Thu, 17 Dec 2009, 06:40 PM
In Memory of Don Woosley
By Bob Frey
Photo copyright 2009 Auto Imagery, Inc.
One of the great sportsman racers in NHRA history passed away this week. Don Woosley, who raced in
the Pro Comp class and then in the Top Alcohol Dragster class, died in his sleep at the age of 63.
For those who are relatively new to the sport the name Don Woosley may not be that familiar, but
for those who have followed the alky cars for years his name brings up images of one of the best
drivers and cars in the history of the class.
Don Woosley won his first national event when he upset Dale Armstrong in the finals of the 1975
Sportsnationals in his home state of Kentucky. Don, who had already beaten Ken Veney, John Carter
and Jim Archer, stunned the low qualifier in the final round when he ran 7.17 to Dale's losing, but
much quicker, 705. After the race he said, "I knew those other guys were quicker but I always knew
I'd be able to cover them." And cover them he did.
For his career Don won a total of ten NHRA national events and went to another ten final rounds. He
won the NHRA World Championship in 1982 and had four other top ten finishes. He also won the
sportsman All Star competition and seven Division 3 championships. And as good as he was on the
national level he was even more devastating at the divisional races where he went to forty final
rounds and won twenty-nine of them. Along with his partners Bill Sharp and Bill Reynolds, they ran
a blown alcohol dragster that was as good as any in the class in the 1980's and they were a
familiar fixture in the late rounds at any event they attended. On a personal note, I used to go to
Ohio Valley Raceway several times a year, and whenever the Ale8-One car would appear I knew we were
in for a great day.
Don is survived by his sons, Lowrey, Jason and Chris, two grandsons and three brothers and he will
be missed by drag racing fans everywhere.
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