NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

In Memoriam

29 Dec 2023
Posted by NHRA.com staff
In Memoriam

Recent passings of notable figures from within the NHRA world. The NHRA extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of those we have lost. Notices of passing can be sent to nhra@nhra.com.

It’s been a rough end to 2023 with numerous post-Christmas passings.

Among those we’ve lost are legendary car owner Roland Leong, who passed away Dec. 29, after decades of thrilling fans with his Hawaiian entries. It was in Leong's car that fellow legend Don Prudhomme scored his first of 49 career wins. [Read more]

Sherm Gunn, who built scores of race cars from his M&S Welding emporium in Southern California and who for years also competed in Funny Cars, also died recently at age 80. Gunn, who also had a solid career in Fuel Altereds before his Funny Car days, is perhaps best remembered by fans for his upset-riddled victory at the 1984 World Finals where he defeated the highly sponsored entries of Kenny Bernstein, Don Prudhomme, Billy Meyer, and Mark Oswald to win his only NHRA national event Wally.

Steve Condit, who with his late brothers Dave and Billy fielded the immensely popular L.A. Hooker Funny Cars of the 1970s and beyond, has died. You can read more about the Condit family in this tribute to brother Dave written after his passing.

Ed Sigmon a veteran NHRA Sportsman racer best known for his decades in NHRA’s Comp eliminator class, has died Dec. 18. He was 81, Sigmon began his racing career in the mid-1960s when he raced a pink Dodge-powered ’50 Chevy NS went on to win the 1968 Winternationals with his Modified Sports MG and decades later won the Pacific SPORTSnationals in 2009 and 2011.

Mike Kopchick of Race Racing fuel pumps, died Dec. 28. Kopchick had been around the sport for decades and crewed on Shirley Muldowney’s Top Fuelers before becoming known for his racing fuel pumps,  He learned his skills at the feet of many of the industry's greats, including Ed Pink, Keith Black, Ed Donovan, and Henry Velasco before starting Rage in 1995. Read more about him here.


Six-time NHRA Division 2 Top Alcohol Funny Car racer Terry Mullins passed away Dec. 30. He was 70.

Before drag racing, the owner of Oak Ridge Tool-Engineering in Tennessee began his competitive life in boat racing in the 1980s, winning more than 25 national events and setting the hydroplane world speed record. As an Alcohol Funny Car racer, he collected six NHRA national event runner-ups.

Outside of his career, Mullins enjoyed many hobbies, which included golfing, boating, water skiing, SCUBA diving, and his love for aviation. He was a pilot for more than 40 years, including single- and multi-engine aircraft, as well as helicopters

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Deborah Mullins; son, Alex Mullins (Meghan); daughter, Melissa Jay (Terry); grandchildren, Oliver (age 6), Madeleine (age 4), Nellie (age 3) and Henry (age 2); mother, Ruth Mullins; brother, Steve Mullins (Ashley); sisters, Pam Mullins and Sherry Mullins Menefee; as well as several other relative, friends, and loved ones.


NHRA team owner and Funny Car pioneer Don Schumacher passed away Dec. 20. Schumacher, who was 79 at the time of his passing, leaves a lasting legacy on not only the NHRA community, where he etched his name as one of the sport’s most successful team owners and a champion for the advancement of safety innovation.[Read more]


Paula Murphy, who played a pivotal role in drag racing's formative years as the first woman licensed to drive a Funny Car, passed away Dec. 21. [Read more]


Veteran racer Howard Haight, who competed in nitro-burning cars from Top Fuel to Fuel Altered to Nostalgia Top Fuel for five decades beginning in the early 1970s, passed away Dec. 13.

Best known for a hard-running California-based Top Fueler with partner Ron Cochrum for more than a decade, Haight launched his nitro racing career as a 17-year-old in Jim Moore's James Gang dragster in 1971 and also piloted Nick Cirino's Warlock entry, and went on to drive for Al Reid (Speedcraft), Harry Lehman (American Way), and Nelson Lengle (California Sun) before he and Cochrum built their cast-iron Chevy-powered entry that was among 1972's quickest of that breed. He also drove the Bad Actor Fuel Altered of Gary Hazen and Tom Topping in this era.

