Memorium of Drag Racers

      1960-1964 Fatalities

Donnetta Ruth Alexander

Born:  January 7, 1945

Died:  May 19, 1962

Buried: 

Age:  17

Full Name:  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Kansas City Timing Association Drag Strip, Missouri

Event: 

Accident Date:  May 19, 1962

Car:  

Biographical:  She was one of four riding in a car driven by her husband, Carl.  The car overturned and burned.  One other person in the car, Lorraine Davis, age 13, died from burns.

Sources

"Other victim dies after drag wreck," Lawrence Journal-World, May 21, 1962

Missouri Marriage Records (Donnetta Ruth Tilford Alexander, born January 7, 1945, married Carl Edward Alsexander, age 19, born Dec. 26 1941, married Sep. 3, 1961 in Kansas City, Missouri)

Photos

Ted Arnold

Born:  February 5, 1934

Died:  September 1, 1963

Buried:  Moore Memorial Gardens, Arlington, Texas

Age:  29

Full Name:   Ted Patton Arnold

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Green Valley Raceway, Smithfield, Texas

Event:  AHRA Fall Nationals

Accident Date:  September 1, 1963

Car:  Vance Hunt Chrysler Hemi-powered AA/FD

Biographical:  He purportedly suffered heat exhaustion from sitting in the lane too long while fully suited.  Some thought he may have passed out as neither the chute nor the brakes were used to stop the car.  As the car ran under one of the cables anchoring the safety net, the cable clotheslined Arnold's neck, causing him fatal injuries.  Some reports say he also smashed into a pole at 180 MPH and/or smashed into a tree.   The accident may have been triggered by a blown clutch.  A resident of Arlington, Texas, he was an assembler for General Motors.  He was survived by his wife.

Sources

"Braking fails; race driver killed," Oxnard Press-Courier, September 2, 1963

"Brake failure fatal to racer," Victoria Advocate, September 2, 1963

"7 killed, several hurt in speedway accidents," Corpus Christi Times, September 2, 1963

Motorsport Memorial website  (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1778)

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

“Parachute fails, hot rodder dies,” Pasadena Star-News, Sep. 2, 1963

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Dean Baxter

Born:  December 14, 1937

Died:  July 10, 1960

Buried:  Plainsburg Cemetery, Merced, California

Age:  22

Full Name:  Howard Dean Baxter, Jr.

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Madera Drag Strip, California

Event:  Madera Clutchers monthly drag race

Accident Date:  July 10, 1960

Car:  1927 dual-engined Ford Model T coupe

Biographical:  His fuel tank exploded as he gunned his engine at the starting line during time trials on the Madera Municipal Airport drag strip.  He was waiting for the starter to drop the flag for his second run of the day.  He had earlier been timed at 8 seconds and 120 MPH on his first run.  Strapped in the car, he was enveloped by flames before the fire could be extinguished.  He was from Merced, California, and worked with his father in a boating and liquor store business.  The accident was witnessed by about 7,000 people.  He was survived by his parents and a younger brother, Ted.

Sources

"Dragster pilot burns to death," Nevada State Journal, July 14, 1960

"Racer blast kills youth," Benton Harbor News-Palladium, July 11, 1960

"Driver dies in flames at Madera drag races," [unidentified newspaper], July 11, 1960  (sent to site administrator by Rocky Phillips, July 29, 2010)

California Birth Index

California Death Index 

Find a Grave website

Photos

"Driver dies in flames at Madera drag races," [unidentified newspaper], July 11, 1960  (sent to site administrator by Rocky Phillips, July 29, 2010)

Find a Grave website

Chuck Branham

Born:  January 12, 1932

Died:  March 9, 1963

Buried:  Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, California

Age:  31

Full Name:  Charles Eldridge Branham  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Pomona Drag Strip, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  January 20, 1963

Car:  "Starlight" AA/FD

Biographical:  He died from second and third degree burns he suffered in the 50 MPH crash two and a half weeks before.  He was a resident of Covina, California.

