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Lost Mopar Lengend - Don Schumacher Passes

01/11/2024
by Admin
the Mopar brand.  On December 20, 2023, Don Schumacher passed

Don Schumacher Passes

The final month of 2023 dealt us the passing of two legendary drag racing figures, and absolute icons of the Mopar brand. On December 20, 2023, Don Schumacher passed away after a tough battle with cancer. Having beaten head and neck cancer several years back, Don was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier in the year and lost his battle on the 20th at the age of seventy-nine. Don will be best remembered by Mopar fanatics for his “Stardust” ‘Cuda funny cars of the late sixties and early seventies. In 1974, he walked away from racing to take over the family business, Schumacher Electric, which among other things, is one of the largest manufacturers in the country of car battery chargers. In 1998, he returned to racing as a team owner with his son Tony behind the wheel of a Top Fueler. DSR (Don Schumacher Racing) went on to field no fewer than seven cars, and they won nineteen national titles and no-fewer than 367 Wallies for event wins, which, incidentally, happens to be the NHRA record for the most wins by any single team. Don won five of those while he was wheeling the ‘Cuda funny cars himself. Most of us aren’t aware of it, but Don invented the roof escape hatch for funny cars, and he’s responsible for the on-board fire extinguishing systems that are activated from the steering yoke on top fuelers and funny cars, creating both of those about the time he was leaving the sport in 1974. Don will be seriously missed, and he was the consummate professional on and off the track. Our most sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Brandon Smith

01/11/2024
by Admin

Brandon Smith

January came in bring some unwelcome news with it. One of the staunchest allies the Mopar hobby had, Brandon Smith, passed away on January 11, 2024, at the very young age of only fifty-two. You might not know his name right off, but Brandon was one of the founding fathers of Year One and served as their primary marketing manager for many, many, years. A good number of enthusiasts came to know Brandon for racing his 1970 440 Six Pack Challenger R/T, which his father had bought brand-new and raced as well. A well-optioned Hemi Orange car, Brandon campaigned it heavily in NHRA and NMCA racing. In recent years, Brandon had been serving as a project manager for the re-launch of the Super Shops performance parts stores, which is now a division of Holley. He had injured his leg last year, which caused a blood clot that had gone undiagnosed. So, be careful out there everybody. We’ll miss Brandon and his always friendly attitude. Once again, our prayers and condolences to his family and friends.

Roland " The Hawaiian" Leong Passes

01/11/2024
by Admin

Roland " The Hawaiian" Leong Passes

December 2023 wasn’t content to take just one Mopar drag racing legend from us, the month also claimed one of the most colorful figures the sport has ever known; Roland “The Hawaiian” Leong passed away on December 29, 2023 from undisclosed causes. Roland, like Don Schumacher, was only seventy-nine-years-old. Roland’s unexpected passing caught everyone off-guard, including his longtime friend Don Prudhomme who had just visited him. Prudhomme’s partnership with Roland in the sixties put both of them on the launching pad to international racing fame, and Roland’s “Hawaiian” top fuelers and funny cars were some of the most successful machines wherever they went thanks to Roland’s uncanny gift for building and tuning engines – especially high-horsepower Hemis. Roland was always smiling, he always seemed happy, and he never met a stranger. Truly one of the nicest guys in the entire sport of drag racing, Roland Leong’s incredible sixty-year career in drag racing left a lot of us with memories we’ll never forget. He was one-of-a-kind, and once again, our prayers go out to his family and friends.

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