In addition to driving the Cochrum & Haight car, Haight also wheeled Jim Johnson's and Mike Duffy's Hemi Hunter on the East Coast in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1981, the Cochrum & Haight team moved from its traditional Chevy-based powerplants to late-model Hemis and, although they seldom competed at national events, there were staples of the West Coast match race scene through 1987, when they parked the car.

Haight drove a couple of races for "Nitro Noel" Reese with an engine reportedly out of Don Garlits' famed Swamp Rat XXX but qualified for neither.

Haight raced Fuel Altereds, including the famed Pure Heaven entry and Don Ewart's Equalizer, in the early- to mid-1990s before jumping into the Circuit Breaker Nostalgia Top Fueler in 1998 and continued racing in both of those worlds up through the 2014 season.


Dick Bourgeois, a talented and multi-faceted NHRA driver in the 1960s and ‘70s, died Oct. 16. He was 93.

Bourgeois, who with partner Earl Wade ran a speed shop in the early 1960s in Baldwin Park, Calif., offering dyno-tuning and race car work, drove a wide variety of cars over a two-decade career including Willys and Austin A/Gas Supercharged entries for “Big John” Mazmanian and won the 1963 Winternationals Little Eliminator title.

When Funny Cars came on the scene a few years later, he made the rounds, wheeling cars for many of the top teams including the Doug's Headers Corvair, Javelin, and Vega; Mickey Thompson’s Mustang; the Stone, Woods & Cooke Swindler IV Mustang; the Creasy family’s Tyrant Mustang; and several Funny Cars with Wade, and competed in the Coca-Cola Cavalcade of Stars.

After racing, Bourgeois had a television repair shop in San Clemente, Calif., for 25 years and later retired to Corona, Calif., where he enjoyed West Coast Swing dancing.  


Walt Stevens, a talented dragster driver who was equally adept in both Top Fuel and Top Gas competition and one of the most successful campaigners in Southern California during the 1960s and early 1970s, died Oct. 12. 

Stevens was the last racer to win in Top Gas title at the Winternationals in 1971 and remained involved in the sport after his retirement work on Nostalgia Top Fuel entries.

Among the cars that Stevens drove over the years were Frank Hedge’s A&W Root Beer Top Fueler, Dick Stahl's' A/Fuel Roadster, Rocky Childs' Addict Top Fueler, the experimental AMT Piranha dragster, Jim Hoskinson's The Trip, Chuck Stevens's Gaslite Top Gas dragster, John Raviart's Outcast Top Fueler, Ken Theiss' famed Odd Couple twin-engined Top Gas dragster, and Jack McCloud’s Top Fuel car.


Other notable recent passings: Longtime NHRA Super Stock standout and perennial class eliminations winner Bob Dennis; Larry Nagel, driver of the Pocket Rocket mini rocket Funny Car; longtime Division 3 racer C.J. Farrell; Pro Stock pioneer Ron Hutter, No. 1 qualifier at the 1972 U.S. Nationals.


Washington state drag racing legend Walt Austin passed away Monday, Sept. 18. He was 84.

Walt took over his father’s business, Walt’s Radiator, at a young age after his father passed away unexpectedly. He grew the business into the hugely successful Walt’s Radiator, Muffler, and Brakes with 34 retail locations in Washington and 12 wholesale warehouses across the country. Walt was an incredible entrepreneur and businessman.

As the founder of Walt Austin Racing, he accumulated 78 NHRA national event wins and hundreds of NHRA Divisional wins with sons Pat and Mike and four Top Alcohol Funny Car world championships with Pat, and then had a huge hand in helping his grandson, Drew, win championships and race in NHRA’s Hot Rod Heritage Series.

Austin was well known for many of his technological advances in the sport, including the nitro Ford engine that powers Drew today.

Austin will be inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame next March.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Sharon, and his three children, Debi Hoberg (Pete), Mike Austin, and Pat Austin (Keila), 6 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren with two more on the way and by siblings Dee, Jan, and Dennis (Bucky)..