Sources

"Drag racer dies," Los Angeles Times, March 10, 1963

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=9287)

California Birth Index 

Photos

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

 

Thomas Burris

Born:  

Died:  September 15, 1962

Buried: 

Age:  27

Full Name:    Thomas L. Burris

Nickname:   

Drag Strip:  Little Rock Drag Strip, Arkansas

Event: 

Accident Date:  September 15, 1962

Car:  B/A

Biographical:  When his vehicle left the race track he crashed into a tree.  His brakes were thought to have failed.  He died instantly.

Sources

"3 die violently in Arkansas over weekend," Northwest Arkansas Times, September 17, 1962

http://www.classracer.com/classforum/showthread.php?p=247849  (accessed 3/25/11)

Photos

Bill Cooper

Born:  February 18, 1927

Died:  June 18, 1962

Buried:  Parklawn Memorial Park, Hampton, Virginia

Age:  35

Full Name:   Billy Hillard Cooper 

Nickname:   

Drag Strip:  unidentified drag strip near Greenville, North Carolina

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 17, 1962

Car:  

Biographical:  After finishing his run, he applied the brakes too soon, whereupon he ran off the race track and overturned.  He was transported to Duke Memorial Hospital in Durham.  He died of head injuries the next day.  He was a resident of Hampton, Virginia, and was survived by his wife and a son.  He owned the Newport News Amusement Company.

Sources

"Hampton, Va. man hurt in race, dies," Rock Hill Herald, June 20, 1962

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=9012)

Find a Grave website

Photos

Find a Grave website (photo courtesy of Larry Winfree)

 

 

Dennis Cravero

Born:  about 1939

Died:  March 25, 1962

Buried: 

Age:  23

Full Name:    Dennis Peter Cravero, Jr.

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  converted discontinued airfield drag strip near Fort Myers, Florida

Event: 

Accident Date:  March 25, 1962

Car:  Oldsmobile-powered dragster

Biographical:  After losing control after being clocked at 157.985 MPH, his dragster flipped over three times and rolled 900 feet beyond the race track.  He was thrown from the vehicle.  Car parts were scattered for a radius of 400 feet.  He was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital where he died of head and internal injuries.  It was thought that his brakes may have failed.  He was from Coral Gables, Florida.

Sources

"Accidents fatal to 6 persons," Ocala Star-Banner, March 26, 1962

"Accidents kill 6 in Florida," Sarasota Journal, March 22, 1962

"Drag racer killed," Reading Eagle, March 26, 1962

Florida Marriage Collection (Dennis Peter Cravero, married Mary Helen Coxe in Sep. 1956, in Dade Co., Fl.)

Florida Divorce Index (Dennis P. Cravero and Mary Helen Cravero divorced in May 1958 in Dade Co.)

1945 Florida State Census (Dennis Cravero, Jr., age 6, born about 1939 in Florida, Dade Co., Fl.; son of Dennis and Florence Cravero, brothers were George (age 5) and Richard (age 2), lived on 11295 Biscayne Blvd.)

Florida Death Index  (Dennis Peter Cravero, Jr., died March 1962, in Lee Co., Florida)

"Dragster killed in strip crash," Daytona Beach Morning Journal, March 26, 1962

Photos

Gary Crumpler

Born:  October 11, 1944

Died:  March 23, 1962

Buried: 

Age:  18

Full Name:    Gary Lee Crumpler

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Cedar Hill Drag Strip, Texas

Event: 

Accident Date:  March 23, 1962

Car:  possibly 1958 Chev station wagon

Biographical:  He was killed in a drag strip race near Dallas when he lost control of his car at high speed. The car may have been his parent's station wagon.

Sources

Texas Death Index:  Gary Lee Crumpler, died Mar. 23, 1962

California Birth Index: Gary Lu Crumpler, born Oct. 11, 1944, Fresno, mother's maiden name was Baugh

Ancestry.com Family Tree

“Texas violence takes big toll,” Abilene Reporter News, Mar. 26, 1962

Michael Moon, e-mail communication to site administrator, May 6, 2011

Photos

Jerry Davis

Born:  1941

Died:  September 5, 1964

Buried:  Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, Justice, Illinois

Age:  23

Full Name:   Gerald J. Davis, Jr. 

