Drag Strip Deaths

Subtitle

      1970-1974 Fatalities
Joe Allocco

Born:  May 23, 1947


Died:  September 9, 1972


Buried:  St. Joseph Cemetery, Keyport, New Jersey


Age:  25


Full Name:   Joseph G. Allocco


Nickname:  


Drag Strip:  Madison Township Raceway Park, Englishtown, New Jersey


Event:  


Accident Date:  September 9, 1972


Car:  B dragster?


Biographical:  His parachute failed to open while traveling at a timed 178.92 MPH at the end of his qualifying run.  He overshot the end of the pavement and overturned about 575 feet away.  He was from Holmdel, New Jersey.


Sources


"Drag racer dies when chute fails to open," Middletown Times Herald Record, Sep. 11, 1972


"Drag racer is killed," Bucks County Courier Times, September 11, 1972


Social Security Death Index (Joseph Allocco, born May 23, 1947, died Sep. 1972, SS# issued New Jersey in 1963-64)


Photos

Eugene Alred aka Gene Thomas

Born:  October 25, 1939

Died:  October 16, 1971

Buried:  Memorial Park Cemetery, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Age:  31

Full Name:    Thomas Eugene Alred

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Dallas International Motor  Speedway, Lewisville, Texas

Event:  IHRA Texas Open Drag Championships, exhibition run

Accident Date:  October 16, 1971

Car:  "Super Cyclops" jet dragster

Biographical:  Art Arfons built a second seat on the "Super Cyclops" jet-powered dragster, just opposite his seat on the other side of the engine.  He did this so he could take other people for rides at over 280 MPH.  The passenger on the fatal ride was the host of a Dallas TV news and variety show who went by the name, Gene Thomas.  He was riding with Arfons to do a feature for his morning variety show.  Arfons hoped to make a try at setting a 300 MPH mark in the 17,500 horsepower F185 jet engined car that weekend.  His plan was to set that mark and then retire from jet car racing.  The fatal ride was simply to be a warm-up.  He reached a speed of 283 MPH and was almost through the final lights.  He started to slow down, pulled the parachute, and immediately the left rear tire blew.  It swerved and veered through a guard rail, striking and killing two IHRA emergency crewmen who were standing in the vicinity.  After going through the guard rail, it rolled over into a ditch and landed right side up.  Arfons' newsman passenger died at the scene.  The deceased newsman was survived by his wife, son, and daughter.  That was Arfons last ride in a jet car.  Alred's wife brought suit against Goodyear Tire, Arfons, and the owner of Dallas Speedway.  The IHRA employees killed were Robert John Kelsey, 20, from Tyler, Texas, and Sean Pense, 17, from Farmers Branch, Texas.

Video:

Sources

"Crash kills hot rodders, newsman," Victoria Advocate, October 17, 1971

"Arfons' final race ends in killer crash," Denton Record-Chronicle, October 17, 1971

"Widow of TV newsman sues for $500,000," Big Spring Daily Herald, October 29, 1971

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3422)

Texas Death Certificate 

Photos

DFWRadioHistory.com (http://www.knus99.com/news8etc1.html)

 

 

 

John Amacher

Born:  May 12, 1943


Died:  October 9, 1972


Buried:  Franklin Memorial Gardens, Winchester, Tennessee


Age:   29


Full Name:  John Herman Amacher


Nickname: 


Drag Strip:  Satellite Dragway, Harvest, Alabama


Event: 


Accident Date:   October 9, 1972


Car:  Pro Stock Vega


Biographical:  He was involved in a match race against Beaver Gray, who was driving Big John Hindman's Corvette. Amacher was in the left lane and Gray in the right lane. Amacher left early, triggering the red light. Something in the front end of the Vega broke, causing the car to abruptly veer into the right lane and crash head-on into the guardrail, which tore it apart. He was transported to a hospital, but died shortly after arriving there. He was from Winchester, Tennessee. Amacher previously owned Ohio George Montgomery's 1933 Willys that he campaigned in the North Alabama area.


Sources


J. David Sharp, e-mail communication to site administrator, June 26, 2017


Social Security Death Index


Alabama Deaths and Burials Index


Photos


James David Sharp, e-mail communication to site administrator, June 26, 2017 [photo taken at Satellite Dragway]

Dave Anderson

Born:  February 16, 1938

Died:  March 30, 1974

Buried:  Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Age:  44

Full Name:  David George Anderson  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte, North Carolina

Event:  IHRA Southern Nationals

Accident Date:  March 30, 1974

Car:  "Pollution Packer" rocket dragster

Biographical:  He was making an exhibition run on an 1/8th mile stretch of the pit road in his rocket dragster. It was a rocket propelled, hydrogen peroxide fueled dragster.  He was clocked at 3.42 E.T. at 248 MPH.  When he tried to slow the dragster down, something went terribly wrong.  It could have been anyone or a combination of the following:  brake failure, parachute failed to deploy properly, suspension failure, steering failure, or a tire deflated.  The dragster went out of control, spun several times and crashed through support vehicles into a concrete wall.  Two crewmen, Reid Jackson Southern and David Oxendine, and the driver were killed and three others injured before the car stopped.  He was transported to Cabarrus Memorial Hospital in nearby Concord.  He was a veteran of more than twenty years of competition and resided in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He proclaimed himself "the world's fastest shoe."  He was a veteran of 21 years in racing.  In 1972 and 1973 he established more than a dozen national and world acceleration records with the rocket dragster.  In 1973 he was the first to break the five second mark on a 1/4-mile track, at 4.99 seconds, and a top speed at the finish line of 322 MPH.  At the 1973 U.S. Nationals he recorded a career best time of 4.62 seconds at 344 MPH, the latter remaining the highest speed ever clocked at an NHRA national event. His death prevented him from an attempt at the world land speed record that had been planned later in 1974 at Bonneville Salt Flats.

Sources

"Drag racer, two others killed," Los Angeles Times, March 31, 1974

"Dave Anderson dies in rocket dragster," Salina Journal, April 1, 1974

"3 killed at drag meet," Florence Morning News, March 31, 1974

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1327)

Photos

The Rocket Man (http://www.the-rocketman.com/space-age-racing.html)

Competition Plus: Drag Racing's Internet Magazine  (http://www.competitionplus.com/index.php/drag-racing/feature-stories/7635?task=view)

 

 

John Arrigo

Born:  December 22, 1945

Died:  November 14, 1971

Buried: 

Age:  26

Full Name:    John Arrigo, Jr.

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Island Dragway, Great Meadows, New Jersey

Event:  

Accident Date:  November 14, 1971

Car:  1951 Chevrolet

Biographical:  After just finishing a qualifying run, his rear tire blew out.  He was thrown from the vehicle when his seat belt broke as the car rolled over three times.  He was transported to Warren County Medical Center in nearby Phillipsburg where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He lived in Paterson, New Jersey.

Sources

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=6485)

"Race car spins, driver, 20, killed," Bucks County Courier Times, Nov. 15, 1971

Social Security Death Index 

Photos

Irv Beringhaus

Born:  July 17, 1934

Died:  January 26, 1974

Buried:  Green Mountain Cemetery, Boulder, Colorado

Age:  39

Full Name:   Irvin Herbert Beringhaus 

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Beeline Dragway, Arizona

Event:  AHRA Winternationals

Accident Date:  

Car:  Pro Stock 1973 Ford Pinto

Biographical:  He was driving a Pro Stock Pinto that had been built by Don Hardy in Texas with an engine built by Gapp & Roush.  It was his first year campaigning a Ford after running Mopar in all his previous racing.  During qualifying his car flipped six times at 152 MPH.  He was a Denver land developer and had been racing in pro stock for at least five years.  He first began drag racing with an Olds 442, but progressively advanced until getting into the pro ranks.  He was survived by his wife and three children.

Sources

"AHRA driver dies in crash during trials," Chicago Tribune, January 27, 1974

Pueblo Chieftain website (http://forums.pueblochieftain.com/showthread.php?t=2326&page=5)

Find a Grave website

Bob McClurg, "Pint-o'-Pinto," High Performance Cars, Mar. 1974

Nancy Beringhaus, e-mail communication to site administrator, Feb. 22 & 24, 2011

Debra Beringhaus, e-mail communication to site administrator, Mar. 7, 2011 

Photos

Keystone Bison Dragways website (http://www.mts.net/~57ford/reunion11.html)

Nancy Beringhaus, e-mail communication to site administrator, Feb. 26, 2011

Pro Stock Hemi.com gallery (http://www.prostockhemi.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=725)

 

 

 

Bobby Brown

Born:  June 23, 1939

Died:  May 13, 1972

Buried:  Onslow Memorial Park, Jacksonville, North Carolina

Age:  32

Full Name:   Robert Perry Brown, Jr.  