Recent notable passings: Lee Sidney (pictured), a longtime NHRA Tech Official for Division 6 and member of the NHRA Safety Safari from the late 1960s to the early 1990s; Fred Speight, partner with Larry Dobbs on the Canada-based Kardiac Kids Alcohol Funny Cars; Division 1 Sportsman racer Mark Osterbye, winner of the 1984 NHRA Springnationals; Division 6 Sportsman standout Buck Kinney.





Longtime NHRA Sportsman racing standout Danny Townsend died Sept. 28 of heart failure. He was 73.

Townsend won seven Division 3 championships, the first in Comp in 1984 and then the following six in Top Alcohol Funny Car, including a string of four years straight from 1986-1989. Townsend collected nine national event wins, five in Comp and four in Top Alcohol Funny Car,

Townsend’s racing career ended following a devastating crash in 2006 in the final round of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at National Trail Raceway not long after his final win in Bradenton, Fla, earlier that season.


Motorcycle drag racing pioneer T.C. Christenson has passed away. Christenson was known for his Hogslayer double-engined Norton machines in the 1970s but began his racing career with a BSA as a teenager in 1963 at Union Grove Drag Strip, Christenson moved on to Nortons and went to work at Sunset Motors, a Norton dealership owned by John Gregory, and quickly became the rider to beat in the upper Midwest. In the mid-1960s, Christenson also took up motorcycle road racing for a short period and had some success as a Ducati factory-supported rider racing a 250cc Diana as a novice at in the Lightweight class at Daytona. 

In 1969, after a short stint in road racing, Christenson bought the motorcycle dealership from Gregory and the two continued to build 750cc Norton drag racing bikes, fitted with a fuel injection system retrofitted from an Offenhauser car racing engine.
According to Ian King, three different versions of the double-engine Norton were built in the early 1970s and by 1972 the third version of the Hogslayer (named for its ability to beat the dominant Harley-Davidson drag racers of the day) became the most advanced drag racing motorcycle in the country at the time. It featured many firsts, including the first slipper clutch, fuel injection, a two-speed transmission, revolutionary aerospace materials used in an aerodynamic frame that utilized a rear slick specially made for the Hogslayer by M&H that was eight inches wide, twice the normal tire width of the era. 

For most of the early-to-mid-1970s Christenson was the fastest motorcycle drag racer on the planet. In 1972, he won the NHRA U.S. Nationals in the first year Fuel Bikes were part of the program. In 1973, he lost only once and set the A/Fuel Bike elapsed time record with a 7.83-second run en route to his Top Fuel win at the NHRA National Motorcycle Record Championships in Bowling Green, Ky. He set numerous world records and was featured in motorcycle magazines. Christenson won the official NHRA Fuel Bike National Championship in Indianapolis in 1976. 

Christenson was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2005.


Joe Lunati, the founder of Lunati Cams, passed away Sept. 13.

 Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1939, Lunati moved to Memphis, Tenn., in the early 1960s and began drag racing with the Memphis Rodders. H went on to become a three-time NHRA national title holder in AM/SP, putting himself on the map by winning the U.S. Nationals in 1964.

A production engine rebuilder by day, Lunati began experimenting in the evenings with different cam grinds using the shop’s cam grinder and found his calling. In 1968, Lunati made the leap to open his own cam shop offering one-on-one personal service to his customers. He quickly added crankshafts, rods, pistons, piston rings, and complete engine rotating assemblies to its product line, ready for assembly into the customer’s prepared block. By 1970, Lunati Cams had created its own niche in the racing cam market, catering primarily to weekend sportsman drag racers and local Memphis area circle track racers.

By the mid-1990s, Lunati Cams had grown into a sizeable, profitable operation with a shop filled with high-quality machinery and a stable, highly skilled workforce. Lunati received an offer he couldn’t refuse and sold the company to Holley, which eventually sold it to Comp Cams in 2007. Lunati was run as a separate entity to keep its identity until it was announced as the sixth power brand for Edelbrock Group this year.

