Wally Parks dead at 94 Wally Parks, the driving force behind the formation of NHRA, has died at the age of 94. It was Parks' vision, goals and unconditional commitment to the need for speed and side-by-side racing in a safer, more controlled environment that created what is today the world's largest motorsports governing body.
"Today is a sad day in the world of NHRA and the sport of drag racing," said Tom Compton, president of NHRA. "Words simply can't describe the immeasurable impact Wally has had on the sport he created and the millions of people's lives he touched along the way. The name Wally Parks is synonymous with drag racing, and his vision and direction will guide NHRA for years to come.
Everyone in drag racing, and the industries formed to service the sport, will forever be indebted to Wally, his vision, his focus and his desire to create, build and grow NHRA."
“Wally spent his lifetime doing what he loved,” said Dallas Gardner, chairman of the NHRA board of directors. “He marked the path and led the way for this incredible industry and the sport of drag racing. Wally was NHRA, and through his dream came a path to follow with lofty goals and ambition. He put the people in place and trusted in them. He has not abandoned us. He has left us with a road map that he knows will be followed.”
Parks, who founded NHRA in 1951, received countless awards in the motorsports world and played a pivotal role in the establishment of an entire industry devoted to speed and automotive aftermarket parts and accessories that today is a multibillion-dollar business. Yet Parks never implied that he did it all himself. His pride and joy, and where he spent most of his time in recent years while still serving on NHRA's board of directors, was The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California at Fairplex in Pomona, Calif. Details regarding arrangements and planned events will be released at a later date.
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