A Tribute to

Wally Parks


Wally Parks

First, we will cover some local news. Norm Bradshaw, looking for somewhere legal to try out his muscle bound taxi, has hired Mangalore Airstrip. He will be joined by Rod Hadfield, James Stewart and Dik Jarman. Rod will be testing his new Hampster drag car, while James and Dik are going to use the opportunity to take their brand new belly tank out for a spin. Because the big white dyno, SpeedWeek, only happens once a year, we usually don't get the chance to "test and tune". Norm may have found the answer. Good on ya mate, sounds like fun! Rob Carol and Rod Hadfield have volunteered for a working bee at Lake Gairdner between Christmas and New Year to get things cracking for SpeedWeek March 2008. If you can help, ring Rod on 03 5472 3868. This month I want to share with you a tribute to the American Wally Parks 1913-2007. Wally Parks was instrumental in laying a solid foundation for street rodding, salt lake racing, drag racing and the speed equipment industry in the USA and across the world. Wally gave us the chance to get organised and be respected. He was the driving force behind the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) and of course Hot Rod Magazine. Today the NHRA has 85,000 members worldwide. Wally wore the white shirt and tie, and he spoke to the people in power. He turned our hobby into a sport and then into an industry.


Wally's interest started when he became involved with a bunch of speed crazed hot rodders who raced across a hot, dry, and dusty lake bed in California (Lake Muroc). In 1937 his club, the Roadrunners, grouped with others to form the STCA and started the famous annual land speed event SpeedWeek at Lake Bonneville. A sea of people will arrive at the fastest place on Earth to help the STCA celebrate SpeedWeek's 60th Anniversary August 2008. I hope I will be one of them.


After the war, Wally Parks became the SCTA business manager and organised the first hot rod show. The show was an outstanding success. Before Wally Parks, hot rodder meant illegal street racer, but Parks changed that with safe, legal meetings at quarter mile race tracks.


Without Wally Parks, hot rodding wouldn't be the same in Australia or for the rest of the world.


Wally Parks was a mentor and close friend to DLRA's Tex Smith and will always be remembered.


See you at the Salt, Norm Hardinge.


Last modified: June 08, 2006