Lunati was a true pioneer in the performance aftermarket industry. He started Lunati Cams with a vision to create high-quality camshafts that would help enthusiasts get the most out of their engines. Over the years, Lunati Cams became one of the most respected names in the industry, and Joe's products have helped power countless race cars and street machines.


Bob Riggle, one of the best-known of breed of showman who drive wheelstanders, passed away Sept. 5. He was 88.

Although he toured the quarter0mile on two wheels in other machines, Riggle is best known as the driver of the Hurst Hemi Under Glass Barracuda wheelstander. 

Riggle started racing the Hemi Under Glass back in the mid-1960s and for 20-plus years he drove the Hemi Under Glass at various events around the country and even had the opportunity to be invited to participate in unique one-off shows like the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Jay Leno’s Garage. He later resurrected the Hemi Under Glass in the ‘90s and made a run in it at the 1995 U.S. Nationals.


“Ohio George” Montgomery, one of the first superstars in NHRA Drag Racing history, passed away Aug. 24. Montgomery, who was voted No. 28 on the list of NHRA’s Top 50 Racers in 2000, was a dominant force in gasser racing for decades beginning in the late 1950s. [Full story]


Notable recent passings: 1978 Springnationals Stock winner John Cseh, July 29; Top Alcohol Dragster racer David Batchelor, July 30; former Modified eliminator racer Joe Winblad, July 30; Larry Coleman, of Coleman-Taylor Transmissions, Aug. 4; Two-time national event-winning Stock eliminator racer Dean Cook, Aug. 6; four-time NHRA national event Super Gas winner Mark Horton, co-owner of American Race Cars, Aug. 15


Gary Bolger, who drove Funny Cars for more than 30 years on the NHRA circuit and logged three Top 10 finishes and two national event runner-ups in the Creasy Family entry,  died July 19. He was 79.

Bolger attended his first drag race in 1960 in Oswego, Ill., and not long after began racing stockers. When the Funny Car class came around in the mid-1960s, Bolger and partner Bud Richter were ready, fielding an A/FX Chevy II, first on gasoline and then later injected on nitro. He and Richter partnered on a number of cars before splitting up.

It was at a Coca-Cola Cavalcade of Stars event in the early 1970s when Bolger crossed paths with the Creasy family. Dick Bourgeois was the Creasy’s driver at the time and also raced his own car. At one race, he qualified for the final in both cars and the Creasys, needing someone to drive their car, put Bolger in. He won the race and went on to become their full-time driver for more than a quarter-century before he relinquished the wheel to Dale Creasy Jr. in 1997.

Bolger logged NHRA Top 10 finishes 1992-94, with that final year being his best as he scored runner-ups at the Englishtown and Dallas events behind Mark Oswald and Cruz Pedregon, respectively. Had not his throttle linkage broken against Oswald, he likely would have won that race as he was leading at the time.


Clare Sanders, who drove “Jungle Jim” Liberman’s Chevy II to the Funny Car victory at the 1969 Winternationals, has died. He was 81.

It was a long road to the Pomona winner’s circle from Sanders’ childhood in Alaska, where his father was in civil service and the military. Sanders and early partner Jim St. Clair moved to San Jose, Calif., and the hotbed of Northern California racing in 1963-64. In 1965, they had their first Funny Car, dubbed Lime Fire, and the Barracuda was once called “The World’s Most Beautiful Funny Car." 

The duo shared shop space with Funny Car pioneer Lew Arrington and his new driver, a kid named Russell James Liberman. Sanders went on to crew on Liberman’s car and began to drive his second team car in 1968. Liberman himself failed to qualify at the 1969 Winternationals and was able to apply his tuning talents to Sanders’ entry, leading to the win.

Later in the 1969 season, the team dynamics changed, and Sanders decided it was time to move on. He partnered in 1970 with New Orleans-based Frank Huff on the Chevy-powered Super Camaro (and, later, Super Vega) before being hired to drive the famed Chi-Town Hustler in 1971 and for the Ramchargers team in 1972. Sanders stopped driving after that season and went to work for Snap-on Tools driving a truck and in a 30-year career worked his way into management and sales. 

