Society of Landspeed Racing Historians Newsletter # 10    071006

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SOCIETY OF LANDSPEED RACING HISTORIANS Newsletter #10.  Websites posting the newsletter are:
President's Corner: By Jim Miller.   Jim is at Bonneville this week.  So much has come in that I've had to send
out three (3) editions in one week.  The newsletter is supposed to be weekly, unless more information comes in
to justify another issue and this week is one of those busy ones.
1) I'm sorry to hear about the passing of your father. As a tribute, the AHRF has started running video clips
  from our 2001 interview with him. They can be seen at Astor
2) I can't tell you how frustrating this is. I had the copy for this article to my webguy Saturday morning at
  11, and it finally got up last night.  In any case, check my meager attempt to honor Wally Parks at, last item on the Index.  Best Regards, Bill Moore
3) I had a few extra minutes while reading the last newsletter and though we might consider adopting a
  logo so I offer this as a candidate.  Comments?  Speedy Regards, "LandSpeed" Louise Ann Noeth   Land
  Speed: It looks racy and modern, yet reminds us of the past.  What do the other members think?  Should we
4) I know you are very busy and overwhelmed but I wanted to keep you in touch with the people who are
  contacting us.  The link to your father's page is  We have many
  sentiments and memories and I am keeping these emails for you so that you can have them when you are
  ready.  Let us know if we can help in any way.   Sincerely,   Mary Ann & Jack Lawford,, 877-700-2468,
    Mary Ann and Jack: Thank you for posting the comments to your website. You perform a
  valuable service to the hot rodding community and we appreciate all that you do.
Editor's notes: Further tributes received concerning the passing of Wally Parks.  The purpose of the newsletter
is to receive and pass on news as it pertains to landspeed, dry lakes, salt flat and other straightline racing news.
It touches on the hot rod culture because landspeed and hot rodding grew out of the same heritage.  Drag racing
is a direct descendant of landspeed racing, but it is so huge a topic that our group has decided not to incorporate
it into our purpose or research. There are a great number of fine societies and organizations that pursue the history
of drag racing and we will leave the writing and record keeping to them. Wally Parks is the tie between dry lakes,
Bonneville, landspeed racing and its descendant, drag racing.  My brother and I asked him many times about what
he thought of this issue.  He was proud of both sports, but he recognized their unique differences and at no time
ever criticized the direction that either of them took.  He was in charge of both organizations to an extent that few
people ever understood.  Before WWII, his presence within the SCTA was everywhere, but his name was not
prominently displayed.  Like Julian Doty, Jim Lindsley, Kong Jackson, Bozzy Willis, Thatcher Darwin, Eldon
Snapp, Tiny Tyler, Veda Orr and many other hardworking but often unrecognized volunteers, these men and
women made the SCTA a permanent and durable organization.  Dad was president for only one year, but his
presence was felt for a decade.  "The Quiet One," he influenced and was influenced by a group of men that in-
cluded Bozzy Willis and Ak Miller.  It wasn't important who was the President, secretary, recording secretary or
General Secretary, four very important positions.  These men worked as one, with a common accord, to make
the SCTA a force for the preservation of landspeed racing and hot rodding in the country.  Dad's book will be
out as soon as my brother David and I can finish it.  In the meantime, here are more tributes that I have received.
30 Sep 2007   We were very saddened, to say the least, upon hearing about your father's passing.  There are not
  enough words or time to describe the enormous contributions that your Dad made in his lifetime for everyone
  involved in Drag Racing.  He truly brought this form of racing from the dark ages into the present modern day
  sport that it is. At times I feel enough people do not realize the amount of sacrifices your Dad and his family made
  to make it possible for NHRA to reach the level that it did while he was running it.  Thank God for your Dad's
  perseverance and the support of his family that has allowed a lot of us to make a living doing what we love to do. 
