|Gone Racin' Newsletter by Richard Parks #109 060301|
*From Sherry Schaeffer, daughter of Jerry Eisert. "My father, Jerry Eisert, passed away
very early on Friday morning February 23, 2006, after a long battle with colon cancer.
We are having a memorial for him Saturday March 4th at 1:00 PM at Grace Church, San
Marcos. We expect a lot of family, friends and racing buddies. I'm Jerry's oldest daughter,
Sherry. I remember standing in the pits and gasoline alley as a young girl. Knowing my
Dad was battling cancer my husband and I built a second home (with a huge garage) on
our property in Southern California for my parents. Currently I have the 96 Indy Race
Car in my garage. This car was driven by Al Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Ronnie Duman,
Greg Weld, Peter Revson, Jerry Grant, Billy Foster & Roger McCluskey. Dad never stop-
ped designing cars, currently he has an unfinished hot rod with a rear engine North Star
Cadillac engine! My husband and brothers are going to finish it in memory of my dad."
Memorial for Jerry Eisert, March 4th, Saturday 1:00 PM, Grace Church San Marcos. Go to
the following web site for directions. http://www.gracesanmarcos.org/ Reception following at
home of: Sherry & Roland Schaeffer's at Mom & Dad's "new pad" guest home on Mulberry
515 Heiden Court, San Marcos, CA 92069.
*Dirt Nation Radio show hosted every Monday evening by Dave Seay and Doc Lehman, from
Hampton, VA. (Doc Lehman)
*75th Anniversary of the Deuce is coming in 2007. 75 of the most significant ‘32 Hot Rods will
be showcased at the Grand National Roadster Show in January of 2007. For more info see
www.hotrodhotline.com (Jack Lawford)
*SpeedFreaks Sunday Radio Show 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Radio Show Saturdays at 4 p.m.
Network and on Sirius Satellite Channel 122, via Sports Byline USA.
*Perris Auto Speedway USAC/CRA race on Feb 18 has been rescheduled for Saturday night,
April 1st due to a wet track. See www.perrisautospeedway.com or call 951-226-7768.
(Scott Daloisio and Kim Donner)
*Lowe's Motor Speedway website is at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com, or write to P.O. Box
600 Concord, North Carolina 28026.
*Carroll Shelby, 83, racing legend and sports car builder, will receive the seventh annual Eagle
One-Shav Glick Award for distinguished contributions to motor sports in California. The award
will be presented at the NASCAR Auto Club 500 at California Speedway on Sunday. The Jim
Murray Memorial Foundation would like to share with you the following 1991 Jim Murray
column on Carroll Shelby. (Linda McCoy/Murray)
*New Jersey Assemby Bill 757 would require the New Jersey Department of Environmental
Protection to prescribe a decibel limit to which all aftermarket mufflers sold in the state would
have to be certified will be considered by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.
The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Robert Gordon, gives no instruction as to what the decibel
limit should be. (Jason Tolleson)
*Bob Webb, of the Gear Grinders SCTA club is on his 5th biopsy and his heart is doing well. He
has color now and is careful of any infections. Bobby Sights Jr is now vertical and recovering
from his back injury. Dave Brant's son was been off work for 16 weeks due to a neck spinal
injury, but is now back to work. Gene Mooneyham passed away 6 weeks ago. Dyno Don
Nicholson also passed away last week. Wink Eller has been having health issues but is feeling
better. (From the Minutes of the February Gear Grinders Club meeting)
*SCTA El Mirage meets: May 6-7, June 11, July 16, Sept 10, Oct 22, Nov 11-12.
*Bonneville Speed Week August 12-18, 2006
*Bonneville World Finals October 11-14, 2006
*I am trying to help with the innaugural Los Angeles Concours d'Elegance. They are having a
special display of race vehicles of years past. They would like to have a great display of "winning
race vehicles from years past" and are in need of some help in this endeavor. This will be held at
the Rose Bowl and adjacent Brookside Golfcourse on May 21, 2006. Contact Breck Rothage
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 714-928-6111.
*Perris Auto Speedway, Lake Perris, CA, USAC/CRA point standings: Cory Kruseman –
Ventura, CA – 131, Damion Gardner – Concord, CA – 130, Danny Sheridan – Santa Maria,
CA – 105, Mike Spencer – Temecula, CA – 102, Jesse Hockett – Warsaw, MO – 97, Rip
Williams – Yorba Linda, CA – 84, J Hicks – Torrance, CA – 72, Mike Kirby – Torrance, CA
– 69, David Cardey – Riverside, CA – 64, Blake Miller – Yorba Linda, CA - 55. (from Scott
Daloisio and Kim Donner)
*National Auto Sport Association (NASA) started a brand-new season at Willow Springs, CA.
Dan Gardner's TTF car broke the previous record in three separate sessions during the Saturday
competition event with a 1:44.5, 1:44.6, and 1:44.4, beating the previous record by 0.5 seconds.
See Dan's website at www.gardnerautocomm.com.
*Jim Murray column, September 15, 1991, The Best Part Is That He Is Young at Heart.
