Drag Strip Deaths

Subtitle

      1965-1969 Fatalities
James Allen

Born:  May 29, 1936

Died:  March 19, 1967

Buried:  Obetz Cemetery, Ohio

Age:  30

Full Name:  James L. M. Allen

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Not on a drag strip, on an Ohio rural county road.

Event:  

Accident Date:  March 19, 1967

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  He was trying out his newly-purchased dragster on a rural northern Pickaway County road.  He stalled and his push vehicle ran up over the back of his low-slung dragster and pinned him against the dash.  He was from Lockbourne, Ohio, and was married. 

Sources

"17 die in Ohio traffic," Newark Advocate, March 20, 1967

Social Security Death Index (James Allen, born May 29, 1936, died March 1967, SS# issued in Ohio)

Ohio Deaths

Ancestry.com Family Tree  [a submitter said his middle name was Lee]

U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs Death File

Photos

Ancestry.com Family Tree

 

Ed Allison

Born:  September 7, 1947

Died:  May 30, 1990

Buried: 

Age:  42

Full Name:  Edward Leland Allison

Nickname:  "The Lizard"

Drag Strip:  Carlsbad Raceway, California

Event:  

Accident Date:  1967

Car:  Junior Fuel dragster

Biographical:  When he was 18, he and Fred Crow teamed together to build a very light Junior Fuel dragster.  While making a run, the u-joint between the clutch can and the rear-end broke.  This caused the clutch to explode, sending the engine mount into the steering arm.  This caused the car to deviate off course.  The car slammed into the guard rail, started to roll, then shattered into pieces. The roll bar bent during the crash and Allison received head injuries.  He remained in a coma for about twenty-three years, dying in Los Angeles.  At the time of the crash, he had a wife and infant son.

Sources

ZoomInfo website  (http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Crow_Fred_31897730.aspx)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=7521)

Social Security Death Index

California Death Index

California Birth Index

Photos

Nostalgia Racing Team, Rauma, Finland website  (http://www.nosdrags.net/nosdrags_en/history.html)

Remembering Those Who Are No Longer With Us (http://www.wediditforlove.com/remembering.html) 

  

Although the original dragster did not survive, an almost identical car was reconstructed for nostalgia racing in 1989 (shown here).  The original car driven by Ed Allison had a best time of 7.85.

 

Harrell Amyx

Born:  August 31, 1933

Died:  May 21, 1966

Buried:  Fairhaven Memorial Park, Santa Ana, California

Age:  32

Full Name:  Harrell Dean Amyx

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Lions Drag Strip, Wilmington, California

Event: 

Accident Date: 

Car:  Top Gas dragster

Biographical: He was traveling at more than 170 MPH when the crankshaft fell out of his dragster, causingdied after driving through a fence in a freak accident.  He resided in Stanton, California, and was survived by his wife.

Sources

"Freak drag mishap kills Harrel Amex," Los Angeles Times, May 22, 1966

"Freak drag accident kills driver," Pasadena Independent Star News, May 22, 1966

Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram, May 22, 1966 

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=5245) 

California Death Index (born in Oklahoma)

Ancestry.com Family Tree (son of John W. and Kitty Amyx)

Social Security Death Index 

Photos

Ed Banholzer

Born:  January 28, 1945

Died: May 29, 1969

Buried: Holy Hope Cemetery, Arizona

Age:  24

Full Name:  Edward Robert Banholzer

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Green Valley Raceway, Smithfield, Texas

Event: 

Accident Date:  May 10, 1969

Car:  jet car

Biographical: He was making an exhibition run in his jet car when it flipped at the finish line.  He was from Tucson and was survived by his wife, Sandra, and sons Robert Edward and Shawn.

Sources

"Services planned for race driver,” Tucson Daily Citizen, June 2, 1969

Social Security Death Index:  Edward Banholzer, born Jan. 28, 1945, died May 1969, SS# issued in Arizona in 1959

Ron Tursovsky, e-mail communication to site administrator, May 14, 2011

"Funeral notices," Tucson Daily Citizen, June 2, 1969

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Johnny Barnes

Born:  January 19, 1944

Died:  October 22, 1967

Buried: Little Bethel Memorial Park, Duncanville, Texas

Age:  23

Full Name:  Johnny Royce Barnes

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Yello Belly Drag Strip, Grand Prairie, Texas

Event: 

Accident Date:  October 22, 1967

Car:  

Biographical:  He was thrown from his car as it overturned while racing. He died about three hours after the accident at Parkland Hospital. He had been an auto glass installer.

Sources

"20 are killed in traffic," Corpus Christi Times, Oct. 23, 1967

Texas Death Certificate

Photos

Anthony Barry

Born:  January 8, 1950


Died:  June 23, 1968


Buried: St. Agatha Catholic Cemetery, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania


Age:  18


Full Name:  Anthony C. Barry, Jr.


Nickname:


Drag Strip:  Sunset Dragstrip, near Sharon, Pennsylvania


Event: 


Accident Date:  June 23, 1968


Car:  


Biographical:  During eliminations at the 1/8th mile strip, after finishing his run, some part of the vehicle's undercarriage broke, causing the car to leave the race track and roll several times.  He was transported to Sharon General Hospital where he died of internal injuries and bleeding.  He was from Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, and was employed at a service station. He was survived by his parents, Anthony C. and Mary Barry.


Sources


"Accident at dragstrip claims youth," Beaver County Times, June 24, 1968


"Ellwood drag racer is killed," New Castle News, June 24, 1968


Lawrence County Pennsylvania Obituary Index: Anthony C. Barry, d. 1968


Photos

Paul Beady

Born:  August 17, 1941

Died:  June 27, 1965

Buried:  Lancaster Cemetery, Huntington County, Indiana

Age:  23

Full Name:  Paul Dewayne Beady

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Bunker Hill Dragstrip, Indiana

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 27, 1965

Car:  B/D

Biographical:  Racing his new dragster at the 1/8th mile race track, he was paired against Phil Crause in the final race.  He won but his hand brake failed to stop the car.  He went off the end of the race track, traveled another 1,700 feet, crossed two ditches, a county road, and crashed into a farmer's fence.  The bolts on his seat bolt broke loose upon impact and he was thrown 160 feet away from the car. He died instantly from head injuries of the impact.  He was transported to Dukes Hospital in Peru where he was pronounced dead.  He lived near Huntington, Indiana, and was survived by his wife, Lorraine, and three children. He had worked for Dana Corp. in Marion.

Sources

"Huntington driver killed in Bunker Hill Drag Strip crash," Kokomo Tribune, June 28, 1965

"Dragster killed," Logansport Phares Tribune, June 28, 1965

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=8436)

Find a Grave website

Ancestry.com Family Tree:  Paul Dewayne Beady, born Aug. 17, 1941 in Huntington, Indiana, died June 27, 1965 in Miami Co., Indiana

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Jerry Bradford

Born:  March 27, 1948

Died:  April 29, 1967

Buried:  Hopewell Cemetery, Hanceville, Al;abama

Age:  19

Full Name:   Jerry Wayne Bradford

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Baileyton Drag Strip, Alabama

Event: 

Accident Date:  April 29, 1967

Car:   1957 Chevrolet

Biographical:   He lost control of his car when he was about 400 to 500 feet down the race track. His car left the end of the runway and hit a light pole. He was from Hanceville, Alabama, and was a junior college student. He was survived by his parents and a brother.

Sources

"Hanceville youth loses life," Cullman Times, May 2, 1967

Alabama, Deaths and Burials Index (Ancestry.com)

Photos

George Brimmer

Born: February 8, 1944

Died:  June 8, 1969

Buried:  Woodlands Cemetery, Cambridge, New York

Age:  25

Full Name: George Joseph Brimmer

Nickname: 

Drag Strip: Glens Falls Dragway, South Glen Falls, New York

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 8, 1969

Car: 

Biographical: During morning time trials, he sped past the finish line, but continued on without slowing. He crossed a dirt mall onto a second strip where he rolled over and landed in a grove of trees. He was transported to Glens Falls Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He was from Cambridge, New York, and was survived by his wife, June, and his parents and a sister.

Sources

"3 die in area auto accidents," Troy Record, June 9, 1969

"Rites set for victim of crash," Troy Record, June 10, 1969

Ancestry.com Family Tree

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Tom Broas

Born:  December 30, 1937

Died:  August 7, 1966

Buried:  Greenlawn Memorial Park, Neenah, Wisconsin

Age:  28

Full Name:  Thomas J. Broas

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  K K Sports Arena, near Kaukauna, Wisconsin

Event: 

Accident Date:  August 7, 1966

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  His car had just been pushed to get it started and he was returning to the starting line to make a time trial run.  The car suddenly began picking up speed as he shot past the starting line in the wrong direction, waving in panic to the flag man. The car was speeding near 100 MPH as it left the blacktop.  Witnesses said he may have froze at the wheel and speculated that there may have been a defect in the throttle linkage. He avoided hitting the guard rail, but clipped off a utility pole, hit an embankment, then running into a deep ditch.  The car then struck the embankment of a railroad right-of-way, jumped across the track, rolled over, and finally came to a stop in a ditch on the east side of the track.  The engine landed in some water about 60 feet ahead of the chassis. He was alive when he left the race track, but was pronounced dead upon arrival at Kaukauna Community Hospital.  He died of severe head injuries. A resident of Black Creek, Wisconsin, he was survived by his wife, Mae, daughter Cheryl, and sons Steven and Craig.  He worked as a fireman at a paper company.

Sources

"Killed in crash," Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, August 8, 1966

"Drag race driver killed in accident," Appleton Post Crescent, August 8, 1966

"Broas, drag racer, dead in Kaukauna," Chicago Tribune, Aug. 8, 1966

"Driver killed at drag strip," Milwaukee Journal, August 8, 1966

Rootsweb  (http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=wmdw_1&id=I15868)

Wisconsin Death Index 

Ancestry.com Family Tree (son of Walter and Hyacinth Broas)

Photos

Find a Grave (photo courtesy of Linda S.)

 

 

Fred Burdett

Born:  January 16, 1943

Died:  November 29, 1969

Buried:  Sunset Memorial Park, San Antonio, Texas

Age:  26

Full Name:  Fred Allen Burdett

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  San Antonio Drag Raceway, Texas

Event: 

Accident Date:   November 29, 1969

Car:  sedan

Biographical:  During time trials, he had finished his run and had slowed down to about 75 MPH when he suddenly veered off the race track.  He flipped over and was thrown from the vehicle.  He was transported to Baptist Hospital where he died from head injuries about two hours after he was admitted.  He was from Selma, Texas, and was survived by his parents and a brother..

Sources

"Man killed in drag race," San Antonio Express-News, November 30, 1969"

Burdett killed in drag racing," Seguin Gazette, Dec. 11, 1969

Texas Death Index (Fred Burdett, died November 29, 1969, in Bexar Co., he was married)

Find a Grave website

“Long Thanksgiving tragic in terms of violence,” Big Spring Daily Herald, Dec. 1, 1969

Ancestry.com Family Tree:  Fred Allen Burdett, born Jan. 16, 1943 in Karnes Co., TX, died Nov. 29, 1969 in Bexar Co., TX

Texas Birth Index: Fred Allen Burdett, born Jan. 16, 1943, in Karnes Co., child of Gleno and Sophia Krahn Burdett (brother was Jimmy Roger Burdett, born Sep. 27, 1945)

Photos

 

Gene Burgess

Born:  August 13, 1943

Died:  July 21, 1968

Buried: 

Age:  24

Full Name:  Gene P. Burgess

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Lapeer International Dragway, Michigan

Event: 

Accident Date:  July 21, 1968

Car:  AA/FD

Biographical:  On his second run, he was timed at 174.71 MPH when he lost control of the vehicle.  He was thrown from the vehicle which disintegrated.  A resident of Pontiac, Michigan, he was declared dead at the scene.

Sources

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=5361)

Social Security Death Index

"Racer flips, kills driver," Traverse City Record Eagle, July 23, 1968

Photos

Bennie Burrell

Born:  June 24, 1936

Died:  October 27, 1968

Buried: 

Age:  32

Full Name:  Bennie M. Burrell

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  U.S. 30 Dragway, Lake County, Indiana

Event: 

Accident Date:  October 27, 1968

Car:  "Run Rabbit Run" dragster

Biographical:  Just after passing the finish line, he lost control of his car at a speed of 120 MPH.  He slammed into a pole and was thrown from the car.  He was from Chicago (1517 S. Millard Ave.).  He was reportedly the third fatality at U.S. 30 Dragway in 1968.  Steven Varga was one of the other fatalities, but it is not known who the other was.  In some sources his surname was spelled "Benell."

Sources

"$40 purse bid fatal," Hayward Daily Review, October 18, 1968

"Dragster loses race to death," Hammond Times, October 28, 1968

"Crash in drag strip is fatal to Chicagoan," Chicago Tribune, October 28, 1968

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=8276)

Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index (Bennie M. Burrell, married Clem R. Franklin, Sr. on June 16, 1950 in Cook County, IL)

Social Security Death Index (Bennie Burrell, born June 24, 1936, died Oct. 1968, SS# issued in Arkansas in 1955)

Ancestry.com Family Tree (lists his middle name as Curtis and his wife as Azelee)

Photos

Jim Cagle

Born:  December 9, 1934

Died:  August 16, 1969

Buried:  Copeland Ridge Cemetery, Curtis, Arkansas

Age:  34

Full Name:  James Marshall Cagle

Nickname:

Drag Strip:  Oklahoma City International Raceway, Oklahoma

Event:  Pro Fuel Circuit

Accident Date:  August 16, 1969

Car:  Ray Whisenhunt's "Texas Terror" Chrysler-powered AA/FD

Biographical:  After racing for several years in the Odessa, Texas, area in A/FD, Cagle moved up to the AA/FD class.  While readying his car to make a time trial run, his car was up on hydraulic jacks behind the starting line.  When the throttle stuck, the vibration caused his car to shift off the jack. When the spinning tires hit the pavement, the car launched out of control down the track.  The car crashed through a cyclone fence at a speed of 100 MPH, went across a road, and smashed into a grove of trees. A broken piece of metal from the car penetrated Cagle's helmet, causing his death.  He was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Anthony's Hospital in Oklahoma City.  He owned a cabinet shop in Odessa.  He was survived by his wife, Jean, and two children, Karen and Steve.  He was driving for Ray Whisenhunt.

