'Grumpy' Jenkins passed away - Hemi Truck Club
 
Go Back   Hemi Truck Club > HEMI | At The Track > NASCAR, Motor Sports and Pro-Racing

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-29-2012, 01:19 PM   #1
Board of Directors
 
HemiByrd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Draffenville, KY
Posts: 25,097
Garage
I hated to hear about this. "Da Grump" was one of my all-time favorite drivers. R.I.P., Grumpy.

Quote:
Pro Stock legend Bill 'Grumpy' Jenkins dies
Thursday, March 29, 2012
by John Jodauga, National DRAGSTER Associate Editor

NHRA Pro Stock icon Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, a master of the internal combustion engine and a legend among the Chevrolet faithful, died March 29. He was 81.

Jenkins, voted No. 8 among NHRA Drag Racing's greatest racers in a 2001 experts poll, scored just 13 NHRA national event wins but earned his well-deserved spot in drag racing's top 10 because no other individual has contributed more to the advancement of normally aspirated engines for drag racing competition than the legendary "Grump."

“Everyone at NHRA is saddened by the passing of Bill ‘Grumpy’ Jenkins, not only a pioneer in the sport, but also an iconic figure in NHRA Pro Stock racing,” said NHRA President Tom Compton. “He was there from the beginning, playing an integral role in the formation of Pro Stock, and remained involved in NHRA for decades. His presence and trademark gruff exterior and cigar will be missed but never forgotten at the starting line at NHRA Full Throttle events.”

Jenkins always took greater pride in his mechanical achievements than in his driving. Among his innovations are drag racing's first dry-sump oiling system, the first kickout oil pans and Pro Stock strut-style front suspension, and gas port pistons, slick-shift manual transmissions, cool cans, and the electric water-pump fan.

Though these accomplishments had long been noted by Jenkins' peers, it was his fielding of the sport's fastest Chevys that caught the attention of fans. When Chevrolet dropped out of racing in early 1963, Chevy owners needed a banner carrier, and Jenkins filled the void. He gained national prominence in 1966 with his 327-cid, 350-horsepower Chevy II that could outrun most of the 426-cid, 425-horsepower Dodge and Plymouth Street Hemis. He exploited the "giant killer" approach in 1972 when he won six of eight national events with his 331-cid small-block Pro Stock Vega.

Jenkins began competing at dragstrips in the late 1950s after studying mechanical engineering at New York's Cornell University. Concentrating primarily on Jr. Stock entries, he became an East Coast cult figure by the mid-1960s after having helped prepare more than 30 cars that set national records. In addition, Jenkins teamed with Dave Strickler to win Little Eliminator at the 1963 Nationals with an A/FX 427 '63 Chevy.

Following Chevrolet's exit from racing, Jenkins and Strickler ran a 1964 Nationals A/FX class-winning '64 Dodge, then Jenkins drove his own S/SA '65 Dodge Black Arrow to the Stock win at the 1965 Winternationals. The unwillingness of Chrysler officials to meet Jenkins' terms in 1966 prompted Jenkins to campaign a Chevy independently that year.

Jenkins recorded Pro Stock's first nine-second run, a 9.98, at the 1970 Winternationals to defeat the Sox & Martin Plymouth Barracuda for NHRA's first national event Pro Stock title.

Said Jenkins, "I figured that a Chevy could be marketable if it was competitive enough, and I thought I could do the job with the L-79 package [a carbureted, hydraulic-lifter version of the solid lifter Corvette engine] in an A/S Chevy II. It fell into the same class as the Dodge and Plymouth 426-cid Street Hemis, and that looked like a pretty good gimmick at the time."

The "gimmick" worked beyond Jenkins' expectations, and he set a class record of 11.66. Only the Street Hemi driven by Jere Stahl, who held off "the Grump" in the finals of the 1966 Nationals and World Finals, was quicker.

"It was my first serious four-speed car; I used automatics with the Mopars," he said. "We applied a lot of slick-shift technology to the transmissions and made good use of the slapper bar style of traction device originally used by Stahl and Frank Sanders. By the end of the year, I could dump the clutch at 6,000 rpm when most of the other guys had to feather the throttle on the 7-inch tires that we were restricted to."

The Chevy II was the first in the popular series of Grumpy's Toys. Chevrolet's Vince Piggins added Jenkins to his payroll in 1967, though it was vigorously denied. Jenkins more than justified his compensation by driving his new 375-horsepower, 396-cid '67 Camaro in the expanded Super Stock category at the year's biggest race, the Nationals. For an encore, he entered four cars at the 1968 World Finals, scoring one win and two runner-ups.