Nickname: 

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

Event: 

Accident Date:  May 13, 1972

Car:  D/MP Corvette

Biographical:  He had just finished his run in a race with Bud Rowe in the final eliminations of the Gas and Modified Division when he lost control of his car past the finish line.  He rolled over several times and was killed instantly.

Sources

"Tragedy strikes 258," Drag Times, May 19, 1972

Ron Tursovsky, e-mail communication to site administrator, May 2, 2011

North Carolina Death Collection: Robert Brown, d. May 13, 1972, in Jacksonville, Onslow Co., lived in Onslow Co., married, age 32.
 
Social Security Death Index:  Robert Brown, born June 23, 1939, died May 1972, SS* issued in North Carolina in 1956.

Photos

Russell Cain

Born:   April 9, 1938

Died:   July 4, 1974

Buried:   Mount Olive Baptist Church Cemetery, Virginia

Age:  36

Full Name:   Russell M. Cain

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:   Westhampton Raceway, Long Island, New York

Event:  

Accident Date:  

Car:  1966 Ford

Biographical:   He was driving at more than 70 MPH in a time trial, when he had difficulty straightening out the car, bounced off a guardrail, hit the dirt, and flipped over.  The car he was driving was owned by John Robeson.  He was transported to Central Suffolk Hospital in Riverhead where he died. He had been a fourteen-year veteran of drag racing. Three thousand spectators witnessed the accident. He was the father of four children and lived in North Amityville, New York.

Sources

"Car racer killed," Rappahannock Record, Aug. 15, 1974

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Death File

U.S. Social Security Death Index

Photos

Bob Cassil

Born:  October 6, 1932


Died:  May 20, 1972


Buried: Hillside Cemetery, Sedgwick, Kansas


Age:  39


Full Name:    Bobby D. Cassil


Nickname:


Drag Strip:  Wichita International Raceway, Kansas


Event:

 

Accident Date:  May 20, 1972


Car:  J/S 1957 Chevrolet Sport Coupe "Poppycock"


Biographical:  About 2/3 of the way into the run, he lost control and the car rolled and caught fire. He was able to walk to the ambulance, but died en route to the hospital. He was survived by his widow, Barbara, and three children. He managed a service station at Newton.


Sources


"57 Chev Poppycock crash at Wichita in 71," Jalopy Journal.com


Social Security Death Index


Garen Martens, e-mail communication to site administrator, Feb. 13, 2017


"Newton man killed in crash," Hutchinson News, May 22, 1972


"Cassil family Chevy leads a double life," Wichita Eagle, Aug. 24, 2013


Photos

David Chitwood

Born:  March 7, 1939

Died:  September 1, 1972

Buried: Kohlerlawn Cemetery, Nampa, Idaho

Age:  33

Full Name:    David Milton Chitwood

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Thunder Ridge Raceway, Star, Idaho

Event:  

Accident Date:  September 1, 1972

Car:  1937 Ford pickup truck

Biographical:  After crossing the finish line at about 90 MPH in his pickup truck racer, he veered hard to the left, over-corrected too far right, then rolled over more than seven times. His wife witnessed the fatal accident. He was from Caldwell, Idaho.

Sources

Idaho Falls Post Register, September 2, 1972"

Drag race driver dies," Idaho Free Press, September 2, 1972

Social Security Death Index

Department of Veteran Affairs, Death File

Photos

Dave Corey

Born:  January 6, 1946

Died:  August 21, 1972

Buried: Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio

Age:  26

Full Name:    David L. Corey

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Puyallup Raceway Park, Washington

Event:  Northwest Top Fuel Championships

Accident Date:  about August 19, 1972

Car:   "Malco Monster" jet dragster

Biographical:  There were four exhibition jet cars on the program.  He was racing Roger Gustin when his parachute ripped off in the lights and he crashed into a tree.  He suffered a broken arm and leg, but died at Good Samaritan Hospital after developing a blood clot in his lung.  He was from Dayton, Ohio (although some reports said he was from York, Pennsylvania).  He was driving Art Arfons "Malco Monster" J-46 Westinghouse-powered jet dragster.

Sources

DragList.com

Norman Hechtkoff, e-mail communication to site administrator, June 7, 2010

Drag News, September 2, 1972

"Jets top show as NorPac closes," Eugene Register-Guard, August 24, 1972

Washington Death Index  (David L. Corey, died August 21, 1972, in Puyallup) 

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1645)

Ron Tursovsky, email communication with site administrator, July 23, 2015

Photos

http://www.malcopro.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=182&Itemid=847 (accessed 12/13/10)

 

Jim Crannell

Born:  September 5, 1943

Died:  April 29, 1973

Buried:  East New Market Cemetery, Maryland

Age:  29

Full Name:  James H. Crannell

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  U. S. 13 Dragway, Delmar, Delaware

Event: 

Accident Date:  April 29, 1973

Car:

Biographical:   Crannell was driving his brother Terry's car at about 70 MPH.  Witnesses reported that he suddenly swerved into the adjacent lane, skidded, crashed into a safety barrier, and flipped three times.  He was thrown from the car.  He was rushed to Peninsula General Hospital and pronounced dead a few minutes after his arrival.  He was from Cambridge, Maryland, and was survived by his wife, Ruby.

Sources

"Race driver fatally hurt at dragway," Salisbury Daily Times, Apr. 30, 1973

U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File: James Crannell, b. Sep. 5, 1943, d. Apr. 29, 1973
 
Social Security Death Index:  James Crannell, b. Sep. 5, 1943, d. Apr. 1973, SS# issued in Maryland in 1960-61

Photos

Robert Davis

Born:  November 6, 1943

Died:  October 28, 1972

Buried: Roseville Public Cemetery District, California

Age:  28

Full Name:   Robert Lawrence Davis 

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Vaca Valley Raceway, Vacaville, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  October 28, 1972

Car:  1963 sedan

Biographical:  He was killed when he lost control of his car and crashed through a barrier and barricade of barrels next to the race track.  He was transported to Fairfield Intercommunity Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.  He was from Roseville, California.

Sources

"Drag racer dies in hurtling crash," Oakland Tribune, October 30, 1972

Social Security Death Index  (Robert Davis, born Nov. 6, 1943, died Oct. 1972, SS# issued in Calif. In 1959)

California Birth Index  (Robert Laurence Davis, born November 6, 1943 in Sacramento Co., mother’s maiden name was Serger)

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Larry Derr

Born:  February 6, 1941


Died:  July 27, 1973


Buried:


Age:  32


Full Name:   Laurence James Derr


Nickname: 


Drag Strip:  Irwindale Raceway, California


Event:  testing


Accident Date:  July 27, 1973


Car:  injected alcohol FC


Biographical:  He was killed when his funny car went out of control during a test run and crashed.  He was traveling about 60 MPH when his car spun, flipped onto its top, and slid 170 feet along a guard rail before flipping over.  He was taken to Santa Teresita Hospital in Duarte where he was pronounced dead.  He was a resident of Corona.


Sources


"Irwindale crash kills dragster," Los Angeles Times, July 28, 1973


"Corona drag racer dies at Irwindale," Van Nuys News, July 29, 1973


“Sports in Brief,” Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram, July 28, 1973


Social Security Death Index


California Death Index


California Marriage Index ( He married Paula A. Jester on Dec. 19, 1964)


Bill Duke, e-mail communication to site administrator, Oct. 8, 2011


Photos


http://www.nhra.com/blog/dragster-insider/2009/05/15/the-misc.-files-d-lightfully-d-verse/ (accessed 12/13/10)


 

Larry Derr ran this injected Chevy-powered 1970 AMC Javelin in 1971, but was driving a rear-engined injected alcohol funny car on its maiden run when he had his fatal accident.

