the country, and they couldn’t stay at some hotels because of their skin color. They experienced a lot of prejudice (but) my father had a lot of pride in his (Mexican) heritage.”
Mr. Arnett won the first National Hot Rod Association’s national meet held in Pomona in 1953, a competition featuring more than 300 cars. A 1953 issue of Hot Rod magazine featured Mr. Arnett and his trophy-winning dragster on the cover along with an article about his car-building skills. A replica of the car, which he also built, is on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum through January.
In the 1950s, race-car driver, promoter and businessman Andy Granatelli offered Mr. Arnett $3,000 for his handmade 1934 coupe. The sale was made after Granatelli also agreed to give him tickets to the next Indianapolis 500.
Mr. Arnett was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Florida in 1992.
Although the Bean Bandits were known as a social, fun-loving group, they also experienced tragedy. Mr. Arnett’s eldest son, Joaquin “Sonny” Arnett III, died in a 1995 crash while racing at El Mirage Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert.
Mr. Arnett continued designing and incorporating safety features in a new streamliner.
Joaquin Espinosa Arnett Jr. was born Nov. 27, 1926, in San Diego to Esperanza Ramos and Joaquin E. Arnett. He attended Memorial Jr. High and San Diego High schools and served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II.
He married the former Viola CeseƱa in 1945.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Arnett is survived by a son, Jeffrey; a sister, Noralund Zumaya of San Diego; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church in Lemon Grove.

The NHRA will hold a commemorative run of Mr. Arnett’s dragster Oct. 16 at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield.

The Bean Bandits club is planning to hold a celebration of life on Nov. 6th 2pm-6pm at 34 E 17th Street in National City CA.

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure." author unknown

Joaquin Arnett
by Thomas Fengler
Legendary drag-racing pioneer, Joaquin Arnett, Jr., 83, of San Diego, passed away in his sleep Sept. 24 at Country Hills Health Care Center in El Cajon. He suffered from Alzheimer’s.
The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) named Arnett its first National Champion in 1951. Two years later, 15,000 spectators watched Arnett capture the first NHRA Drag Race Championship at Pomona during a two-day, 850-run meet in which he competed against 374 other cars to win.
A beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Arnett was born Nov. 27, 1926, to Joaquin and Esperanza Arnett in San Diego’s Old Town.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Viola Marie Arnett; his daughter, Jackie Arnett Sonka; son, Jeffrey Michael Arnett; sister, Noralund Zumaya; six grandchildren: Erik Arnett; Tara Dawn Arnett Sanchez; Chad Arnett; Ian Arnett; Cassandra Arnett and Joaquin Arnett IV; five great-grandchildren: Lauren Arnett; Priscilla Arnett; Gregory Sanchez; Ava Sanchez and Isabelle Hebish. He is preceded in death by his sister, Hilda Hernandez; and son, Joaquin “Sonny” Arnett III, who died in a car crash while racing at El Mirage in 1995.
Arnett grew up in San Diego, attended Stockton Elementary School and Memorial Junior High School, served in the Merchant Marine during World War II and participated in the battle for Iwo Jima. Upon returning home, Arnett married Viola, the love of his life, who he had known since early childhood.
Arnett was the founder of the Bean Bandits, the famed San Diego drag-racing club. Formed in 1950, the Bean Bandits established rules for drag-racing competition that became standard for strips throughout the country and were adopted by the National Hot Rod Association. Since then, the Bean Bandits have captured more than 350 major trophies and set numerous records; most of them in cars built by Arnett.
In February, 1953, Hot Rod Magazine featured Arnett and his trophy-winning dragster on its cover along with an article on his car- and engine- building skills. This car will be on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum from Oct. 1 through the end of January.
“I never even thought about getting hurt or something coming loose in the car. I had so much faith in Arnett that I didn’t question it. I would look at something and I’d say ‘That’s going to hold,’” said Carlos Ramirez, a club member, now deceased.
In 1992, Arnett was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Ocala, Florida where his name is inscribed on a marble monument along with other top names in drag racing at the Don Garlits Race Museum. That museum also has a replica of the actual 1953 Arnett dragster that will be on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum. Arnett built the replica for Garlits.
In the early 1990s, Arnett built three Streamliner-class racers that “Sonny” Arnett drove to record speeds: 202-mph on the 1.3-mile course at El Mirage in July, 1991; 231.946-mph which established a new Land Speed Authority record at Bonneville also in July 1991 and 227-mph at El Mirage in July, 1992.
“Joaquin was interested in mechanics from an early age. One of the first tools he built was made from his mother’s brand new Mix-Master that was given to her at Christmas by the Bridges family of Point Loma. He turned it into a sander,” recalled his sister, Noralund Zumaya.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
A Mass will celebrated at Saint John of the Cross, 8086 Broadway, Lemon Grove, Calif. at 10am., October 12, 2010.
Joaquin’s 1951 dragster is displayed at the San Diego Automotive Museum. On October 16, it will make a run at the Famosa Raceway, Bakersfield CA.
An event honoring Arnett’s life is being planned on Saturday, November 6th, 2 pm -6pm at 34 E 17th Street in National City, CA.