To read more about Sanders' career, enjoy this 2016 profile by National Dragster Editor Phil Burgess.


Jet-car racer Al Zukakas, driver of the Hot Blade dragster, died in a racing accident July 22 at a non-NHRA track in Ohio. He was 67. The Chicago-based racer had been piloting jet cars for approximately a decade until his passing and was a popular feature in the Midwest.


Jim Brissette, who for more than 40 years was one of the best nitro tuner in the sport,  died July 13. He was 81.

Brissette, who called on experience on dry lakes, got his first lead role tuning the Quincy Automotive dragster of Everett “Hippo” Brammer and “Wild Bill” Alexander in 1963. He raced successfully through the ‘60s with Alexander and Paul Sutherland before taking a step back. He returned in the early 1970s to crew for Bob Noice and later for Kelly Brown, and won the world championship with Brown in 1978.

Brissette won a second world championship with Joe Amato in 1992 and also tuned for Tommy Johnson Jr. and Doug Herbert, among many.

Among Brissette’s accomplishments is a rare one as he was the tuner for both the first 200- and first 300-mph runs at the Pomona racetrack, feats accomplished nearly 30 years apart. On Nov. 8, 1964, he wrenched “Alexander to a speed of 200.00 and at the 1993 Winternationals, he tuned Herbert’s Top Fueler to a speed of 301.60 mph, making Herbert just the second driver to reach 300 mph.


Arnold "Arnie" Kuhns, who dedicated his career to improving the safety and reliability of motorsports parts under the SFI Quality Assurance Standards program, passed away June 1. He was 83.

Kuhns was a pioneer in the development of minimum safety standards for motorsports products to prevent failures and reduce injuries. He became the president of SFI, a non-profit foundation established to issue and administer safety standards for specialty/performance automotive and racing products, in 1984.  At the time SFI had only two employees and four product standards for one race-sanctioning body. 

Product testing to performance standards was an innovative concept in the industry when SFI in the 1980s. SFI testing and certification has grown into a steadfast program affiliated with nearly 40 sanctioning bodies and responsible for scores of specifications that have undoubtedly saved countless lives on the racetrack.

Kuhns, who was inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame in 2002 and SEMA’s Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Hall of Fame in 2016, most recently was the 2021 recipient of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) John Melvin Award for Motorsports Safety. The award was created by SAE in memory of Dr. John Melvin to recognize those who have initiated positive change in motorsports safety. Kuhns personally worked with Melvin on many safety projects over the years.

Kuhns also previously had been awarded the USAC Jack O’Neal Award for Motorsports Safety and the SCCA George Snively Award for Outstanding Contributions in Motorsports Safety



Henry Robert “Bob” Stange, founder of Strange Engineering, passed away peacefully in his home in Zionsville, Indiana on May 22. He  84.

Early on his life, Stange developed an eye for innovation, a love of racing, and many friendships to share his life. Before long, local race car enthusiasts from the area were coming to have their parts fixed or modified by Stange. It was at this time, Bob and his then wife Sharron (Rosenberg) decided to take a leap of faith to build what would be known as Strange Engineering. His friends recall him sitting on the floor of his newly created company, creating and modifying parts through all hours of the night. He was a true lover of his craft, and he strived to ensure that every racer who chose to run his parts would not only be faster than their opponent, but also that they would be safe trusting their lives to his products. 

Strange Engineering would grow to become one of the most influential and well known manufacturing companies in the sport of drag racing. Strange Engineering has been named Manufacturer of the Year several times, and Bob was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2010.

“My father loved this way of life that we chose in the racing community,” said his son, Jeff. “The racing, the industry, the innovation, and most of all the people who make it all come alive.”

Stange is survived by his two sons, Michael (wife Kathy, children Tyler, Samantha, and Jackson) and Jeffrey (wife Crystal, children Lexi, Austin and Wyatt), his loving baby sister Joy (Stange) Jefferson (husband Michael, Bob's treasured nieces and nephews, Scott Jefferson (Chantelle), Julie (Jefferson) Miller, Jill Jefferson and Greg Jefferson.