  It is very much appreciated.  On behalf of Jane Black, myself, and the entire crew at Keith Black Racing Engines
  we send you our sincere condolences. May God's blessings be with you now and always.  Sincerely, Ken Black
30 Sep 2007  First and foremost I am so sorry to hear of your loss.  Being hit with three is most traumatic for the
  family.  And I hope you are feeling better physically.  Would cookies help?  Aurora Leveroni
30 Sep 2007  Art and I found out about your father's passing at the GasUp in Buellton on September 29, 2007,
  and both of us and all those who attended were deeply moved and each recalled their memories and contact with
  him over the years.  Dick Martin, who knew about Wally interviewed Art for quite awhile at the gasup and is
  recording the interview and pictures for posterity.  Our love and deep sympathy go to you all at this time and as
  the days go by, your memories will be good ones.  God Bless you and keep you in his care--Art and Jan Male,
  Gold Coast Roadster and Racing Club--Santa Maria.
30 Sep 2007   I heard about your Dad Passing away this last week. I lost my dad in June, so I kinda feel like we
  both have gone down the same railroad track this year. I am sure that you loved your Dad from the bottom of
  your heart and he knows this. He was a loved man by not only your family but to us car nuts all accross this land.
  There is nothing I can say to ease the pain, just hang in there!!!!!!!   Love ya brother!!!!!!   Scrub Hansen
30 Sep 2007  Thank you sir ... please know that you can rely on me for whatever you need.  I have the unhappy
  duty of informing Gale, he was speechless, when he spoke his voice cracked, no one who ever met your father
  ever failed to fall madly in love with him (and you know what I mean by that).  A hero for us all!  TAKE CARE. 
  Please let us know the plans when you can and know that my above offer is for real and ernest!  Dave Mc and
  Leon had some very nice things to say about your dad on his show this am.  Doug Stokes
30 Sep 2007   Please accept my condolences on the death of your father. Will there be a ceremony?  Please keep
  me advised. We lost a great man, I admired him greatly. I worked under him for many years. We got to know
  each other very well.  Eric 'Rick' Rickman
30 Sep 2007  We would like to pass along your sentiments to our visitors as so many of them loved your father 
  and revered what he has done for hot rodding over his lifetime. We know that many of our visitors would like to
  pass along their respects to your family and share their stories with you.  May we do that on Hotrodhotline?  We
  can have them send their words here and we can forward them to you to keep your email address somewhat
  private or whichever you and David would like us to do. Again...let us know if you need anything from us.  Jack
  & Mary Ann Lawford
30 Sep 2007   We are so sad to hear of Wally's death.  It is such a loss.  He was a true friend and one of the
  great hero's of the planet.  Our condolences to you and David.  We will keep in touch.  Deepest sympathy. 
  Al and Jane Teague
30 Sep 2007  Following is a story from a 1973 interview I did with  your dad which I submitted to Bill
  Moore's Speed Machines.  Thought you'd find it interesting but I know so much  has been written about
  him.  Johnny McDonald
    The Hot Rodder who developed a sport.  Wally Parks established safaris to sell an idea.  He was a
    hot-rodder, a builder of fast cars and a key member of the Southern California Timing Association.
    Wally Parks stood out among the many drivers who sought speed records at Muroc Lake.  He had
    a vision but he would not be able to cultivate his plans until he completed his service time after World
    War II.  Taken from the pre-war format of the SCTA, he introduced a standing-start, acceleration
    event that would eventually mushroom into the nation's premier competition: drag racing.  Still working
    as editor of Hot Rod Magazine, he began organizing the National Hot Rod Association.  When the
    responsibilities became too large, he resigned his position at Hot Rod to devote full time to the infant
    sport.  And it took a considerable amount of campaigning to convince people it was a legitimate sport. 
    In those early days, he established Safaris that would visit with police, city government and other groups
    to explain the virtues.  He spoke of two types of school kids.  He understood what motivated those in
    the stick and ball sports.  But he explained that there was another segment who devoted time working
    on automobile motors and then seeking a drag strip to satisfy the work done.  Wally waged a campaign
    with newspapers, particularly those who chose to use the word "drag race" for an illegal speed run on
    city or county streets.  And, it took a while before major newspapers would acknowledge this new,
    organized sport and send a reporter to cover sanctioned events.  "We found that as far as the rest of
    the world is concerned, they still didn't know that there is a sophisticated, organized sport called drag
    racing," Parks said.  "Our problem is to expand the promotions."  Drag strips were being constructed,
    customarily in the outskirts of town where property was cheap and there were few subdivisions around. 