Dad in his new liner with his new blue flame suit.. early liner days when he tested the new car....

Jeff and Dad at Bonneville....

Me, Mom and Dad (Jackie, Viola and Joaquin)

If you have stories about my dad, please jot them down in the comment section.. they are welcomed and appreciated.. I will be able to add them here. Thank you

Other pages of mine below for other pages

Hemmings Blog

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Joaquin Arnett's original Dragster

October 6th, 2010

I am posting this specific information on Dad's dragster. It is the one that is currently in the San Diego Auto Museum with Diversity of Car Culture exhibit.

This information below was published in 1954... see below.

Joaquin Arnett / Bean Bandit

Owned and built by Joaquin Arnett of San Diego, CA this neat little dragster has held top speed records at most of the Southern California drag strips at one time or another. Built strictly for drag strip competition, the car has an 84-inch wheelbase, very low frontal area, weighs only 1325 pounds ready to run. The 275 cu. in. Merc engine with bore and stroke of 3 5/16 and four inches is equipped with Edelbrock heads and three-carburetor manifold, Harman and Collins cam and magneto. The block is ported and relieved, uses 1 5/8-inch intake valves and stock exhaust valves. Fuel mixture is usually 50 percent alcohol, 50 percent nitromethane. Frame is aircraft strut tubing with a fabricated steel crossmember at the front. Front end assembly is ’37 Ford. Rear end is also ’37 Ford enclosing a locked differential and 3.78 gears.

Hot Rod 1954 Annual p40 & 41 (1)


September 27, 2010

I posted this on facebook the other day...

My father passed in his sleep at around 7:30am on 9/24/2010. It was a peaceful passing quiet in a comfy bed at Country Hills skilled nursing.

He taught me great things and was generous with his love toward me. I have missed him for 4 years when he became I'll with Alzheimer's. He was a mechanical genius & that is not just me bragging.

Many in the field of drag racing and metal crafts have told me this over the years. He was a great car-builder and built with my brothers 5 customs land speed racers. He holds racing records and took home many trophies.

He is in the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Florida along with my Uncle, Emery Cook. We will miss him deeply. It is sad those talents are gone. However, I find comfort in that he passed his skills on to his family and many others. I am grateful to the young Bean Bandits for keeping the legacy going. His original dragsters will be in the San Diego Auto Museum from October 1st through January 2011.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There will be an exhibit at the San Diego Automotive Museum beginning October 1st thru January 2010. It will include my dad's orginal dragster he built long ago. This event has given me the motivation to jot down the stuff about this car.

I want to thank; Kenn Colclasure, Marisela Duron & Carlos Debaca from the museum. They have helped rekindle my desire to continue on this blog. This is a chapter for me to complete. Wish me luck. So I will start here. Check out the car I believe that is Derby driving.....