John Jodauga, a talented motorsports artist and 20-plus-year member of the National Dragster staff, passed away May 11 at age 77. 

Jodauga first worked for National Dragster both as an art director and staff writer from 1969 to 1978, again in 1984-85, and then worked on the editorial staff for 20 years, 1993-2013, before retiring.

His talented artwork, most notably portraits of drivers being profiled, filled National Dragster in the 1970s and his artwork later adorned many front covers in his later years with us. He was a huge Pro Stock fan and expert on the class and authored an encyclopedic book on the topic for National Dragster in 2009.

NHRA.com story: John Jodauga's illustrations, words, and spirit were part of the NHRA for 50 years


Don Bowles, a three-time NHRA national event winner in Modified Eliminator, passed away on April 19, at his residence in Madisonville, Ky. He was 84.

Bowles collected NHRA national event victories in his familiar Ford Fairmont at the 1979 Fallnationals in Seattle and back-to-back at the Springnationals in Columbus, Ohio, in 1980 and ’81. [Read more]

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Betty Jane, and sons, Donnie and Mark, and three grandchildren.


Master chassis fabricator Kent Fuller, who built some of the sport's most memorable creations, including the famed the Greer-Black-Prudhomme Top Fueler, Tommy Ivo's four engine “Showboat” and the Magicar from his California shops, has died.

Fuller, who built dragsters, Funny Cars, and even Pro Stockers, almost 300 to his personal count, was inducted into The International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1996. 


Don Cain, a three-time NHRA national event winner in Top Gas, passed away April 11. He was 84.

Cain — born Robert Donald Cain — was a longtime drag racer and was inducted into the NHRA Division 5 and Bandimere Speedway halls of fame at Don, and also built street rods for many years. Following retirement, he and his wife Nan owned KC Street Rod Parts in Kansas City until 2009. 

During his racing career, Cain won Top Gas with partner John Pusch at the 1967 U.S. Nationals as well as at the 1970 Supernationals and 1971 Le Grandnational. After Top Gas was discontinued in 1971, Pusch & Cain competed in NHRA’s Funny Car class 1972-75.

Cain is survived by his wife Nan; daughters, Brenda, Donna Walker, and Debbie Roe; three grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.


Bill Mullins, a talented and versatile dragster driver for three decades who scored NHRA national event wins in Top Gas, Top Alcohol Dragster, and Top Fuel, passed away on April 10. He was 88.

Mullins proved a winner no matter what fuel was running through his engines, winning his first title at the 1971 NHRA Springnationals in Dallas, where he defeated Walt Rhoades in the final round.

A decade later, Mullins wheeled his incredible small-block Chevy-powered Top Alcohol Dragster to victory at the NHRA Cajun Nationals, where he defeated future Top Fuel champion Joe Amato in the final.

Mullins’ final win came in Top Fuel, at the 1985 Springnationals in Columbus, Ohio, where he beat four tough drivers -- Dan Pastorini, Don Garlits, Dick LaHaie, and Gary Beck – to put John Carey’s dragster in the winner’s circle.

Mullins, who was the third driver in history to exceed 260 mph –behind only Amato and Garlits – also collected three Top Alcohol Dragster runner-ups and two each in Top Fuel and Top Gas. Mullins, of Pelham, Ala., was inducted into the Division 2 Hall of Fame in 1995.

Mullins is survived by his partner, Barbara Waltz,  brothers Robert (Bob), James (Jim), and sister Mildred Ward; daughters Cindy Lindell, Sandra Tidmore, and Nancy Malcolm, and sons David and Kyle. Preceded in death by daughter Debra Loggins. Mullins also had 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren ranging in ages from 1-18. [Read the Dragster Insider tribute to Mullins]


Renowned doorcar chassis builder Melvin “Jerry” Bickel passed away April 5 after a series of medical issues over the last few years. He was 75.