Sources

"Freak accident kills dragster," Lawton Constitution, August 17, 1969

"Odessa drag racer killed," Amarillo Daily News, Aug. 18, 1969

“Drag race crash kills Odessan,” Odessa American, Aug. 17, 1969

"Drag racer's rites today," Odessa American, August 18, 1969

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/search.php?s=cagle&Search=Submit&db=ct&s_into=all)

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Joe Campanese

Born:  October 29, 1939


Died:  October 20, 1965


Buried:   St. Monica Cemetery, Berwyn, Pennsylvania


Age:   25


Full Name:   Joseph Damian Campanese


Nickname:


Drag Strip:  Atco Dragway, Waterford Township, New Jersey


Event:  NASCAR event


Accident Date:  October 20, 1965


Car:  1951 Ford Anglia gasser


Biographical:  He was making a single run and crossed the finish line. He was able to shut the engine off, but apparently his transmission locked up, causing the car to skid out of control. The car flipped over five or six times. He was transported to Edgewood General Hospital in Berlin, New Jersey, where he succumbed to his injuries. He was from Paoli, Pennsylvania.


Sources


eman, email communication to site administrator, Nov. 20, 2017


Photos


Conestoga High School 1957 Yearbook



Lou Cangelose

Born: 

Died:  June 27, 1965

Buried: 

Age:  52

Full Name:  Louis Cangelose

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Springfield Ozark Dragway, Missouri

Event:  AHRA division race

Accident Date:   June 27, 1965

Car:  "Missouri Missile" AA/FD

Biographical:  After being clocked at a speed of 197 MPH, he deployed his parachute but it was torn from the car.  He was killed from the injuries sustained in the crash.  He had planned on retiring after the 1965 racing season.  He lived in Kansas City.  He began drag racing in the early 1950s at age 42.

Sources

"Kansas City man dies in crash on drag racing strip," Moberly Monitor-Index, June 28, 1965

"Accident kills drag racer, 52," Appleton Post Crescent, June 28, 1965

"K. C. drag race driver is killed on Sunday," Lawrence Journal-World, June 28, 1965

"Drag racer killed when chute fails," Oakland Tribune, June 28, 1965

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=8303) 

Photos

Big Yonns (http://www.bigyohns.com/early-years3.shtml)

"Stormin' Grandpa," Drag Racing Magazine, July 1964, 28 

 

 

Gene Coleman

Born:  April 25, 1938


Died:  July 2, 1967


Buried:  Calvary Cemetery, Tulsa, Oklahoma


Age:  29


Full Name:  Garland Gene Goleman


Nickname:


Drag Strip:  Great Lakes Drag-a-Way, Union Grove, Wisconsin


Event: 


Accident Date:   July 2, 1967


Car:  "Tulsa Terror" Creitz & Greer Chrysler-powered AA/FD


Biographical:  During the first round of eliminations, he was buffeted by a stiff wind and struck the center timing lights.  This caused him to roll end over end after passing the finish area.  He suffered severe chest and head trauma caused by being crushed by the engine.  He was transported to St. Catherine's Hospital where he died about an hour afterwards.  Earlier in the day he had posted the best time of 7.23 and 223 MPH.  He was from Tulsa, Oklahoma.  [Note: According to Social Security records his legal surname was spelled "Goleman," but he was always called Coleman in racing circles.]


Sources


DragList.com


"Driver killed doing 200 MPH at Dragaway," Sheboygan Press, July 3, 1967


"Dragster breaks apart at 200 MPH," Kokomo Morning Times, July 4, 1967


"Drag racer killed when car crashes," Winona Daily News, July 3, 1967


"Dragster dies after crash at 195.62 M.P.H.," Chicago Tribune, July 3, 1967


"Drag racer dies after wild wreck at Great Lakes strip," Milwaukee Journal, July 3, 1967


Motorsport Memorial website


Wisconsin Death Index


Social Security Death Index


Photos

Doris Cook

Born:  November 23, 1936

Died:  February 4, 1968

Buried: Southland Memorial Park, Grand Prairie, Texas

Age:  31

Full Name:  Doris Louise Cook

Nickname: 

Drag Strip: Yello Belly Drag Strip, Grand Prairie, Texas

Event:  

Accident Date:  February 4, 1968

Car:  1959 sports car

Biographical:  She was killed when her car hurtled off the north end of the drag strip on a turn.  She suffered fatal injuries after being thrown into the back seat of the vehicle. She was from Dallas and was the mother of three children.

Sources

“State’s weekend toll soars,” Big Spring Daily Herald, Feb. 5, 1968

"Two killed in Sunday accidents," Grand Prairie Daily News, Feb. 5, 1968

Texas Death Index:  Doris Cook, d. Feb. 4, 1968, in Tarrant Co., TX, divorced

Photos

Bruce Cox

Born:  June 11, 1947

Died:  August 11, 1968

Buried: Braintree, Massachusetts

Age:  21

Full Name: 

Nickname: 

Drag Strip: New England Dragway, Epping, New Hampshire

Event:  

Accident Date:  August 11, 1968

Car:  

Biographical:  During a time trial he was traveling more than 115 MPH when his vehicle left the race track, flipped over and was demolished after slamming into a utility pole.  He was pronounced dead on arrival at Exeter Hospital. He lived in Quincy, Massachusetts and was the son of C. Ashton Cox.  His wife, Janet, and brother John witnessed the fatal crash.

Sources

“Bruce Cox killed drag racing," Area Auto Racing News, Aug. 14, 1968.

Ron Tursovsky, e-mail communication with site administrator, May 18, 2012

"Accidental deaths claim 5 in state over weekend," Nashua Telegraph, August 12, 1968

Social Security Death Index: Bruce Cox, b. 11 June 1947, d. Aug. 1968, SS# issued Massachusetts 1963

Photos

Jim Crandall

Born:  March 26, 1944

Died:  April 5, 1969

Buried:  Oak Grove Memorial Gardens, Irving, Texas

Age:  25

Full Name:  James Edward Crandall

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  S & N Dragway, near Kennedale, Texas

Event:  

Accident Date:   April 5, 1969

Car:  

Biographical:  He reportedly crashed when something malfunctioned on the front of his car while racing at the 1/8th mile drag strip.  He was from Irving, Texas.

Sources

“Drownings add to violence total,” Abilene Reporter News, Apr. 7, 1969

Texas Death Index:  James Crandall, died Apr. 5, 1969 in Tarrant Co., single

Ancestry.com Family Tree:  James Edward Crandall, born Mar. 25, 1944 in Hanford, Calif., died Apr. 5, 1969 in Irving, Texas

California Birth Index:  born Mar. 26, 1944, in Kings Co., mother’s maiden name was Ziegenhain

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Bob Crews

Born:  August 17, 1935

Died:  April 17, 1966

Buried: Maple Hill Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri

Age:  30

Full Name:  Robert E. Crews

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Southwest Raceway, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Event: 

Accident Date:   April 17, 1966

Car:  Pusch & Crews AA/FD

Biographical:  After clocking a speed of 183 MPH, the front of his car dipped down, digging into the pavement.  A steering draglink weakened or came loose and he slammed into the guard rail.  His car disintegrated.  He was transported to Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa where he shortly died.  He was from Kansas City, Kansas, and was survived by his wife, Donna, and four children.  It was the first fatality since the race track opened a year previously.  He was a construction carpenter by trade.

Sources

"Returning body of drag racer," Great Bend Daily Tribune, April 18, 1966

"Kanss City man killed at raceway," Hays Daily News, Apr. 18, 1966

“Race driver fatally hurt,” Salina Journal, Apr. 18, 1966

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=5769)

Social Security Death Index (SS# was issued in Kansas in 1951)

Missouri Marriage Records ( he married Donna J. Monteil on June 18, 1955 in Kansas City, Missouri)

John Neitch, e-mail communication to site administrator, Nov. 26-27, 2010 

Photos

Find a Grave

billiongraves.com

 

 

Dave Dangerfield

Born:  June 20, 1929

Died:  November 13, 1965

Buried: Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Youngstown, Ohio

Age:  35

Full Name:  David James Dangerfield

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Beeline Dragway, Scottsdale, Arizona

Event:  

Accident Date:  November 13, 1965

Car:  "Doghouse Restaurant" Dodge Hemi-powered AA/FD

Biographical:  His car crashed after passing the finish line at a speed of 195 MPH. It was speculated that he either was overcome by fumes or that there was a stuck supercharger linkage.  The car disintegrated on impact. He died soon after being taken to Scottsdale Baptist Hospital.  A resident of Canfield, Ohio, he owned a speed shop in Youngstown, Ohio.  In 1963 he ran a twin Pontiac-engined AA/D.  He frequently raced in western Pennsylvania.

Sources

"Dragster killed at Phoenix," Hayward Daily Review, November 14, 1965

"Drag driver killed," Tucson Daily Citizen, November 15, 1965

"Drag race driver killed in car crash," Milwaukee Journal, November 14, 1965

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3589)

Ohio Deaths

1930 U.S. Federal Census ( born about Aug. 1929, with brothers Gene L. and Raymond T. Dangerfield, in Youngstown, Ohio)

Ancestry.com Family Tree

Photos

Youngstown Rod & Custom blog

 

 Dave Dangerfield at Howland Drags, 1961

Bill Davis

Born:  March 15, 1917


Died:   June 1, 1969


Buried:  Franklin Cemetery, West Virginia


Age: 52


Full Name:   William V. Davis, Jr.


Nickname:


Drag Strip:  Executive Airport Drag Strip, Meander Lake, Ohio


Event: 


Accident Date:  June 1, 1969


Car:


Biographical:  His car rolled over six times after a tire reportedly blew out.  He was racing early Sunday morning at the old dragstrip located eight miles west of Youngstown. Almost every bone in his body was broken in the crash. Death was caused by shock and a fractured skull. He was from Sebring, Ohio, and operated an automobile agency. It is unclear whether the race was supervised.


Sources


"Drag race kills auto sales exec," Indiana Evening Gazette, June 2, 1969


Ohio Deaths (Ancestry.com)


Photos

Hoover Dean

Born:  November 22, 1928

Died:  September 2, 1967

Buried:  Dozier Cemetery, Alabama

Age:  38

Full Name:  Herbert Hoover Dean

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Andalusia Drag Strip, Alabama

Event:  

Accident Date:  September 2, 1967

Car:  

Biographical:  News reports gave his given name as Robert.  He was from Dozier, Alabama, and was survived by his wife, Kathleen.

Sources

"State mishaps take 16 lives over weekend," Tuscaloosa News, September 5, 1967

FamilyTreeMaker website (http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/s/h/a/Kendrick-W-Shackleford/FILE/0075page.html)

Photos

FamilyTreeMaker website (http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/s/h/a/Kendrick-W-Shackleford/PHOTO/0207photo.html)

 

Rick Dee

Born: 1948

Died:  August 24, 1966

Buried: Holy Cross Cemetery, Calumet City, Illinois

Age: 18

Full Name: Richard Dee

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  U. S. 30 Dragway, Hobart, Indiana

Event: 

Accident Date:  July 30, 1966

Car: dragster

Biographical:  He built race cars, but usually had others drive them.  He was reportedly driving for only the second time when he suffered the fatal accident.  His car went out of control when traveling at about 150 MPH and crashed into a retaining wall.  Suffering a shattered spine, after steadily deteriorating he died at Porter Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso, Indiana, several weeks after the accident.  He was from Chicago and was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Dee.

Sources

"Youth dies after 150 MPH crash," Anderson Herald, Aug. 26, 1966

"Drag strip victim in hospital here," Vidette Messenger, Aug. 1, 1966

"Drag strip victim dies," Vidette Messenger, Aug. 25, 1966

Find a Grave website

Photos

Ted DeTar

Born:  October 5, 1933

Died:  December 15, 1968

Buried:  Liberty Cemetery, Kansas

Age:  35

Full Name:  Ted Eugene DeTar

Nickname:  Kansas Badman

Drag Strip:  West Palm Beach Raceway, Florida

Event:  

Accident Date:  December 1968

Car:  

Biographical: 

Sources

60s Funny Cars (http://www.60sfunnycars.com/round9.htm)

Photos

BigBlockDart.com (http://www.bigblockdart.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=f0e125d10b7cb3dff737ad53897e3622&topic=43082.new

 

 

John Donilson

Born:  August 9, 1935

Died:  July 10, 1966

Buried: Forest Hill Cemetery, Birmingham, Alabama

Age:  30

Full Name:  John Roger Donilson

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Union Hill Dragway, Nashville, Tennessee

Event: 

Accident Date:   July 10, 1966

Car:  "Hell Fire" altered wheelbase 1964 Ford Thunderbolt

Biographical:  He was killed when he was rear-ended in a car driven by Paul Lance.  Both cars were traveling about 110 MPH.  According to DSD reader, John's car lacked a roll cage cross bar behind his driver seat. Upon impact, his plastic seat broke and John was thrown into the trunk area. Pat Gray, who had done some engine work for John, towed the wreckage to his house after the accident. Donilson was from Birmingham, Alabama.