Here I am in August 2010, where did the time go??

Well I have found some information on dad's original little dragster and will creating a new folder for this blog.

Hey Ya, see that I am making folders for information now. Thanks for your advice. :))

So this will be the section where I am pulling the information together.

To Begin: It was quite a surprise for me to see my dad’s dragster doing a run down the drag strip in Barona. Julio obviously got it running. I admit I had mixed feeling about it. It is a bittersweet thing for Mom and I. My father is not doing well just now, so it brought up some feelings of sadness. The fact that he could not reap the joy of seeing the car run. He would have loved this. He love working on the cars and racing so much. I really wished he could have seen this.

Thus, I have taken the liberty of embedding the video on my blog. I can watch it and share with my family and friends. Hence, a big Thank You to the person who shot the footage. I got it off of You Tube, and I also found it posted on this web site. The site also features many great photos of the "6thAnnual King of Clubs Rockabilly event" held on July 12, 2010.

Monday, February 1, 2010

2010 of the year 09

Wow, it is hard to believe that is has been a year and i have not done any writing.. All my goals for this writing have been put aside... it has been a difficult year for myself and my mom.
Dad has always been so healthy and fit.. He took good care of himself, ate well, watched his weight, and was very active... It was hard for me to acknowledge that he was becoming afflicted with that horrid disease of Alzheimer's when be was hospitalized for that... Around May 09 he was hospitalized for pneumonia. The saga of that is still wearing on my soul and spirit. It is a bittersweet ordeal.. And I will deviate a bit to the past to shed some understanding on my thoughts...

Dad was so healthy and a health nut of sorts. He started riding bikes when he was my age.. [60+] mom also go going on the bikes.. He became associated with the American Youth Hostel association. He started a little bike group, they would meet every Sunday am in front of the County Administration Building on Pacific Highway. The group grew, mom took over the beginners group and dad went ahead with the macho and fast group.. They would ride at the beginning to La Jolla and back. They would ride by my house in OB and yell my name.. I was in the beginning of my Rheumatiod Arthritis and was hardly able to walk let alone ride a bike..He then began to do long distance riding, riding to Oceanside, CA.. Baja CA and more.
He build a trailor that held more than twenty bikes... so he could take his group to other places of the county that the beginners could not get to.. This lead to his involvement in the Tecate to Ensenada bike race. He organized this along with my mother for about 10 years.. Many fond memories of this period.. I have been trying to find some of the folks that can add to this blog. I was hoping they could share their own stories related to my father. The search continues...

He used to ride to TJ each Wednesday to go to the pandareia, and bring back goodies.
He would also bring me remedies to cure my arthritis, and wanted to help me...
I of course was not to receptive of these cures..
I have so many photos of these activities with so many fun filled memories.. My fathers' sister [Boogie, Noralund ] my brother, husband, and many of my cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends were involved in this riding bikes stuff... It was such a healthy thing to do... Dad even got Carlos Ramirez and his wife, Rosie riding... I will make a list and post later..

It was this zeal and enthuasiam for life, activities, people and fun that made dad the creative and productive person he is.. I speak of him in the past because of this writing and my memories. He is still with us and very much alive and this is the "bittersweet" I spoke of earlier.. I am not a writer so forgive my ramblings..

Despite all the things that happened to him last year he is still kicking and very strong.. He looks good, handsome, especially when he smiles, his skin is pink and healthy, he has a twinkle in his eye when you talk with him.. The only thing is .. He is in his own world now.. When I listen to him he is talking about building something, he moves his hands about as if he is twisting a tool and making pounding like motions.. He talks about the truck, and moving the car, he is trying to move things and wants to go somewhere. We cannot figure out where he wants to go.. He is willing to go with us where ever we go but then loses interest and is on to another subject..