Don Dieckman

Born:  May 24, 1950

Died: April 21, 1973

Buried: 

Age:  22

Full Name:    Don Richard Dieckman

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Irwindale Raceway, Irwindale, California

Event:  64 car funny car show

Accident Date:  April 21, 1973

Car:  "Killer Whale" Vega FC

Biographical:  During first round of eliminations, he was trailing when his car began to drift into his opponent's lane.  He overcorrected and veered into the other lane, smashing into the left lane guard rail.  The vehicle disintegrated upon impact and he was killed with fatal head injuries.  He was transported to Santa Teresita Hospital in Duarte but he was dead on arrival.  He was from Long Beach, California.

Sources

"Drag racer dies in track mishap," Mansfield News Journal,  April 23, 1973

"Racer dies in crash," Milwaukee Sentinel, April 23, 1973

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3322)

Photos

Rich Dilapi

Born:   March 8, 1946

Died:   May 6, 1972

Buried: 

Age:  26

Full Name:   Richard Roger Dilapi

Nickname: 

Drag Strip: Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Englishtown, New Jersey

Event: World Championship Series Points Meet

Accident Date:  May 1972

Car: B/D

Biographical: While making a qualifying run for competition eliminator he lost control of the car at a speed of about 160 MPH just before the finish line.  The car hit the guard rail with such force that the engine was thrown out of the vehicle.

Sources

Social Security Death Index: Richard Dilapi, b. Mar. 8, 1946, d. May 1972, SS # issued New York in 1962

Ron Tursovsky, e-mail communication to site administrator, Jan. 15, 2013

Berserko Bob Doerer, "The View from the Top," Raceway News 3, no. 10 (May 1972)

Photos

Gene Domagalski

Born:   August 12, 1942

Died:  March 31, 1974

Buried: 

Age:  31

Full Name:    

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  St. Louis, Missouri

Event: 

Accident Date:  March 31, 1974

Car:  Roberto "Pancho" Rendon's "Frito Bandito" T/F dragster

Biographical:  His best time was a 6.305 and 217 MPH in the car.  He was from Fraser, Michigan.  Shirley Muldowney earned her top fuel license in this dragster before Domagalski had his fatal accident.

Sources

Social Security Death Index (SS# was issued in Michigan in 1957-58, possibly in Detroit)

http://www.faqs.org/periodicals/201005/2056056841.html  (accessed 12/13/10)

Photos

http://rides.webshots.com/photo/1471161026045662100SpTQUY

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=72590 (accessed 12/28/10)

 

Pancho Rendon beside the Frito Bandito car with Domagalski at the wheel before doing his burnout.

Marv Eldridge

Born:   

Died:   after July 1970

Buried: 

Age:  

Full Name:    Marvin Eldridge

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Hawaii

Event:  Coca-Cola Cavalcade Series

Accident Date:  1970

Car:  Anglia

Biographical:  Funny car driver Eldridge, from Gardena, California, died racing in the Coca-Cola Cavalcade Series tour driving a blown gas Anglia in Hawaii.  He ran a company called Fiberglass Trends.

Sources

DragList.com  (http://www.draglist.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=752)

Photos

Car Craft Magazine (http://www.carcraft.com/eventcoverage/116_0703_nitro_powered_cars/index.html)

http://www.hotrod.com/eventcoverage/hrdp_1006_29_drag_cars_from_the_50th_winternationals/kohler_brothers_anglia_gasser.html 

 

 

Adrian Fountain

Born:   July 23, 1938

Died:  October 21, 1973

Buried:  Riverview Memorial Park, Watha, North Carolina

Age:  35

Full Name:  Adrian Fountain, Jr.

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Kinston Drag Strip, North Carolina

Event: 

Accident Date:  October 21, 1973

Car: 

Biographical:  He beat Frank Rivenbark across the finish line at a clocked speed of 117 MPH, but collided violently with Rivenbark's car in the shut-down area.  He veered over into the right lane off into the dirt, but hit Rivenbark's car as he got back onto the race track.  He was transported to Lenoir Memorial Hospital, but died about an hour after the accident.  He was from Wallace, North Carolina, (as was Rivenbark) and was survived by his wife, Tanya.  He was a mechanic.

Sources

“Drag driver killed at Kinston track,” Burlington Daily Times News, Oct. 22, 1973

North Carolina Death Collection: Adrian Fountain, married, age 35, born 1938, resident of Wallace, Duplin Co., died Oct. 21, 1973 in Lenoir Co., NC

North Carolina Birth Index: Adrian Fountain, born July 1938 in New Hanover, NC, mother is Irene D. Humphrey

Social Security Death Index: Adrian Fountain, born July 23, 1938, died Oct. 1973, SS# issued in NC in 1956

North Carolina Death Certificates: Adrian Fountain, Jr., born July 23, 1938 in NC, died Oct. 21, 1973, in Kinston, Lenoir Co., NC, spouse’s name was Tanya Bradshaw Fountain, lived in Wallace, Duplin Co., son of Adrian and Irene Humphrey Fountain, burial in Riverview Memorial Park, Watha, NC, mechanic

Photos

Find a Grave website

Stan Furman

Born:   October 17, 1953


Died:  May 16, 1971


Buried:  Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan


Age:  17


Full Name:   Stanley John Furman


Nickname: 


Drag Strip:  Detroit Dragway, Brownstown Township, Michigan


Event: 


Accident Date:  May 16, 1971


Car: 


Biographical:  He was traveling about 100 MPH at the end of his run when his vehicle failed to stop and he slammed into a ditch.  He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He was from St. Clair Shores, Michigan.  News articles misspelled his surname as "Ferman."


Sources


"Dragster killed," Owosso Argus-Press, May 17, 1971


Michigan Deaths (Stanley J. Furman, born October 17, 1953, died May 16, 1971, in Trenton, Michigan, residence in St. Clair Shores, Michigan)


Photos

Jon Giardina

Born:   February 28, 1942

Died:  April 10, 1972

Buried: 

Age:  30

Full Name:    Jon H. Giardina

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Holtville Raceway, El Centro, California

Event:  Carrot Carnival

Accident Date:  April 9, 1972

Car:  "Dumbo" 1970 Barracuda FC

Biographical:  Officials thought a stuck throttle was the cause of Giardina losing control of his vehicle at a speed of about 165 MPH.  The car rolled six times.  He was transported to El Centro Community Hospital in Imperial, California, where he died the next day from internal injuries.  He lived in Bellflower, California.

Sources

"Drag racer Giardino dies after accident," St. Petersburg Times, April 12, 1972

"Drag racer dies; crashed at 165 M.P.H.," Chicago Tribune, Apr. 12, 1972

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=9284)

Social Security Death Index (Joy Giardina, born Feb. 28, 1942, died Apr. 1972) 

Photos

The Miscellaneous File--The G Force  (http://www.nhra.com/blog/dragster-insider/2009/6/16/the-misc.-files-the-g-force/) 

 

Greg Glass

Born:   July 16, 1947

Died:  June 10, 1972

Buried: North Lawn Cemetery, Canton, Ohio

Age:  24

Full Name:    Gregory Wayne Glass

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Dragway 42, West Salem, Ohio

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 10, 1972

Car:  

Biographical:  After finishing his run, he lost control of the vehicle and was thrown from the car as it flipped end over end.  He was transported to Lodi Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He lived in North Canton, Ohio.

Sources

"Dragster flips, driver is killed," Ironwood Daily Globe, June 12, 1972

"Dragster succumbs in mishap in Ohio," Lawrence Journal-World, June 12, 1972

"Dragster is killed," Clearfield Progress, June 13, 1972

"Dragster killed as car flips," Miami News, June 12, 1972 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=N2QzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=6eoFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3482,85046&dq=dragster+killed&hl=en)

Ohio Death Index

Ohio Obituary Index  (Wooster Daily Record, June 12, 1972)

Find a Grave: Gregory Wayne Glass, b. 16 July 1947, d. 10 June 1972, buried North Lawn Cemetery, Canton, OH

Ohio Birth Index: Gregory W. Glass, b. 16 July 1947

Social Security Death Index: Gregory W. Glass, b. 16 July 1947, d. 10 June 1972, SS# issued Pennsylvania 1963-64

Photos

Billy Grooms

Born:  July 17, 1942


Died:   July 21, 1974


Buried:  Oblon County Memorial Gardens, Union City, Tennessee


Age: 32


Full Name:    Billy L. Grooms


Nickname: 


Drag Strip:  U.S. 30 Dragway, Indiana


Event:  Coca-Cola Cavalcade of Stars


Accident Date:  July 21, 1974


Car:  Plymouth "Super Duster" FC


Biographical:  He was a participant in the 1974 Coca-Cola Cavalcade Series tour.  He had driven for Bill Taylor and Stanley Wolff in their Super Duster funny car.  He bought it from them on July 1, 1974.  Twenty days later he lost his life in a fatal accident driving that car.  He lived in Fulton, Tennessee.