Nickname: 

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

Event:  AHRA-sanctioned race track

Accident Date:  September 5, 1964

Car:  Joe Bush-owned dragster

Biographical:  His parachute failed to deploy at the end of his run and he ran off the end of the race track.  He crashed through a fence, sailed over a ditch, and rolled over three times.

Sources

"Chute fails to open, drag racer killed," Chicago Tribune, September 6, 1964 (he lived at 4619 Justine St., Chicago)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=4368)

“Death notices,” Chicago Tribune, September 7, 1964 (Gerald J. Davis, age 23, son of Sigmund and Helen Hryc Davis, grandson of Magdelein Dziatklewicz, Frank and Josephine Hryc; nephew of Joseph (Sophie), Emily, and Walter (Cello) Davis, John and Frank (Dorothy) Hryc.  Funeral in John H. Patka Funeral Home, W. 51st St., to St. Rose of Lima Church, Interment Resurrection Cemetery)

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Lorraine Davis

Born:  

Died:  May 20, 1962

Buried: 

Age:  13

Full Name:  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Kansas City Timing Association Drag Strip, Missouri

Event: 

Accident Date:  May 19, 1962

Car:  

Biographical:  She was one of four riding in a car that crashed.  The car overturned and burned.  She died the next day from burns suffered in the crash.  One other person in the car, Mrs. Carl Alexander, age 17, died.

Sources

"Other victim dies after drag wreck," Lawrence Journal-World, May 21, 1962

Photos

Tommy DePalma

Born:  

Died:  May 12, 1963

Buried: 

Age:  21

Full Name:  Thomas B. DePalma  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Cecil County Dragway, near Rising Sun, Maryland

Event: 

Accident Date:  May 12, 1963

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  When his brakes failed at the end of his run, he ran off the end of the race track and slammed into a tree.  He worked as a garage foreman and was attending technical school at the time of his death.  He was from Hyattsville, Maryland, and was survived by his wife, Bonnie, and step-father.

Sources

"Drag racer killed as brakes fail, auto rams tree," Connellsville Daily Courier, May 14, 1963

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=4961)

Photos

 

Robert Dufford

Born:  January 21, 1934

Died:  December 10, 1961

Buried: 

Age:  27

Full Name:  Robert Mace Dufford  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Santa Maria Drag Strip, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  December 10, 1961

Car:  

Biographical:  He was killed when he lost control of his car and it roared off the end of the drag strip and crashed into a tree.  He was clocked at 125 MPH.  It was believed that his throttle stuck.  He was a resident of Templeton, California.

Sources

"Racer killed at 125 m.p.h.," Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1961 

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=6741)

Social Security Death Index (Robert Dufford, born Jan. 21, 1934, died Dec. 1961, SS# issued in California before 1951)

California Death Index (Robert M. Dufford, born Jan. 21, 1934, in Colorado, died December 10, 1961, in Santa Barbara, mother’s maiden name was Beitz)

Photos

Wayne Erickson

Born:  

Died:  September 1960

Buried: 

Age:  

Full Name:    

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Detroit Dragway, Michigan

Event:  U.S. Nationals

Accident Date:  September 1960

Car:  1953 Dodge C/G

Biographical:  He died a few weeks after an exploding flywheel severed a fuel line and caused a fire.  He was a Chrysler engineer and a founding member of the Original Ramchargers drag race club.

Sources

http://www.hemmings.com/mus/stories/2009/11/01/hmn_feature8.html (accessed 1/2/11)

http://www.autotraderclassics.com/car-article/Remembering+the+Ramchargers-65203.xhtml  (accessed 11/28/10)

Tom Hoover, Grandfather of the Hemi Interview (http://dodgeforum.com/forum/brand-news-concepts-rumors-and-discussion/14120-tom-hoover-grandfather-of-the-hemi-interview.html)

Photos

http://www.moparmusclemagazine.com/featuredvehicles/race_car/mopp_1006_the_original_ramchargers/photo_05.html

Norman Habshey

Born:  

Died:  June 11, 1961

Buried: 

Age:  20

Full Name:    

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  near Hamilton, Georgia

Event: 

Accident Date:  June 11, 1961

Car:  

Biographical:  He died after losing control of his vehicle, going off the race track, and plunging into the Chattahoochee River at Shawmut.  He was pinned underwater for ten minutes.  He was from Birmingham, Alabama.