As it is today, Super Stock was run on a handicap start to accommodate the variety of the day's muscle cars, but Jenkins and cohorts such as Ronnie Sox, Buddy Martin, and Don Nicholson created greater crowd appeal with their heads-up match race cars that were running nines. They proved so popular that NHRA adopted the format for its new Pro Stock category in 1970, and Jenkins began the year with back-to-back wins over Sox at the Winternationals and Gatornationals.
Bill Jenkins' 72 Vega revolutionized the Pro Stock class.

Formal factory backing and the sheer number of entries swung the pendulum to Chrysler's favor, and Jenkins was winless through the remainder of 1970 and all of 1971. Recognizing that the vast number of fans drove Chevrolets, NHRA reconfigured the rules to allow cars with small-block wedge engines to run at a lighter weight break. An untested short-wheelbase Vega that Jenkins built for the 1972 season was held to a subpar 9.90 to qualify a disappointing 17th for the 32-car field at the season-opening Winternationals. Last-minute suspension changes enabled Jenkins to improve to low 9.6s on race day, and he defeated five Chrysler Hemi entries for his most memorable victory.

Jenkins won six of NHRA's eight national events that year, and with his $35,000 win at the Professional Racers Association event in Oklahoma, an increase in manufacturer support, and an expanded match race schedule, Jenkins grossed $250,000 to match NBA star Wilt Chamberlain's salary as the highest paid pro athlete in the country, resulting in coverage in Time magazine, the first time a drag racer had been given mainstream recognition.

Still, Jenkins found reason to grunt, "The Vega cost me about three times as much to build as the first Pro Stock Camaro. I got some self-gratification over making almost 200 runs that year without missing a shift, but I had to hire a guy full time to maintain the transmissions and clutches, and that wasn't cheap."

Though Jenkins' '72 Vega was easily his most successful car, Grumpy's Toy XI, which he built in 1974, had the most lasting influence on Pro Stock chassis design. It was the first car to employ a McPherson strut front-suspension configuration, co-engineered with Roger Lamb, and introduced the first dry-sump oiling system for drag racing. Both innovations remain standard equipment.

Though Chevrolet had not officially participated in racing since 1963, the automaker collaborated with Jenkins in 1967, and "the Grump" rewarded Chevrolet with a Super Stock victory at that year's Nationals.
Jenkins, right, won the 1976 NHRA Pro Stock championship with driver Larry Lombardo. Jenkins' other driver, Ken Dondero, won the AHRA crown.

To spend more time on research and development, Jenkins hired Larry Lombardo and Ken Dondero. Lombardo, who replaced Jenkins in the cockpit at the second race of the 1976 schedule, overcame the initial points deficit to win the NHRA Pro Stock championship, and Dondero claimed the AHRA title.

The Lombardo/Jenkins tandem finished third in 1977 and second in 1978, and Lombardo left the team following a seventh-place effort in 1979. Reduced match race activity forced Jenkins to cut his operation in the early 1980s. He completed his final season as a Pro Stock team owner in 1983.

Jenkins' subsequent limited Pro Stock efforts were highlighted by Joe Lepone's victory at the 1985 Winternationals with a Jenkins engine, but "the Grump's" primary focus was on Comp engines, which helped propel Steve Johns, Bob Kaiser, and Garley Daniels to season titles. Working primarily with splayed-valve, six-cylinder powerplants, Jenkins developed enough technology through the mid-1990s to allow him to capitalize on the creation of the new Pro Stock Truck category in 1998.

Using the same splayed-valve technology on 358-cid small-block V-8s, Jenkins built the engine that Larry Kopp drove to the 1998 national championship and ones for national event winners Johns, Mark Osborne, Tim Freeman, Brad Jeter, Scott Perin, and Don Smith.

Jenkins remained active in engine building through the mid-2000s, involved in several contemporary Pro Stock efforts, most notably with Cagnazzi Racing, Jim Yates Racing, and Dave Northrop.

Jenkins earned many honors, including induction into the Don Garlits International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1993, the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Novi, Mich., in 1996, and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2008. He was one of the more prolific honorees in Car Craft Magazine All-star Drag Racing Team balloting since winning three individual titles at the inaugural banquet in 1967.

