Norm sponsorship deal and the car. Kenny hired one of my students, Darryl Johnson, who would continue at Performance for years and learn skills that would reshape his life. To earn spare money, Kenny took on some engine building for the supercharged Chevy digger of Jenke and Muravez. It was all in good fun, but there was often some gentle razzing that led to grumbling, particularly from Gaide. I would call him Big Bird, and he would respond with an uh-huh. Back it out counterclockwise, and the outer tire would fill.
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The first time was in my chassis shop and then in an auto repair business. Then I hit the starter button, with it in reverse gear on a stick shift. To my surprise, they embraced the name. We took care of each other and remained friends to the last. Dyer, who remains spry at 80, would drive out to Palos Hills and take Kenny out to lunch.
His pass was usually the first run of the day and frequently the fastest.
Quick to Make Friends and Reach the Finish Line, Road King Kenny Safford was Drag-Racing Royalty
He was just my all round best friend and I’ll miss him dearly. Shortly after the holidays, Larry Bowers asked if he would drive his Top Fuel car for the season. Other wins would follow. Dave Zeuschel provided the engines and Milodon Engineering contributed equipment and technical assistance. That season, the car would win 75 percent of its races. Nevertheless, Kenny set low e. 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.
Some birthday that was! That was my last motorcycle outing.
You saffor do that on them old cars and make it move. So Kenny again set out for Chicago and prepared for a season on the road, and for the first time his son went with him.
A broken clutch linkage had caused Kenny and Bowers to miss the call for the final round, and Don Garlits won the race with his brand-new, ienny car. In later years, I could go to him for anything.
It was a friendly place, frequented by numerous racers, their wives, and even their kids, including Kim Dyer, Karen Minick, and the Safford children.
The car had to perform well, so Spar wanted Safford in the seat.
I nicknamed them the Sour Sisters. I guess you can’t imagine who named them that. It safcord a little patch of Funny Car heaven on the banks of Interstatejust 45 minutes from U.
I was also in business with him twice. It was a very moving event, with the Road Kings and other friends remembering the early days. Kenny hired one of my students, Darryl Johnson, who would continue at Performance for years and learn skills that would reshape his life.
He was the “Mr Norm” funny car guy you know. The Challenger performed well, but toward the end of the season, Kenny and Gary commissioned Romeo Palamides to build a new racer with a silver Charger body.
LA Roadsters, Hot Rods of Southern California
The Safford-Ratican-Gaide team won 17 out of the first 22 Top Fuel races it attended but also was hard on parts. Kenny set low e. Kenny bought his first car while still a high school sophomore.
It was a good season for the team, but Dyer was itching to get behind the wheel again, so Kenny soon found himself back in California, hanging out with his Road Kings buddies and without a clear plan for his drag racing future. It looked great but had problems. I would call him Big Bird, and he would respond with an uh-huh.
They were buddies to the end.