Sources

"Drowing, fire deaths lead Alabama accidents," Florence Times Daily, June 12, 1961

Georgia Deaths  (Norman Habshey, died June 11, 1961, age 20, died in Harris County, Georgia)

Photos

Lester Hamilton

Born:  

Died:  September 15, 1963

Buried: 

Age:  19

Full Name:    

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Oswego Dragway, Illinois

Event: 

Accident Date:  September 15, 1963

Car:  1963 Plymouth

Biographical:  He was racing Roy Laufter from Chicago in eliminations.  They had finished the run when Hamilton's car started to skid sideways and turned end over end off the race track.  He was thrown from the car and part of the frame landed on him, fracturing his skull.  He was from Chicago (living at 8336 Kingston Ave.).

Sources

"Chicagoan killed in drag race," Chicago Tribune, September 16, 1963

Photos

Leonard Harris

Born:  1933

Died:  October 22, 1960

Buried: 

Age:  28

Full Name:    

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Lions Drag Strip, Wilmington, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  October 22, 1960

Car:  Albertson Olds A/D

Biographical:  He had a very short (six months), but very successful dragster driving career.  He owned a gas station in Playa del Rey when he teamed up to drive for Ronnie Scrima and Gene Adams in their new dragster.  They began putting together a string of straight Top Eliminator wins at Lions Drag Strip that was nothing short of phenomenal.  They also took Top Eliminator wins at Pomona and Riverside.  They took Top Eliminator at the U.S. Nationals held at Detroit.  They returned to Lions and continued their incredible hot winning streak.  They were scheduled to have a match race at Lions against Jack Chrisman and his two-engined Twin Bear dragster for a position on the Drag News national ranking list on October 22.  Unfortunately one of Chrisman's engines broke so Harris made a pass to run in that night's eliminations.  During the run, their engine cracked a cylinder wall so they put their car on the trailer.  There was another car that was debuting at the meet that had been rushed and pieced together that week.  A couple of other drivers had taken a hand in trying to get that car to make a good pass without success.  Harris volunteered to see if he could make a decent run in the car.  He was paired against Quincy Automotive's twin Chevy dragster.  Some were of the opinion that a front axle broke, others that a steering arm had come off, but no one knew for sure what happened.  Harris lost control of the car and it made a left turn into the catch fence and got upside down in a violent crash.  Harris succumbed to injuries that he sustained in the accident. 

Sources

"Leonard Harris, drag racing's shooting star," The Dragster Insider (http://www.nhra.net/insidedragster.asp?Page=3&Display=5)

California Death Index (There is a Leon C. Harris, died Oct. 25, 1960, in Los Angeles Co., born Feb. 17, 1923, in Pennsylvania) 

Photos

"Leonard Harris, drag racing's shooting star," The Dragster Insider (http://www.nhra.net/insidedragster.asp?Page=3&Display=5)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Johnston

Born:  August 13, 1935

Died:  August 27, 1961

Buried: 

Age:  26

Full Name:  Bruce Mathis Johnston  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Riverside International Raceway, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  August 27, 1961

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  Traveling at over 160 MPH, he lost control of his dragster. It went up a dirt embankment and hurtled 300 feet through the air.  Hit hit the ground, bounced in the air again and disintegrated.  He died shortly after being taken to Riverside Community Hospital with a fractured skull.  He was a resident of Huntington Park, California.

Sources

"Dragster killed at Riverside," Hayward Daily Review, August 28, 1961

"Huntington Park dragster killed," Los Angeles Times, August 28, 1961

"Drag racer killed in California," Milwaukee Sentinel, Aug. 29, 1961

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=9290)

California Death Index (he was born in Missouri) 

Photos

Larry Kopp

Born:  September 17, 1938

Died:  August 28, 1962

Buried:  Floral Lawns Memorial Gardens, Roscoe Twp., Illinois

Age:  23

Full Name:    Larry Alvin Kopp

Nickname: 

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

Event: 

Accident Date:  August 26, 1962

Car: 

Biographical:  Two drag race cars collided while making a run.  The other car swerved into Kopp's lane and the latter was thrown 59 feet into the air from the impact of the collision.  He was transported to Burlington Memorial Hospital where he died two days later.  He lived in Beloit, Illinois.