On making NHRA's top 10, Jenkins briefly shed his gruff exterior in 2001 to say, "Since it seemed that the balloting was heavily weighted toward the more contemporary drivers and I haven't driven in 20 years, I was gratified to make it high on the list. Having so many of the people I've worked with show up at my [70th birthday] party in January meant a lot to me. I've always had a lot of personal satisfaction from the mechanical end of the sport."
http://www.nhra.com/story/2012...grumpy-jenkins-dies/

__________________
'05 RCSB 1500 SLT 5.7 Hemi Ram - Airaid Long Snorkel UBI CAI - Taylor shorty wires - MSD Coil Packs – Magnaflow y-pipe - Flowmaster 50HD - Superchips 3865 - Motive 4.56 gears - Detroit Truetrac - PML differential cover – some good Karma 8.87 ET
HemiByrd is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-29-2012, 01:19 PM   #2
Board of Directors
 
HemiByrd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Draffenville, KY
Posts: 25,097
Garage
I hated to hear about this. "Da Grump" was one of my all-time favorite drivers. R.I.P., Grumpy.

Quote:
Pro Stock legend Bill 'Grumpy' Jenkins dies
Thursday, March 29, 2012
by John Jodauga, National DRAGSTER Associate Editor

NHRA Pro Stock icon Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, a master of the internal combustion engine and a legend among the Chevrolet faithful, died March 29. He was 81.

Jenkins, voted No. 8 among NHRA Drag Racing's greatest racers in a 2001 experts poll, scored just 13 NHRA national event wins but earned his well-deserved spot in drag racing's top 10 because no other individual has contributed more to the advancement of normally aspirated engines for drag racing competition than the legendary "Grump."

“Everyone at NHRA is saddened by the passing of Bill ‘Grumpy’ Jenkins, not only a pioneer in the sport, but also an iconic figure in NHRA Pro Stock racing,” said NHRA President Tom Compton. “He was there from the beginning, playing an integral role in the formation of Pro Stock, and remained involved in NHRA for decades. His presence and trademark gruff exterior and cigar will be missed but never forgotten at the starting line at NHRA Full Throttle events.”

Jenkins always took greater pride in his mechanical achievements than in his driving. Among his innovations are drag racing's first dry-sump oiling system, the first kickout oil pans and Pro Stock strut-style front suspension, and gas port pistons, slick-shift manual transmissions, cool cans, and the electric water-pump fan.

Though these accomplishments had long been noted by Jenkins' peers, it was his fielding of the sport's fastest Chevys that caught the attention of fans. When Chevrolet dropped out of racing in early 1963, Chevy owners needed a banner carrier, and Jenkins filled the void. He gained national prominence in 1966 with his 327-cid, 350-horsepower Chevy II that could outrun most of the 426-cid, 425-horsepower Dodge and Plymouth Street Hemis. He exploited the "giant killer" approach in 1972 when he won six of eight national events with his 331-cid small-block Pro Stock Vega.

Jenkins began competing at dragstrips in the late 1950s after studying mechanical engineering at New York's Cornell University. Concentrating primarily on Jr. Stock entries, he became an East Coast cult figure by the mid-1960s after having helped prepare more than 30 cars that set national records. In addition, Jenkins teamed with Dave Strickler to win Little Eliminator at the 1963 Nationals with an A/FX 427 '63 Chevy.

Following Chevrolet's exit from racing, Jenkins and Strickler ran a 1964 Nationals A/FX class-winning '64 Dodge, then Jenkins drove his own S/SA '65 Dodge Black Arrow to the Stock win at the 1965 Winternationals. The unwillingness of Chrysler officials to meet Jenkins' terms in 1966 prompted Jenkins to campaign a Chevy independently that year.

Jenkins recorded Pro Stock's first nine-second run, a 9.98, at the 1970 Winternationals to defeat the Sox & Martin Plymouth Barracuda for NHRA's first national event Pro Stock title.

Said Jenkins, "I figured that a Chevy could be marketable if it was competitive enough, and I thought I could do the job with the L-79 package [a carbureted, hydraulic-lifter version of the solid lifter Corvette engine] in an A/S Chevy II. It fell into the same class as the Dodge and Plymouth 426-cid Street Hemis, and that looked like a pretty good gimmick at the time."

The "gimmick" worked beyond Jenkins' expectations, and he set a class record of 11.66. Only the Street Hemi driven by Jere Stahl, who held off "the Grump" in the finals of the 1966 Nationals and World Finals, was quicker.

"It was my first serious four-speed car; I used automatics with the Mopars," he said. "We applied a lot of slick-shift technology to the transmissions and made good use of the slapper bar style of traction device originally used by Stahl and Frank Sanders. By the end of the year, I could dump the clutch at 6,000 rpm when most of the other guys had to feather the throttle on the 7-inch tires that we were restricted to."

The Chevy II was the first in the popular series of Grumpy's Toys. Chevrolet's Vince Piggins added Jenkins to his payroll in 1967, though it was vigorously denied. Jenkins more than justified his compensation by driving his new 375-horsepower, 396-cid '67 Camaro in the expanded Super Stock category at the year's biggest race, the Nationals. For an encore, he entered four cars at the 1968 World Finals, scoring one win and two runner-ups.

