RACING SCENE Column – NECROLOGY
By Tim Kennedy
Los Angeles, CA. - NECROLOGY is a noun according to Webster's Dictionary. Necrologies is the plural and unfortunately that word applies in motor racing during September 2008. The definition of the word is 1. a list of people who have died within a certain period as that in a newspaper (obituaries); 2. a death notice, obituary. This column will be dedicated to the memory of five men who have left this world physically in recent weeks. However, their contributions, especially in the motor sports world, will live on in our memories. They will not be forgotten.
ED JUSTICE, SR. (6/12/21 – 8/30/08) – A celebration of the life and legacy of Ed Justice, Sr, of Arcadia, CA, took place Thursday, September 11, 2008 from 11:00 am to 12:10 pm at Rose Hills Memorial Park Sky Rose Chapel in Whittier. Ed died August 30 at Methodist Hospital in Arcadia from complications due to kidney failure. The service began with a moment of silence to commemorate the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Graveside services followed at the interment site on a west-facing hillside overlooking the 605 Freeway. Ed, 87, was the last surviving brother of the three Justice brothers (Gus, Zeke and Ed) who were born in Kansas and got involved with things automotive at an early age. Ed and his brother Zeke, who died on August 9, 2001, worked for legendary KK Midget and Indianapolis 500 car builder Frank Kurtis in Glendale, CA. The Justices were involved in the early days of NASCAR in 1947and became one of the earliest sponsors. They were involved with sponsoring Johnnie Parsons 1950 Indy 500 winning car. The Justice brothers came to California and with $2,500 profit from a race car they had built. They started Justice Brothers, Inc. in Southern California with their invention of the world's first transmission stop-leak and other innovative car care additives, lubricants and cleaners that they manufactured and distributed worldwide. Twenty years ago the Justice Brothers product line was 13 and today it exceeds 100. The Justice Brothers corporate headquarters is located at 2734 Huntington Drive, Duarte, CA. True to their roots in racing, the Justice Brothers HQ contains a racing museum with more than 120 historic racing vehicles and memorabilia.
More than 400 persons attended the memorial service for Ed, Sr. at Rose Hills. Music played in the chapel included "Ave Maria" and a recording of "Smile" by Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand as a reminder of Ed's famous smile. Speakers included Pastor Richard Anderson, Ed's granddaughter Caitlin Justice, Alan Taylor, host of Car & Driver radio, who read selected messages from the hundreds sent to Ed, Jr. on the passing of his dad. Messages from Indianapolis 500 winners Bobby Unser and A. J. Foyt, Jr were read. With the advice from Ed, Jr. "to keep it light", tributes to Ed, Sr. during the service came from J. C. Agajanian, Jr., Harry Hibler, former publisher of Hot Rod magazine, and from Tim Huddleston, a Justice Brothers distributor and NASCAR 2005 & 2007 Auto Club Late Model series driving champion at Irwindale. A 13-minute video presentation highlighted Ed's life and some of his famous traits were included. For example, when a person Ed was trying to sell his products to said he had enough money, Ed used one of his two wallets and threw $100 bills on the floor until his prospective customer started to pick up the money. Also included was Ed's famous TV commercial pitch, "Tell them Ed Justice sent you." His friendly, outgoing personality was well defined and his role as salesman for the firm was ideally chosen. Ed, Jr. noted in his remarks that the Justice Brothers oval logo depicted a race track and the crossed checkered flag and American flag represented love of racing and the United States. Ed also told humorous stories about Ed, Sr. accompanying him to a DMV hearing when Ed, Sr. was the actual recipient of the letter, not Ed, Jr. Ed, Jr. loves magic tricks and he related the trick they played years ago involving a lobby rug at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. Ed, Sr. enjoyed humor also. One speaker told about the importance of the dash (-) between a date of birth and date of death. What the dash means is the importance of how you lead your life. Ed always stated the importance of treating everyone with respect and lived by the golden rule. Ed introduced himself to persons he met for the first time and immediately became friends. Ed, Sr. loved speed and motor-sports of all types—stock cars, open wheel, drag racing and motorcycles, and his firm sponsored competitors in each of those racing disciplines. Ed, Sr. and his brothers innovated sponsorship ideas that are prevalent in all forms of racing today, such as sponsor decals, matching uniforms--pit apparel, and series sponsorship as well. Justice Brothers currently sponsors the mini stock series at the Irwindale track. The annual Justice Brothers calendar features racing photos from all racing disciplines and is distributed widely.