Sources

Ford Thunderbolts forum (http://66.154.44.164/forum/showthread.php?p=3976062)

?Veteran driver dies in crash,? Anniston Star, July 12, 1966

Social Security Death Index (SS# issued in Alabama before 1951) 

DragList.com (http://www.draglist.com/draglist/search.php?q=killed&search=Search&VIEW=Extended)

J. David Sharp, e-mail communication with site administrator, June 29, 2017

Photos

JalopyJournal.com (http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=3662230)

Altered Wheelbase Thunderbolts (http://www.angelfire.com/hi/427fairlane/assortedimages.html)

Find a Grave

 

 

 

Paul Duplissey

Born: 

Died: August 6, 1967

Buried: 

Age: 19

Full Name:  Paul Renee Duplissey

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:   Valkaria Dragway, Florida

Event: 

Accident Date:   August 6, 1967

Car: 

Biographical:  He was a passenger in a car on the airport strip, when the car in which he was riding was struck by another car which witnesses say was going an estimated 100 MPH. He was from West Melbourne. News reports weren't clear on whether it was an organized race when the accident occurred.  As a result of the accident, the Brevard County Commissioners ordered the airport closed to further drag racing.

Sources

"Airport ordered closed," St. Petersburg Evening Independent, August 11, 1967.

Florida Death Index

Photos

Danny Elkins

Born:  October 6, 1941

Died:  August 5, 1967

Buried: 

Age:  27

Full Name:  Dana Lee Elkins

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:   Ubly Dragway, Michigan

Event:  exhibition

Accident Date:   August 5, 1967

Car:  A/FX "Chevy Also" 1966 Chevrolet Chevy II

Biographical:  He was killed when he lost control about three-fourths of the way down the track.  The car rolled three times and crashed.  He lived in Southfield, Michigan.  His best time in the car was 9.57 and 150 MPH.

Sources

"Dragster killed," Traverse City Record Eagle, August 7, 1967

Windy Weber, e-mail communication to site administrator, Oct. 20, 2011

DragList.com  (http://www.draglist.com/draglist/category.php?VIEW=Extended&CATEGORY%5B0%5D=FUELFC&x=funnycars&SORTBY=YEAR+DESC%2CMPH+DESC%2CET%2CLNAME%2CFNAME%2CENTRY%2CENG%2CMAKE%2CMODEL%2CCHASSIS&page=103)

Photos

Tom Bonner's Vintage Nitro

 

L. W. Erwin

Born:  July 7, 1938

Died:  April 17, 1965

Buried:  Restland Cemetery, Richardson, Texas

Age:  26

Full Name:  L. W. Erwin

Nickname:  "Dubby"

Drag Strip:  I-20 Dragway, near Tyler, Texas

Event:   NHRA

Accident Date:   April 17, 1965

Car:  

Biographical:  He died in a racing accident driving a car owned by Ted Tholcken.  He was an auto mechanic in Dallas.

Sources

Texas Birth Index (born in Dallas Co., son of Lewis and Lucy Ann Erwin)

Texas Death Index

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=5805)

Bob Wolcott, e-mail communication to site administrator, Feb. 21, 2011

“Traffic mishaps kill 21 in Texas,” Port Arthur News, Apr. 19, 1965

Ancestry.com Family Tree (son of Louis Franklin and Lucy Ann Erwin, born in Dallas, TX)

Photos

Find a Grave (photo courtesy of K. Bounds)

 

Mike Evans

Born: 

Died:  September 18, 1966

Buried:   Resurrection Cemetery, Affton, Missouri

Age:  20

Full Name:   Michael P. Evans

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Alton Dragway, Illinois

Event: 

Accident Date:   September 17, 1966

Car: 

Biographical:  He was reportedly traveling about 110 MPH after passing through the finish line when he failed to shut the car down. He lost control of the car and it rolled three times. He was rushed to Alton Memorial Hospital and later transferred to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. He resided in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sources 

"Crash kills dragster," Alton Evening Telegraph, Sep. 19, 1966

Photos

Tom Foulkes

Born:  February 11, 1951

Died:  May 4, 1969

Buried:  Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, New York

Age:  18

Full Name:  Thomas G. Foulkes

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:   Westhampton Drag Strip, New York

Event:  

Accident Date:  May 4, 1969

Car:  

Biographical:  He was killed when his car went out of control and rolled several times.  He lived in Commack, New York.

Sources

"Dragster killed," Troy Times Record, May 5, 1969

U.S. Veterans Gravesites (son of Harvey B. Foulks, Jr.)

Find a Grave website

Photos

Find a Grave website 

 

John Francis

Born:  May 24, 1951

Died:  September 14, 1968

Buried: Lincoln Cemetery, Kansas

Age:  17

Full Name:  John Charles Francis

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Salina Drag Strip, Kansas

Event:  

Accident Date:   September 14, 1968

Car:  pickup truck

Biographical:  He was making a practice run at the old municipal airport drag strip early Saturday morning when the truck went out of control and rolled end over end for 315 feet before coming to a stop.  Two other teenage passengers were seriously injured.  Salina City had recently given permission for the airport to be used as a drag strip.  The accident did not occur during a sanctioned race.

Sources

“One killed, 2 hurt in drag strip crash,” Great Bend Daily Tribune, Sep. 15, 1968

"Drag race takes life," Hutchinson News, Sep. 16, 1968

Photos

Find a Grave

 

James Galloway

Born: 

Died: September 4, 1966

Buried:

Age: 25

Full Name:  James H. Galloway

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Private dragstrip on Speck farm in Walker Township, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania

Event: 

Accident Date:  September 4, 1966

Car: 

Biographical:  He was testing his car on a private asphalt drag strip owned by Dallas Speck. The drag strip was on the Speck farm in Walker Township, Huntingdon County. He had started down the strip and as he neared the end, he lost control of the car, which turned over. He was thrown from the car into a nearby field. He was transported to the J. C. Blair Memorial Hospital where he died about three hours later. Galloway resided in McConnellstown.

Sources 

"Drag strip crash kills young man," Tyrone Daily Herald, Sep. 6, 1966

"Man is killed on drag strip," Altoona Mirror, Sep. 6, 1966

Photos

Dave Geiman

Born:  

Died:  June 4, 1965

Buried: 

Age:  27

Full Name:  David Joseph Geiman

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  75-80 Drag-A-Way, near Monrovia, Maryland

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 4, 1965

Car:  1949 car

Biographical:  He crossed the finish line while making a solo run during time trials.  He was traveling at a speed of about 100 MPH in front of an estimated 5,000 spectators when he lost control of his car.  It veered to the left off the track and up and over an embankment for 168 feet until it impacted a utility pole.  Upon hitting the pole, the car overturned.  He was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.  He suffered a fractured skull and multiple injuries.  A resident of Catonsville, Maryland, he was survived by four children. It was the first fatality at the six-year-old drag strip.

Sources

"Drag racer killed at Monrovia," Frederick News, June 5, 1965

"Near capacity crowd shocked by tragic upset," Frederick Post, June 5, 1965

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=9033)

Photos

Robert Gilman

Born:  July 4, 1941

Died:  June 10, 1967

Buried: Restland Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas

Age:  25

Full Name:  Robert Truett Gilman

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Como Dragway, Sulphur Springs, Texas

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 10, 1967

Car:  1923 T-bucket

Biographical:  He was killed in a drag race accident.  The rear-end dropped out of his car causing it to overturn.  He died in a Greenville hospital shortly after the accident.  He was a 3-time AHRA champion. A mechanic from Irving, Texas, he was survived by his wife. 

Sources 

"Toll," Victoria Advocate, June 12, 1967

Ancestry.com Family Tree:  Robert Truett Gilman, b. July 4, 1941, in Dallas, died June 10, 1967 in Hopkins, TX, son of Leon E. and Edna Lee Gilman

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=8824)

H.A.M.B. private post, to site administrator, Feb. 20, 2011

“3-Time champ dies in drag accident,” Amarillo Globe-Times, June 12, 1967

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Tom Grant

Born:   September 24, 1942

Died:   July 10, 1969

Buried:   Boone Memorial Park, Madison, West Virginia

Age:   26

Full Name:   Thomas R. Grant

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:   Cecil County Drag Strip, Maryland

Event: 

Accident Date:   July 4, 1969

Car: 

Biographical:   He died from multiple injuries a week after crashing at Cecil County.  He lived in New Castle, Delaware, and was employed at General Motors in nearby Wilmington.  He was survived by his wife, Sharon, and son, Thomas.

Sources

"Drag strip injuries kill ex-state man," Charleston Gazette, July 12, 1969

Social Security Death Index

Photos

Joe Green

Born:  October 12, 1939

Died:  July 14, 1968

Buried:  Little Bethel Memorial Park, Duncanville, Texas

Age: 28

Full Name:  Joe Darrell Green

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Yello Belly Drag Strip, Grand Prairie, Texas

Event: 

Accident Date:   July 14, 1968

Car: 

Biographical:   While racing against a car, he veered into the other lane and sideswiped the car. He succumbed about an hour after the collision. He resided in Duncanville and was survived by his wife, Wanda, and four young children.

Sources

Texas Death Certificate

Social Security Death Index

"Fund established for Joe D. Green," Duncanville Suburban, July 25, 1968

Photos

Clint Hagedorn

Born:  February 24, 1942

Died:  July 4, 1967

Buried: New Hampton Cemetery, Iowa

Age:  25

Full Name:  Clinton Eugene Hagedorn

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Neita Raceway, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Event: 

Accident Date:   July 4, 1967

Car:  street roadster

Biographical:  He succumbed after being thrown from his vehicle. He worked for John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa. Tragically his wife and unborn child had been killed in a train accident only seven months before.  He was survived by his parents and three sisters.

Sources

Dan Hedges, e-mail communication to site administrator, Sep. 24, 2013

Find a Grave website

Photos

Find a Grave website

Iowagravestones.org

 

 

Louis Hale

Born:  August 29, 1943

Died:  June 7, 1969

Buried: 

Age:  20

Full Name:  Louis H. Hale

Nickname: 

Drag Strip: Thompson Drag Raceway, Ohio

Event:  

Accident Date:   June 7, 1969

Car:  1934 Plymouth

Biographical:  He had just run 117 MPH and was slowing down when he lost control of the car.  He flipped over and was thrown from the wreckage.  He was not wearing a helmet and his car was not equipped with a roll bar.  He was from Ashtabula, Ohio, and was the brother of Dennis Hale.

Sources

“Crash claims drag racer,” Holland Evening Sentinel, June 9, 1969

Ohio Deaths:  Louis H. Hale, born 1944, died June 7, 1969, Northeastern Ohio General Hospital in Lake Co., OH, married, residence was Ashtabula, OH

Social Security Death Index:  prob. Louis Hale, born Aug. 29, 1943, died June 1969, SS# issued in Ohio in 1959-60

Photos

Butch Hamel

Born:  January 14, 1939

Died:  July 4, 1965

Buried: Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan

Age:  26

Full Name:  Leon DePaul Hamel

Nickname:  "Butch"

Drag Strip:  Ubly Dragway, Michigan

Event: 

Accident Date:   July 4, 1965

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  He lost control of his dragster after being clocked at 163 MPH.  After leaving the paved track, he tried to get back on, but started flipping end over end.  He was taken to Bad Axe Hospital, but was dead on arrival. He was from Detroit, Michigan, and was survived by his wife, Carol.

Sources

John Helegda, e-mail communication to site administrator, April 1, 2010

"Funerals," Ironwood Daily Globe, July 12, 1965

Ancestry.com Family Tree:  Leon DePaul Hamel, born Jan. 14, 1939 in Ironwood, MI, died July 4, 1965 in Bad Axe, MI

"Drag racer loses control, dies in crash," Chicago Tribune, July 5, 1965

"Runaway dragster kills driver," Long Beach Independent, July 5, 1965

"Driver dies,"  Modesto Bee and Herald-News, July 5, 1965

Photos

Mike Mccormick, e-mail communication to site administrator, Dec. 10, 2016

Lucky Harris

Born:  

Died:  June 3, 1966

Buried: 

Age:  31

Full Name:  Hubert Harris

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Islip Speedway, New York

Event:  

Accident Date:  June 3, 1966

Car:  Art Malone "US-1" jet dragster

Biographical:  While making an exhibition run on the 1/8th mile drag strip, the car turned toward the grandstand and crashed into it.  Harris was killed, but no spectators were injured.  The car was originally built by Bill Fredericks who named it "Valkyrie."  When Mickey Thompson owned it, he named it "US-1."  At the time Harris drove it, the car was owned by Art Malone.  After the accident, the car was restored and purchased by Chuck Suba.  Fred Sibley was a subsequent owner.  It appeared in a movie called "The Lively Set" and was driven by Gary Gabelich.  The fastest time Harris recorded in the jet dragster was 7.85 and 191.48 MPH.

Sources

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=7253)

Bill Pitts, e-mail communication to site administrator, Jan. 21, 2012

Photos

Pashnit Motorcycle Forum (http://66.211.107.116/forum/showthread.php?t=4102)

 

This is the "US-1" when it was owned and driven by Fred Sibley. 

Del Heinelt

Born:  1940

Died:  September 1, 1967

Buried:  Memphis Cemetery, Michigan

Age:  32

Full Name:    Delmar R. Heinelt, Jr.  

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indiana

Event:  NHRA U.S. Nationals

Accident Date:  September 1, 1967

Car:  fiberglass 1967 Mustang funny car

Biographical:  He lost control of his car a split second after being clocked at a speed of 169.49 MPH. After removing his foot from the throttle and before he could release the parachute, his car struck the guard rail.  The car disintegrated upon impact.  Unmarried, he lived in Memphis, Tennessee, and was driving a car owned by Larry Coleman.  He had been driving drag race cars for seven years.