As it is today, Super Stock was run on a handicap start to accommodate the variety of the day's muscle cars, but Jenkins and cohorts such as Ronnie Sox, Buddy Martin, and Don Nicholson created greater crowd appeal with their heads-up match race cars that were running nines. They proved so popular that NHRA adopted the format for its new Pro Stock category in 1970, and Jenkins began the year with back-to-back wins over Sox at the Winternationals and Gatornationals.
Bill Jenkins' 72 Vega revolutionized the Pro Stock class.

Formal factory backing and the sheer number of entries swung the pendulum to Chrysler's favor, and Jenkins was winless through the remainder of 1970 and all of 1971. Recognizing that the vast number of fans drove Chevrolets, NHRA reconfigured the rules to allow cars with small-block wedge engines to run at a lighter weight break. An untested short-wheelbase Vega that Jenkins built for the 1972 season was held to a subpar 9.90 to qualify a disappointing 17th for the 32-car field at the season-opening Winternationals. Last-minute suspension changes enabled Jenkins to improve to low 9.6s on race day, and he defeated five Chrysler Hemi entries for his most memorable victory.

Jenkins won six of NHRA's eight national events that year, and with his $35,000 win at the Professional Racers Association event in Oklahoma, an increase in manufacturer support, and an expanded match race schedule, Jenkins grossed $250,000 to match NBA star Wilt Chamberlain's salary as the highest paid pro athlete in the country, resulting in coverage in Time magazine, the first time a drag racer had been given mainstream recognition.

Still, Jenkins found reason to grunt, "The Vega cost me about three times as much to build as the first Pro Stock Camaro. I got some self-gratification over making almost 200 runs that year without missing a shift, but I had to hire a guy full time to maintain the transmissions and clutches, and that wasn't cheap."

Though Jenkins' '72 Vega was easily his most successful car, Grumpy's Toy XI, which he built in 1974, had the most lasting influence on Pro Stock chassis design. It was the first car to employ a McPherson strut front-suspension configuration, co-engineered with Roger Lamb, and introduced the first dry-sump oiling system for drag racing. Both innovations remain standard equipment.

Though Chevrolet had not officially participated in racing since 1963, the automaker collaborated with Jenkins in 1967, and "the Grump" rewarded Chevrolet with a Super Stock victory at that year's Nationals.
Jenkins, right, won the 1976 NHRA Pro Stock championship with driver Larry Lombardo. Jenkins' other driver, Ken Dondero, won the AHRA crown.

To spend more time on research and development, Jenkins hired Larry Lombardo and Ken Dondero. Lombardo, who replaced Jenkins in the cockpit at the second race of the 1976 schedule, overcame the initial points deficit to win the NHRA Pro Stock championship, and Dondero claimed the AHRA title.

The Lombardo/Jenkins tandem finished third in 1977 and second in 1978, and Lombardo left the team following a seventh-place effort in 1979. Reduced match race activity forced Jenkins to cut his operation in the early 1980s. He completed his final season as a Pro Stock team owner in 1983.

Jenkins' subsequent limited Pro Stock efforts were highlighted by Joe Lepone's victory at the 1985 Winternationals with a Jenkins engine, but "the Grump's" primary focus was on Comp engines, which helped propel Steve Johns, Bob Kaiser, and Garley Daniels to season titles. Working primarily with splayed-valve, six-cylinder powerplants, Jenkins developed enough technology through the mid-1990s to allow him to capitalize on the creation of the new Pro Stock Truck category in 1998.

Using the same splayed-valve technology on 358-cid small-block V-8s, Jenkins built the engine that Larry Kopp drove to the 1998 national championship and ones for national event winners Johns, Mark Osborne, Tim Freeman, Brad Jeter, Scott Perin, and Don Smith.

Jenkins remained active in engine building through the mid-2000s, involved in several contemporary Pro Stock efforts, most notably with Cagnazzi Racing, Jim Yates Racing, and Dave Northrop.

Jenkins earned many honors, including induction into the Don Garlits International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1993, the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Novi, Mich., in 1996, and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2008. He was one of the more prolific honorees in Car Craft Magazine All-star Drag Racing Team balloting since winning three individual titles at the inaugural banquet in 1967.