Persons in attendance at the Rose Hills service showed the wide reach Ed, Sr had. Attendees came from business, friendships and all forms of racing—stock cars, sports cars, Indy 500, midgets, sprint cars, drag racing and motorcycle racing. Drivers included: (Stocks)—Travis Thirkettle & Tim Huddleston who work as distributors of Justice Brothers products; (Indy 500)--1963 Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones, Jerry Grant and Dan Gurney; (Sprints/midgets)--CRA champions Jimmy Oskie and Billy Wilkerson, retired drivers Don Weaver, Ray Miscevich, Dale Crossno, and current drivers Kevin Kierce, Cal Smith, and two-time USAC Western Midget champion Jerome Rodela; (Sports cars)--Bill Pollack; (Drag racing)--Carl Olsen, Jim Travis, Larry Minor, Gary Beck, Steve Gibbs, Don Rackemann, Greg Sharp, Dave McClellan; (Motorcycle racing)--Ricky Wells, Bobby Schwartz, Sammy Tanner, Mike Bast and Bill Cody; (Business/Manufacturing)--Louie Senter, Ed Deist, Ed Iskendarian, Bob Falcon, Gale Banks and his son Colin and Banks corporate publicist Doug Stokes; Colleen Campbell (late Mickey Thompson's sister) and her husband Gary; Jim Williams, Bob DeFazio and Lester Boyer from Irwindale's Toyota Speedway; WRA's Walt James and his daughter Vicki; announcer Bruce Flanders and his daughter Meagan; Jim Michaelian of the Long Beach Grand Prix; Alice Hanks (widow of 1957 Indy 500 winner Sam Hanks); Chris Agajanian and brother J. C, Jr and his wife Franci (Agajanian Enterprises); Bruce Meyer (Peterson Auto Museum), Jim Deist; (Media)--Leon Kaplan of KABC, Art Gould, and Joe Rusz (Road & Track magazine). There were numerous employees of Justice Brothers headquarters and High Point Distributing at the funeral. Some of them came in Justice Brothers vans and took time off from selling Justice Brothers car care products. They came to honor the man who was part of the trio whose foresight, invention and business acumen gave current employees all a life's work and career. The eight pallbearers included Speedway Motorcycle many-time champion Mike Bast and Bill Cody from cycles and sprint car ranks. Following the graveside service that included reading of Psalm 23 (the Lord is my shepherd....") each pallbearer placed his glove and carnation on the casket. All mourners were asked to place their small checkered flags, issued to them with the printed program as they entered the chapel earlier, atop the casket as well. It was an appropriate gesture to racer Ed, Sr. who had run his race well and received his final checkered flag among so many friends.
Following the services at Rose Hills, the Justice family hosted guests at the Justice Brothers corporate headquarters and racing museum, one of Ed's proudest achievements. About January or February this year Ed, Sr. and Ed, Jr. gave me a guided two to three hour tour of their racing museum that is housed in two buildings. The racing memorabilia and 120+ racing cars housed in the Justice Brothers museum amazed me. I had seen some of the cars race and wondered what became of them. Ed, Sr. showed me his two-story HQ building first and second floor contents, the board room, and his office with mementos that covered decades of racing history. He even has Johnnie Parsons 1950 Indy 500 racing uniform on display under glass. Ed, Sr. also proudly showed me the large product manufacturing and shipping building where employees mix and package Justice Brothers car care products. Ed, Sr. deservedly was proud of the successful business enterprise that he and his brothers founded and which his son Ed, Jr. now runs. Ed, Sr. carved out his career as the super salesman for the firm. He loved meeting people and improving their lot in life by selling them his products that they needed, whether they knew it or not. Hundreds of people attended the post-funeral gathering at the Justice Brothers HQ in Duarte until late afternoon. For many of the attendees it was their first chance to visit the HQ and museum. I will always remember and be grateful for Ed's personal guided tour that I received about eight months before his death. I saw Ed, Sr. at times over the past ten years at LeRoy's Restaurant on Huntington Drive in Monrovia. He was well-known by his first name as a regular customer there for lunch. Car club members and their vintage cars/trucks frequented the restaurant and Ed was usually engaged in conversation with somebody. We talked about racing and the world situation at times. A few days after Ed passed away the Los Angeles Times and the San Gabriel Valley Newspapers (Pasadena Star-News & SGV Tribune in West Covina) ran lengthy obituaries about Ed. The two obituaries also ran a photo of Ed sitting in a replica No. 22 Red Vogt 1940s Ford coupe that had won the first NASCAR-sanctioned stock car race. The car came from the Justice Brothers Museum. That photo also was on the cover of the Rose Hills funeral service program along with ten other photos from Ed's life--early family photo, racing, business, and World War II service with the 8th Air Force in Europe. RIP Ed.
