Special Decals for This Week’s Dollar General Summer Nationals at Topeka
TOPEKA, Kansas – In celebration of the memory of the man who developed the Shelby Ford Cobra and the Shelby Mustang, the four Ford Mustang Funny Cars representing John Force Racing, Inc., will be outfitted this week with special Carroll Shelby decals for this week’s 24th annual NHRA Dollar General Summer Nationals at Heartland Park-Topeka.
Shelby, the free-spirited Texan who excelled as both racer and designer, died last Thursday at Baylor Hospital in Dallas. He was 89 years old and, most recently, had collaborated with Ford on the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang which, with 650 horsepower, is the most powerful V8 production car in the world.
According to an obituary in the Los Angeles Times for which his late friend, motorsports writer Shav Glick, received credit along with Jerry Hirsch, Shelby “had a heart transplant from a Las Vegas gambler in 1990 and a kidney transplant from his son in 1996 (and) was married seven times.”
While trying to fend off an anticipated heart attack, Shelby once drove an entire race with nitroglycerin pills underneath his tongue – and still finished third.
The LA Times quoted him as saying “if I hadn’t slowed down each time I popped one of those pills, I might have won.” He announced his retirement as a driver that year after winning the U.S. Road Racing Championship series at Riverside Raceway in California.
Five years before, in 1955, he had replaced a plastic cast on his broken elbow with a fiberglass one and had his hand taped to the steering wheel so he could help the legendary Phil Hill drive a Ferrari to second place in the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida.
“We need more Carroll Shelbys today,” said Robert Hight, president of JFR and driver of one of the most powerful Ford race cars in the world, the Auto Club Mustang Funny Car in which he won the Summer Nationals the last two years. “His will to win is the same as John’s. You do whatever it takes; you overcome all the obstacles.”