Bill New, the patriarch of family that for years had run Firebird raceway in Boise, Idaho, died of natural causes Feb.11, 2014, with his entire family by his side. Operating a family business for nearly half a century, he was keenly involved and respected in the development, expansion and growth of Firebird Raceway and was the producer of the Boise Roadster Show.
A hot rodder since his teen years in Idaho, he took part in the original NHRA Safety Safari meets at an air base outside Pocatello back in 1954. After service in U.S. Army in the late 1950s, he married his wife of 53 years, Ellanor, and moved back to Idaho from Southern California. A trio of sons – Scott, John, and Brad -- were born to the couple and formed the nucleus of the family that would run Firebird Raceway from its founding in 1968 until present.
Opening day, under NHRA sanction, was July 28, 1968, and crew a turn away crowd on 100-degree day to watch the Hemi Under Glass wheelstander. Through the years, virtually the who’s who of the sport have competed at the raceway, including racers like Don Garlits, Don Prudhomme, Shirley Muldowney, Tom McEwen, John Force and countless others. New was so proud to earn the distinction of a three-time NHRA Track of the Year, a seven-time Division 6 Track Team Finals champion, and an opportunity to be selected by NHRA founder Wally Parks to serve on the NHRA National Track Operator’s Council for the Northwest Division.
New started one of the region’s biggest motorsport’s events, the Boise Roadster Show. Spanning 42 years, the Roadster Show takes place at Expo Idaho every March and is a nationally-recognized event aligned with the International Show Car Association.
New is survived by his wife Ellanor, sons Scott (Debbie), John (Anna), Brad, and three grandchildren, Connor, Colin and Austyn. Moreover, the New Crew as they have been recognized for many decades includes all the staff and crew of the raceway, too, many of which have been like an extension to the New family.
A private family burial will take place at the Idaho State Veteran’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the charity of your choice. A Celebration of Life will take place at The Riverside Hotel on Sat., Feb. 22, from 2–6 p.m., open to anyone that might like to attend. The Riverside has set up a special rate of $79 for accommodations, which will be under "New Memorial”; the reservation number is 208-343-1871.
John Force Racing and PEAK Antifreeze and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid teamed up at the 54th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals today to announce that PEAK has joined the 18-time NHRA Mello Yello championship team as a major associate sponsor. The multi-year sponsorship agreement will include PEAK Antifreeze and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid branding on all three JFR Funny Cars and the JFR Top Fuel Dragster, as well as team uniforms and haulers.
“We are excited to add PEAK and BlueDEF to the John Force Racing team. We pride ourselves on treating all of our sponsors like family for more than three decades. Bringing PEAK and BlueDEF into the family will make us stronger in 2014 and for many years to come. We have had a lot of conversations about the future and I know this will be a great deal for everyone,” said John Force, 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion and CEO of John Force Racing, Inc.
PEAK has been actively involved in motorsports for more than 30 years, showcasing the excellence and competitive quality of its products through the NHRA, NASCAR, and other motorsports series important to its customers. In 2013, PEAK entered into a multi-year agreement with the NHRA, naming PEAK Antifreeze, BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid, and HERCULINER truck bed liner kits as official sponsors of the NHRA. Additionally, in 2013 PEAK kicked off its Sportsman’s program with NHRA championship drivers, including Jay Payne, Duane Shields, Dan Fletcher and Sherman Adcock.
“We’re proud to expand our support of the NHRA and its fans through our new relationship with John Force Racing,” said Bryan Emrich, Chief Marketing Officer for Old World Industries, which includes PEAK and BlueDEF brands. “Partnering with JFR, a respected organization with a history of success, was a natural fit for PEAK, BlueDEF and our family of automotive products. We’re looking forward to a longstanding, winning relationship together.”
Pat Garlits, who for more than 60 years was the great woman behind a great man as the wife of drag racing icon “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, died Sunday, Feb, 2, in Florida. She had been suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease for several years.
For decades on the road to drag racing stardom, Pat rode shotgun and helped keep her husband safe and comfortable, and was there to support him as he lived his dream of becoming a great drag racing champion and later the proprietor of his own drag racing museum in Ocala, Fla.’
Drag racing’s first couple met at Florida’s Lake Magdalene in 1952, Patricia Louise Bieger, a “pretty, petite brunette senior,” and Don a 20-year-old hot rodder in his Cadillac-powered ’40 Ford ragtop, and, as he wrote in his book, “It was love at first sight.” They were married Feb. 20, 1953, and celebrated their 60th anniversary last year.
“She has been suffering a lot these last few days and it was a blessing to see God take her into His care,” wrote Garlits in an email to friends that he also later posted on his Facebook page. “I will miss her very badly, but will be with her sooner than I realize, as time is very different here that over there. She passed at home with her two daughters at her side and me holding her hand and a little Yorkie dog on each side of her. She went without making a sound and this house is going to be very quiet for a while. I had Glenn Miller playing in the background, as that was her favorite Big Band.”
Mrs. Garlits is also survived by her two daughters, Gay Lyn and Donna. A complete list of survivors, as well as information on services, is not available.
For more on the Pat Garlits, read Phil Burgess’ Aug. 2012 Dragster Insider column here.
There’s no better a way to shun the shivering reality of this winter’s arctic blast than by cleaning your golf clubs in preparation for the 18th annual DRAW’s Tracy Winters Memorial Golf Tournament on March 12 in Gainesville, the Wednesday before the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals March 13-16.
DRAW (Drag Racing Association of Women) has been busily preparing for its first major fund-raising event of the season with heavy hearts, and their efforts are to honor the memory of Tracy Winters, vice president of sales and marketing at her family’s J.W. Performance Transmission Inc. and longtime DRAW board member, who passed away unexpectedly last August.
There is no better way to thank Winters for her countless hours devoted to DRAW than for a record number of sponsors and participants to become involved with the DRAW’s Tracy Winters Memorial Golf Tournament.
After a hectic two months to start the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season with testing in Florida, followed by races in Pomona and Phoenix, the vastly popular golf tournament is a great time for all members of the NHRA community to start their golf season with a relaxing day that benefits DRAW’s commitment to assisting drag racers in need of help.
The cost of entry fees and sponsorship will remain as they were last year.
Individual entry is $80, and three Mulligans can be purchased for an additional $10. Entry form and entry fee must be received by March 4; however, late entries would be accepted at the course, including the day of the event until the field is full.
For more information, visit www.drawonline.org.