Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins Dies Of Heart Failure - March 29, 2012

December 22, 1930 - March 29, 2012
Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins
(photo credit: Roy's World via photopin cc)
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Between 1965 and 1975, he won a total of thirteen NHRA events. Most of these wins were won with a four-speed manual transmission. In 1972 he recorded 250 straight passes without missing a shift.

He was formally trained as a mechanical engineer at Cornell University, and he used his training and skills to build engines. He has been inducted in numerous motorsports halls of fame for his engine building skills in the National Hot Rod Association Pro Stock division. His innovations include drag racing's first kickout oil pans, Pro Stock strut-style front suspension, and dry sump oiling system, and cool cans, electric water pump fan, gas port pistons, and slick-shift manual transmissions. Considered the "Father of Pro Stock", Jenkins-built engines were used to win five NHRA Pro Stock championships and three American Hot Rod Association championships.

He was nicknamed "Grumpy" for having a no-nonsense attitude at races. The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America said: "his continual search for improved performance left little time for idle chatter with his racing colleagues."

Jenkins also worked on some NASCAR engines. He built the engine Donnie Allison used to take the pole position in the 1975 Daytona 500. Mike Swaim used a Jenkins motor to take the pole for the 1987 Busch Series race at Daytona.

Jenkins was inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2008. He had previously been inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1996 and Don Garlits International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1993. In 2001, he was ranked eighth on NHRA's Top 50 Drivers of all-time. The American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association named him to their All-America Team in 1972, and he was awarded Chevrolet's of Performance in 1984. Jenkins was selected 21 times to the Car Craft all-star drag racing team including winning the "Man of the Year" and "Ollie Award".

Jenkins died on March 29, 2012 of heart failure in Paoli, Pennsylvania.

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