PHIL HILL, 81 – The 1961 Formula One World Driving Champion, driving for Ferrari, succumbed August 28, 2008 to Parkinson's Disease and pneumonia at Monterey Peninsula Hospital after a stay of more than a week. He was in the area for a Concours d' Elegance. An estimated 400-500 persons attended Phil's funeral on Wednesday, September 10 at St. Monica Catholic Church in his long-time home city of Santa Monica, CA. His son Derek was one of the speakers. Persons in attendance included fellow Formula One driver Dan Gurney, famous racing driver/businessman Carroll Shelby and numerous persons who flew in from Europe. Phil was an expert in antique cars. Following his retirement from racing, the respected gentleman devoted much of his time restoring cars. He was an expert on Packard automobiles. One of the interesting aspects of his funeral was the fact that a 1930 Packard hearse was brought south from Vallejo in the San Francisco Bay Area to serve as the hearse carrying Phil's casket. Burial was private for immediate family members. Obituaries about Phil appeared in Autoweek magazine, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and many other newspapers around the nation and internationally. On a personal note, as a teen I saw Phil race in 1953 in the 2nd annual Guardsmen SCCA sports car road races through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The 3.1-mile course had eight turns (two left and six right) and ran from west to east through the scenic park. The course was bounded by Lincoln Way and Fulton St. (north/south) and 41st Ave. and 19th Ave. (west/east). In the 1953 GGP race Phil Hill drove a 2.6 Ferrari and was timed at 118 mph on Main Drive and was turning an estimated 140 mph on the long backstretch that ran from about 20th Ave. to the right and left turns near 34th Ave. Masten Gregory won the 100-mile (32 laps) 1953 Trophy Race in a Jaguar XK 120 in a time of 1 hr:25.20, but Phil was sensational as well. He did not compete in the 1954 GGP road race because his fast-rising career had taken him to Europe by then. Phil's subsequent glory years driving Ferrari sports cars and F.1 cars for Enzo Ferrari and his prancing horse Scuderia Ferrari made him the first United States-born F.1 champion in September 1961 at the Italian Grand Prix. His Ferrari teammate and fellow title contender Count Wolfgang von Trip lost his life in a crash at that race. Oh, the June 6, 1954 San Francisco GGP road race feature winner in Class C was Jack McAfee driving the No. 105 Ferrari 4.5 owned by Tony Parravano.
BOB McCAW, (5-14-25 – 9-7-08) – The long-time NMRA-TQ (¾) Midget driver in the1950s-80s era and 1979-1980 NMRA driving champion lost his battle of several years with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, aka CLL. Bob succumbed at age 83 on Sunday, September 7 at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, CA. Graveside services at Westminster Memorial Park in Westminster, CA were held Friday, September 12 at 10:00 am with about 200 persons in attendance. Bob's families from all three of his marriages attended because he was loved by all of them. Attendees included former drivers Jeff Heywood, Henry Steele, Gary Long, Dan Guinn, John Carroll, Bob Behrens, Tom Rodney, Dave Berg, Walt Johnson, Jr. and Ken Hamblin. Others in attendance were officials Bob Schoeman, Pat Johnson and Tony Otto, plus owners Mark and Barbara Priestley, Linda Bogan and Shari Sakata. Speakers included his neighbor and friend Rick Caruso, plus co-worker and friend of 56 years Leon Banks. Frances McCloskey, his step-daughter spoke about her love for her step-father. Bob's daughter Laura Durston and his step-granddaughter Jami Warrell spoke of their love for Bob. Son-in-law Brad Howard gave an eloquent eulogy of the Bob McCaw he knew, his jokes ability to listen and willingness to help whenever needed. He was a loving husband and grandfather to all of his grandchildren, whether blood or step. Leon Banks said a prayer. His widow Laurine, or "wonderful wife" as Bob called her, received a folded USA flag because Bob was a WW II veteran. People then came to the home Bob and Laurine shared in Long Beach for lunch and a celebration of Bob's life. Bob's first wife Darlene and Bob Priestley were co-owners of Bob's 1979 and 1980 NMRA championship winning TQ Midget. Laurine, Bob's third wife did not know Bob when he was racing. I met them at the the last NMRA-TQ championship awards banquet in Moorpark and Bob was as affable and gregarious as always. I first met Bob in the mid-1960s when he raced his TQ Midget at Trojan Speedway, on the east side of the Long Beach 710 Freeway at Firestone Blvd, in South Gate. He remained a great spokesman for racing over all the decades he raced. Bob's widow Laurine wrote a poem for him that she would like to share. It follows:
The flag is down, the race is run
Old Smoothie crossed the line
He saw the checkered flag and said
This final race is mine
And so we come to say goodbye
to our dear SOB (Sweet Ole Bob)
He always had a joke or two
and smiles for all to see
We loved the dear, our memories fond
We'll hold tight in our hearts
At Heaven's Gate he's looking for
The next race he can start.