    An immediate problem was that the noise of the starting blasts carried for miles.  "As the town grows,
    the property becomes expensive and developers build homes," Parks said.  "The drag strips would be
    forced to shut down, either for promotional reasons or by the noise problem."  Through the years he
    understood so well that the promotional job would not be easy.  "Due to the nature of its multiple
    competition classes its is hard to comprehend clearly all facets of the sport," he said.  "Possibly that is
    the reason the average sportswriter might ignore it.  The sport was too difficult to give a clear, concise
    report."  He said that because of this there was a condensing of some classes, putting the emphasis on
    top fuel, funny car and pro stock as the headliners.  Parks was proud of NHRA's safety record and
    would stack it up against any other sport.  "We don't have to be criticized for being an unsafe activity," 
    he said.  Wally is a firm believer that drag racing has a lot more things going for it than other forms of
    motor sports.  "In drag racing you can invite the public to come into the pits and stand beside the big
    names.  They can talk with them, have their pictures taken with them and get a good look at the cars."
    It has been a series of transitions but from a national standpoint, it rivals other sanctioning motor sports
    organizations in sponsorships, entries and fan support.  Two of the oldest are the Nationals in Indiana-
    polis and the Winternationals at Pomona.  "As far as the fans are concerned, we have a combination
    of sports and recreation which happens to afford entertainment," said Parks.  "We consider the nationals
    represent an on the job training school because most of the crews will come from all parts of the country."
    He was asked in this 1973 interview if such super stars as Don Garlits and Don Prudhomme might hurt
    the sport because of their domination.  "It is hazardous to invest too much in a small group of individuals,
    regardless of how good they happen to be," Parks replied.  "Nobody can question the drawing power
    of Prudhomme, Garlits and Gary Beck.  They are top stars and have earned that status the hard way.
    "But I think when you have 300 total drag strips throughout the country you are stretching your premium
    too thin if you feel these are the only names that will attract."  He indicated that the major national events
    can attract from 300 to 1,200 cars with no two cars exactly alike.  And the action is swift and plenty
    with runoffs every 20 seconds for six to eight hours.  He is particularly amazed by the fortitude and
    staying-power of the fans, who sit for hours in all types of weather conditions to witness these speed
    runs.  "We haven't fully diagnosed the reason for that," he replied.  "Some of the people have been
    coming out for years and years."  Wally never lost sight of his original intentions.  "We must not over-
    look the fact that the main purpose and origin of the association and that we must provide a place for
    individuals to run their cars rather than on the street," Parks said.  "We still have an obligation to the
    community and assure them that this is the legal form of drag competition...whether it is a playground
    or proving grounds."
30 Sep 2007   I extend my sincere condolences to you and your family on the loss of your father Wally. I had a
  nice talk with him 2 or 3 years ago at the Parnelli Jones exhibit at he NHRA Museum named for your dad. He
  was very cordial and I enjoyed my talk with him.  Tim Kennedy
1 Oct 2007   This is Fred Lobello. Very,very sorry about your Dad Wally. We were long time friends.  I worked
  in the first Hot Rod show in 1948.  Please let me know when the services are going held.  I don't drive long
  distances much any more.  Is there some one from here coming.  Maybe some one in the San Diego Roadster
  Club.  I want to be there.  I am 85 as of last Dec 31st.  Fred Lobello
1 Oct 2007    God bless you and your family.   Your Dad was a giant.  We will all miss him, but his accomplish-
  ments will live on and on.  I am on the Board of Directors of the Petersen Automotive Museum-if it appears that
  the NHRA Museum cannot handle the expected turnout to honor your Father, we can and we certainly can and
  would be honored to help.  With deepest and heartfelt condolences, Steven Young
1 Oct 2007    This iCard has been sent to you from DIANA LUNA
1 Oct 2007    My thoughts are with you and your entire family at this time.  A legend in the annals of speed and
  safety.  Thank heaven there is the museum to perpetuate his life and great inerest in this famous sport. With love
  and sympathy.  Alice Hanks
1 Oct 2007    We cannot fathom your pain in this loss but please know Mary & I; along with undoubted millions
  of admirers of Mr. Wally and your family are here to help you bear the burden.  If I can be of any help in your
  history seeking for the book please feel free to contact me.  Sincere Best Wishes to you all.  Joe and Mary
  Mondello And our team at Mondello Tech Center
1 Oct 2007    I was very, very sorry about the passing of Wally, I worked for NHRA for 35 years and Wally is
  in the top five of people that were great.  Great to work for, great to be around.  I could go on and on but I
  want to keep this short, so once again I am very sorry for your loss it was also my loss too.  Bill Crites