Sources


DragList.com  (http://www.draglist.com/stories/SOD-Mar-2003/SOD-031303.htm)


Ron Tursovsky, e-mail communication to site administrator, Apr. 27, 2011


Lakeland Raceway


Social Security Death Index: Billy Grooms, b. 17 July 1942, d. July 1974, SS# issued Kentucky


Photos


70s Funny Cars


Lowell Hall

Born:   March 6, 1950

Died:   March 31, 1974

Buried: 

Age:  24

Full Name:  Lowell Eugene Hall

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Grandview Drag Strip, Beckley, West Virginia

Event: illegal trespass onto drag strip

Accident Date:  March 31, 1974

Car: 1965 car

Biographical:  He died in a one-car accident after trespassing onto the Grandview Drag Strip. The drag strip had been closed for the winter, but Hall trespassed onto the property. Elmer Meador, 18, was in the vehicle with him, but police had not determined who was driving at the time of the accident. State police had received a report earlier in the evening that Hall was intoxicated and driving around the area. Officers were searching for him at the time of the crash.  There were conflicting reports about how the fatal accident occurred. One report stated that the car had skidded in the pit area and struck a tree.  Another report stated that he was making a run on the strip and ran off the pavement near the end of the track and struck a fence. Hall was transported to Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital, but was dead on arrival. He lived in Glen Morgan, West Virginia, and was employed at a nursery. He was survived by his wife, Patricia Lily Hall, and a son.

Sources

"Deaths and Funerals," Beckley Raleigh Register, Apr. 1, 1974

"Trespasser dies in crash at Grandview Strip," Beckley Raleigh Register, Apr. 1, 1974

"Dragstrip crash fatal," Beckley Raleigh Register, Apr. 1, 1974

Photos

Fred "Garth" Hardacre

Born:   February 15, 1939

Died:  May 10, 1970

Buried: Holy Cross Cemetery, Akron, Ohio

Age:  31

Full Name:    Frederick Garth Hardacre

Nickname:  

Drag Strip:  Pittsburgh International Dragway, near Bridgeville, Pennsylvania

Event:  exhibition

Accident Date:  May 10, 1970

Car:  "Jetvette" jet-powered Corvette

Biographical:  His jet car went out of control at a speed about 250 MPH and crashed through a steel guard rail.  One of his two parachutes failed to open.  It disintegrated upon hitting the fence.  He was racing a jet-powered Mustang, both cars being owned by Art and Walt Arfons.  He was transported to St. Clair Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He lived in Akron, Ohio. In late June, Dragway 42 held a benefit meet with all the top jet dragsters with proceeds going to Hardacre's family.

Sources

"Akron driver killed in crash," Oxnard Press-Courier, May 18, 1970

"Driver Fred Hardacre killed in race crash," Chicago Tribune, May 11, 1970

“Racing Roundup,” Reno Evening Gazette, May 11, 1970

"Dragster killed," Bryan Times, May 11, 1970

"Drag races highlight week end," Pittsburgh Press, June 25, 1970

"Drag racer dies in track mishap," Connellsville Daily Courier, May 11, 1970

"Dragway 42 schedules Hardacre benefit night," Elyria Chronicle Telegram, June 16, 1970

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3222)

Eric Jubin, e-mail communication to site administrator, June 27, 2011 

Photos

Bob Wenzelburger, e-mail communication to site administrator, Feb. 16, 2011

 

 

These photos were taken on Hardacre's final fatal run.

Dickie Harrell

Born:   October 4, 1932

Died:   September 12, 1971

Buried:  Carlsbad Cemetery, New Mexico

Age:  39

Full Name:   Richard M. Harrell 

Nickname:  "Mr. Chevrolet"

Drag Strip:  Toronto International Raceway, Ontario, Canada

Event: 

Accident Date:  September 12, 1971

Car:  Chevrolet Vega FC

Biographical:   During an elimination run, his right front tire blew at the finish line.  He was unable to deploy his parachute and crashed into a light pole at the end of the drag strip at a speed estimated at about 200 MPH.  He was survived by his wife, Elaine, and two daughters.  He had been active in drag racing since 1961 and was nationally renowned.

Sources

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3421)

Photos

Dick Harrell Online (http://dickharrell.com/About/)

60s Funny Cars website (http://www.60sfunnycars.com/round2.htm)

DragList.com (http://www.draglist.com/Pictures/POD%20Dec%202000/POD-122400.htm)

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

 

 

 

 

Mike Henderson

Born:   December 10, 1948

Died:  May 6, 1972

Buried: Holy Hope Cemetery, Tucson, Arizona

Age:  23

Full Name:    Michael M. Henderson

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Tucson Dragway, Arizona

Event:  

Accident Date:  May 6, 1972

Car:  Top Stock 1972 Ford Maverick

Biographical:  During qualifying, his engine began spewing oil during his run.  The oil got on his tires and he veered off the track and flipped over five times.  He was thrown from the vehicle.  He was transported to a hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.  He lived in Tucson and was a car salesman for Jim Click Ford.  The car dealer supplied him with a car to race to help boost car sales.  His widow was awarded benefits in a later court judgment. 

Sources

"Driver dies at Dragway," Tucson Daily Citizen, May 8, 1972

"Benefits ordered in race fatality," Tucson Daily Citizen, August 7, 1974

"Click never lost love for racing cars," Arizona Daily Star, June 12, 1994

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Harry Hudson

Born:   January 15, 1945

Died:  August 24, 1974

Buried:  Vista Memorial Gardens, Miami Lakes, Florida

Age:  29

Full Name:    Harold Stanley Hudson

Nickname: "Smoking Harry"

Drag Strip:  Mooresville Dragway, North Carolina

Event:  

Accident Date:  August 24, 1974

Car:  "Dennis the Menace" 1972 Ford Mustang AA/FC

Biographical:  He died in a match race on the 1/8th mile track, driving the car owned by Dennis Kirkland.  The drag strip lacked a guardrail and he lost control of the car when he got off the track.  He resided in Hialeah, Florida, and was survived by his wife, Doris. He did most of his racing at Miami Hollywood Speedway. The best time on the car was 6.64 at 212.937 MPH. 

Sources

Norman Hechtkoff, e-mail communication to site administrator, March 7, 2010

Doris Hudson, e-mail communication to site administrator, Mar. 28, 2012

DragList.com  (http://www.draglist.com/draglist/search.php?FNAME=&LNAME=hudson&CITY=&LIC=&SORTBY=&ASCDESC=ASC&search=Search&VIEW=Extended&ENTRY=&OWNFNAME=&OWNLNAME=&OWNCITY=&CCFNAME=&CCLNAME=&ET=&ETTRK_DATE=&MPH=&MPHTRKDATE=&EMET=&EMETTRKDAT=&EMMPH=&EMMPHTRKDT=&TFET=&TFETTRKDAT=&TFMPH=&TFMPHTRKDAT=&CID=&YR=&SHIFT=&PHOTOG=&NOTES=&SUBMITTER=&LASTUPDATER=&RACERWEBSITE=&PHOTOLINK=&page=2)

Photos

Gary Hudspeth

Born:   1950

Died:  February 1, 1970

Buried:  Resthaven Park West Cemetery, Glendale, Arizona

Age: 19

Full Name:    Gary B. Hudspeth

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Phoenix Dragway, Wittmann, Arizona

Event:  

Accident Date:  February 1, 1970

Car:  1955 Chevrolet

Biographical:  After clocking a speed of 124 MPH, he lost control of his car.  He veered off the track and rolled seven times.  A resident of Phoenix, he was killed instantly.  The drag strip, called Mel Larson's Drag Strip in news reports, was ten miles northwest of Sun City.  He was a student at Glendale Community College and was survived by his parents, a brother, and two sisters.