Sources

'Beloit man killed in race," Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, August 28, 1962

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=7139) 

Minnesota Cemetery Inscription Index (Winnbago Beloit, Illinois, sec. 2A 71 3)

Ancestry.com Family Tree

Wisconsin Death Index 

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Bob Lace

Born:  February 7, 1935

Died:  September 8, 1963

Buried: Burleson Memorial Cemetery, Texas

Age:  28

Full Name:   Robert Lee Lace 

Nickname:  Bobbie

Drag Strip:  LaPlace Dragway, Louisiana

Event: 

Accident Date:  September 8, 1963

Car: 

Biographical:  He was traveling over 100 MPH during time trials when his car veered off the race track and rolled over and over.  He lived in Dallas, Texas, and drove for Raymond Austin.

Sources

"Dragster killed," Big Spring Daily Herald, September 9, 1963

"Dallas drag racer killed," San Antonio Express, September 9, 1963

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

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Bill Leon

Born:  November 28, 1938

Died:  May 17, 1964

Buried:  Redwood Memorial Cemetery, Taylorsville, Utah

Age:  25

Full Name:  William Gene Leon  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Salt Lake Raceway, Utah

Event: 

Accident Date:  May 17, 1964

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  In only about his third time driving the car, he was going about 125 MPH during qualifying when the car went out of control near the finish line.  It got off into the dirt bordering the track, hit some large logs that caused the car to cartwheel and flip before hitting a light pole.  That collision with the pole tore the vehicle apart.  The chute failed to deploy.  He was transported to Salt Lake General Hospital where he was dead on arrival with head injuries and a broken neck.  He was survived by his wife, Elvira, and his two sons, Ted and Glenn.  He was a line foreman for a power line company and lived in Salt Lake City.

Sources

"Young driver killed at S.L. drag race," Deseret News, May 18, 1964

"Obituaries," Salt Lake Tribune, May 19, 1964

"Road, drag crashes kill 3 in S.L. area," Salt Lake Tribune, May 18, 1964

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Paul Linderman

Born:  October 15, 1927

Died:  August 1, 1964

Buried: 

Age:  36

Full Name:    

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Shepard Raceway, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Event: 

Accident Date:  August 1, 1964

Car:  SS Dodge Ramcharger

Biographical:  He had just completed a run before a crowd of 2,000 spectators at 118 MPH when he accidentally pressed the reverse button instead of the neutral gear button.  The wheels locked and the car skidded, flipped end over end and rolled sideways.  The force of the rotating car caused one end of his seatbelt to be wrenched from the frame.  Linderman was then thrown from the car.  He was from Bellevue, Alberta, Canada.

Sources

“Drag race driver dies," Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Aug. 3, 1964

Ancestry.com Family Tree (son of Walter Paul and Katherine Linderman)

Photos

Carol Ann Lobdell

Born:  September 13, 1938

Died:  September 4, 1960

Buried: 

Age:  21

Full Name:    

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Thun Air Field drag strip, near Puyallup, Washington

Event:  Puyallup Valley Racing Association Powder Puff Derby

Accident Date:  September 4, 1960

Car:  1936 roadster

Biographical:  She was driving in the final race for girls and had won the race when she lost control of the car at over 116 MPH.  She hit an embankment, rolled over and hit a tree.  It was thought that her accelerator stuck.  She was dead on arrival at a Puyallup hospital.  It was only the second time she had driven the car.  She lived in Vancouver, Washington.

Sources

“Girl wins drag race, loses life,” Yuma Daily Sun and Arizona Sentinel, Sep. 6, 1960

“She wins drag race but loses her life,” Long Beach Press-Telegram, Sep. 6, 1960

“Drag race kills girl,” Centralia Daily Chronicle, Sep. 6, 1960

“Race won; life lost,” Spokane Daily Chronicle, Sep. 6, 1960.

