I’m Honored to Be Honored!
At this year’s Bakersfield March Meet, I was presented the 7th annual Jack Williams Award. It’s given to a person who’s “made a difference to The March Meet.” The award was created by Mr. and Mrs. Ken Doran to honor their dear friend Jack. For years they’ve come from their home in Illinois to attend the March Meet and California Hot Rod Reunion. Jack considered them his “good luck charms” because they kept the rain away! I’ve won a few awards during my racing career, and I feel honored to have received them, but this one really means a lot to me.
Jack and I had been good friends since ’63. That year he partnered with Bill Crossley and Don Swan to field the Crossley, Williams & Swan AA/FD. With Jack driving, they were pretty much unbeatable in 1963 and ’64. It was in 1964 that NHRA first attempted to crown season champions, and Jack was the first Top Fuel world champ.
In ’95 he returned home to Bakersfield where he took over the lease and management of the track that meant so much to him: Famoso Raceway. Jack immediately began making improvements and continued to do so until he passed away in ’06. He willed the track lease to good friends John Bowser and son Blake, who have continued to improve the facility. Jack must be damned proud of the place. He’s very much missed by me and all of his friends.
Another honor: I’d like to thank Rose Dickinson, manager of marketing and advertising for the NHRA Sports Museum and the Boy Scouts Pack 555 of Fontana, California, for inviting me to their Pinewood Derby. It was held recently at the museum in conjunction with the Street Machine & Muscle Car Nationals. The little wooden race cars were flyin’ down the track so fast, they’d almost catch fire! Those scouts are gonna make fine drag racers in a couple of years. I really enjoyed talking with them and their folks.
My friends, if you can make only one NHRA national event this year, make it the U.S. Nationals, Indy’s 60th anniversary! NHRA’s pulling out all the stops for this one. It’s gonna be like the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus meets the biggest drag race of the year‑there’ll even be “elephants”‑of the 426 Hemi variety, that is. There’s gonna be special appearances by Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Bob Glidden, me and Snake. And for the first time in many years during the Indy race, there’s going to be a memorabilia show. It’s at the Clarion Waterfront Plaza & Conference Center, 2930 Waterfront Parkway on Sunday from noon til 10. You’ll be able to find a treasure or two.
Steve Gibbs is once again doing his part to raise money for the NHRA Sports Museum. He’s seeking donations for the Nitro Alumni Silent Auction being held during the California Hot Rod Reunion. Suggested items include: vintage race apparel, framed artwork, new/used race parts, jewelry, classic trophies and other types of racing memorabilia. The value of donated items may be eligible for tax deduction. For more info, call him at 951.317.8274 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And just a reminder: Snake and Mongoo$e, The Movie is available in Blu-Ray and DVD. If you purchase it from Prestige Hobbies‑888.886.5778 or http://prestige-hobbies.com‑ and you can get your copy autographed by yours truly.
Boy Scouts Pack 555 Pinewood Derby at the NHRA Museum.