Sources

"Dragster rolls 7 times, killed," Oxnard Press-Courier, February 2, 1970

"Drag racer dies in crash," Hayward Daily Review, February 2, 1970

"Drag racer killed in 124 MPH crash," Troy Record, February 2, 1970

"Drag racer dies in rolling crash," Arizona Republic, Feb. 2, 1970

"Gary B. Hudspeth, 19, student in Glendale," Arizona Republic, Feb. 4, 1970

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Richard Huffman

Born:  July 20, 1948

Died:  July 13, 1974

Buried:  Greenwood Memorial Park, Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania

Age: 25

Full Name:   Richard Allen Huffman

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  U. S. 30 Drag-O-Way, near Thomasville, Pennsylvania

Event: 

Accident Date: July 13, 1974

Car:  1966 Chevy Nova

Biographical:  Shortly before 9 PM, he lost control of his car about 450 feet from the starting line.  He skidded to the left and rolled over three times. His helmet came off during the accident.  He was transported to York Hospital where he died less than two hours after the crash.  He was from Vandergrift, Pennsylvania.

Sources

"Dragger is fatally hurt," Gettysburg Times, July 15, 1974

Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards:  Richard A. Huffman, b. July 20, 1948, d. July 13, 1974, age 25; Greenwood Memorial Park, Lower Burrell, PA, sec. Q, lot 71, #2
 
Ancestry.com Family Tree:  Richard Allen Huffman
 
Social Security Death Index:  Richard Huffman, b. July 20, 1948, d. July 1974, SS# issued in Pennsylvania

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Ralph Johnson

Born:  February 5, 1949 

Died:  September 29, 1973

Buried: 

Age:  25

Full Name:   Ralph Eugene Johnson

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Spartanburg Dragway, North Carolina

Event: 

Accident Date:  September 29, 1973

Car:  motorcycle

Biographical:  He was running his motorcycle on the drag strip after it had been closed.  He ran into a fence and was dead on arrival at Spartanburg General Hospital.  He was from Gastonia, North Carolina.

Sources

"Motorcyclist dies in crash," Spartanburg Herald-Journal, October 1, 1973

"Public records," Spartanburg Herald-Journal, October 9, 1973

North Carolina Deaths: Ralph Johnson, d. 29 Sep. 1973, NC, b. 1948, Gastonia, NC, married

North Carolina Births and Deaths: Ralph Eugene Johnson, b. 5 Feb. 1949 in Gastonia, mother is Lona E. Johnson

Photos

Gary Kimball

Born:   June 14, 1942

Died:  September 20, 1973

Buried: Eastlawn Cemetery, Springfield, Missouri

Age:  31

Full Name:   Gary Lee Kimball

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Springfield-Ozark Dragway, Missouri

Event:  AHRA race

Accident Date:  September 15, 1973

Car:  Kimball Brothers Pro Stock Vega

Biographical:  Larry and Gary Kimball were active in drag racing on the AHRA circuit.  From 1969-72, Gary drove their 1968 Camaro at AHRA events in the Midwest and South and did well.  They had bought the car from Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins.  In 1973 they began racing a Pro Stock Vega, which was featured in an article in Popular Hot Rodding.  He was driving the Vega when he purportedly was run over by an altered dragster when the throttle got stuck.  He died shortly after the accident.  His brother, Larry, stopped racing afterwards.  He was survived by his wife and two daughters.

Sources

Social Security Death Index

Ron Tursovsky, e-mail communication to site administrator, Mar. 31, 2011

"Shuck 'n Jive," Drag News, Oct. 20, 1973 

Steve Todd, e-mail communication with site administrator, Feb. 10, 2011

http://www.racingjunk.com/category/18/Complete_Race_Cars/post/2108893/1968-Chevy-Camaro-Drag-Car.html 

Photos

www.dragracingonline.com/

Find a Grave

 

 

John Ledford

Born:   June 26, 1940


Died:  April 22, 1971


Buried:  Westminster Gardens, Greensboro, North Carolina


Age:  30


Full Name:    John Miller Ledford


Nickname: 


Drag Strip:  Ellington Airport, Connecticut


Event:  test


Accident Date:  April 22, 1971


Car:  dragster


Biographical:  He was testing a new fuel injection system and had switched off the engine after making a test run.  It apparently restarted and flipped over.  He banged his head against the roll cage.  He lived in East Hartford, Connecticut, at 550 Burnside Avenue.  He was a co-owner of the car with John Dusten and John Rumney.


Sources


"Upstater killed in dragster crash," Bridgeport Post, April 23, 1971


"Dragster blast kills driver," Hartford Courant, April 23, 1971


Connecticut Death Index:  John M. Ledford, b. ca. 1941, d. 22 Apr. 1971, Ellington, CT; residence Andover, CT, spouse surname is Sand


Photos

Mat Lenhart

Born:   November 4, 1955

Died:  April 8, 1973

Buried: 

Age:  17

Full Name:    Matthew J. Lenhart

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Milan Dragway, Michigan

Event:  

Accident Date:  April 8, 1973

Car:  1966 Ford Fairlane

Biographical:  He was going about 125 MPH when he lost control of his vehicle, spun off the track, and overturned.  He was from Toledo, Ohio.

Sources

Drag racer killed in Toledo," Mansfield News Journal,  April 12, 1973

Michigan Deaths (Matthew J. Lenhart, born November 4, 1955, died April 8, 1973 in Ann Arbor, Michgan, residence in Ohio)

Keith McLennan, e-mail communication with site administrator, April 29, 2010

"Drag racer dies," Bryan Times, Apr. 10, 1973

Photos

Bill Levec

Born:   October 25, 1942


Died:  September 9, 1972


Buried:  Lakewood Park Cemetery, Rocky River, Ohio


Age:  29


Full Name:   William A. Levec


Nickname: 


Drag Strip:  Thompson Drag Raceway, Ohio


Event:  


Accident Date:  September 9, 1972


Car:  Dee Cee Racing's 1939 Chevrolet "The Charmer"


Biographical:  Ken Mott was supposed to drive the car which was owned by Jerry Hipler, but got to the drag strip too late so Levec drove.  Jokingly, Mickey Hart told Levec, "You don't have to drive everything!"  Levec was speeding at 147 MPH at the time he ran off the race track at the finish line and rolled over.  He was from Lakewood, Ohio.


Sources


"William Levec killed at Dragway," Coshocton Tribune, September 11, 1972


Social Security Death Index  (William Levec, born October 25, 1942, died September 1972, SS# issued in Ohio)


Ohio Deaths  (William A. Levec, born 1943, residence in Lakewood, OH, died September 9, 1972, Northeastern Ohio General Hospital in Lake Co., Ohio, age 29, married)


Cary Bacher, e-mail to site administrator, May 24 and May 30,2011


Photos


Cary Bacher, e-mail to site administrator, May 24,2011

James McDowell

Born:   February 8, 1940

Died:  February 21, 1971

Buried: 

Age:  31

Full Name:   James Edwards McDowell

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Palm Beach International Dragway, Florida

Event:  

Accident Date:  February 20, 1971

Car: 

Biographical:  He had just started a run during time trials when his transmission and flywheel disintegrated and the car started to spin out of control.  He skidded two tenths of a mile and slammed into a telephone pole.  He was transported to St. Mary's Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He was from Belle Glade, Florida.

Sources

"Two killed in cycle, drag mishap," Palm Beach Post, February 22, 1971

Florida Death Index (James Edwards McDowell, died Feb. 21, 1971, in Palm Beach Co., age 31, race:  black, born February 8, 1940)

Photos

Larry McIntyre

Born:   November 5, 1946

Died:  August 8, 1972

Buried:  Lewis Clark Memorial Gardens, Lewiston, Idaho

Age:  25

Full Name:    Larry R. McIntyre

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Lewiston Raceway, Idaho

Event:  

Accident Date:  August 8, 1972

Car:  dragster

Biographical:    He was testing a dragster on an oval track.  He made the first lap around the track at a low speed, then rapidly accelerated on the second lap.  He lost control, sailed 75 feet through the air, then slammed into the retaining wall and burst into flames.  He was not wearing a seat belt or shoulder harness.  He was from Lewiston, Idaho.