MIKE HOLLANDER – 61. Mike was a Western VP of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) and the owner of Racing Information Systems (RIS). He owned and operated the Internet racing website "The Motor Sports Forum" that covered all forms of motor sports news, results and information. Mike was a frequent visitor to the Irwindale Speedway press box in recent years and he posted stories of the races on his computer. He attended his last race on opening night this year and stopped coming to the track when his illness progressed and required chemotherapy treatments. He spent his final days at home in a hospital bed. Mike died in September after his courageous battle with the cancer that claimed his life. He is survived by his wife, an eye doctor, and teenage daughter. Funeral services were held Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at Hillside Memorial Park overlooking Sepulveda Blvd. and the 405 San Diego Freeway, near LA International Airport in the Westchester area of Los Angeles.
PAUL NEWMAN – (1-26-25 – 9-26-08) – Paul was known primarily around the world as an Academy Award winning actor, humanitarian, activist and philanthropist, but also an auto racer of distinction. He lost his battle with lung cancer on Friday, September 26 at age 83 at his home in Westport, CT. Tributes to Paul came from all quarters. The Los Angeles Times obituary on Sunday, September 28 started on page A.1 and continued on two full pages on the inside with ample photos covering his careers in movies, business and racing. On Monday, September 29 Jay Leno gave a glowing tribute to Paul and showed his last appearance on Jay's NBC Tonight Show two years ago. Jay showed a clip from that show of Paul, at age 81, beating Jay in a motorized kart race through the NBC studio in Burbank. By now you must have read about the careers of Paul so I will add that local sprint car fans still talk about racer Paul Newman within the last decade going to Perris Auto Speedway, a half-mile oval track in Perris (south of Riverside), and test-driving a 410 cubic inch wingless sprint car. The midweek private test run used the No. 2 SCRA sprint car that Ron Shuman drove to victories in SCRA point races at the track. Paul, then in his 70s, got accustomed to the sprint car and turned many laps at times that would have been in mid-pack of qualifying times at the prior week SCRA race in Perris. He started racing at age 47 after acting as an Indianapolis 500 race driver in the 1969 movie "Winning" with Robert Wagner. They filmed the movie at the 1968 Indy 500. Paul's character, Frank Capua, was in the car Bobby Unser used to win the 1968 Indy 500. Racing school training with professional driver Bob Bondurant followed and Paul developed a life-long love for auto racing. His first SCCA victory as a driver came in 1972 with a Lotus Elan at Thompson, CT. He used the name P. L. Newman to avoid drawing attention to himself. He raced cars owned by his friend and fellow Connecticut-based driver Bob Sharp, father of recent Indy car driver Scott Sharp. In 1976 Paul won his first of four SCCA championships in D Production. He won a C Production title in 1979, followed by a pair of GT-1 titles in 1985-86. In 1977 Paul was one of three drivers who co-drove a Ferrari 365 GTB4 to fifth place in the 24 Hours of Daytona.. In June 1979 Paul was one of three co-drivers of a Porsche 935 that finished second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. The same trio finished second in the Six Hours of Watkins Glen, N.Y less than a month later. In acting and racing accomplishments Paul was reminiscent of fellow actors/racers Steve McQueen and James Garner. He won a Trans-Am race against professionals in 1982 at Brainerd MN. and in 1986 won his second Trans-Am race at Lime Rock, CT. Paul competed to age 81 and was a long-time involved car owner as well. He joined Chicago Lola distributor Carl Haas in a race team partnership in 1980 that still exists uninterrupted. They fielded a Can-Am sports car team in 1980 and in 1983 started their Indy Car team. Paul's ties to Mario Andretti and his racing son Michael date back decades with many Indy or Champ Car victories. With Haas, Paul enjoyed eight championships, primarily in CART/Champ Car. Second place (twice) was his best finish at the Indianapolis 500. Paul was usually found in the team's pit during races. Tributes to Paul came from a wide varied of sources. Perhaps the greatest tribute was in reference to his donating the profits of his "Newman's Own" all-natural salad dressing, sauces, popcorn and lemonade and food products line to hundreds of charities and children's causes. They included the group he started in 1988—The Hole in the Wall Camps (named for the outlaw gang in his movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). He said those camps for underprivileged and critically ill children would be his legacy. More than $250 million in after-tax profits have gone to many charities. The world is a better place for Paul being in it rings true. Someone said in tribute, "Paul was a perfect person." Seconds were echoed by those who knew him personally and by those who only knew about him.