Sources

"Drag racer killed at NHRA Nationals," Los Angeles Times, September 2, 1967

"Drag racer killed at Nationals," Benton Harbor News-Palladium, September 2, 1967

"Dragster killed at Indianapolis," Milwaukee Journal, September 1, 1967

Tom Bonner's Vintage Nitro

Photos

Billy Ray Higgins

Born:  1951

Died:  September 10, 1969

Buried: Blue Ridge Lawn Memorial Gardens, Kansas City, Missouri

Age:  18

Full Name:      

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Kansas City International Raceway, Missouri

Event: 

Accident Date:  September 10, 1969

Car:  

Biographical:  He died when he was unable to slow the car in the shut-down area.  His car was traveling an estimated 80-90 MPH when it went through the end of the sand trap at the end of the track, hurtled over the Little Blue River, and crashed into the river bank.  He was the son of Mrs. Eddie Wilson and lived in Kansas City, Missouri.

Sources

“Youth killed as car goes off drag strip,” Moberly Monitor-Index, Sep. 11, 1969

"Kansas City youth killed," Arkansas City Daily Traveler, Sep. 11, 1969

Brian McGuire, email communication to site administrator, June 22, 2015

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Johnny Hoffman

Born:  November 18, 1941

Died:  March 30, 1968

Buried:  Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, California

Age:  26

Full Name:  Johnny Mack Hoffman    

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Lions Drag Strip, Wilmington, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  March 30, 1968

Car:  "Snoopy" Jaguar funny car

Biographical:  During qualifying he lost control of his car at a speed estimated at more than 170 MPH and it rolled six times before coming to rest at a guard rail.  He was taken to Pacific Hospital in Long Beach where he was dead on arrival.  He was a resident of Norwalk, California.

Sources

"Norwalk drag racer killed at Lions strip," Los Angeles Times, March 31, 1968

"170 MPH crash kills dragster," Oxnard Press-Courier, April 1, 1968

"Drag racer is killed," Modesto Bee and Herald-News, April 1, 1968

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2530)

California Birth Index (born in Los Angeles County)

California Death Index

Social Security Death Index

"Lions Drag Strips's checkered flag" forum [click to read eyewitness account of fatal accident]

David Carl Peters, e-mail communication to site administrator, July 30, 2015

Photos

 

Sammy Joe Hood

Born:  April 9, 1942


Died:  November 5, 1967


Buried: Hamilton Memorial Gardens, Hixson, Tennessee


Age:  25


Full Name:    Samuel Joe Hood 


Nickname:  


Drag Strip:  Warner Robins Dragway, Georgia


Event: 


Accident Date:  November 5, 1967


Car:  "Hemi Cuda" 1965 Plymouth Barracuda FC


Biographical:    His match race vehicle hit a wall at a speed of about 150 MPH and spun end over end for about 700 feet.  He died in a Warner Robins hospital.  Reports vary on where he lived; one report had his residence as Chattanooga, Tennessee, and another reported that he lived in Twiggs County, Georgia. He was survived by his wife, Frankie, and sons, Richard and Bennie.


Sources


"Weekend mishaps send Georgia toll spiraling," Rome News-Tribune, November 6, 1967


DragList.com


Georgia Death Index


Social Security Death Index ( SS# issued in Tennessee in 1956)


Ancestry.com Family Tree:  born in Chattanooga, TN


Photos


Steve Magnante, How to Build Altered Wheelbase Cars, 17.

Dale Hubler

Born:  1945

Died:  April 6, 1969

Buried:  Maple Grove Cemetery, Findlay, Ohio

Age:  24

Full Name:      Dale E. Hubler

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Kil-Kare Dragway, Xenia, Ohio

Event:  exhibition

Accident Date:  April 6, 1969

Car:  "American Charger" jet-engined 1969 Dodge Charger

Biographical:  He was debuting a new body on his jet car.  He had made two exhibition runs already with speeds of 159 MPH and 214 MPH.  On his third and final run, he was going much faster.  The front end of the car lifted up and he lost control.  It skidded off the race track into the grass where it flipped over.  Then it skidded and slipped and bounced until hitting a utility pole and sliding some more before finally coming to a stop.  He was transported to Greene County Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He lived in Dayton, Ohio, was unmarried, and survived by his mother.  He had been partners with two other Dayton men in a jet car drag racing venture.  They had two jet cars in their stable.  

Sources

"Driver dies at dragway," Lima News, April 7, 1969

Ohio Deaths:  Dale E. Hubler, b. 1946, d. 6 Apr. 1969, Greene Co., OH, residence Montgomery Co., OH, single

"Dayton race driver dies in accident," Bucks County Courier Times, April 7, 1969

"Driver killed in crash of jet dragster," Chicago Tribune, April 7, 1969

“Dayton drag racer killed in accident,” Washington Court House Record Herald, Apr. 7, 1969

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=9062)

Photos

Find a Grave website  (Law-Miller Roots)

 

Dean Hurley

Born:  June 21, 1944

Died:  September 3, 1967

Buried:  Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Sacramento, California

Age:  23

Full Name:   Dean David Hurley   

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  El Dorado Raceway, Sacramento, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  September 3, 1967

Car: 

Biographical:    While traveling over 100 MPH, his car went off the end of the pavement and overturned five times.  He was from North Highlands, California.

Sources

"Drag racer is killed,"  Modesto Bee and Herald-News, September 4, 1967

California Birth Index (Dean David Hurley, born June 21, 1944, in San Francisco Co., Cal., mother’s maiden name was Spooner)

California Death Index (Dean D. Hurley, born June 30, 1944, in Calif., died Sep. 3, 1967, in Sacramento, mother’s maiden name was Spooner)

Find a Grave website 

Photos

Find a Grave website

1963 Highland High School Yearbook

 

George Iuliano

Born:  January 3, 1948

Died:  October 5, 1968

Buried:  Greenlawn Memorial Cemetery, Chesapeake, Virginia

Age:  20

Full Name:   George William Iuliano   

Nickname:  "Buddy"

Drag Strip:  Highway 258 Drag Strip, near Jacksonville, North Carolina

Event: 

Accident Date:  October 5, 1968

Car:  "The Bootlegger" C/MP 1957 Chevrolet

Biographical:   While making a run, his car overturned and he was thrown from the vehicle.  He was transported to Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He lived in Portsmouth, Virginia, and was survived by his wife and two brothers.  He was co-owner and manager of an auto parts business. 

Sources

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=8751)

"Dragster, 20, dies in accident on Sat.," Charleston Daily Mail, Oct. 7, 1968

Photos

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=8751)

Find a Grave website

 

Joe Jackson

Born:  August 8, 1943

Died:  February 5, 1966

Buried: Village Cemetery, Jefferson, Maine

Age:  22

Full Name:  Joseph M. Jackson 

Nickname:  "Joe the Jet"

Drag Strip:   Lions Drag Strip, Wilmington, California

Event:  UDRA Winternationals 

Accident Date:  February 5, 1966 

Car:  AA/FD

Biographical:  He came from Sanford, Maine, to California to be a drag racer.  He lived in his hearse push car in Buena Park.  He was killed during qualifying when his car flipped over at about 100 MPH, ran into a fence, and then into a pole. He had run about 140 MPH on his first run. He died of head injuries at Long Beach Memorial Hospital two hours after the accident.

Sources

"Drag racer fatally hurt at Lions strip," Los Angeles Times, February 6, 1966

"Dragster dies in crash," Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram, February 6, 1966

"Dragster killed at Lions strip," Oxnard Press-Courier, February 7, 1966

"Maine dragster killed in Calif.," Lewiston Daily Sun, February 7, 1966

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3372) 

California Death Index (born in Maine, his mother's maiden name was Stutz)

Maine Marriages ( his parents, Frederick Jackson of Jefferson, Maine, married Alice M. Stutz, of Southern Pines, North Carolina, on June 15, 1933)

Dennis Gallant, e-mail communication to site administrator, Mar. 14, 2012

"Sanford Dragway Part II: Jackson meets tragic end," Fosters.com, Aug. 27, 2009

Photos

Competition Plus: Drag Racing's Internet Magazine website (www.competitionplus.com/)

Dennis Gallant, e-mail communication to site administrator, May 6, 2012

 

Floyd James

Born:  September 9, 1936

Died:   May 24, 1969

Buried:  Blount County, Tennessee

Age:  32

Full Name:   Floyd William James   

Nickname:  Buddy

Drag Strip:  411 Drag Strip, near Seymour, Tennessee

Event:  practice run

Accident Date:  May 23, 1969

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  The car went out of control when the accelerator stuck.  The car flipped near the finish line going at a speed of about 165 MPH.  He was transported to Baptist Hospital where he died early the next day.  He lived in Maryville, Tennessee.

Sources

"Crash at 165 kills dragster," Kingsport Times News, May 25, 1969

Social Security Death Index ( a Floyd James who died in May 1969, whose SS# was issued in Tennessee before 1951, was born Sep. 9, 1936)

Ancestry.com Family Tree: Floyd William “Buddy” James, born Sep. 9, 1936 in Blount, TN, died May 24, 1969 in Blount, TN, buried in Blount County, TN, son of Floyd Henry “Whitey” and Edith A. McGinley James, widow is Margaret Ann James

Photos

Jimmie Jenkins

Born:  May 8, 1949

Died:   June 2, 1968

Buried:  Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas

Age:  19

Full Name:  Jimmie Allen Jenkins   

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Yello Belly Dragstrip, Grand Prairie, Texas

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 2, 1968

Car: 

Biographical:  He was racing another car when his wheel came off.  This  caused the car to flip at about 90 MPH.  Jenkins and his passenger were thrown from the car.  His passenger only suffered cuts and bruises, but Jenkins was killed.  He was a resident of Dallas, Texas.

Sources

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=8987)

"Driver killed at Yello Belly," Grand Prairie Daily News, June 3, 1968

Photos

Find a Grave website  (photo courtesy of Doug Pedersen)

 

Dennis Johnson

Born:  July 25, 1944

Died:   June 18, 1967

Buried:  Linn-Hebron Cemetery, Hebron, Illinois

Age:  22

Full Name:    David F. Johnson  

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:   Lake Geneva Speed Center, Wisconsin

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 18, 1967

Car:  

Biographical:  While traveling faster than 100 MPH during time trials, he hit a timing light and went out of control.  He flipped end over end.  His seat belt broke and he was thrown from the vehicle.  He was transported to a hospital where he died shortly after arriving.  He lived in Woodstock, Illinois.

Sources

"Dragster is killed Sunday," Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, June 19, 1967

“Illinois dragster killed in crash at Lake Geneva strip,” Appleton Post Crescent, June 19, 1967

"Woodstock driver dies in accident," Chicago Tribune, June 19, 1967

"Dragster killed at Lake Geneva," Sheboygan Press, June 19, 1967

Social Security Death Index (SS# issued in Illinois 1960-61)

Wisconsin Death Index

Photos

Find a Grave (photo courtesy of Phyllis Wallington)

 

Jimmy Johnson

Born:  September 12, 1937


Died:   October 13, 1967


Buried:  Resthaven Gardens Cemetery, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


Age:  30


Full Name:    James Le Roy Johnson


Nickname:  


Drag Strip:  Amarillo Dragway, Texas


Event:  Texas Fuel Championship


Accident Date:  July 16, 1967


Car:  AA/FD


Biographical:  He was driving the Gitthens-Thomas-Allen AA/FD from Oklahoma City. Trying to qualify to make the 16-car field, he couldn't get his parachute to deploy during a time trial run. He was severely injured when the car veered off the track, hit a culvert, overturned and rolled. He was taken to Northwest Texas Hospital where he died of his injuries about three months later. He made his living as a professional drag racer. He lived in Oklahoma City and was survived by his wife, Alfreda.


Sources


"Sports shorts," Ogdensburg Journal, October 15, 1967


Texas Death Certificate 


"Race driver still critically hurt," Amarillo Daily News, July 18, 1967


"Mishaps mar festive drag race," Amarillo Daily News, July 17, 1967


Photos

Larry Karshner

Born:  July 16, 1939

Died:   August 8, 1965

Buried:  Hallsville Cemetery, Ohio

Age:  26

Full Name:    Larry Plummer Karshner  

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Hyde Park Drag Strip, Newark, Ohio

Event: 

Accident Date:  August 8, 1965

Car:  Dodge

Biographical:  His car rolled over and landed upside down at the end of the race track.  It was thought that his carburetor must have stuck open.  He was killed instantly from head injuries.  He lived near Kingston, Ohio, and was survived by his wife.

Sources

"Dragster killed at Hyde Park," Newark Advocate, August 9, 1965

"Flip kills drag racer at Hyde Park strip," Mansfield News Journal, August 9, 1965

"Driver killed," Oxnard Press-Courier, August 9, 1965

“Drag racer killed,” Pasadena Star-News, Aug. 9, 1965

Tucson Daily Citizen, August 9, 1965

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2705) 

Ohio Death Index 

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

George Kline

Born: 

Died: September 26, 1965

Buried: 

Age: 18

Full Name:   

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Niagara Drag Strip, Niagara Falls, New York

Event: 

Accident Date:  September 26, 1965

Car: 

Biographical: Kline was racing a car driven by Arthur Siercenga of Buffalo.  Kline was going about 95 MPH when he lost control of the car and collided with the other car. His car overturned three times and he was thrown from the vehicle. He was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital where he died two hours later. He resided in Buffalo, New York.