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Joaquin Arnett

Hi, I'm Jackie, I am Joaquin and Viola Arnetts' daughter. My blog will archive memories, facts and photos about Joaquin Arnett and the San Diego Bean Bandits, one of California's first "multicultural" drag racing clubs. Many folks have promised Dad a book or movie about the Bandits. I want to acknowledge those folks that have recognized him. I will list then in another section of this writing. He has encouraged me many times to write his story, sadly he is now unable to enjoy this project. He has shared with me many things that are important to him. My brother, Jeff, dad's sister, cousins and friends will help me accomplish this. This is a work in progress, I will be attempting to post something each day. I have added a short biography on this link. Joaquin Arnetts' Biography

I will begin with the mind-bogglingly present. I say mind-boggling owing to one unfortunate fact. He now suffers from the debilitating disease of alzheimer. It has stolen a huge support and has rocked my world. This has been a wicked adjustment for my family and me. I have always seen my father to be a bigger than life figure. He is brilliant and I believe a mechanical genius. Of course I am biased, but it still is the truth!!.

I want to clarify, I am not an expert on racing, cars or the "how to" of making the cars. I have been on the sidelines of the racing community for years. My dad and brothers, Sonny and Jeffrey, were the ones doing this drag racing stuff. My intent here is to tell the story of my hero, Joaquin Arnett, a drag racing pioneer.

I watched a man driven with unending zeal. He was driven to design and build cars. Always working on cars and trying to make them go faster. Dad and his childhood friends worked together to accomplish the”go fast” goal. They called themselves the Bean Bandits.

I also want to commemorate my brother, Joaquin Arnett III, “Sonny”. He died on May 7th 1995 at El Mirage. He was going over 200 mph in the streamliner.. It was his dream to set a new world record. He wanted to go an average speed of 409 in a two way run over a seven-mile course at Bonneville. He was on his way and was very happy the day his life was taken from us. He was doing what he loved. According to those with him that day. He was was full of smiles and glee and having a grand time. It was a tragic day for my family and his friends.I want to thank all the people that helped us get through this horrific time. I have not been able to write about it until now. This is where my heart was stuck for the longest time.

I have so many memories and creative adventures in my life. It is difficult to start putting them into an organized pattern. They are intermingled with today and long ago. There are many thoughts and feelings. Evoking a wide gamut of emotions. They range from positive, proud, happy, funny, and some trigger resentment, fear and sadness. I would like to include stories of the members of the early bean bandits. We have lost many of them and of course this web log is my point of view. Yet, I would like to hear more about the other bandits. And others' stories of dad. Please feel free to contribute to this blog.

Our family really appreciate Fabians' safeguarding and preserving the cars. I am happy to say that Fabian
restored the big streamliner. He painted it and placed additional names on the car it looks great. Many thanks to all of Young Bean Bandits, (I affectionately call them). They are keeping the spirit and enthusiasm the Bean Bandits going. This is a group of talented and dedicated individuals. My father knows this group and they helped dad with the cars many times. They visit dad at the center he is living and keep in touch with him. You can see some of these photos on these links; Fabians’ and The Young Bean Bandits

Dad was in close contact with his friends. Despite not having email, cell phones, internet or Skype. They would gather, work on the car and play together. Our families would visit and share great homemade Mexican food. Of course all of our food back them was homemade. They gathered together with little money and lots of zeal and enthusiasm. Dad made new friends in the racing world and worked together with them to build the sport of racing. This was in the day when Wally Parks was working to make drag racing safe and established the NHRA. The Bean Bandits worked closely with the NHRA and other pioneer racers to take racing off the streets and create the sport of drag racing. The biggest story for me is what it was like for the family of these great guys and how my mother and their families and friends supported the club with their involvement in their quest for speed. My uncle, Emery Cook, another drag racing pioneer was married to dads' sister, Noralund. Affectionally called "Aunt Boogie" Uncle Cook was a fierce competitor in the race for speed. My dad and him would compete and would even share some of their secrets about the engines. Dad really admired and respected him…………….