Ancestry.com Family Tree: Carol Ann Lobdell, born Sep. 13, 1938 in Durand, Wisconsin, daughter of Aubrey John and Georgia May Carlisle Lobdell

Photos

Herbie Marx

Born:  October 31, 1935

Died:  September 24, 1963

Buried: 

Age:  27

Full Name:  Herbert John Marx, Jr.  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Edgewater Sports Park, Cleves, Ohio

Event: 

Accident Date:  September 21, 1963

Car: 

Biographical:  His throttle stuck and in trying to slow down, he lost control.  The car rolled many times and he was thrown from the car into a cornfield.  He died three days after the accident at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati.  He was a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, and was survived by his wife and son.

Sources

QueenCityMotorsports.com (http://home.fuse.net/kewendel/QCM_TV_Edgewater_Sports_Park.html)

Motorsport Memorial Website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=8420) 

Ohio Deaths

Texas Birth Index  (born in Dallas, Texas; parents were Ruth Kinderman and Herbert John Marx)

Photos

 

John Mathis

Born:  

Died:  July 3, 1960

Buried: 

Age:  35

Full Name:    

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Halls Dragway, Tennessee

Event: 

Accident Date:  July 3, 1960

Car: 

Biographical:  After speeding through the timing lights, he lost control of his car and careened more than 200 yards into a field.  He was thrown from his vehicle.  He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died about forty minutes after his arrival.  The drag strip was located on an abandoned U.S. army base and 2,000 spectators witnessed the accident. He lived in Westwood, Alabama.

Sources

"Dragster killed in speed test," Los Angeles Times, July 4, 1960

"Auto drag racer killed in Tennessee," Chicago Tribune, July 4, 1960

"Tennessee drag racer, 35, killed," San Antonio Express, July 4, 1960

“Troopers exert massive effort to halt deaths,” Kingsport Times, July 4, 1960

"Drag racer killed as 2,000 watch," Florence Times Daily, July 4, 1960

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2879)

Photos

Boyd Pennington

Born:  October 26, 1929

Died:  September 5, 1964

Buried: 

Age:  34

Full Name:   Boyd Duane Pennington 

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Lions Drag Strip, Wilmington, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  September 5, 1964

Car:  Danylo & Pennington AA/FD

Biographical:  He was paired up against Ronnie Hampshire in the other lane.  When his engine blew up, he lost control and crashed into the safety fence adjoining the race track.  He was dead on arrival at Long Beach Memorial Hospital.  He was a resident of South San Gabriel, California, and had been diagnosed with leukemia a short time before his fatal accident.

Sources

"Dragster dies in fiery crash at Long Beach," Los Angeles Times, September 7, 1964

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=5246) 

California Death Index (he was born in Colorado)

Ancestry.com Family Tree (son of Oliver Whitney and Augusta Ida Pennington)

Photos

Modern Rod, July 1964, 49

Drag Sport Illustrated 1965 Pictorial Calendar 

Ancestry.com Family Tree

 

 

 

In addition to driving and tuning the Danylo-Pennington dragster, Boyd Pennington drove this A/FR at the Smoker's Fuel and Gas Championships in March 1964 at Bakersfield.  He turned 9.35 and 170.11 MPH in the roadster. 

Douglas Royal

Born:  January 29, 1934

Died:  July 29, 1962

Buried:  Cook-Walden Memorial Hill Cemetery, Austin, Texas

Age:  28

Full Name:   Douglas Rex Royal 

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Fremont Dragstrip, California

Event: 

Event Date:  July 29, 1962

Car:  

Biographical:  Royal, from San Antonio, Texas, died when the car driven by Terrence C. Erven collided with his race car.  Erven was going 140 MPH when his car struck Royal's as it was stalled on the race track.  Erven, of San Leandro, had to be pulled from his burning car.  Erven suffered serious injuries and burns.  He was unable to see Royal's car ahead of him because the engine obstructed his view.  The flagman accidentally started Erven before Royal was clear of the track.