On making NHRA's top 10, Jenkins briefly shed his gruff exterior in 2001 to say, "Since it seemed that the balloting was heavily weighted toward the more contemporary drivers and I haven't driven in 20 years, I was gratified to make it high on the list. Having so many of the people I've worked with show up at my [70th birthday] party in January meant a lot to me. I've always had a lot of personal satisfaction from the mechanical end of the sport."
http://www.nhra.com/story/2012...grumpy-jenkins-dies/
__________________
'05 RCSB 1500 SLT 5.7 Hemi Ram - Airaid Long Snorkel UBI CAI - Taylor shorty wires - MSD Coil Packs – Magnaflow y-pipe - Flowmaster 50HD - Superchips 3865 - Motive 4.56 gears - Detroit Truetrac - PML differential cover – some good Karma 8.87 ET
HemiByrd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2012, 07:39 AM   #3
Mopower or no Power!!
 
3rd Strike Performance's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Sikeston, MO
Posts: 2,221
__________________
http://www.3rdstrikeperformance.com
Like us on Facebook!

Phone: 573-258-9999

[email protected]
3rd Strike Performance is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-30-2012, 08:05 AM   #4
Board of Directors (Jay)
 
Superjay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Isle of Palms, SC
Posts: 43,454
__________________
2003, Std. SWB, SLT, 20", 4:56 gear, AFE CAI, Superchip, 6.1 cam, 6.1 heads, Manley springs, retainers, pushrods, Edelbrock Hedders, 195 T-Stat, 8.2 Taylor, AEM, Power Wire, ARC-1,Amsoil Everything, and more. Veni Vidi Vici

HTC.com Titan Killer Club

Member # 17



Superjay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2012, 02:43 PM   #5
Greg
 
Redtruck-VA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 18,918
Garage
Passing of an icon. I lived in Pomona in the early 60's just over the hill from the Fair Grounds. What sticks in my mind was him being a east coast guy breaking into what we thought of as west coast turf. Back in the day there was not only competition between makes but west coast verses the world. back in the day Pomona Valley Timing Assiciation ran just about every weekend.
__________________
2003 RCSB, 2wd, "Pro-Street"
6.4L/cog driven V7-Ysi/46rh trans/HTH Truckarm coilover suspension. HP Tuning...

1# 2017 HTC FASTEST HEMI List....
Current 1/4 mile [email protected] (2018)
Current 60' PB 1.351 (2019) mechanical issue for 1/4m

HTC 2018 TOTY

Support vehicle- 2007 QC G56 4x4 diesel
Redtruck-VA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2012, 08:36 PM   #6
Board of Directors
 
HemiByrd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Draffenville, KY
Posts: 25,097
Garage
We've lost a bunch of Super Stock and Pro Stock icons like Ronnie Sox, Dick Landy, and "Dyno" Don Nicholson. However, good old Herb McCandless is still around and still doing commentary at a lot of the Hemi Shootout events. I had the privilege of seeing him race his A990 1965 Plymouth Belvedere many, many times in Memphis before he was hired by Sox & Martin. Herb was every bit as good as Ronnie when it came to shifting that 4 speed 426 Hemi. Flat out awesome!
__________________
'05 RCSB 1500 SLT 5.7 Hemi Ram - Airaid Long Snorkel UBI CAI - Taylor shorty wires - MSD Coil Packs – Magnaflow y-pipe - Flowmaster 50HD - Superchips 3865 - Motive 4.56 gears - Detroit Truetrac - PML differential cover – some good Karma 8.87 ET
HemiByrd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2012, 07:10 PM   #7
Board of Directors
 
HemiByrd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Draffenville, KY
Posts: 25,097
Garage
<span class="flash-video"><object codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=8,0,0,0"
classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000"
height="480"
width="853"
><param name="allowScriptAccess"
value="never"
></param><param name="wmode"
value="transparent"
></param><param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/sJpnzIZjY7E?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0"
name="movie"
/><param value="true"
/><param value="always"
/><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash"
pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"
wmode="transparent"
allowScriptAccess="never"
height="480"
width="853"
src="http://www.youtube.com/v/sJpnzIZjY7E?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0"
/></object></span>
__________________
'05 RCSB 1500 SLT 5.7 Hemi Ram - Airaid Long Snorkel UBI CAI - Taylor shorty wires - MSD Coil Packs – Magnaflow y-pipe - Flowmaster 50HD - Superchips 3865 - Motive 4.56 gears - Detroit Truetrac - PML differential cover – some good Karma 8.87 ET
HemiByrd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2012, 04:10 PM   #8
"Bob"
 
motorscooter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 13,530
Garage
__________________
http://www.hemitruckclub.com/forums/...cture421t.jpeg
motorscooter is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Premium Vendor Showcase
n2 Speed Edge InTune Edge OCPerformance Parts

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:52 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.