Steve Johnson Comments On The Passing Of NHRA Founder Wally Parks
IRONDALE, AL 9/29/07 "Every fan, participant and supporting manufacturer of the sport of drag racing is going to feel the loss of Wally Parks for years to come," said Steve Johnson from his race shop in Irondale, Ala. "Mr. Parks represented everything that was good and decent about our sport. It was his strength of personality that made drag racing a family sport, just as it was his innovative thinking that helped elevate what had been pretty much a localized activity into a nationally and internationally recognized major league endeavor.
"Wally made NHRA drag racing a professional sport, one which now attracts millions of fans both at the track and at home in their living rooms. It was Mr. Parks who had the foresight to recognize that drag racing would make an exciting televised form of racing.
"I'm no different from thousands of others who can say with complete honesty that every single conversation I had with Mr. Parks over the years was enlightening and inspirational. Every time we talked about Pro Stock Motorcycle racing I came away amazed at his depth of knowledge about of our class.
"He was a friend. He'd call me occasionally, and I can't tell you how much I looked forward to those calls.
"I don't know how we're going to replace him because he truly was one of those irreplaceable individuals. . It was his overall understanding of what drag racing could and should become that was simply astounding.
"In the years ahead others will take over the helm of the National Hot Rod Association, but regardless of the positive things they'll do for the sport, they'll owe all of their successes to the path first tread by Mr. Parks."