RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S

jaded iconoclast

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1760 on: April 28, 2018, 09:18:36 PM »
A few years back Vintage Racer did a really good two part story on Redman.
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1761 on: May 02, 2018, 11:09:25 PM »
Ron Pellegrini passed away on Apr.2 of this yr.
by Jon Asher
Although Ron Pelligrini’s name isn’t known by most of today’s drag racing participants, fans or members of the media, from the 50s and well into the 80s he played a major role in the sport.  From competing in some of the most famous cars the sport has ever seen to becoming one of the most important aftermarket manufacturers in the history of Funny Car racing to his involvement in running actual races, Pellegrini has done it all.

In the early 50s Pellegrini drag raced on the dirt track (not a misprint) at Halfday, Illinois, and built his first Oldsmobile-powered dragster in 1954.  A year later, still drag racing on dirt at Oswego, Illinois he set the top time of the year, but more relevant was his work with Jim Lemonis of ATAA, which would ultimately be folded into the then-new NHRA.  Pellegrini also worked with Al Fosdick of Fosdick Timing Equipment, installing and maintaining the timers at numerous Midwest tracks.

In 1960 Pellegrini purchased Tommy Ivo’s side-by-side twin engined dragster and followed that up by purchasing and running Ivo’s four-engined car the next year.  Pellegrini would become the first driver to appear at the U.S. Nationals in an exhibition car when he drove the car at Indy in ’61 and ’62.

By 1964 Pellegrini had switched to a Ford, fielding three factory-backed Thunderbolts through Hawkinson Ford in Oak Lawn, Illinois.  The following year Pellegrini pitched – and was rejected by – Ford Motor Company on a tube-chassied Funny Car, which Ford, at the time, didn’t feel was feasible.  Since he had pre-booked the car for match races he was forced to buy the infamous Dennison, Arlasky & Knox AA/Fuel Altered, to which he affixed a one-piece fiberglass Mustang body that he built himself.

Pellegrini’s blown Mustang was the first “real” Funny Car that wasn’t a factory-produced, altered wheelbase machine.

That same year he opened Fiberglass Ltd., which would become the premier supplier of Funny Car bodies for the remainder of the 60s and well into the 70s.  If you raced or watched Funny Cars the odds were you were seeing cars carrying Fiberglass Ltd. shells.  Pellegrini did all of the aerodynamic development on the bodies himself, and ultimately ended up supplying hardware for the factory-backed match racers competing for Ford, Dodge, Plymouth and General Motors.  Racers from Arnie “The Farmer” Beswick to Mr. Norm’s Grand-Spaulding Dodge entries to virtually every “name” racer of the era ran Fiberglass Ltd. bodies.

As one of the original members of the Midwest UDRA operation Pellegrini was the overseer of a number of professional racing circuits that competed on a hired-in basis all across the region in 1966.  His hands-on professionalism resulted in happy track operators and even happier fans who gladly paid top dollar to witness nitro-fueled Funny Cars, alcohol-fueled Funny Cars, Top Fuel dragsters, Supercharged Gassers and cars that would eventually be called “Pro Stock.”  On any given weekend Pellegrini’s charges might be appearing at a half dozen or more facilities, yet he managed it all without a hitch – and this was long before cell phones!

A year later he opened Automotive Research & Engineering in an effort to offer racers one-stop shopping for complete operations.  Teaming Fiberglas Ltd. with R&B Automotive of Kenosha, Wisconsin, International Drag Racing Hall of Fame and Motorsports Hall of Fame member John Buttera and his partner, Denis Rollain fabricated the chassis while Pellegrini supplied the bodies.  Among those who took advantage of the program were Bobby Woods and Don Gay.  Hall of Fame member Don Schumacher’s first Dodge Charger Funny Car was a product of this same operation.

 In ’67 Pellegrini built and drove the first Buick-bodied Funny Car (with a Logghe Stamping Company chassis) and a year later came out with another Buick, this one on a Romeo Palamides frame.  Built to Pellegrini’s specifications, it was the first F/C to have a narrow frame and rearend.

 By 1973 Pellegrini had folded Fiberglass Ltd. into his Uni-Sun sunroof operation, but he was still racing, and from 1975 to 1980 put together and ran the International Funny Car Association.  He also owned and fielded both alcohol dragsters and Funny Cars until 1983, when he retired from active competition.

So those are the nuts and bolts, and as important as they are in terms of history, they fall far short of saying who Pellegrini was.  He was a friend, mentor and advisor to dozens of 60s and 70s racers, track operators and journalists, myself proudly included.  When this tall, thin dark-haired man spoke, people listened, because his words were often prophetic.  Fifty years ago he foretold what drag racing would become, and while some belittled his predictions, they’ve more or less come true.  Decades before 18-wheelers jammed the nation’s tracks he spoke of their coming, just as he voiced his concerns about the need for a variety of car brands to be involved so that every fan might have something to root for.  But his outspokenness often came at a price.  Many racing officials, the ones some writers refer to has the “High Sheriffs,” thought little of his thoughtfulness, and that hurt him. 

Despite his being absent from the races for some time he remained in close contact with many of his older friends who were involved, and from voracious reading and an innate ability to discern what was really going by watching the televised events he continued to have an authoritative picture of what drag racing is today.

Survived by his two daughters, Denise and Deborah, and five grandchildren, Pellegrini also leaves behind his constant companion and confidante of 54 years, Adele Coyle.  He was 82 when he died of natural causes, and per his wishes, there will be no funeral or formal remembrance.
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jaded iconoclast

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1762 on: May 03, 2018, 10:54:51 AM »
"Pellegrini’s blown Mustang was the first “real” Funny Car that wasn’t a factory-produced, altered wheelbase machine."

