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Fri, 26 Oct 2012, 12:36 PM

Remembering Jon Knapp
Courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment

Jon Knapp
Jon Knapp of J2 Racing-friend of Summit Racing Equipment and a personal friend of Team Summit drivers and crew-passed away Monday, October 22.

Jon and Joanne began working with Summit Racing and the KB Racing Pro Stock team in 2009. If you read something about Team Summit, saw Greg Anderson, Jason Line, Rob Downing, team owner Ken Black, and crew members on ESPN, or heard them on the radio, Jon and Joanne likely had a hand in it. They made things look so easy, and passed on their enthusiasm to everyone they worked with.

Jon had been in the motorsports marketing profession for 16 years. He and his wife Joanne founded their motorsports public relations company, J2 Racing, in 1996, and quickly became one of the most respected public relations teams in drag racing. They worked for many teams including Tom Martino (NHRA Pro Stock) Chuck Etchells, Whit Bazemore, and Jim Epler (NHRA Funny Car), Warren and Kurt Johnson (NHRA Pro Stock), Tommy Hammonds (NHRA Pro Stock), and Angelle Sampey (NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle). Jon and Joanne have been associated with Mike Geylin and KGPR Public Relations since 2011.

Jon's impact on the motorsports community is reflected in the comments from the people who worked with him:

"Everyone at Summit Racing Equipment is saddened at Jon's passing, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Joanne," said Ray Tatko, President of Summit Racing. "We will miss Jon's professionalism and genuine enthusiasm for the sport of drag racing."

"Jon was a very creative guy, great at what he did," said Jim Greenleaf, Summit Racing Motorsports and Events Manager. "I always considered Jon and Joanne friends first, co-workers second. They loved everything about drag racing and the people involved in it-an attitude that was reflected in their work."

"Jon and Joanne were usually the first to get to the track and the last to leave," explained Nan Gelhard, Summit Racing Advertising Manager. "Jon always had an idea, a way to connect the team with fans. We all counted on him."

"Jon made working with the media easy. He simplified everything and made us look like shining stars," said Greg Anderson, four-time NHRA Pro Stock champion and member of the Summit Racing/KB Racing Pro Stock team. "Jon was a close friend, and not just at the race track. He was the most absolutely loyal person, true-blue to the people he worked for and with. I don't know how he will be replaced on this team."

"Jon did his work wide open," said current NHRA Pro Stock champion Jason Line. "He did things with the same intensity as the race team-celebrated our wins and took our losses just as hard as we did. Jon and Joanne became our friends."

"Jon was a huge part of our team. He was always offering to do more, to help with things even if they were not his responsibilities," offered Rob Downing, crew chief for Greg Anderson's Summit Racing Pro Stock Camaro. "Jon had the ability to always be in touch with what was going on and made sure Greg, Jason, and the rest of us were doing what they needed to do."

Memorial services will be private. There will be a celebration Mass in November. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation:

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