1 Oct 2007    I saw on the George Clintonopoluis show, on ABC, Sunday, that your father passed this past week.
  I am so sorry for your loss. Please do not hesitate to call if I can do anything or be of any help.  Richard and
  Sandie Forteville
1 Oct 2007   We all have a heavy heart dealing with the death of your father. You and your family are in our
  thoughts as you continue lifes journey, without him.  I spent forty years in his company..we had memorable
  moments together as NHRA was transitioning to its current state. We had a close bond for most of those years.
  I have many vignettes of our time together.  We watched you and David grow from little guys to fatherhood and was a wonderous time for me...and now a chapter has closed..sad that I couldn't have been there
  toward the end.  Please continue to stay in touch..we send our regards to David and his family. With affection,
  Harvey & Penny Palash
1 Oct 2007   Seth and I were so very sorry to read of your father's passing. He lived at such an amazing time and
  achieved monumental accomplishments. Wonderful memories for your family. With deepest sympathy.  Tanis &
  Seth Hammond
1 Oct 2007    Gale Banks extends his most sincere condolences at the passing of your father.  He wanted to share
  with you his personal message on the following Banks website link,  The entire Banks
  organization wishes you comfort during this difficult time.  With warmest regards, Sheri Adams on behalf of Gale
1 Oct 2007    Eric and I would like to extend our condolences to you and your brother David and both of your
  families. We love your Dad very much and he will be greatly missed. If there is anything we can do, please donít
  hesitate to ask.  Again, your family is in our thoughts and prayers.  Kat Lotz
1 Oct 2007    I was very saddened to learn of your fatherís passing. I first met Wally when I was the editor work-
  ing to wrap up Dean Batchelorís book The American Hot Rod after Dean passed away. Your dad, Alex, Greg
  Sharp, John Lawlor, and Mrs. Bachelor all gathered at Deanís house to help me sort out photo details for the
  book. It was really an amazing experience for me to spend time with such historic hot rodding and racing figures.
  I wish I could have gotten Wally to finish writing his life story, but frankly he was just too busy living it, an admir-
  able situation really.  I know I join innumerable other admirers in wishing you and your family well.  Best wishes,
  Zack Miller,  Publisher, Motorbooks
1 Oct 2007    Bud and I want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.  We want to offer our sin-
  cerest condolences to you and your family at this difficult time.  Budís friendship with your Dad was always very
  special and I know he will be greatly missed by everyone that ever met him.  We will look forward to seeing you