I would call this debatable, it depends on how you define "Funny Car". Bob Sullivans Barracuda was running at the same time, but the basic shell was steel, Pellegrini's mustang was all glass.
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BobT

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1763 on: May 03, 2018, 09:16:37 PM »
RIP Ron.

TS3X65MPH

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1764 on: May 05, 2018, 01:59:39 AM »
Zora Arkus-Duntov from Hemmings Classic Car

November, 2012 - Jim Donnelly
He was blessed with a swashbuckling name--Zorba the Greek!--only this Zora wasn't Greek, and he didn't dance madly around Crete. He did, however, marry a French dancer. Zora Arkus-Duntov's journey through life was astounding. More than any single individual, he is responsible for Chevrolet's post-war transformation into an American icon, from "See the U.S.A." through Route 66 and "The Heartbeat of America." More than 15 years after his passing, Chevrolet's image is, almost literally, welded and bonded to Arkus-Duntov's vision of performance. A lot of people consider him the most important person in Chevrolet history.
 
  For all his ability to create American folklore in the form of the Corvette, Arkus-Duntov was a child of the planet, his worldview hewn during the most turbulent chapter in global history. He was born as Zachary in Belgium and grew up in St. Petersburg, or as it was then known, Leningrad, the child of Russian revolutionaries. He lived through the Soviet revolution, moved to Berlin, acquired a top-shelf technical education, and raced both motorcycles and cars. He and his brother joined the French Air Force as pilots, but were marked for death once the Vichy collaborators surrendered to the Nazis. Both brothers were forced to hide in a Marseilles bawdyhouse before fleeing to the United States via Portugal.
The brothers were ardent anti-Nazis and, once in New York City, they set up a company, Ardun Mechanical, to do military contracting. Zora, however, got the idea to build a cast-aluminum cylinder head with overhead valves for the flathead Ford V-8. Hot rodders loved the flathead, but since many such people were serving overseas and fun with cars was restricted by the war, many of Ardun's earliest customers were trucking companies, hoping to find a power boost and improved cooling for their flathead Ford rigs. Regardless, few historians of American performance history would dispute that the Ardun cylinder head package, in conjunction with fuel and ignition upgrades, bought the flathead another decade of facing the onslaught of new OHV V-8s from Chrysler and General Motors.
From Ardun, Zora later went on to work on Long Island at Fairchild Aviation, and was moved beyond words by the original Corvette concept car shown at the 1953 General Motors Motorama in New York. So he got some paper and wrote what he could down, composing a letter to Chevrolet chief engineer Ed Cole about the Corvette's beauty. Both flattered and intrigued, Cole offered Arkus-Duntov a job.
By then, Arkus-Duntov had teamed with Sydney Allard to race J2s at Le Mans (and, in an accomplishment that did not particularly endear him to GM, later won his class at the Sarthe with a Porsche 550 RS Spyder). But his future was secure after he wrote a landmark memo to Cole, assuring him that Chevrolet's image would be permanently transformed if it removed the original Stovebolt Six from the Corvette and instead plugged the hot new small-block V-8 from the full-size lineup.
Just that fast, the two-seat sportster was an instant performance player; a halo car for previously stodgy Chevrolet decades before that phrase was ever coined. Arkus-Duntov, too, was its most steadfast and ferocious defender, out of all proportion to the Corvette's overall sales. Even if people on the Fourteenth Floor at GM headquarters couldn't quite grasp it, Arkus-Duntov absolutely knew he was prime keeper of Chevrolet's image with the general public. In a backhanded way that was underscored by the fact that with the Thunderbird, which began life as the Corvette's opposite number, Ford went the other way by making it over into a four-place luxury cruiser.
In quick succession, Arkus-Duntov became the Corvette team's chief engineer, took the car to the Daytona Beach speed trials, got it new Rochester fuel injection, approved the Corvette SS, the Le Mans effort, the 1963 mid-year redesign, the L88 package, the CERV creations and nearly got the Wankel four-rotor prototype into production. Zora died in 1996. Courtesy of the National Corvette Museum, we repeat a quote from columnist George F. Will, of The Washington Post, published upon Arkus-Duntov's death: "If you do not mourn his passing, you are not a good American."

This article originally appeared in the November, 2012 issue of Hemmings Classic Car.
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1765 on: May 05, 2018, 02:03:27 AM »
Dragster Drivers
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1766 on: May 05, 2018, 02:04:33 AM »
Eddie Yeager-1950
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1767 on: May 05, 2018, 02:26:08 AM »
Shane Carson and Bob Trostle 
Gene Marderness Photo
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1768 on: May 05, 2018, 02:27:38 AM »
Jim Hall
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29bowtie

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1769 on: May 05, 2018, 04:26:44 PM »
Jim Hall
That windshield certainly looks like they stole it from a nearby marina! ;) ::)
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1770 on: May 13, 2018, 01:49:57 AM »
Bill Vukovich.
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1771 on: May 13, 2018, 01:56:32 AM »
Troy Ruttman
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1772 on: May 13, 2018, 01:56:51 AM »
Jack McGrath
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1773 on: May 13, 2018, 01:57:09 AM »
Pat Flaherty in car #20
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jaded iconoclast

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1774 on: May 13, 2018, 10:01:32 AM »
Jim Hall
That windshield certainly looks like they stole it from a nearby marina! ;) ::)
I'm not certain, would have to look it up to be sure, but I seem to recall that was a last minute rule dodge. Really looked like hell anyway, and ruined the lines of an otherwise nice looking race car. I'll look it up in the Chaparral book.
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29bowtie

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Re: RACE CAR OWNERS & DRIVERS & CREW'S
« Reply #1775 on: May 14, 2018, 12:07:11 PM »
AJ Foyt.
Professionals built the Titanic, An Amateur built the Ark