Sources

"Fatal drag crash ruled accidental," Hayward Daily Review, August 17, 1962

"S.L. drag driver still critical," Hayward Daily Review, August 9, 1962

"Drag racer is killed at Fremont," Modesto Bee and Herald-News, July 30, 1962

"Dragster dies," Big Spring Daily Herald, July 30, 1962

"Driver killed in drag collision at Fremont," Oakland Tribune, July 30, 1962

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2878) 

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Bob Snyders

Born:  1936

Died:  March 1, 1964

Buried:  Fairmount-Willow Hills Memorial Park, Willow Springs, Illinois

Age:  27

Full Name:    Robert J. Snyders, III

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:   Phoenix International Raceway, Arizona

Event: 

Event Date:  March 1, 1964

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  After being timed at 187 MPH, his parachute failed to open properly after his run.  He tried to slow the car, but hit a rough spot in the road and skidded into a retaining wall at a speed estimated to be 130 MPH.  After hitting the wall his car flipped over several times before coming to a halt upside down.  He was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He was a resident of Chicago and was survived by his wife, Helene, and two daughters, Cherylyn and Terese.  He was a co-owner of the dragster with Larry Reimer of Oak Forest, Illinois.

Sources

"Chute fails; racer killed," Los Angeles Times, March 2, 1964

"Drag mishap claims life," Tucson Daily Citizen, March 2, 1964

"Chicagoan, 27, dies in drag crash,"  Chicago Tribune,  March 2, 1964

"Dragster is killed in race crash," Modesto Bee, March 2, 1964

Tom Yanul, e-mail communication to site administrator, Mar. 30, 2011

Art LeColst, e-mail communication to site administrator, Apr. 9, 2011 

Cook County, Illinois, Marriage Index:  Robert Snyders, III, md. Helene Slemp on July 15, 1957 in Cook County

Photos

Tom Yanul, e-mail communication to site administrator, Mar. 30, 2011

 

Archie Vickers

Born:  August 28, 1937

Died:  September 1, 1963

Buried: 

Age:  26

Full Name:   Archie Dale Vickers 

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:   Wilkesboro Raceway Park, North Carolina

Event: 

Event Date:  August 31, 1963

Car:  

Biographical:  He died as a result of a fatal crash at the 1/8-mile drag strip.  He lost control of the car near the end of the race track.  He was thrown from the car as it overturned, the car rolling over him.  He lived in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Sources

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=7203)

"Auto racing takes heavy death toll," Chicago Tribune, September 2, 1963

Ancestry.com Family Tree (son of James Odell and Mary Alvenie Vickers)

Photos

Hank Vincent

Born:  July 18, 1929

Died:  May 29, 1960

Buried:  Lone Pine Cemetery, Hayward, California

Age:  30

Full Name:  Henry M. Vincent  

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Fremont Dragstrip, California

Event: 

Event Date:  May 29, 1960

Car:  "Top Banana" B/FD

Biographical:  He was nearing the finish line on the final elimination run when his dragster went off the pavement.  Traveling at a speed estimated at 170 MPH, he tried to ease the dragster back onto the track, but the car leaped into the air.  It rolled end over end for about 300 feet before coming to a halt.  He was pulled from the wreckage and rushed to Washington Township Hospital, but died en route.  The push bar on the car penetrated his body and killed him.  An electrician, he lived in Hayward, California, and was survived by his wife and two foster children.  He had held national records in B/FD and C/FD with his "Top Banana" car which he had run for five years.  

Sources

"Dragster killed in Fremont," Hayward Daily Review, May 30, 1960

"Dragster Vincent killed," Hayward Daily Review, May 30, 1960

Drag Race Forum--DragPlace.com (http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/drag-racing-forum--dragplace.com)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=5726) 

California Death Index (born in Hawaii) 

Photos

Nitrogeezers.com

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

Find a Grave website

 

 

John Wenderski

Born:  August 31, 1938  

Died:  February 23, 1964

Buried:  Howell, Michigan

Age:  25

Full Name:  John Joseph Wenderski   

Nickname:  "Big John"

Drag Strip:   San Diego Raceway, Ramona, California

Event: 