  soon. Your friends, Bud Meyer and Joan Denver/Meyer
1 Oct 2007  So sorry to hear about you loss. Your Father was a visionary and leaves behind an unequaled legacy.
  I was blessed to have gotten many pictures with him, each time holding a picture of him and me from a previous
  encounter. The last one I got was when he was presented the little red roadster. He will be missed, but to the
  NHRA and all those associated with it, he will never be forgotten. Take care, Mitch " Embo" Bowland- son of
  NHRA charter member Jerry Bowland #1550
1 Oct 2007    Sheri Adams forwarded a link to my blog about your Dad earlier today. I just wanted you to know
  that my thoughts and prayers are with you both.  As always, Gale Banks
2 Oct 2007   Just a small word to say how very sad and sorry I am to hear about Uncle Wally.  I know there is
  little that I can say or do but just want to let you know that my thoughts are with you and your family.  Take care
  of yourself, all my best, Leila Livingston
3 Oct 2007   I am very sorry to learn from the SLSRH newsletter about your fathers passing away. You and your
  brother lost your father, but may I say we all, the LSR community, lost a father, no matter how far we live and
  how seldom we met him (once in my case), no matter wether we are racers, writers or just enthusiasts, we know
  we all owe him much.  We will deeply miss him.  Ugo Fadini
3 Oct 2007          Sending you our most heartfelt condolences with sincere best wishes...Much aloha.  Bruce &
  Kolleen Wheeler
3 Oct 2007   I know you are very busy, but I wanted to keep you in touch with the people who are contacting us. 
  The link to your fathers page is  We have many sentiments and memories
  and I am keeping these emails for you so that you can have them when you are ready.  Let us know if we can
  help in any way.   Sincerely, Mary Ann & Jack Lawford
3 Oct 2007   You have been hit hard by loss, my sympathy to you and yours. May you recover from all the losses
  soon.  Regards, Jeanne Khan
3 Oct 2007     You've lost your Father and the rest of the racing world has lost a dear friend. Our deepest sym-
  pathy to both of you and to your families.  We all knew it was inevitable, but it was way too soon.  We were all
  looking forward to celebrating Wally's 100th birthday.  Unlike Barbara who was so ill, it just wasn't time for him
  to go.  We loved spending time with both of them.  They had so many great stories.  We enjoyed taking day trips
  around the area with one or both of them narrating the tour.  On one occasion we visited all of the old NHRA
  offices.   We toured all their old hang outs, places where they had lived, and we had lunches or dinners at all of
  their favorite eateries.  We had great times with great friends.  He had such a wonderful sense of humor and so
  mischievous.  I still have a letter he sent me that he signed "the Mole."  It was in reply to a card I sent him.  He
  meant so much to us, he was like a favorite uncle, and we will surely miss his presence.  He has left volumes of
  memories for all of us.  He must have inherited story telling from his Indian Ancestors, because he was one of the
  greatest. If there is anything that we can do, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail us. Wayne & Ruth McMurtry
4 Oct 2007   It must be hard having to share you dad with millions of admirers, so I send this note trusting you and
  your family find a measure of private comfort, solace among the publicity storm that continues to be whipped up
  with your dadís passing.  I recognize that behind the public face, he was your father, a mentor and hopefully all
  those things that others kids get with a ďregularĒ dad. From that perspective I offer prayer and soothing thoughts
  for your hearts, your minds and your emotions. With deepest sympathy, Louise Noeth
4 Oct 2007    For all of the fame your Father accumulated regarding drag racing, in my opinion he also had a flame
  within his soul for Bonneville. I remember a time as I was walking along the starting line, we fell into step together.
  I took that moment to thank him for his contributions that also allowed B'ville to continue for there were many that
  were never revealed. He looked at me and said, "I promise I'll do anything I can to guarantee this continues to
  happen."  Nothing more could be asked of him regarding the assistance of NHRA and the LSR community.  Not
  only was it a huge loss to your family but the racing community also lost a parent.   Glenn Freudenberger
Members: Jonathan Amo, Brett Arena, Henry Astor, Glen Barrett, Warren Bullis, Gary Carmichael, Jack Dolan,
Ugo Fadini, Robert Falcon, Rich Fox, Glenn Freudenberger, Bruce Geisler, Stan Goldstein, Walt James, Wendy
Jeffries, Mike Kelly, Dick Martin, Ron Martinez, Tom McIntyre, Don McMeekin, Tom Medley, Jim Miller, Don
Montgomery, Mark Morton, Louise Ann Noeth, David Parks, Richard Parks, Wally Parks (in memorium), Eric
Rickman, Willard Ritchie, Roger Rohrdanz, Evelyn Roth, Ed Safarik, Frank Salzberg, Charles Shaffer, Mike
Stanton, David Steele, Doug Stokes, Bob Storck, Al Teague, JD Tone and Jack Underwood.