Sources

Social Security Death Index (Larry McIntyre, born November 5, 1946, died Aug. 1972, SS# issued in Idaho in 1961)

"Lewiston man dies in race," Idaho Falls Post-Register, August 10, 1972

"Race car slams wall, driver dies," Ogden Standard Examiner, Aug. 9, 1972

Photos

Jerry McTaggart

Born:   April 26, 1942

Died:  November 4, 1973

Buried:   Hollywood Memorial Park, Union, New Jersey

Age: 31

Full Name:    Jerome McTaggart

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Farmington Raceway Park, Winston Salem, North Carolina

Event:  East Coast Fuel Funny Car Circuit race

Accident Date:  November 4, 1973

Car:  1969 Opel A/FC "Turn Me Loose"

Biographical:  His car was powered by a 427 inch Chevy engine on alcohol.  His car disintegrated after crossing the finish line.  He was from Roseville Park, New Jersey, and was survived by his widow, Joyce, and a four-year-old child.  A benefit race was held at Spartanburg Dragway in North Carolina on Thanksgiving Day to assist his family.  

Sources

Norman Hechtkoff, e-mail to site administrator, March 7, 2010

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

"Shuck 'n Jive," Drag News, Nov. 17, 1973

Ron Tursovsky, e-mail communication to site administrator, Dec. 27, 2012

Find a Grave

Photos

Bob Wenzelburger, e-mail communication to site administrator, Feb. 16, 2011

 

Frank Markusic

Born:   August 27, 1930


Died:  June 9, 1974


Buried:  Union Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio


Age: 43


Full Name:    Frank Lawrence Markusic


Nickname: 


Drag Strip: Marion County International Raceway, La Rue, Ohio


Event:  


Accident Date:  


Car:  hemi-engined AMX


Biographical: He was from Columbus, Ohio, and was survived by his wife, Janet, and five children. They held a benefit race attended by 150 drivers for the Markusic family at National Trail Raceway on August 24. Mrs. Markusic was given a check for $2,200 by the raceway. Her husband's gas station lease ended on the day he died. She hired an attorney to help her retain the lease. Pressure brought to bear by picketers and U. S. Senator Howard Metzenbaum caused the Union Oil Company to decide to permit her to retain the lease on the service station after a 3-month battle.


Sources


"Poole wins at Raceway," Newark Advocate, Aug. 19, 1974


"Mother of five fights to keep lease on late husband's gas station," Mansfield News Journal, Aug. 1, 1974


"Widow will keep service station, oil firm says," Lima News, Aug. 7, 1974


Social Security Death Index


Steve Studer, e-mail communication to site administrator, Mar. 23, 2015


Photos


Steve Suder, e-mail communication to site administrator, Mar. 25, 2015


This is not the car he drove when he had his fatal accident, but it is the car he was most remembered as driving.

Sam Milton

Born:   July 20, 1931


Died:  May 20, 1973


Buried:  Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan


Age:  41


Full Name:   Samuel Byron Milton, Jr.


Nickname: 


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


Event:  


Accident Date:  May 20, 1973


Car:  dragster


Biographical:  When his dragster overturned on a run, he was pinned underneath the car.  He died of massive internal injuries at Porter County Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso, Indiana.  He was a doctor and lived in Detroit, Michigan.  He owned the last black-run hospital in Detroit.  He frequently raced his pro stock car in Chicago. He was survived by his wife, Joyce.


Sources


Norman Hechtkoff, e-mail communication with site administrator, Mar. 14, 2010


Indiana Death Certificate


Social Security Death Index


Motorsport Memorial website 


Photos

Alan Monahan

Born:  November 18, 1946

Died:  August 19, 1970

Buried:  

Age:  23

Full Name: Alan Stuart Monahan

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Vernalis Drag Strip, California

Event: 

Event Date:  August 16, 1970

Car:  Ford Henry J D/G

Biographical:   He was racing against W. R. Boynton whose 1970 Dodge Challenger swerved in front of Monahan.  Monahan tried to avoid hitting him, but could not avoid an impact.  Colliding with him, Monahan's car began flipping end over end.  He was transported to Scenic General Hospital in Vernalis where he succumbed three days later.  He was from Pinole, California, and was survived by his wife, Karen. He was a mechanic at the J. C. Penny Company in Richmond, California. Unsafe track conditions caused the race track to close for several years so improvements could be made.

Sources

"Racing driver is hurt seriously at Vernalis," Modesto Bee and Herald News, Aug. 17, 1970

"Pinole man dies of drag race injuries," Modesto Bee and Herald News, Aug. 19, 1970

California Death Index: Alan S. Monahan, b. 11/18/46 in Mass., who died in Stanislaus Co. (where Vernalis is) on Aug. 19, 1970

Social Security Death Index:  Alan Monahan died Aug. 1970, SS# issued in Cal. In 1962

Photos

Chuck Morris

Born:   June 29, 1942

Died:   August 28, 1970

Buried:  Wofford Cemetery, Catoosa, Oklahoma

Age:  28

Full Name:    Charles Everett Morris

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Dragway 42, West Salem, Ohio

Event:  

Accident Date:  August 28, 1970

Car:  1969 Chevy II jet car

Biographical:  Traveling about 200 MPH, his jet car went out of control after he deployed his parachute at the finish line.  He struck a guard rail and died.  He lived in Arlington, Virginia, and was married.

Sources

"Drag racer killed at W. Salem," Elyria Chronicle Telegram, August 30, 1970

Social Security Death Index  (Charles Morris, born June 29, 1942, died Aug. 1970, SS# issued in Texas)

Find a Grave website 

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Bill Nansen

Born:  August 24, 1944

Died:  August 13, 1970

Buried:  Stanhope Union Cemetery, Morris County, New Jersey

Age:  25

Full Name:  William E. Nansen

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Island Dragway, Great Meadows, New Jersey

Event: 

Event Date:  August 13, 1970

Car:  AA/FD

Biographical:   He drove the Van Iderstine Speed Center AA/FD.  During time trials, he hit a return ramp, flipped over and slammed into a wall.  He was transported to Dover General Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.  He was a telephone lineman and lived in Stanhope, New Jersey.  He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and brother, Scott.

Sources

Ron Tursovsky, e-mail communication to site administrator, Nov. 14, 2010

Patty McConnell, e-mail communication to site administrator, Nov. 23, 2010

"Stanhope man killed in crash at drag strip," Easton Express Times, Aug. 14, 1970

Find a Grave website 

http://classicfunnycarboard.com/CFB/index.php?action=printpage;topic=527.0 (accessed 11/16/10)

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?s=001292bc4335fdcb8f90d999f8b8972b&t=338177&page=2

Photos

http://classicfunnycarboard.com/CFB/index.php?action=printpage;topic=527.0 (accessed 11/16/10)

Patty McConnell, e-mail communication to site administrator, Nov. 26, 2010

Find a Grave website 

 

 

Butch Orand

Born:   

Died:  ca. late July 1973

Buried: 

Age:  

Full Name:    

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  State Capitol Dragway, near Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Event:  

Accident Date:  ca. late July 1973

Car:  "Maxi Taxi" J-46-engined 1927 Ford Model T jet car

Biographical:  He was making a fast run when his car veered into the guard rail and disintegrated.  Witnesses thought the thrust of speeding wind may have got under the surface of his vehicle's roof, causing his front wheels to lift and lose their ability to steer.  He was scheduled to appear at a big jet car race at Oxford Dragway in Idaho in late August 1973, but a news report stated that his slot on the program would be taken by Roger Gustin because Butch had died at another track "a few weeks ago." He lived in Los Angeles, but was from Keokuk, Iowa. His fastest speed in the car was 261 MPH.

Sources

“Friday drags at Oxford,” Lewiston Evening Journal, Aug. 23, 1973

Norman Hechtkoff, e-mail communication to site administrator, Mar. 14, 2011

http://forums.tigerfan.com/roundtable/87270-new-orleans-pop-festival-1969-a-3.html  (accessed 3/17/11)

Social Security Death Index:  possibly Earl Orand, born June 3, 1943, died July 1973, SS# issued in Louisiana in 1958-59 (this may be Butch Orand?)

Mike David, telephone conversation with site administrator, Aug. 25, 2011

Photos

Richard Place

Born:  January 24, 1946

Died:  September 7, 1974

Buried:  poss. Acacia Park Cemetery, Beverly Hills, Michigan

Age:  28

Full Name:  Richard G. Place

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Tri-City Dragway, Saginaw, Michigan

Event: 

Event Date:  September 7, 1974

Car:  T/F dragster

Biographical:   He was driving a brand new rear-engined car that had a Logghe chassis. It is reported that one of the chassis builders thought the chassis wasn't quite finished and shouldn't have been raced.  Nonetheless it was raced.  He had not qualified for the 8-car Top Fuel race, so after the first round he made a test run.  The rear air foil reportedly broke off and jammed the left rear tire.  The car flipped several times.  His helmet may have come off in the crash.  Richard Place's father sued Logghe Chassis after his son's death.