Accident Date:   February 23, 1964

Car:  "Black Beauty" Chrysler-powered AA/FD

Biographical:  He was 6th in the Drag News national rankings,  preparing for a  race  that was to be held the following week challenging Don Garlits in a best two of three race for the No. 1 ranking at Lions Drag Strip.  He was killed during time trials when his car was buffeted by a gust of wind as it approached the finish timing lights at a speed between 160-70 MPH.  It began to drift to the left side of the track.  It got off onto the side of the race track, hit an embankment, soared twenty feet through the air, and flipped before landing on rocky ground and disintegrating.  His body was still strapped in the driver's cage, but lying twenty feet from the bulk of the wreckage. He was dead on arrival at El Cajon Valley Hospital.  He was a resident of Northridge, California.

Video:

Sources

"Drag racer Joseph Wenderski killed," Mel Bashore clippings scrapbook

"Dragster dies in crackup at Ramona strip," Los Angeles Times, February 24, 1964

"Dragster killed in trial run," Oxnard Press-Courier, February 24, 1964

"Drag racer killed in San Diego," Reno Evening Gazette, February 24, 1964

"Drag racer dies in high speed crash," Fresno Bee Republican, February 24, 1964

"Moody first at Lions; driver killed at S.D.," Long Beach Independent, February 24, 1964

"Drag racer dies in California crash," Reading Eagle, February 24, 1964 

Nevada Marriage Index (John Joseph Wenderski married Diane Marshall on Feb. 4, 1961, in Clark Co., Nevada)

California Death Index  (John J. Wenderski, born Aug. 31, 1939, in Michigan, died Feb. 23, 1964 in San Diego, mother’s maiden name was Youakim)

Mike Wenderski, e-mail communication, February 19, 2010 

Photos

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

Jim Angelo, e-mail communication to site administrator, Feb. 27, 2010

 

Bruce Woodcock

Born:  January 12, 1940

Died:  July 7, 1962

Buried: 

Age:  22

Full Name:   Bruce Donald Woodcock 

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  San Gabriel Drag Strip, California

Event: 

Accident Date:  July 7, 1962

Car:  "Rakers Car Club" AA/FD

Biographical:  Woodcock, from Long Beach, was killed when his car went out of control at a speed of 150 MPH.  Soon after launching he began fishtailing and veered off into the dirt on the side of the track 375 feet from the start. He tried to regain control by pushing on the accelerator, but slammed into a light pole near the finish.  The car exploded upon impact.  He was pronounced dead on arrival at El Monte Medical Center.  His best time on the car was 8.28 and 189.46 MPH.

Sources

"L. B. youth killed on drag strip," Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram, July 8, 1962

“Drag strip driver killed,” Pasadena Star-News, July 9, 1962

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3124) 

California Birth Index ( There is a Bruce Donald Woodcock, born Jan. 12, 1940 in Ventura Co., and his mother's maiden name was Menzies)

California Death Index ( confirms that his mother's maiden name was Menzies and he was born Jan.12, 1940; Jan. 7, 1940 birth date given in Motorsport Memorial is incorrect)

Photos

Howard Wysong

Born:  

Died:  June 13, 1964

Buried: 

Age:  26

Full Name:    

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  south of Gary, Indiana

Event:  AHRA National Championships

Accident Date:  June 13, 1964

Car:  1,700 horsepower aircraft-engined dragster

Biographical:  His aircraft-engined dragster, owned by Lee Pendleton, was approaching the finish when his vehicle veered into a ditch.  It bounced into the air and landed on the race track, became airborne, and soared 200 feet further.  It bounced again and finally rolled over into a field.  Pieces of the broken vehicle were strewn for a half-mile down the track.  He was from Ashtabula, Ohio, and died of head injuries.

Sources

"Driver killed when dragster flips at 170 MPH," Florence Morning News, June 15, 1964

"Dragster flips; driver killed," Billings Gazette, June 15, 1964

"Drag racer killed in Indiana crash at 170," Daytona Beach Morning Journal, June 15, 1964 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=3IgeAAAAIBAJ&sjid=o8wEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6622,2561815&dq=dragster+killed&hl=en)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=7329) 

Photos

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