Sources

"Dragster killed," Dunkirk-Fredonia Evening Observer, Sep. 27, 1965

Photos

Roger Kolacki

Born:  April 22, 1949

Died:   June 26, 1966

Buried:   Calvary Cemetery, Toledo, Ohio

Age:  17

Full Name:    Roger D. Kolacki 

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Thompson Drag Raceway, Geauga County, Ohio

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 26, 1966

Car:

Biographical:   He had been racing and pulled his car onto an embankment beside the drag strip. He was working underneath it, when the car rolled over his neck, killing him. He lived in Novelty, Ohio, and had just finished his junior year in high school. He had won eight trophies that year at the drag strip.

Sources

"Youth killed in drag race," Hamilton Daily News Journal, June 27, 1966

Ohio Deaths (Ancestry.com)

Photos

Ken Kotalac

Born:  June 9, 1941

Died:  October 12, 1969

Buried:  Fairhaven Memorial Park, Santa Ana, California

Age:  28

Full Name:    Kenneth W. Kotalac  

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Lions Drag Strip, Wilmington, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  October 12, 1969

Car:  Vincent motorcycle

Biographical:  He was traveling at about 128 MPH went his bike went out of control and crashed into a guard rail, resulting in decapitation.  He was dead on arrival at Harbor General Hospital in Torrance.  He was a resident of Santa Ana, California. His wife witnessed his accident.

Sources

"Motorcycle racer killed at drag strip," Los Angeles Times, October 13, 1969

"Motorcyclist beheaded in drag race," Long Beach Independent, Oct. 13, 1969

California Death Index:  Kenneth W. Kotalac, born June 9, 1941 in New York, died Oct. 12, 1969 in L.A., mother’s maiden name was Kohlmeie

Photos

Tim Lampley

Born:  February 18, 1948

Died:  April 16, 1969

Buried: 

Age:  21

Full Name:    Timothy Roy Lampley  

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Lions Drag Strip, Wilmington, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  April 16, 1969

Car:  1964 sedan

Biographical:  He was driving a car owned by his friend, Robert Howell.  He was going about 130 MPH when his car skidded out of control.  It overturned and rolled about 300 feet.  He was transported to Pacific Hospital in Long Beach where he was pronounced dead.  He lived with his father, William Lampley, in Lynwood, California.  It was thought that the car's accelerator may have stuck.  He had worked at a casting plant.

Sources

"Driver, 21, killed in speed run," Long Beach Press-Telegram, April 17, 1969

California Birth Index (Timothy Roy Lampley, born Feb. 18, 1948, in LA County, mother’s maiden name was Manning)

California Death Index (Timothy R. Lampley, died April 16, 1969, in LA, born February 18, 1948, in California, mother’s maiden name was Manning)

Photos

Gene McClanahan

Born:  November 21, 1938

Died:  August 4, 1968

Buried:  Memorial Park Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee

Age:  30

Full Name:     Eugene McClanahan

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Lakeland International Raceway, Tennessee

Event: 

Accident Date:  August 4, 1968

Car:  AA/FD

Biographical:  He was struck by an out-of-control dragster driven by C. J. Kearney of New Orleans in the shut-down area during a qualifying run.  Oil from a blown engine had obscured the vision of the driver.  The driver and one other bystander were only slightly injured.  McClanahan was the driver of a car in the race.  He lived in Memphis, Tennessee.

Sources

"Drag racer is killed," Hayward Daily Review, August 5, 1968

"Driver dies at drag race event," Lodi News-Sentinel, August 5, 1968

"Drag crash kills driver," Fremont Argus, August 5, 1968

"Drag racer dies, 2 hurt in track wreck," Chicago Tribune, August 5, 1968

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2949) 

Photos

Find a Grave

Memphisrodders.com

 

 

William Maltby

Born:  December 11, 1942

Died:  August 15, 1965

Buried: 

Age: 23

Full Name:   William Thomas Maltby

Nickname:  

Drag Strip: Motor City Dragway, Ira Township, Michigan

Event: 

Accident Date:  August 15, 1965

Car: 

Biographical:  He was traveling about 100 MPH when he lost control of his car. He was thrown from the vehicle when it overturned.  He was from Birmingham, Michigan. He was survived by a young daughter.

Sources

"Dragster killed," Holland Evening Sentinel, Aug. 16, 1965

"Dragster killed in drag race Sunday," Ironwood Daily Globe, Aug. 16, 1965

Macomb County, Michigan, Death Index (Ancestry.com)

Photos

Ray Marsh

Born:  February 12, 1938

Died:  1968

Buried:  Silverbrook Cemetery, Wilmington, Delaware

Age:  30

Full Name:   Raymond Marsh, Jr.   

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Cecil County Dragway, Rising Sun, Maryland

Event: 

Accident Date:  1968

Car:  AA/FD

Biographical:  He lived in Wilmington (or Newport), Delaware.  In the mid-1960s he drove the Logghe Bros. A/FD and Cassidy & Windward AA/FD.  He was runner-up in Top Fuel at the 1966 Springnationals.  He may have died in Nov. 1968.

Sources

Ron Tursovsky, e-mail communication to site administrator, June 29, 2010

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2002)

Social Security Death Index  (Raymond Marsh, born Feb. 12, 1938, died Nov. 1968, SS# issued in Delaware) 

Photos

wediditforlove (http://www.wediditforlove.com/visitors-sample.html)

Drag RacersReunion website (http://dragracersreunion.ning.com/photo/2474192:Photo:29271)

http://www.weblo.com/celebrity/available/Ray_Toth/705177/  (accessed 12/13/10)

 

 

John Martin

Born:  1936

Died:  October 19, 1968

Buried: 

Age:  ca. 32

Full Name:    John E. Martin  

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Southwest Raceway, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Event:  NHRA World Finals

Accident Date:  October 19, 1968

Car:  T/F dragster

Biographical:  He had just finished his qualifying run when a mechanical failure caused his dragster to veer out of control.  It crashed into a small embankment and broke apart.  He was thrown from the car, breaking his neck, and was dead on arrival at the hospital.  He was a resident of Los Angeles, he was survived by his parents, a sister, and two daughters. 

Sources

"Local driver killed in Tulsa drag qualifying," Los Angeles Times, October 20, 1968

YouTube--In Celebration of Life!!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oin0mGYJtcE)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=8124) 

Photos

Remembering Those Who Are No Longer With Us (http://www.wediditforlove.com/remembering.html) 

 

Mary Alice Masi

Born:  

Died:  February 12, 1966

Buried: 

Age:  18

Full Name:      

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Sunshine Speedway, St. Petersburg, Florida

Event:  testing

Accident Date:  February 12, 1966

Car:  1955 Chevrolet

Biographical:   The drag strip was closed at the time of the accident.  She was testing a car owned by Walter Anschuetz, Jr.  A passenger riding in the car with her was not injured in the accident.  While traveling at a high rate of speed, the car went into a broadside and turned overturned.  Neither the driver or passenger were wearing seat belts.  She was transported to Mound Park Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.  She lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she was a junior college student and worked part-time as a telephone operator.  She was born in Pennsylvania and was survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph F. Masi, four brothers, Rudolph J., Richard J., Stephen M., and Daniel P., and a sister Patricia Ann.

Sources

"Girl dies in racing accident," Daytona Beach Morning Journal, February 14, 1966

Florida Death Index (Mary Alice Masi, died Feb. 1966 in Pinellas Co., Florida)

"Failure to use seat belt blamed for girl's death," St. Petersburg Times, February 14, 1966

"Girl killed as dragster flips over," St. Petersburg Times, February 13, 1966 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=qcMNAAAAIBAJ&sjid=SnQDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3287,1092603&dq=dragster+killed&hl=en)

Photos

Denny Milani

Born:  January 1, 1941

Died:  August 22, 1965

Buried: 

Age:  24

Full Name:  Dennis Gene Miliani    

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Half Moon Bay Drag Strip, California

Event:  NHRA-sanctioned

Accident Date:  August 22, 1965

Car:  "Ted Gotelli Special" Chrysler-powered AA/FD

Biographical:  He had just been clocked at a speed of 207.35 MPH and the day's low E.T. of 7.69 in a solo run to win the final round of Top Eliminator.  After speeding past the finish, his car flipped over and he died instantly.  He was a resident of Newark, California, and had only been married for two months.  His wife, Carol, witnessed the accident.  He had been in drag racing for seven years and earlier in the year had set the national record for top speed in AA/FD of 214 MPH.  After the crash, some of his fellow racers spoke out about the drag strip at Half Moon Bay.  They were critical of the short shut-down area (1,350 feet) and the bumpy condition of the track near the end.  However in the case of Denny's accident, the small bump in the shut-down area would not have been a factor as it was located on the left side and Denny was running on the right.  Just after passing the finish, Denny inexplicably veered into a ditch on the right side according to an eye-witness.  After the accident, Ted Gotelli dismantled the car.  

Sources

"Drag racer is killed at Half Moon Bay," Modesto Bee and Herald-News, August 23, 1965

"Dragster killed," Los Angeles Times, August 23, 1965

"National drag record holder killed," Victoria Advocate, August 23, 1965

"Just not right without Denny," Long Beach Independent, August 26, 1965

Don Smith, e-mail communication to site administrator, July 27, 2010

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2964)

Ancestry.com Family Tree:  Dennis Gene Miliani, born Jan. 1, 1941 in San Francisco, CA, died Aug. 22, 1965 in Half Moon Bay, CA

Social Security Death Index

California Death Index

Photos

Drag News, March 23, 1963

Conder Custom website (www.condercustom.com/ATF/rail/satanhistory.html)

Drag Racing Magazine, September 1965, 44 

 

 

This was the car that Denny Milani was killed in.  Owned by Ted Gotelli, it had a Pete Ogden chassis, and a Larry Hageman chute-tail body. It was a "legs-under" car which meant that the driver's legs went under the axle.

Phil Miner

Born:  1948

Died:  August 22, 1965

Buried:  East Lawn Palms Cemetery, Tucson, Arizona

Age:  17

Full Name: Phillip Charles Miner

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Phoenix International Raceway, Arizona

Event:  

Accident Date:  August 22, 1965

Car:  "Valley Auto Parts" AA/FD

Biographical:  He lost control of the Phoenix-based fuel dragster when he hit a soft shoulder and cartwheeled at a speed of about 160 MPH.  The car rolled several times.  He was transported to a hospital in Phoenix where he was declared dead on arrival.  He was a resident of Tucson, Arizona, and a junior in high school.  He was survived by his mother, Jennie Miner, and brothers, Robert, John, and David, and sisters, Sally and Susan.  Early indications pointed to a stuck throttle contributing to the cause of the accident.  Newspaper reports said the shutdown area utilized a curve of the oval raceway which was impractical and unsafe for the high speed dragsters.  Tucson drag racer Red Greth took issue with news reports that said he hit a guardrail or went off on a curve.  After this accident, the raceway discontinued staging drag races.  His death spurred the Arizona chapter of the United Drag Racers Association to begin a program to license new drag race drivers who race on Arizona drag strip.

Sources

"Youth killed at raceway," Florence Morning News, August 24, 1965

"Phil Miner dies in drag crackup," Tucson Daily Citizen, August 23, 1965

"Minor, race driver, killed in Phoenix," Hartford Courant, August 24, 1965

"Tucson racer Minor killed," Yuma Daily Sun, August 23, 1965

"Licensing due for new drags," Tucson Daily Citizen, August 24, 1965

"Funeral announcements," Tucson Daily Citizen, Aug. 26, 1965

Tucson Daily Citizen, August 25, 1965

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=4131)

Rick Kelly, e-mail communication to site administrator, Apr. 4, 2012

Photos

Lefty Mudersbach

Born:  March 21, 1931

Died:  February 11, 1966

Buried:  Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, California

Age:  34

Full Name:  Allen Mudersbach    

Nickname:  "Lefty"

Drag Strip:  Irwindale Raceway, Irwindale, California

Event:  AHRA Winternationals

Accident Date:  February 11, 1966

Car:  "Lefty's Speed Shop" AA/FD

Biographical:  He suffered fatal injuries when his dragster blew a tire traveling at about 180 MPH and overturned several times.  It happened when he was making a single pass during a qualifying run.  He was apparently dazed when he was hit in the head by the disintegrating tire and failed to deploy the chute or apply the brakes.  The driver's compartment was wrenched loose from the frame by the impact of the car flipping over and hurtled 300 feet.  He was transported to Santa Teresita Hospital in Duarte where he was dead on arrival. A resident of Pico Rivera, California, he was survived by his wife, Bobbie, and three children, Sharryl, Dennis, and Brian.  He operated a speed shop in Whittier.  He was NHRA national champion in 1957, running out of Phoenix with an Olds-powered A/GD. He was the winner of the first AHRA championship in 1960.  He had been a drag racer for twenty years.  He had the first gas dragster to record a sub-10 second e.t., accomplished in July 1957 at Lions Drag Strip with a 9.93 run.  He moved to California in 1959, teaming up with Chet Herbert.  They ran twin Chevy engines on gas, setting a world mark of 195 MPH with an 8.53 e.t.  They won Bakersfield in 1961.  Mudersbach and Herbert split up their partnership in 1963-64.  The car he was driving at the time of his fatal crash was owned by Dick Goss.  

