Gary said yes, and Kenny became a Funny Car owner. Other wins would follow. The car was successful as a Top Gas dragster, but the lure of nitro proved too powerful to resist. With a potential sale in the works, Kenny went out to the garage to air up the tires so he could load the car in its trailer. He had been successfully running fuel-fired Olds engines in a Fiat Coupe, but was anxious to see how well his motors could do in a digger, so the three joined forces with Ratican becoming an honorary Sour Sister, whether he liked it or not. We all took junkyard parts and turned them into something special, but Safford had a knack for doing it well. While partying at the motel was part of drag-racing life, what happened on the strip was much more important, and Kenny soon showed what he was made of, claiming Top Stock runner-up in his potent Chevy.

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He passed away one day before my 78th Birthday. Among those he met was Gary Dyer, driver of the Mr.

When he was just a year old, his parents left safrord cold north of Minnesota and followed the setting sun to California. He was a straight-up guy, who truly enjoyed driving and tuning a race car. Today, Kevin works for Strange Engineering and has been there for 37 years.

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With the Road Kings showing kennny the way, Kenny went right from the classroom to the dragstrip. He was very inventive and had many skills.

Drag Racer Kenny Safford Passes Away | SEMA

He was a poor kid in a rich-kid school. Gangs took over the streets and murdered a young tenant who lived above the shop. Well, he did, and when the bike started with a roar, I went head over heels, cartwheeling down the hill.

X Newsletter Sign Up. She’s helping out with the plans for the double memorial. They were buddies to the end. More importantly, they were loyal to each other and forged bonds that would last a lifetime. All of the Road Kings I spoke to recalled riding motorcycles in the desert during the winter.

Some birthday that was! The whole thing was very intimidating and the confidence I had felt in Burbank waned in Atlanta. To see him diminished was cruel, but he had a great life and enjoyed it thoroughly. Kenny probably had his mind on something else as he aired it up.

He went home to rest while Romeo built a new car.

The Safford-Ratican-Gaide team won 17 out of the first 22 Top Fuel races it attended but also was hard on parts. Shortly after the holidays, Larry Bowers asked if he would drive his Top Fuel car for the season. Carolyn worked with Kenny at Performance for a dozen years and recalls with dismay how the neighborhood around the Southside speed shop deteriorated in the s. You could do that on them old cars and make it move. I feel so bad about the whole thing. Shark bit off some big numbers, and Kenny was rolling again.


Quick to Make Friends and Reach the Finish Line, Road King Kenny Safford was Drag-Racing Royalty

Settles and Kevin went on tour for the season, and Kenny wrenched the car back in the shop, joining them on the road when he could. I had a brand-new Husqvarna and had just climbed aboard when Kenny came flying by me and drove right into the side of the bike. That effort was another unqualified success as Baca took runner-up honors at the Winternationals. Here’s another story a friend of mine sent me. We dated for about a year and got married.

Drag Racer Kenny Safford Passes Away

They richened saftord up a bunch for the first round and lost, but it was an impressive performance. To my surprise, they embraced the name. He was a special man. A few years earlier, Dyer had painted tombstones on his hauler with the names of the cars and drivers that he had beaten.