For more than 40 years, Jerry Bickel Race Cars, built chassis for virtually every class of drag racing, from Pro Stock and Pro Mod to Outlaw street cars. Bickel’s first major notoriety came as the builder of Jim Yates’ Pro Stock championship-winning Firebirds in 1996 and ’97. A car on which Bickel also served as crew chief.

Bickel’s roots in drag racing go back to the original AHRA heads-up Pro Stock program in the late 1960s and he also built the Camaro for Ed Hoover, the original Pro Modified national event winner.

Bickel is survived by his wife Jennifer, children Katherine Elizabeth Randolph and Matthew Bickel, and two grandchildren.


Danny White, Research Editor and columnist for www.draglist.com, responsible for gathering all past and present drag racing statistics from newspapers, magazines, books, and the Internet, passed away on March 30, of heart-related issues. White, a former NHRA Stock class and bracket racer, had been a partner on the drag racing history site since 1990. He also was a photojournalist; he and his wife Gena were well known to Mid-South area Pro Mod and Funny Car circuit racers. 

Draglist publisher Bill Pratt remembered White with the following statement: “ I could not publish Draglist.com without Danny White. I met Danny White when he ordered a few products from our original “Race Place” catalog. The printed Race Place didn’t last long, but Danny was a treasured find. Draglist.com was waning fast when he came aboard in the early ’90s. A new family and ever-increasing responsibility at my day job made it impossible for me to do the research I once did. Young and smart, with a voracious passion for drag racing, Danny rekindled my drag racing fever and got Draglist.com back on its feet. He single-handedly caught up on two years of research and got us rolling again. Danny has been our Research Editor ever since. 

White became well known as one of the top historians in drag racing and was selected on the NHRA's expert panel to help decide the top 50 drag racers in NHRA history at the organization's 50th anniversary year. He ran half a dozen Facebook groups featuring different types of drag racing cars, from Chevy-powered Top Fuelers to Texas Top Alcohol cars, to Unique Pro Stocks. White recorded the results of every NHRA National event to the draglist.com database. In fact, on his final day on earth, Danny had entered all the pro results from NHRA Phoenix. His last DragList entry was Cruz Pedregon’s Funny Car results from Phoenix. Despite his many accomplishments, White remained humble and always prioritized the sport and its fans. He was known for his generosity and willingness to help anyone who needed it. 

Danny’s passing is a great loss to the drag racing community. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and fans, but his legacy and statistics will continue to inspire and educate future generations of drag racing enthusiasts.


Five-time NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster world champ Bill Reichert passed away March 26. He was 71. Reichert won five straight world championships, 2006-10, and collected 28 national event wins and 54 divisional/regional victories. [Full story]


Foy Gilmore, of Pensacola, Fla., passed away on March 14,. He was 82. Foy owned and operated Specialty Machine Products, a.k.a. Foy Gilmore Race Cars (S.E.M.A. #55). Foy was influential and instrumental to a variety of people (Whit Bazemore, Gary Evans, Jerry Gwynn) both locally and nationally. Foy held many titles throughout his life such as son, brother, fabricator, driver, crew chief, engine builder, machinist, mentor, storyteller, father figure and friend. He shared his knowledge with everyone and had so many memorable moments such as racing against Don Garlits. 


Fuel Altered pioneer Dave Hough, who spent more than 40 years in the class, first as a driver then a tuner for his son, Rick, and then grandson Kyle, fielding his iconic Nannook entries, died on March 10. He was 79. [Full story]


Longtime Division 3 announcer Jon Gentry, who called the action for years at Kil-Kare Raceway and Edgewater Sports Park, passed away March 2. 


Former Top Fuel racer Doug Kerhulas, a rising star of the 1980s whose driving career was cut short by a top-end accident at the 1984 Springnationals, died March 1. He was 70. [Full story]


Walt Rhoades, who had a successful NHRA career in nitro-, alcohol-, and gas-burning dragsters, passed away earlier this week, bringing to a close an amazingly diverse career, passed away March 1 at age 79 of brain cancer. [Full story]


Dallas Jones, the longtime owner/operator of historic Beech Bend Raceway and other Division 3 tracks, died Feb. 25. He was 82. [Full story]


Wayne "the Peregine" King, a staple of the SoCal drag racing scene during the 60s up until the mid 70s when he retired from active racing, has died..