Sources

"Drag racing vet killed in crash," Los Angeles Times, February 12, 1966 

"Dragster killed on Irwindale strip," Pasadena Star-News, February 12, 1966

"Dragster Mudersbach killed in crash," Reading Eagle, Feb. 13, 1966

"Ex-dragster king killed in crash," Toledo Blade, Feb. 13, 1966

"Famed Arizona drag racer killed at AHRA qualifications in California," Arizona Republic, February 15, 1966

"Drag champion killed on track," Milwaukee Journal, Feb. 12, 1966

Dick Cole, e-mail communication to site administrator, March 23, 2010

"Auto racer killed in crash," New York Times, Feb. 13, 1966 

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2823) 

Photos

Drag Racing Magazine, February 1964, 9 

Remembering Those Who Are No Longer With Us (http://www.wediditforlove.com/remembering.html)

Ancestry.com Family Tree:  Allen Stevens Mudersbach, born Mar. 21, 1931, died Feb. 1966, Ontario, CA, widow was Barbara Neoma Eller Mudersbach

California Birth Index: children of Allen and Neoma Mudersbach were Dennis Allen (born Apr. 10, 1953) and Brian L. (born Sep. 11, 1960)

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=228509&highlight=drag+cars+in+motion&page=446

 

Carrol Muhle

Born: April 29, 1941

Died:  May 8, 1968

Buried:  Roselawn Memorial Park, Columbus, Nebraska

Age:  27

Full Name:  Carrol Louis Muhle

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Forest Hills Drag Strip, south of Fort Worth, Texas

Event: 

Accident Date: May 4, 1968

Car:  

Biographical:  He died in a Fort Worth hospital from injuries suffered in a crash. He lost control of his car and slammed into a tree.  He was from Duncanville and worked for Bell Helicopter.

Sources

"Race driver killed at drag strip," Amarillo Globe Times, May 8, 1968

"Racing driver dies after mishap at FW," Lubbock Avalanche Journal, May 9, 1968

Texas Death Index:  Carrol Muhle, d. May 8, 1968, in Tarrant Co., married
 
Find a Grave website:  Carrol Louis Muhle, b. Apr. 29, 1941, d. May 18, 1968, age 27, buried in Columbus Cemetery, Platte County, Nebraska
 
“Dies of injuries,” Abilene Reporter News, May 9, 1968

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

John Mulligan

Born:  June 9, 1943

Died:  September 17, 1969

Buried:  Magnolia Memorial Park, Garden Grove, California

Age:  26

Full Name:  John David Mulligan

Nickname:  "The Zookeeper" and "Moe"

Drag Strip:  Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indianapolis, Indiana

Event:  NHRA U. S. Nationals

Accident Date:  September 1, 1969

Car:   "Race Car Engineering" Beebe & Mulligan "Fighting Irish" T/F dragster

Biographical:  He was the fastest qualifier in top fuel with a 6.43 run which was considerably faster than the then-national record of 6.68.  He was racing Tommy Ivo in the first round of eliminations when the accident occurred.  Just before the finish line, the engine exploded in a fireball of flames.  He beat Ivo on a run of 6.621 and 188.67 MPH, but crashed into the guard rail.  The car split into pieces and rolled end over end.  It all happened in a split second and the parachute had not deployed.  He was transported to Methodist Hospital where he was treated for burns on his head and arms and severe cuts on his legs.  Two weeks after the accident, he succumbed from congestive heart failure attributed to his severe burns.  He was from Garden Grove, California.  The best time on the car was 6.43 and 241.50 MPH.

Video:

Sources

California Birth Index (his mother’s maiden name was Wadstrup)

California Marriage Index  (he married Dianne D. Elliott, age 18, on Oct. 1, 1966, in Los Angeles)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1644)

"Drag champion seriously hurt," Hartford Courant, Sep. 2, 1969

"Fire, crash hospitalize drag racer," Chicago Tribune, Sep. 2, 1969

"Crash injuries are fatal for John Mulligan," Los Angeles Times, Sep. 19, 1969

"Race driver Mulligan dies after accident," Chicago Tribune, Sep. 19, 1969

"Injuries fatal to top hot rod race driver," Warsaw Times-Union, Sep. 19, 1969

http://beebe-mulligan.com/blastfrompast2.shtml  (accessed 4/10/11)

“Mulligan succumbs to burns,” Long Beach Independent, Sep. 19, 1969

Photos

Beebe & Mulligan website (beebe-mulligan.com/)

Remembering Those Who Are No Longer With Us (http://www.wediditforlove.com/remembering.html)

Find a Grave website

 

Gilfert Nielson

Born:  October 24, 1950

Died:  April 9, 1969

Buried:  Pierce Brothers Crestlawn Memorial Park, Riverside, California

Age:  18

Full Name:  Gilfert A. Nielson

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Orange County International Raceway, California

Event:   Wednesday night grudge race

Accident Date:  April 9, 1969

Car:  

Biographical:  He was killed when his car crashed.  It was his first time drag racing.  He lost control of the car at 85 MPH and was thrown from the rolling car.  He was taken to Santa Ana Community Hospital where he died.  He was a resident of Norco, and was survived by his parents and two sisters.

Sources

"Teen-ager dies in drag race at county raceway," Los Angeles Times, April 10, 1969

"Drag race fatal to Norco boy," Corona Daily Independent, Apr. 11, 1969

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=6795)

California Death Index  (he was born in South Dakota and his mother's maiden name was Washa) 

Photos

Gary Peterson

Born:  November 2, 1943

Died:  June 16, 1968

Buried:  West Immanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery, Polk County, Wisconsin

Age:  24

Full Name:  Gary Allen Peterson

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  San Fernando Raceway, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 16, 1968

Car:   "Tahitian" Chrysler-powered AA/FD

Biographical:  His car failed to shut off at the end of the run.  When his parachute finally opened, the car swerved, hit a slight embankment, and was propelled into the air.  The car then hit a bridge, killing him in the crash.  He was pronounced dead at Pacoima Lutheran Hospital.  He was a resident of Reseda, California.  He raced under the name Gary Allen.  His best time in the car was 7.35 at 205 MPH.

Sources

"Gary Peterson killed in racing accident," Los Angeles Times, June 17, 1968

California Death Index  (he was born in Wisconsin and his mother's maiden name was Christin)

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

 

Pete Petrie

Born:  October 15, 1927

Died:  April 17, 1965

Buried:  Fairhaven Memorial Park, Santa Ana, California

Age:  37

Full Name:   Alton Clyde Petre 

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Lions Drag Strip, Wilmington, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  April 17, 1965

Car:  Rucker-Nelson dragster

Biographical:  At the end of his qualifying run at a speed of 185 MPH, he veered to the left and his left front wheel caught the guard fence.  His car was propelled airborne 30 feet, spinning around.  When it landed it rolled over several times before finally coming to a halt.  He was rushed to Long Beach Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. News articles always spelled his name "Petrie," although civil documents spelled it Petre. He lived in Orange, California.

Sources

"Vet drag racer Petrie killed in Lions crash," Los Angeles Times, April 18, 1965

“Veteran drag racer killed at Lions’ strip,” Pasadena Star-News, Apr. 19, 1965

"Dragster Petrie killed in crash," Oxnard Press-Courier, April 19, 1965

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=7306)

1930 U. S. Census [Alton was 2 years old, living in Wichita Falls, Texas, with his parents Charlie L. and Fern Petre]

Texas Birth Index [b. Oct. 15, 1927, son of C. L. and Fern Petre]

California Death Index [There are two entries for him, one with his given name as Clyde A. and the other with his given name as Alton C., but both entries have the surname spelled Petre.]

"Flip at 185 m.p.h. kills drag racer," Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram, Apr. 18, 1965

Photos

Find a Grave [the order of his name on headstone is Clyde Alton]

Tom Polkinghorn

Born: January 8, 1951

Died: November 23, 1968

Buried: 

Age:  17

Full Name: Thomas Mark Polkinghorn

Nickname: 

Drag Strip: Lions Drag Strip, Long Beach, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  November 23, 1968

Car:  motorcycle

Biographical: He went out of control when his front wheel shook in a high-speed wobble at 60 MPH.  He was thrown 60 feet into the air when his motorcycle crashed into a fence.  He was transported to Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, where he died an hour after the accident.  He was from San Gabriel, California.

Sources

"Racetrack accidents kill 2 men," Long Beach Independent Press Telegram, Nov. 24, 1968

California Death Index:  Thomas M. Polkinghorn, b. Jan. 8, 1951, in CA, d. Nov. 23, 1968, in Los Angeles Co., mother’s maiden name was Brandt
 
California Birth Index:  Thomas Mark Polkinghorne, b. Jan. 8, 1951, L.A. County, mother’s maiden name was Brandt

Photos

Jim Phibbs

Born: July 25, 1943

Died: October 5, 1969

Buried:  

Age:  26

Full Name: James R. Phibbs

Nickname: 

Drag Strip: Lebanon Valley Speedway. New York

Event: 

Accident Date: October 5, 1969

Car:  motorcycle

Biographical:  During time trials, he was thrown from his motorcycle when he struck a station wagon parked on the drag strip.  He was transported to Pittsfield General Hospital in Massachusetts where he died en route. He was from Albany, New York, and was survived by his wife, Darlene, and a daughter. He worked as a motorcycle mechanic in Schenactady.  A lawsuit was brought against the owners of the station wagon and the Speedway by his widow.  In that suit it was claimed that Barbara Bahorik, the driver of the station wagon, was not parked but struck Phibbs.

Sources

“3 die on highways,” Troy Record, Oct. 6, 1969

"Cycle accident claims life in New Lebanon," Berkshire Eagle, Oct. 6, 1969

Social Security Death Index:  James Phibbs, b. July 25, 1943, d. Oct. 1969, SS # issued in New York in 1959-60 

http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?xmldoc=197494245AD2d897_2391.xml&docbase=CSLWAR1-1950-1985 

Photos

John Rains

Born:  June 28, 1947

Died:  August 17, 1968

Buried:  Algoma Cemetery, Marshall, Texas

Age:  21

Full Name:  John Edward Rains, Jr.

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Como Dragway, Texas

Event: 

Accident Date:  August 17, 1968

Car:   1965 Ford Mustang

Biographical:  He had bought  Mustang new in 1965 and won a lot of races around East Texas.  He wrecked it going to work one day, but fixed it back up and repainted it white.  His vehicle ran off the end of the race track and burst into flames.  He was taken to Memorial Hospital in Sulphur Springs, but was pronounced dead on arrival.  He was from Marshall, Texas.

Sources

"Highway toll hits 34 in state," Victoria Advocate, August 19, 1968

"Dragster killed in fiery crash," Winnsboro News, Aug. 22, 1968

Texas Death Index (Ancestry.com)

Andrea Maloney, e-mail communication to site administrator, Dec. 1, 2010

Lucas Rains, e-mail communication to site administrator, Nov. 9, 2011

Photos

Ancestry.com

Lucas Rains, e-mail communication to site administrator, Nov. 9, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

Tex Randall

Born:  May 23, 1932

Died:  June 26, 1965

Buried:  Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

Age:  33

Full Name:  Walter Benjamin Randall

Nickname:  Tex

Drag Strip:   Aquasco Speedway, Maryland

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 26, 1965

Car:   "Kemo Sabay" AA/FD

Biographical:  He was reportedly killed when his front wheel came off his vehicle.  He was traveling at a speed of 187 MPH.  He lost control and sped into a wooded area and turned over.  He was transported to Calvert County Hospital at Prince Frederick where he died four hours later.  His best time on the car was 8.14 and 191.48 MPH.  He was an auto mechanic and lived in Clinton, Maryland.  He was survived by his wife, Carol.

Sources

Lost Drag Strips (http://www.lsxtv.com/forum/lost-drag-strips-part-4-aquasco-978.html)

DragList.com (http://www.draglist.com/lists/tf.txt)

AtomicPinUp.com  (http://www.atomicpinup.com/Aquasco_Speedway.html)

Topix.com (http://www.topix.com/forum/city/huntingtown-md/T7E7P950347RHLATI)

Southern Maryland Community Forums (http://forums.somd.com/life-southern-maryland/161748-memories-aquasco-beltsville-marlboro.html) 

Photos

AtomicPinUp.com  (http://www.atomicpinup.com/Aquasco_Speedway.html)

Vintage East Coast Drag Racing (http://66.154.44.164/forum/showthread.php?t=228006&page=2)

Find a Grave website

 

 

 

Frank Redden

Born:  November 28, 1929

Died:  April 28, 1968

Buried:  Ocean View Cemetery, Eureka, California

Age:  38

Full Name:  Frank LeRoy Redden

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:   Samoa Drag Strip, California

Event:  Road Toads car club race

Accident Date:  April 28, 1968

Car:   1961 Ford Falcon Ranchero

Biographical:  After being clocked at 100 MPH at the airport drag strip, he lost control as he started to slow down.  He began to swerve from side to side, rolled twice and then flipped end over end twice.  He was transported to Trinity Hospital in Arcata where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He was a resident of McKinleyville, California, and was survived by his wife, four children, and a step-child.

Sources

"Eureka drag racer dies in accident," Long Beach Independent, April 29, 1968

"Driver dies at Samoa," Eureka Times-Standard, Apr. 29, 1968 (courtesy of Donna Heuer)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=9146)

Photos

Larry Read

Born:  July 6, 1944


Died:  January 5, 1969


Buried:  Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California


Age:  24


Full Name:  Larry Stephen Read


Nickname: 


Drag Strip:   San Antonio Drag Raceway, Texas


Event: 


Accident Date:  January 5, 1969


Car:   


Biographical:  His car went out of control and overturned several times.  He was taken to Green Hospital where he was dead on arrival. It was the first serious accident at the race track in a decade.  Reed was unmarried and had relatives living in Alameda, California.  He was a systems engineer for Univac division of Sperry Rand and was working temporarily in San Antonio, having been transferred from the office in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Sources


“Drag racer dies on SA track” Victoria Advocate, Jan. 7, 1969


"Drag racer's rites due in Alameda," Woodland Daily Democrat, Jan. 7, 1969


"S. A. Drag Raceway driver is killed," San Antonio Express, Jan. 6, 1969


Texas, Death Certificate


Photos

Larry Rees

Born:  May 1, 1938

Died:  August 31, 1968

Buried:  Provo City Cemetery, Utah

Age:  30

Full Name:  Larry Price Rees

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Bonneville Raceway Park, Magna, Utah

Event: 

Accident Date:  August 31, 1968

Car:   "The Integrator" AA/FD

Biographical:  In the final elimination race, his engine through a rod about 200 feet from the finish line.  His vision was impaired by spewing oil while traveling close to 200 MPH.  About a thousand feet past the finish line, he veered off to the right into the soft dirt that was still soppy from rains earlier in the week.  He lost control of the car at a speed of about 100 MPH, rolling several times before the car cracked apart into three sections and the roll bar broke away.  Later investigation revealed that he had a defective chassis.  He died while en route to LDS Hospital.  He was the owner/operator of a transmission rebuilding business.  He lived in Salt Lake City and was survived by his wife, Ann Marie, and son, Ronnie, and daughter, Kathi Jo. 