Sources

Paul Childers, e-mail communication to site administrator, Feb. 6, 2010

Paul Childers, e-mail communication to site administrator, Feb. 9, 2010

Rich Bush, phone conversation with site administrator, May 22, 2010

Norman Hechtkoff, e-mail communication to site administrator, May 22, 2010

Tri-City Dragway forum  (http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com/drags.asp?id=1337&type=6)

"They've always been at odds," Concord Monitor, September 4, 2005

Drag News, September 28, 1974

Michigan Deaths  (Richard G. Place, born January 24, 1946, died September 7, 1974, in Saginaw, MI, residence in Oak Park, MI)

Social Security Death Index  (Richard Place, born January 24, 1946, died Sep. 1974, SS# issued in Michigan in 1964)

Photos

Drag RacersReunion website (http://dragracersreunion.ning.com/photo/rich-dad-place-looks-like-it)

 

Heber Pond

Born:   December 27, 1940

Died:  May 19, 1971

Buried:   Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, California

Age:  30

Full Name:  Heber Stillman Pond  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Orange County International Raceway, California

Event:  practice test run

Accident Date:  May 19, 1971

Car:  fuel altered sedan

Biographical:  He had made several practice runs already and was approaching the starting line for a final test run.  His car suddenly roared out of control.  It careened onto the race track, struck the base of the control tower, veered about 650 feet into a wooden wall, then hit a chain link safety fence.  He was transported to nearby El Toro Marine Air Station dispensary where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  His accident occurred before the track opened for the weekly Wednesday grudge racing.

Sources

"Santa Ana man killed when drag race car crashes," Los Angeles Times, May 20, 1971

"Santa Ana driver killed in practice," Los Angeles Times, May 21, 1971

"Drag racing driver killed in Irvine crash," Oxnard Press-Courier, May 21, 1971

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=9265) 

Photos

Paul Prichett

Born:  February 15, 1940 

Died:  February 21, 1971

Buried: 

Age:  31

Full Name:   Paul Dean Prichett

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Beeline Dragway, Arizona

Event:  AHRA Winternationals

Accident Date:  February 21, 1971

Car:  "Ace Muffler Shop" Chrysler-powered fuel dragster

Biographical:  It was unclear from witnesses whether his engine exploded or he hit a bump in the track to cause him to lose control of his car.  He had just been clocked at over 200 MPH in the first round of eliminations when he veered off the end of the race track and flipped end over end.  He was taken to Scottsdale Baptist Hospital where he died shortly over an hour after his admittance.  He was a resident of Dallas, Texas.  His best time in the dragster was 7.315 and 187.11 MPH.

Sources

"Texas drag racer killed; Cochran wins," Los Angeles Times, February 22, 1971

"Drag driver dies at Phoenix meet," Long Beach Independent, February 22, 1971

"Dragster killed," Bridgeport Post, February 22, 1971

"Dragster killed," Troy Times Record, February 22, 1971

"Drag racer killed," Delta Democrat Times, February 22, 1971

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1310)

Social Security Death Index: Paul D. Pritchett, b. 15 Feb. 1940, d. 21 Feb. 1971, SS# issued Texas 1955

1940 U. S. Census: Paul D. Pritchett, age 1/12, son of Raymond and Berta W. Pritchett, in Bardwell, Ellis Co., Texas [brother Raymond, age 5]

Texas Birth Index: Paul Dean Pritchett, b. 15 Feb. 1940, son of Raymond and Berta Wade Cook Pritchett, in Ellis Co.

Photos

John Rakowski

Born:   March 7, 1948


Died:  April 25, 1971


Buried:  Morris Cemetery, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania


Age:  23


Full Name:    John Joseph Rakowski, Jr.


Nickname: 


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


Event: 


Accident Date:  April 25, 1971


Car:  


Biographical:  He crashed while making a solo run during time trials.  He was thrown from the vehicle after it slammed into a guard rail.  He was from Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, and was survived by a wife and child.


Sources


Connellsville Daily Courier, April 26, 1971


"Liberman triumphs at Grove," Reading Eagle, June 14, 1971


"Drag racer is killed on Berks drag strip," Lebanon Daily News, April 26, 1971


Social Security Death Index (John Rakowski, died Apr. 1971, SS# issued in Pennsylvania in 1964-65)


Photos

Geno Redd

Born:   September 17, 1930

Died:  November 22, 1971

Buried:   Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, California

Age:  41

Full Name:    Gene Lee Redd

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Orange County International Raceway, Irvine, California

Event:  practice/test

Accident Date:  November 22, 1971

Car:  "Milwee Racing" Pro Stock 1972 Plymouth Barracuda

Biographical:  The engine blew on his new car while making a practice run on a Monday.  Oil sprayed out under his left rear wheel causing him to skid.  Unable to regain control of the car, he slammed into a guard rail at a speed of more than 135 MPH.  It overturned and pinned Redd inside.  He was transported to Tustin Community Hospital where he died shortly afterwards.  He was a veteran drag racer from Rowland Heights, California.

Sources

"Gene Redd killed in auto mishap," Oxnard Press-Courier, November 23, 1971

"Pro stock driver dies in accident," Long Beach Press-Telegram, November 23, 1971 

Social Security Death Index (SS# issued in California) 

Photos

Pete Robinson

Born:   June 2, 1933

Died:   February 6, 1971

Buried: 

Age:  37

Full Name:  Lew Russell Robinson  

Nickname:  "Sneaky Pete"

Drag Strip:  Pomona Drag Strip, California

Event:  NHRA Winternationals

Accident Date:  February 6, 1971

Car:  T/F Ford-engined dragster

Biographical:  After much success as a driver, in 1970 he decided to focus his time on engineering and manufacturing racing equipment.  He turned over the driving duties in his top fuel dragster to Bud Dabler.  When Dabler said he felt uncomfortable in the new ground-effects equipped race car, Robinson went to Pomona to step in as driver.  On his first run, he recorded a 6.77 ET.  On a later run, his chassis twisted and caused the tires to peel off the front wheels.  The dragster also lost an air scoop, causing him to lose control of the car at a speed of 199.55 MPH and veer into the right guard rail and disintegrate.  The scoop was an innovation of Robinson's and was designed to create a vacuum under the rear wheels fo additional traction.  He was transported to Pomona hospital where he died that night.  He was survived by his wife and daughter.  He began racing in 1950.  In 1961 he won Top Eliminator at the U.S. Nationals in a gas dragster.  In 1964 he began racing in top fuel.  He won the 1966 World Finals and the 1970 Summernationals.  He was survived by his wife, Sandra, and his daughter, Kelly.

Video:

Sources

"Garlits wins in death-marred Winternationals," Los Angeles Times, February 8, 1971

"'Sneaky Pete' mourned in drag racing," Oxnard Press-Courier, February 8, 1971

"Robinson dies in drag race," Bridgeport Post, February 8, 1971

"Champion drag racer dies in crash," Sydney Morning Herald, February 8, 1971

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1147) 

Photos

David Rogers

Born:   January 12, 1954

Died:   November 8, 1970

Buried:  North Hopkins Cemetery, Sulphur Springs, Texas

Age:  16

Full Name:    David Lee Rogers

Nickname: 

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

Event:  

Accident Date:  November 8, 1970

Car:  1940 coupe

Biographical:  Near sunset, Rogers was driving his car across the dragstrip to get it ready to race, not knowing that a pick-up truck was making a practice run.  Both vehicles carried passengers.  The truck slammed into Rogers's coupe.  The impact ruptured his coupe's gas tank, catching the coupe on fire.  Rogers and another were trapped inside the burning car.  Although Rogers died, the other trapped passenger was critically burned.  All others escaped with various other injuries.  Rogers, who died at the scene, was from Grand Prairie, Texas, where he worked as a maintenance man at an apartment complex.  He was survived by his wife and son.