Roy "Goob" Tuller, a pre-eminnent dragster driver in the 1960s known most famously for driving the Freight Train Top Gas dragster, has passed.


Frank Aragona Jr., one of the greatest and fiercest NHRA Competition eliminator racers of the modern era, passed away Feb. 10 surrounded by family after a long and brave battle with cancer. He was 53. [Full story]


Nelson Carter, longtime Funny Car owner of the Super Chief entries, died Feb. 9


Veteran NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car racer Dale Van Gundy, who with partner Keith Clark campaigned the Quarter Pounder entries for more than five decades, has died.


Standout Top Fuel racer Tom Raley has passed. Few drivers in drag racing history have displayed more skill and versatility than Raley, who not only was a Top Fuel championship contender from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s but also was a talented racer in NASCAR Grand National competition, competing against such legends as Richard Petty, Freddie Lorenzen, David Pearson, Bobby and Donnie Allison, and Curtis Turner.

Raley actually began his career in oval track racing winning the 1963 Maryland state Modified championship. The following year he competed in the Autolite 250 Sportsman (now Nationwide) race at Daytona the day before the Daytona 500. In 1965 and ’66 he won NASCAR Top Fuel championships when they had their own drag racing program. In 1968 Jim and Allison Lee offered Tom the seat of their first-class Top Fuel operation. He drove for the Lees for six seasons winning 1969 and ’70


Roger Taylor, who tuned Bill Carroll a C/Gas class win at the 1966 Indy Nationals, passed away Feb. 10. In their ‘40 Willys Gas, the duo beat the Stickel & Riffle Anglia in the final. They also set the NHRA record at Myrtle Beach, S.C., but the car broke during the back-up attempt. The duo, who also were runner-ups in B/Gas runner-up at the 1965 Indy event, established themselves as one of the top five C/Gassers in the country.  They returned to Indy in 1967 set low ET in C/Gas but lost to the Russo & Santo Willys in the second round. In 2009 Taylor and Carroll were inducted into the East Coast Drag Time’s Hall of Fame. 

Taylor passed surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife Brenda, his children Lori Slavin, Roger Taylor Jr., his stepchildren Jody Blanchard, Kriss Miller and each of their spouses, and 11 grandchildren that he loved dearly. 


Jim Logue, owner/driver of the Condor Express BB/FC  has died.


1965 Top Stock world champion Joe Scott, the driver of the Fenner Tubbs Plymotuh, has passed away.


Dan Jesel, founder of Jesel Valvetrain Innovation, passed away Jan. 10. He was 81.

Jesel started Jesel Valvetrain in 1980 with the goal of engineering the finest valvetrain components available, without compromise. He built Jesel Valvetrain into what it is today, a state-of-the-art engineering and manufacturing company. Along the way, he introduced the performance engine world to innovations such as shaft rocker arms, camshaft belt drives, keyway roller lifters and his latest and most innovative project, a designed from scratch engine he named the “Equal Eight."

As per his wishes, Jesel Valvetrain Innovation will continue to operate as a privately held company run to the highest of standards. Through Dan’s wisdom and knowledge and with the dedication of his employees, Jesel Valvetrain will continue to supply the industry with components worthy of his name.


Famed East Coast racecar painted Bob Gerdes died Jan. 8. He was 80.

At his New Jersey-based Circus Custom Paints shop, Gerdes and a relatively small crew cranked out Funny Car after Funny Car with beautiful colors. Just about every major nitro racer on the East Coast chose Gerdes to paint their rolling masterpieces, including the likes of "Jungle Jim" Liberman, the Castronovo brothers, Al Segrini, Swensen & Lani, Joe Amato, Frank Manzo, and many, many others.

For more on Gerdes and Circus Custom Paints (The Entertainment Capital of the World"), see this Dragster Insider column.