Sources

"Accident injuries claim top dragster," Deseret News, Sep. 2, 1968

"High-speed crash kills driver at Bonneville Raceway track," Salt Lake Tribune, Sep. 2, 1968

"Obituaries," Deseret News, Sep. 2, 1968

"Drag memorial," Deseret News, Sep. 18, 1968

“Race driver dies as ‘rail’ crashes,” Idaho State Journal, Sep. 2, 1968

Utah County, Utah Cemetery Index:  Larry Price Rees, born May 1, 1938, died Aug. 31, 1968, Provo Cemetery

Utah Cemetery Inventory:  Larry Price Rees, born May 1, 1938 in Ogden, Utah, died Aug. 31, 1968, buried in Provo City Cemetery, block 3 lot 10A, spouse Ann Marie Carter Rees, parents were Lavard and Emily Price Rees

Photos

Find a Grave (photo courtesy of Jess Brown)

 

Alan Reeves

Born:  July 5, 1936

Died:  December 17, 1967

Buried: 

Age:  31

Full Name:  Robert Alan Reeves

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Irwindale Raceway, Irwindale, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  December 17, 1967

Car:   Mercury coupe

Biographical:  He was making a solo run during qualifying when his car suddenly burst into flames.  Officials suspected that a fuel line disconnected and caught fire when gasoline sprayed onto the hot exhaust pipe.  He was rushed to Santa Teresita Hospital in Duarte where he died about two and a half hours after the accident.  He was a resident of Pacific Beach, California.

Sources

"Burns fatal to drag racer," Los Angeles Times, December 18, 1967

California Death Index (mother's maiden name was Lowe)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=9279)

Photos

James Riley

Born:  October 3, 1936


Died:  September 4, 1966


Buried:  St. Gertrudes Cemetery, Colonia, New Jersey


Age:  29


Full Name:  James C. Riley, Jr.


Nickname: 


Drag Strip:  Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indianapolis, Indiana


Event:  NHRA U. S. Nationals


Accident Date:  September 4, 1966


Car:   A/GD


Biographical:  During eliminations, his car engine blew.  The car spun around on its own spilled oil and slid backward into a guard rail at 145 MPH.  He was dead on arrival at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. A resident of Garwood, New Jersey, he had participated in every U.S. Nationals since 1960.  By occupation, he was a sheet metal worker.  His father and two brothers witnessed the crash.  He was survived by his wife and three children.


Sources


"Death clouds Nationals," St. Petersburg Independent, September 5, 1966


"Driver killed," Fremont Argus, September 5, 1966


"Drag racer dies in crash," Los Angeles Times, September 5, 1966


"Crash kills dragster at Nationals," Mel Bashore clipping scrapbook


"Dragster dies in Indy crash," Oxnard Press-Courier, September 5, 1966


"Dragster killed!" Kokomo Tribune, September 5, 1966


"Snively wins top money at National drags," Oxnard Press-Courier, September 6, 1966


"National drag racer killed," Reno Evening Gazette, September 5, 1966


Motorsport Memorial website


Photos

Jimmy Riley

Born:   March 16, 1941

Died:   April 28, 1968

Buried:   Harden's Chapel Cemetery, Itawamba County, Mississippi

Age:  26

Full Name:   Jimmy A. Riley

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:   Nettleton Drag Strip, Mississippi

Event:  

Accident Date:  April 28, 1968

Car: 

Biographical:   He lost control of his car, crashing and wedging it between three trees next to the strip. He was from Fulton, Mississippi.

Sources  

"Six dead in state accidents," Biloxi Daily Herald, Apr. 29, 1968

Photos

Les Ritchey

Born:  April 25, 1923

Died:  May 1, 1966

Buried: Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Covina, California

Age:  43

Full Name:  Leslie R. Ritchey

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Fontana Raceway, California

Event:   match race

Accident Date:  May 1, 1966

Car:  1965 A/FX Ford Mustang

Biographical:  He was racing in the second race of a best-of-three match race with Hayden Proffitt when his brakes apparently locked and his car suddenly swerved at more than a 100 MPH about half way down the race track.  His car hit a retaining cable and then flipped end over end and landed upside down near the finish line.  He was thrown from the car and decapitated.  His car caught fire and was gutted.  Proffitt had won the first race, but was trailing Ritchey when the accident occurred.  He owned Performance Associates, a dyno and engine building shop in West Covina, California. He left a wife, Patti, and son, Randy, who still runs the business.

Sources

"Drag racer killed," Fremont Argus, May 2, 1966

"Driver killed in drag crash," Reading Eagle, May 3, 1966

"Les Ritchey killed in race crash," Los Angeles Times, May 2, 1966

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=6365)

California Death Index  (born in Texas and his mother's maiden name was Jones)

Texas Birth Index (there was a Jewell Ray Ritchey born on Apr. 25, 1923 in Childress Co., Texas (Texas Birth Index) 

Photos

The Magnetic Brain blog  (http://magneticbrain.blogspot.com/2009/12/polyester-leisure-wear.html)

DragList.com  (http://www.draglist.com/Pictures/POD%20Feb%202001/POD-022601.htm)

Find a Grave

 

 

Jerry Roberts

Born:  April 8, 1946

Died:  October 26, 1969

Buried: Mount Ever-Rest Memorial Park South, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Age:  23

Full Name:  Jerry Dean Roberts

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Osceola Drag Strip, Indiana

Event:  

Accident Date:  October 26, 1969

Car:  stock car

Biographical:  He died when his car went out of control and crashed.  His car reportedly "flipped" while he was doing a burnout. He was thrown 200 feet from the vehicle.  He was dead on arrival at an Elkhart hospital. He was from Mattawan, Michigan.

Sources  

"Drag racer is killed," Anderson Daily Bulletin, October 27, 1969

“Drag racer is killed,” Holland Evening Sentinel, Oct. 27, 1969 (reported he was from Mattawan, Michigan)

“Kalamazoo racer killed in accident,” Ironwood Daily Globe, Oct. 27, 1969

Ancestry Family Tree: Jerry Dean Roberts, b. 8 Apr. 1945, d. 26 Oct. 1969, Kalamazoo, MI 

Find a Grave

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Peter Rorres

Born:  ca. 1939

Died:  June 18, 1967

Buried: 

Age:  28

Full Name:  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Maple Grove Drag-a-Way, Pennsylvania

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 17, 1967

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  He had just finished a 157 MPH run and was decelerating with his parachute deployed when he drifted to the right off the track.  In his crash, he knocked down four light-support poles and stopped against another one.  He was transported to Reading Hospital where he died the day after the accident.  He was from Haverford Township, Pennsylvania, and was unmarried.  He had ten years experience drag racing and was slowly working up to the new car's 200 MPH potential.  He was a product engineer with General Electric in Philadelphia.  He was survived by his parents, Harry and Bertha Rorres, and brother, Chris, and sister, Catherine.

Sources

"Drag racer dies," Connellsville Daily Courier, June 20, 1967

"Drag strip crash fatal to county man," Delaware County Daily Times, June 19, 1967

1940 U. S. Census:  Peter Rorres, age 1, b. ca. 1939 in Pennsylvania, living in Philadelphia, son of Harry and Bertha Rorres 

Photos

Dick Sawallich

Born:  1937

Died:  May 20, 1967

Buried:  Washtenong Memorial Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Age:  30

Full Name:  Richard Leroy Sawallich

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Motor City Dragway, Mount Clemens, Michigan

Event:  

Accident Date:  May 20, 1967

Car:  

Biographical:  The impact of his parachute deploying reportedly tore his car apart as it was speeding about 160 MPH.  He was thrown from his vehicle.  He was transported to a Mount Clemens hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He lived in Brighton, Michigan, and was a veteran racer.  He was employed at Burr Machine in Ann Arbor.  He was survived by his wife, Carolyn, and three daughters.

Sources

"Killed in freak racing accident," Benton Harbor News-Palladium, May 22, 1967

"Race driving vet dies in crash," Schenectady Gazette, May 22, 1967

"Drag racer killed," Montreal Gazette, May 23, 1967

"Drag racer is killed," Ironwood Daily Globe, May 22, 1967

"Dragster dies," San Antonio Express, May 22, 1967

Charlene Sawallich, e-mail communication to site administrator, Oct. 31, 2010

1940 U. S. Census: Richard L. Sawallich, age 3, b. ca. 1937 in Michigan, living in Ann Arbor, MI, son of Otto and Alice Sawallich, brother is Larry Sawallich (born May 1939) 

Photos

Find a Grave website

Ancestry.com

 

Gerry Schwartz

Born:  July 9, 1943

Died:  June 15, 1969

Buried:  Highland Park Cemetery, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Age:  25

Full Name:  Gerald Douglas Schwartz

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Dallas International Motor Speedway, Dallas, Texas

Event:   1969 NHRA Spring Nationals

Accident Date:  June 15, 1969

Car:  "Ratty Cat" 1968 Mercury Cougar AA/FC

Biographical:  Pat Foster, driving Mickey Thompson's Mach I Mustang, lost control of his funny car at mid-track.  He crossed into the adjacent lane backwards and pinned Gerry Schwartz's car into the guard rail.  Pieces of the cars flew in all directions.  The cars were speeding at over 150 MPH.  Schwartz's funny car overturned on the guard rail, trapping him in the wreckage.  Foster's car had been the quickest qualifier in the meet with  a 7.352 ET and 199.5 MPH.  The drivers were both taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas where Schwartz died from massive head injuries.  Foster remained hospitalized in deep shock.  Schwartz was from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Video:

Sources

"Driver dies in crash, Pat Foster in shock," Los Angeles Times, June 16, 1969

"Dragster crash kills driver," Oxnard Press-Courier, June 16, 1969

"Crash in Dallas kills hot rodder," Victoria Advocate, June 16, 1969

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2367)

Social Security Death Index (his SS# was issued in Indiana in 1957-58)

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=4997153

http://www.stangtv.com/forum/lost-drag-strips-part-5-dallas-4773.html 

http://theselvedgeyard.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/relive-drag-racings-top-rivalry-1110-the-snake-vs-the-mongoose/ 

Photos

60s Funny Cars (http://www.60sfunnycars.com/round9.htm)

Drag RacersReunion website (http://dragracersreunion.ning.com/photo/1968-gerry-schwartz-ratty-cat)

Find a Grave website

 

 

 

Fred Septrion
Born: June 27, 1943

Died: June 5, 1966

Buried:  Riverside Cemetery, Custer, Michigan

Age:  22

Full Name:  Frederick George Septrion

Nickname:

Drag Strip:  International Acres Raceway, Grattan, Michigan

Event:

Accident Date: June 5, 1966

Car:

Biographical:  He was killed in a crash during time trials. He lost control of his car, hit a guardrail, and flipped over, being thrown 75 feet from the car. He lived in Grand Rapids and was survived by his widow, Mary, and son, Daniel.

Sources

"F. G. Septrion rites are set," Ludington Daily News, June 7, 1966.

"Race driver remains critical," Holland Evening Sentinel, June 7, 1966.

U. S. Social Security Death Index

Photos


Miles Sharpless

Born: October 20, 1942

Died:  June 1, 1968

Buried: 

Age:  26

Full Name: Miles Cornelius Sharpless, Jr.

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Great Lakes Drag-A-Way, Union Grove, Wisconsin

Event:  International Olympics of Drag Racing

Accident Date:  June 1, 1968

Car:  FD

Biographical:  His engine apparently blew up.  The combination of the engine blowing up at the same time he released the parachute caused the vehicle to start flipping end over end.  He suffered a skull fracture and broken neck.  He was from Countryside, Illinois.

Sources

"Sharpless, 26, killed in run at Dragaway," Appleton Post Crescent, June 3, 1968

"Driver killed in auto race," New York Times, June 3, 1968 

"Hoover wins in drag race," Milwaukee Journal, June 3, 1968 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=yNwjAAAAIBAJ&sjid=DygEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7078,2172117&dq=dragster+killed&hl=en)

YouTube--In Celebration of Life!!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oin0mGYJtcE)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=9136)

Ancestry Family Tree:  Miles Cornelius Sharpless, b. 20 Oct. 1942 in Oak Park, IL, d. 2 June 1966, Kenosha, WI, son of Miles Cornelius Sharpless (1912-65) and Helen Elizabeth Lawson Sharpless (1910- ) 

Photos

Mike Sorokin

Born:  July 27, 1939

Died:  December 30, 1967

Buried: 

Age:  28

Full Name:  Michael Barry Sorokin

Nickname:  "The Snipe"

Drag Strip:  Orange County International Raceway, East Irvine, California

Event:  NHRA

Accident Date:  December 30, 1967

Car:  Tony Waters AA/FD

Biographical:  He was killed when the clutch and flywheel exploded near the end of his first round-elimination run.  He was dead on arrival at Santa Ana Community Hospital.  He had won the U.S. Fuel and Gas Championships in Bakersfield in 1966 and the National Open Championship in Las Vegas in 1967.  He was a resident of Mar Vista, California.  He gained fame as the driver of the "Hawaiian" and with the Surfers.