Sources

"Dragster killed," Amarillo Globe-Times, November 9, 1970

Texas Death Certificate

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1310) 

Photos

Find a Grave

 

John Sejbl

Born:   February 12, 1945

Died:  July 31, 1973

Buried: 

Age:   28

Full Name:   John J. Sejbl

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Tri-City Dragway, Saginaw, Michigan

Event:  

Accident Date:  July 28, 1973

Car: 

Biographical:  He died of severe head injuries three days after being thrown from his car in a crash.  He died in St. Luke's Hospital in Saginaw, Michigan.  He lived in Broadview, Illinois.

Sources

"Dies of injuries," Holland Evening Sentinel, August 1, 1973

Michigan Deaths: John J. Sejbl, b. 12 Feb. 1945, d. 31 July 1973, in Saginaw, MI, residence Illinois

Social Security Death Index: John Sejbl, b. 12 Feb. 1945, d. July 1973, SS# issued Illinois 1960=61

Photos

Harry Sinclair

Born:   

Died:  June 1972

Buried: 

Age:   

Full Name:  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Thompson Drag Raceway, Thompson, Ohio

Event:  

Accident Date:  June 1972

Car:  Pro Stock Camaro

Biographical: Sinclair was racing against Jim Darrow, who was driving a car owned by someone else. Something happened to Darrow's car and he unfortunately struck Sinclair's car resulting in the fatality to Sinclair.

Sources

Jim Bailey, e-mail communication with site administrator, May 17, 2010

Cindy Schiberl, e-mail communication to site administrator, Dec. 7, 2013

Cary Bacher, e-mail communication with site administrator, Dec. 7, 2013

Photos

Marvin Smiley

Born:   December 2, 1939

Died:  June 22, 1970

Buried:  Mount Washington Cemetery, Independence, Missouri

Age:   30

Full Name:  Marvin Wayne Smiley

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Mo-Kan Dragway, near Asbury, Missouri

Event:  

Accident Date:  June 21, 1970

Car: 

Biographical:  In this two-car accident, one of the cars caught fire and rolled into the other, causing it to also catch fire.  Smiley was killed while Thomas Cox, the driver of the other car, whose engine blew and was blinded by the oil, was critically injured.  News reports misspelled his name as "Smilie."  He was from Lee's Summit, Missouri, and was survived by his wife, Ella, and two sons and a daughter.  He was a machinist for Mesco Company in Blue Springs. Although he raced from 1955 to 1967, it was only the second time he had driven since 1967. He was filling in for the dragster's regular driver who unexpectedly was taking his wife to the hospital.

Sources

"Sports in brief," St. Petersburg Times, June 22, 1970

“Donohue races to Trans-Am series win,” Jefferson City Daily Capital News, June 23, 1970

"Deaths mar racing," St. Petersburg Evening Independent, June 22, 1970

"Drag strip race ends in death of a driver," Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, June 23, 1970

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=6730) 

Missouri Marriage Records ( he married Ellen Mae Forrest on May 1, 1964 in Cass Co., Missouri)

Find a Grave website 

Photos

Drag RacersReunion website (http://dragracersreunion.ning.com/photo/2474192:Photo:53062)

Find a Grave website 

Terry Holmes, e-mail communication to site administrator, Jan. 22, 2012

Terry Holmes, e-mail communication to site administrator, Jan. 31, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Chuck Stratman

Born:  January 8, 1950

Died:  July 1, 1972

Buried:  Memorial Lawn Cemetery, Jacksonville, Illinois

Age:  22

Full Name: Charles Dewitt Stratman

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Motion Raceway, near Assumption, Illinois

Event:  

Accident Date:  July 1972

Car: front-engined T/F

Biographical:  The car owners were Chuck Stratman and Dick Brodan from Jacksonville, Illinois.  About 600 feet out from the starting line, the pinion broke, locking up the rear end.  It sheared the bolts off that were holding the rear end to the chassis uprights.  The rear end spun down and under Chuck.  It drove him up into the cage which broke his neck.

Sources

Bob Gibson, e-mail communication with site administrator, Jan. 14 and Jan. 17, 2013

Social Security Death Index:  Charles Stratman, b. Jan. 8, 1950, d. July 1972, SS # issued Illinois in 1966 

Photos

Bob Gibson, e-mail communication with site administrator, Jan. 17, 2013

 

Brogdan-Stratman dragster at Motion Raceway, courtesy of Bob Gibson

Jim Trimmings

Born:   December 15, 1939

Died:  October 27, 1973

Buried:  East Lawn Palms Cemetery, Tucson, Arizona

Age:   33

Full Name:  James H. C. Trimmings

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Tucson Dragway, Arizona

Event:  

Accident Date:  October 27, 1973

Car:  Chevy Nova "Underdog" Pro Stock

Biographical:  About five hundred feet from the starting line, pro stock driver Kevin Rotty lost control of his vehicle and collided with Trimming's pro stock car in the other lane.  They were going about 60 MPH at the time of the collision.  Although Rotty suffered only minor injuries, Trimmings was killed.  He was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tucson where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  Both drivers were from Tucson.

Sources

"Drag strip crash kills Tucson man," Tucson Daily Citizen, October 29, 1973

Social Security Death Index (James Trimmings, born December 15, 1939, died Oct. 1973, SS# issued in Texas in 1954)

Drag News, Nov. 10, 1973

Norman Hechtkoff, e-mail communication to site administrator, Oct. 31, 2010 

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Al Vieira

Born:  September 19, 1941

Died:   July 19, 1970

Buried:  Mount Hope Cemetery, Mattapan, Massachusetts

Age:  28

Full Name:  Albert Reis Vieira

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Cecil County Drag Strip, North East, Maryland

Event:  

Accident Date:   July 19, 1970

Car:  motorcycle

Biographical:  He had been racing motorcycles for a dozen years. He lived in the Mattapan section of Boston.  Information was scant about his fatal accident. He was survived by his wife, Rosemarie, and two children.

Sources

"Killed in drag race," Lowell Sun, July 20, 1970

Social Security Death Index

Photos

Public Member Photos (Ancestry.com)

 

Vieira at Epping, New Hampshire

Charlie Wilson

Born:   May 22, 1921

Died:  April 21, 1974

Buried:  Sardis Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Madison, North Carolina

Age:   52

Full Name:  John Opie Wilson

Nickname:  Charlie

Drag Strip:  East Bend Dragway, East Bend, North Carolina

Event:  

Accident Date:  April 21, 1974

Car:  FC

Biographical:  He was going about 180 MPH while racing Dee "Mr. Soul" Simmons when his car went off the end of the 1/8th-mile drag strip.  He crashed into some oak trees.  He suffered a broken neck and was transported to Forsyth Baptist Hospital at Winston-Salem where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  Some reports speculated he had suffered a heart attack during the run.  He lived in Westminster, California, and had formerly lived in Madison, North Carolina.  He had been a professional drag racer since 1967.  He was a U.S. paratrooper in France and Germany during World War II and was survived by his mother, three sisters, and four brothers.   According to his sister, he used the name "Charlie" because he hated the name "Opie," which was his middle name and the name he was known by in his family.  He never married.  His grave marker lists his name as John O. Wilson.

Sources

"Driver killed at drag strip," High Point Enterprise, Apr. 22, 1974

“Deaths and funerals,” High Point Enterprise, Apr. 23, 1974

Jimmy Boyd, "Hercules Racing Biz," [column] Drag News, May 11, 1974

North Carolina Death Certificates (Charles Lee Wilson, age 52, born May 22, 1921 in North Carolina, died Apr. 21, 1974, in East Bend, son of Frank H. and Nettie Hopper Wilson, resided in Greensboro, NC)

Branson Wilson Angel, telephone conversation with site administrator, Oct. 19, 2010

Norman Hechtkoff, e-mail communication to site administrator, Oct. 11, 2010

http://www.70sfunnycars.com/FunnyCars42.html (accessed 10/11/10)

Photos

http://www.60sfunnycars.com/round4.htm  (accessed 10/11/10)

http://www.70sfunnycars.com/FunnyCars42.html  (accessed 10/17/10)

Tom Jones, e-mail communication to site administrator, Oct. 17, 2010

Branson Wilson Angel, correspondence with site administrator, Oct. 22, 2010

 

 

Charlie Wilson owned this "Vicious Too" 1967 Camaro driven by Dale Pulde.  It was Pulde's second car driving in the funny car category and he campaigned it in 1968 and 1969.

 

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