For the first 15 years of my life we spent most weekends at the drag races. We were mostly at Paradise Valley Drag strip in the beginning. Mom would pack the truck up with big pots of beans and rice and her homemade tortillas. She would open up the tailgate and serve the guys when they got hungry. Some of the other women would help with this. So we were set up for the day. The women in the club would wear blue jeans and white blouses. They were cotton shirt type blouses and they would tie up the fronts into bows making a midriff blouse. The guys wore blue jeans and white shirts. They all stood out and looked great. We were the only ones at the races with food of our own and all uniformly dressed. I just thought it was so cool. This was in the early stages of racing. Before there were pit passes and the rules for safe racing were in the early stage of development. No sponsors or fancy equipment.

I remember I could run around just about anywhere on the raceway. We were told by mom to stay off the track. The excitement of the starting line was just too much to resist. Many times I would gleefully run up to the start, just before dad’s car would take off. All the guys would be pushing the car and I would be right behind them trying to help. I would jump for joy as the car took off. But then I would be discovered and redirected out of the area by one of the guys. My cousin and the other kids would run out to the canyons then and play. The drag strip was not crowded back then. You could see people and all the cars easily on both sides of the track. The “trophy queens” as I called them hung out at the starting line or near it. This was another attraction of being at the line up. Occasionally mom would give me some money to buy something at the very small concession stand. My brother Sonny was too small to run around at this time so he stayed near the car with mom. She made sure I checked in every 30 minutes or so. My favorite times were when dad would let me ride in the truck. We would go and retrieve the roadster after a run. Tow or push it back for the next run. Dad was always in good spirits on these days.

I loved to watch them from the sidelines. Dad loved doing his magic on the engines and was very protective of the car. He acted as both a driver and crew chief with the club. Some of the first men in my life were my dad’s closest friends. Among them were, Carlos Ramirez, Andrew Ortega, Louie Nahara and Pat Duran. They were a part of my family. Carlos and Rosie lived nearby and we would spend time at their home. Dad always was the lead of this unique cluster of men. And the guys would refer to him as chief. This was the nickname they gave to him. However, Carlos’ nickname for dad was “Bubba”. As a young child it was obvious to me. The fun they were all having as they worked to make the car go faster. They always got the needed work done. I watched them blow engines, and tires. They would change the tires, replace parts and change the fuel mixtures. They would yell, and the quickly take out the engine, put it back together again. And the car would be ready for the next run again. This cycle would continue depending on the outcome of the race. I watched their excitement, kidding around and energy. As they worked together they would often bump into one another, laugh and exchange joyful grumblings and yes, colorful language. These are the men I knew, and they came to be known as the Bean Bandits.

They won races and had the passion to win more races. They painted the roadster a bright yellow. At first the bean bandit was an outline drawing on the car. Billy Galvin another of Dads' buddies painted an outline of the first Bean Bandit on the car. Dad loved that color and Bob McCoy painted a colorful Bean on the yellow roadster. They got beautiful yellow jackets and would wear them proudly. Mom even had one and I was upset because I did not have one. So I would wear dads that covered my entire body. The Bandits started to travel away from home to Ramona, Miramar, Santa Ana, and other southern California raceway. But the heart of their racing in the beginning was at Paradise Mesa. This is where several pioneers got their starts. This is where dad met fellow racers and lifetime friends


I have included a commemorative page for my brother Sonny Arnett.

About Me

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San Diego, CA, United States
I was born and raised in San Diego, CA, long ago.. I had a happy childhood. I spent so many week ends at the Paradise Mesa Drags. Before there were pit passes. I used to go to the starting line and watch then push my dad's cars. When my cousins; Robert, David, and Veronica came we would run all around the surrounding canyons. We had so much fun. I loved to create things and played in the garage with my toys near my father. Mom and him were pretty forgiving and permissive. When puberty came Dad took me to Sears, bought me a sewing machine a pattern and some material. He set me up on the table a showed me how to sew. His references were metal based and explained how to bend curves both ways, etc.. So I began to sew and still do now. Dad taught me how to drive in a truck. Took me to "B" Street hill made me hold the clutch and gas and keep the truck in place.