Video:

Sources

"Dragster killed when car engine explodes in race," Los Angeles Times, December 31, 1967

"Sorokin's death shocks the southwest," Modesto Bee,  January 12, 1968

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2633) 

Photos

60s Top Fuel Dragsters, Nitro Hutch's Photos website (http://nitrohutch.smugmug.com/Cars/60s-Top-Fuel-Dragsters/2385648_SiBRZ#753202449_Yx9D7)

home.earthlink.net (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://home.earthlink.net/~1320fan/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/sorokin66.jpg&imgrefurl=http://home.earthlink.net/~1320fan/&usg=__WCxHPhDwDX0t4FUMJ0wtsb-9P64=&h=463&w=436&sz=54&hl=en&start=3&um=1&tbnid=QR0Ub_T2W4v7DM:&tbnh=128&tbnw=121&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmike%2Bsorokin%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1)

Mike Sorokin packing his chute at Amarillo, Texas, in 1966 (top) and Tom Jobe, Bob Skinner & Sorokin "Surfers" AA/FD, March 1966 at Bakersfield (bottom). 

Taylor Speers

Born:  May 25, 1938


Died:  May 6, 1967


Buried:  Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Covina, California


Age:  28


Full Name:  Paul Taylor Speers


Nickname:


Drag Strip:  West Covina, California


Event:  accident on public street


Accident Date:  May 6, 1967


Car:  A/FD


Biographical:  He had no experience as a driver, but wanted to warm up the car in front of his house prior to taking it the next day to a race.  He got his wife, Johnny, to give him a push start down the street.  When it started, apparently the throttle stuck.  It sped down the street about two blocks before hitting a fence.  The car disintegrated.  Merek Chertko was the driver of Spears's car and arrived at his house just after the ambulance had left taking Taylor to the hospital.  He wore no helmet, safety clothing, and had not buckled up his belts or harnesses.


Sources


Merek Chertko, e-mail communication to site administrator, February 25, 2010

California Death Index

Photos

Jim Studley

Born:  ca. 1934

Died:  June 1967

Buried: 

Age:  32

Full Name:   James L. Studley

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Thunder Valley Dragway, Marion, South Dakota

Event: 

Event Date:  June 1967

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  He was traveling about 150 MPH when his dragster skidded off the track. It slid 200 feet along the shoulder, then hit the shutdown area and turned over. He had been drag racing for fifteen years. He lived in Sioux City, Iowa, and was the father of seven children.

Sources

"Race driver killed at Marion track," Mitchell Daily Republic, June 19, 1967.

Social Security Death Index

Photos

Chuck Suba

Born:  April 12, 1938

Died:  October 13, 1968

Buried: 

Age:  30

Full Name:   Charles M. Suba

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Byron Dragway, Illinois

Event: 

Event Date:  October 13, 1968

Car:  AA/FD

Biographical:  He was killed instantly when he hit a barrel protecting the finish line timing lights in a AA/FD.  The car flipped over several times, completely demolishing the car.  In the 1960s he drove the "US-1" jet dragster.  In 1967 he began driving the Reaction Dynamics X-1 "The Blue Flame" rocket car.  That year he set a national record of 5.41 seconds in the quarter mile in the X-1, a mark that was unbroken for four years.  He was scheduled to be the driver of "The Blue Flame" in a land speed record attempt at the Bonneville Salt Flats, but with his death, Gary Gabelich replaced him as driver.  Gabelich ended up setting world speed records in that car in 1970 at a speed over 630 MPH.  

Sources

"Evanston dragster killed at Byron track," Chicago Tribune, October 14, 1968

"Driver killed in drag race," Milwaukee Sentinel, October 14, 1968 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-cMVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=JhEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3865,2898817&dq=dragster+killed&hl=en)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=6951)

Photos

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=6951)

 

Jack Sund

Born:  March 28, 1928

Died:  June 20, 1965

Buried:  Horace Cemetery, North Dakota

Age:  37

Full Name:  John Robert Sund

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Keystone Dragways, near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 20, 1965

Car:  Ford Thunderbolt

Biographical:  His rear end broke at the end of a qualification run at the drag strip about twelve miles east of Winnipeg.  The car rolled over several times.  He was transported to a hospital in Winnipeg where he shortly died.  He had been drag racing for four years.  He was a resident of Moorhead, Minnesota, where he owned a milk delivery service and a garage.  He was survived by his wife and two sons.

Sources

"Drag racer killed," Long Beach Independent, June 21, 1965

"Drag racer killed when axle breaks," Chicago Tribune, June 21, 1965

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=5075)

Photos

Keystone Bison Dragways (http://www.mts.net/~red67/reunion2.html)

Find a Grave  

 

 

Gary Taylor

Born:  May 4, 1944


Died:  July 11, 1965


Buried:  Pacific Crest Cemetery, Redondo Beach, California


Age:  21


Full Name:  Gary Eugene Taylor


Nickname:


Drag Strip:  San Fernando Raceway, California


Event: 


Accident Date:  July 11, 1965


Car:  dragster


Biographical:  After being clocked at a speed of 175 MPH, his chute failed to deploy in time and he crashed into a concrete bridge abutment a half mile past the finish line.  He was pronounced dead on arrival at Sun Valley Hospital.  He was a resident of Redondo Beach, California, and was working as a machinist in Hermosa Beach.


Sources


"Drag racer killed when chute fails," Los Angeles Times, July 12, 1965


"Chute fails, racer dies," Long Beach Independent, July 12, 1965


"Drag racer dies as car crashes into abutment," Van Nuys Valley News, July 13, 1965


Motorsport Memorial website


Photos

Denny Thomas

Born:  May 23, 1938

Died:  April 13, 1969

Buried: Mountain View Cemetery, Mountain Home, Idaho

Age:  30

Full Name:  Dennis E. Thomas

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Firebird Raceway, Emmett, Idaho

Event: 

Accident Date:  April 13, 1969

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  After crossing the finish line during a race at about 165 MPH, he lost control of the vehicle.  The car rolled and when he was thrown from the vehicle, he was killed almost instantly.  The failure of the parachute to stop the car may have been a factor in the accident.  He was from Mountain Home, Idaho, and was survived by his wife who witnessed the accident.

Sources

"Dragster dies," Spokane Daily Chronicle, April 14, 1969

"Crash kills drag racer," Spokane Spokesman-Review, Apr. 14, 1969

“Idaho news briefs,” Idaho State Journal, Apr. 14, 1969

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=9316) 

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Steve Varga

Born:  April 20, 1949

Died:  June 30, 1968

Buried:  Calumet Park Cemetery, Merrillville, Indiana

Age:  19

Full Name:  Steven A. Varga

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  U.S. 30 Dragway, Lake County, Indiana

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 30, 1968

Car:  1957 Chevrolet Corvette

Biographical:  When his left rear tire blew out, he lost control of the car, flipped over and struck a utility pole.  He was pinned inside the car.  He was transported to Porter Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  The car lacked safety belts and roll bar.  Track officials had told him his rear tire was low in pressure, but Varga insisted that it would be fine. He was from Portage, Indiana, and was survived by his parents.  He was employed at Bethlehem Steel.

Sources

"Racing driver killed in drag strip mishap," Chicago Tribune, July 1, 1968

"Injuries at drag strip fatal to Portage youth," Valparaiso Vidette Messenger, July 1, 1968

"Obituaries," Valparaiso Vidette Messenger, July 2, 1958

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=8274) 

Photos

Joe "Q-Ball" Wale

Born:  February 11, 1933


Died:  July 17, 1965


Buried: Garden of Memories, Metairie, Louisiana


Age: 32


Full Name:  Joseph Victor Wale


Nickname:  "Q-Ball"


Drag Strip:  Harmon Airport Dragstrip, Monroe, Louisiana


Event: 


Accident Date:  July 17, 1965


Car:  Chrysler Hemi-powered Wale & Candies AA/FD


Biographical:  After winning the race, he tried to stop the dragster by braking with his parachute.  It failed to deploy and he raced at high speed to an embankment at the end of the drag strip.  It crashed into a deep ditch.  He lived in New Orleans.


Sources


"Killed," The Age, July 20, 1965


Motorsport Memorial website


Ancestry Family Tree: Joseph V. Wale, b. 11 Feb. 1933 in Alexandria, LA, d. 19 July 1965, buried in Garden of Memories, married 3 Feb. 1957


1940 U. S. Census: J. V. Wale, age 6, b. Louisiana, living in Rapides, LA, living with grandparents Armsted and Sarah Butler and sister Bobbie 


Photos


"Arty Ross fiberglass body"


"Cupit & Cunningham"


Q-Ball (left) and Paul Candies at Pomona, February 1963

 

Q-Ball was killed in this car, shown running at Opelousas Dragway two weeks before his fatal crash.  At that race he turned a best of 7.89 and 193.12 MPH.

John Wilson

Born:  December 12, 1934


Died:  August 24, 1968


Buried: San Fernando Cemetery #3, San Antonio, Texas


Age:  33


Full Name:  John Lee Wilson


Nickname:  "Mouse"


Drag Strip:  Green Valley Raceway, Smithfield, Texas


Event:  AHRA world championships


Accident Date:  August 24, 1968


Car:  Steve Pick AA/FD


Biographical:  The engine of his dragster caught on fire and he crashed through a fence.  Single, he was a resident of Richardson, Texas.


Sources


"Drag racer killed," Long Beach Independent, August 26, 1968


“Dragster killed,” Oneonta Star, Aug. 27, 1968


Motorsport Memorial website


Photos


Legends of the Quarter Mile website 


Find a Grave

John appears in this photograph working on his old fuel coupe.  At times he was a member of a racing team called "The Poor Boys." 

 

Mike Wilson

Born:  February 5, 1941

Died:  April 20, 1969

Buried: Sunset Memory Gardens, Parkersburg, West Virginia

Age:  28

Full Name:  Michael Woodrow Wilson

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Kanawha Valley Dragstrip, near Winfield, West Virginia

Event:  

Accident Date:  April 20, 1969

Car:  1957 Chevrolet

Biographical:  He died in what newspapers reported was a "spectacular" crash.  He was going over 100 MPH in eliminations after crossing the finish line when he lost control of the car and hurtled end over end. It was thought that his door flew open when the car was overturning, then came back closed on his head. Dying of massive head injuries, he was from Mount Alto, West Virginia. He was alive after the accident, but when track officials had waited twenty minutes for an ambulance, they finally transported him to Thomas Memorial Hospital in a private car. An ambulance was driving into the strip as the victim was leaving in the car. He was dead on arrival at the hospital. His death was purportedly the first drag strip fatality in West Virginia.

Sources

"Drag racer killed," Long Beach Independent, April 21, 1969

"Drag racer dies in 100 MPH flip," Charleston Daily Mail, Apr. 21, 1969

"Crashes kill drag racer, three others," Charleston Gazette, Apr. 21, 1969

"Drag racer shuns helmet, dies in crash," Chicago Tribune, April 21, 1969

"Drag racer killed," New York Times, April 21, 1969

Social Security Death Index (SS# issued in West Virginia)

West Virginia, Deaths Index (Ancestry.com)

Photos

Vernon Yates

Born: 1944


Died:  October 10, 1965


Buried:  Greenlawn Cemetery, Franklin, Indiana


Age:  21


Full Name: Vernon Rodney Yates


Nickname: 


Drag Strip: Bunker Hill Drag Strip, Indiana


Event:  


Accident Date:  October 10, 1965


Car:  


Biographical: After completing his run, he was returning to the pits when he suffered a heart attack.  Witnesses said he was only going about 10 MPH when his car suddenly veered across the drag strip and ran head-on into a telephone pole on the other side of the track.  He was transported to Dukes Hospital in Peru where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He reportedly had a history of heart trouble.  Newspaper reports indicated that some witnesses were critical of the conduct of track officials following the incident.


Sources


"Dragster dies of attack," Kokomo Morning Times, Oct. 11, 1965


Photos


billiongraves.com


 

Dave Zachary

Born:  April 7, 1942

Died:  September 22, 1968

Buried:  St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Evansville, Indiana

Age:  26

Full Name:  David A. Zachary

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Bluegrass Dragway, Lexington, Kentucky

Event:  

Accident Date:  September 22, 1968

Car:  1967 Cadillac Eldorado FC

Biographical:  He was match racing in his heavy Cadillac funny car when the car barrell-rolled after going through the lights and the roll cage collapsed.  He died while being transported to the hospital.  The best times in the car were 9.71 at 144.51 MPH.  He lived in Evansville, Indiana.

Sources

Bob Gibson, e-mail communication to site administrator, March 3, 2010

Bobby Davis, e-mail communication to site administrator, March 3, 2010 

Kentucky Death Index (David A. Zachary, died on September 22, 1968, in Fayette, age 26, residence in Indiana)

Social Security Death Index (David Zachary, born April 7, 1942, died Sep. 1968, SS# issued Indiana in 1957-58)

Oddball and Strange Drag Cars (http://www.oldhippie.com/forums/drag-racing/4805-oddball-strange-drag-cars-8.html)

Windy Hollow Dragway Message Board (http://www.mydragracer.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=1963)

"Flashback Friday: David Zachary's world's fastest ElDorado"

Photos

60s Funny Cars (http://www.60sfunnycars.com/round6.htm)

Find a Grave website ( http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=20365406)

 

 

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