Carroll Shelby knew he had only weeks to live, maybe days. Only 14% of his heart function
was left. His lungs were filled with fluid. It was an effort to lift the Scotch-and-water off the
table in the Grill Room at Bel-Air and sip it. Carroll was a goner and he knew it. It was nothing
new. Carroll Shelby had had a bad ticker for 30 years. He was the only driver in history who
won the grueling Le Mans 24-hour race gulping nitroglycerin pills. He had won three national
auto racing championships. He was sometimes in a cockpit when he would have been better
off in an iron lung—or at least an oxygen mask. The condition was hereditary. Shelby came
from a long line of people who died young, including his parents. He dealt with the problem in a
typical Carroll Shelby way—he ignored it. As Carroll Shelby sat in the clubhouse and gazed out
at the sloping fairways and preternaturally green putting surfaces, he could reflect on a life that
didn’t owe him a thing. He didn’t miss much. Carroll Shelby was your typical take-a-chance
Texas who, in the old days, would have ridden into town with his own deck and a notched gun,
looking for a cow—or a cowboy—to punch. You looked at him and you knew what Billy the
Kid was all about. Wyatt Earp. He had that same devil-may-care restless energy, zest for
adventure. He never could stand to stay in one place very long. His heart was on its own.
Carroll Shelby was going places. It could come along if it wanted to. He had flown in fighter
planes in World War II. He had gone broke half a dozen times as a chicken farmer and trucking
operator—but it barely slowed him down. It just encouraged him to do what he always wanted
to do: Climb into a race car and go looking for people to beat. He had a great career as a driver.
The last thing you ever wanted to see in your rear-view mirror was Carroll Shelby. You would
shortly be in his rear-view mirror. He won Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and dozens of road races.
But if he had a knack for driving, he had a positive genius for automotive design. He only drove
cars recklessly. He built cars with the meticulous care of a watchmaker. His famous Shelby
Cobras swept the road-racing circuits of the 1960s and made Ford engines much sought after.
But it was their racing configuration that set auto buffs’ hearts pounding. They regarded the
Cobras the way art experts regard the statue of David. There were only 1,000 Shelby Cobras
built, but if you can find one today, it will cost you a million dollars. Shelby built Can-Am cars,
Trans-Am cars. He raced Formula Ones in Europe. He was a man in a hurry because he didn’t
think he had long. After he won the national championship with Cobras for seven years in a row,
he built the Shelby Mustang and won for four more. He was impatient with delays. Once, when
he had gone to Ford looking for $25,000 for a prototype—“Give me the money and I’ll run
Corvette off the road,” he insisted—Lee Iacocca finally ordered, “Give him the money before he
bites somebody.” Disgusted when government-mandated emissions and safety regulations
dropped Detroit out of performance car production, Shelby pitted his career. “America went
out of the business of performance cars and started building shoe boxes on wheels. Ford went
out of racing and put the money in air bags,” he snapped. Shelby didn’t open a garage in
Torrance or a truck dealership in Tulsa. He not only left the business, he left the country. He
went to Africa to become a great white hunter. He considered that just far enough. “I’m always
getting into something I have no business in,” he drawls. He ran his safari and airplane-chartering
business until his friend, Iacocca, moved over to Chrysler. “One of the first things he did was call
me,” Shelby said with some pride. At the time Chrysler felt a need to shake its image as a builder
of dowager-class cars, and Shelby and Iacocca worked on the kind of cars that put less emphasis
on head room and more on style room. Cars named “Stealth” and “Viper” began to creep into
the line instead of cars named “Fifth Avenue.” Shelby, as usual, went too fast for his heart to keep
up. He lived life as if he had two laps to go and four cars to pass, and it took its toll. A bypass
operation in 1973 and another in 1978 only delayed the inevitable. His vitality continued to deter-
iorate. His heart was running on empty. He was like an engine running on one cylinder and miss-
ing. The man who had mastered the treacherous Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans had trouble
handling a golf cart. “My doctor, Rex Kennamer, decided I had better have a heart transplant,”
he said. Thus began the long, lonely, agonizing wait. Organ transplant is the wildest kind of
medical lottery. It is stuff right out of Dr. Frankenstein. It smacks of raising the dead. It is
normally torture for the patient. Shelby took it in stride. He didn’t act like a man on death row.
He acted like a man leading a parade. No one every heard Carroll Shelby complain. Explain,
yes. He candidly admitted he was dying. He shrugged off sympathy. His motto was, “Shut up
and deal” or “Who’s away?” As week piled upon week and month upon month, hope faded for
Carroll Shelby. Finishing races had always been his specialty, but this looked like one time he
would finally hit the wall. On the evening of June 7, 1991, as Carroll Shelby was sitting at the club
trying to figure whom to leave his autos to, a 34-year-old man was hurrying to the crap tables at
a casino in Las Vegas. He dropped dead of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. He was a donor.
His heart was flown to Cedars Sinai Heart Transplant unit in Los Angeles, and Carroll Shelby
was rushed to the operating table. At 10 that night, Dr. Jack Matloff set about to performing an
operation only a Jules Verne would have dreamed of a generation ago. Carroll Shelby was fitted
with a new fuel pump. He’s not going back to Le Mans. He may not even get into Super Vees.
But he’s shooting 76s on his own ball, selling tires, designing cars. Most of him is 68 but at heart
he’s only 34. They are holding a golf tournament for Carroll Shelby at Caesars Tahoe this week.
But it’s not any old member-guest. It’s got heart. The money raised, at Carroll’s insistence, will
go to pay for heart transplants for patients who have no money. Heart transplants cost in the
neighborhood of $300,000 today. Not even retail. “I was at an Auburn-Duesenberg convention
in Indiana recently,” Shelby recalled, “and I went to see this little girl, Leah Smith, who had to
have a heart transplant at 5 days old. She’s 8 months now and doing fine. We want to fix it so
lots of Leah Smiths can have a life. As the song says, ‘You Gotta Have Heart.’” Most people
would say Carroll Shelby always had a lot of it—even when he was down to 14%.
*Reprinted with permission by the Los Angeles Times