NHRA board member Dick Wells dies
LONGTIME NHRA BOARD MEMBER AND FIRST NATIONAL DRAGSTER EDITOR DICK WELLS (1934-2010) DIES AT 75 Dick Wells, the first editor of National DRAGSTER and a longtime member of the NHRA Board of Directors, died late Monday night from complications after ...
LONGTIME NHRA BOARD MEMBER AND FIRST NATIONAL DRAGSTER EDITOR DICK WELLS (1934-2010) DIES AT 75
Dick Wells, the first editor of National DRAGSTER and a longtime member of the NHRA Board of Directors, died late Monday night from complications after heart surgery last November. He was 75.
A member of both the NHRA board of directors and the NHRA Wally Parks Museum board of directors, SEMA Industry Hall of Famer Wells began his long and storied career in motorsports as National DRAGSTER's first editor in 1960.
"Dick loved the NHRA and everything about drag racing and the world of performance," said Dallas Gardner, NHRA chairman of the board. "His passion led him to a lifetime of contribution that, simply put, made things better. His efforts and influence touched everyone. He was a great part of the leadership that saw the sport grow to what it has become today. We will miss him for his participation, but we will miss him more as a friend."
As the original editor of National DRAGSTER, Wells laid the foundation for what would become drag racing's most famous publication. He joined the NHRA Board of Directors in 1979 and has been an important force behind the scenes for the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body since then.
"NHRA lost one of its most loyal and trusted advisors and friends in Dick Wells," said Tom Compton, president, NHRA. "He was an integral part of NHRA in the early days and has been a guiding force for NHRA ever since. Dick loved NHRA and was an ambassador like no other for the sport. On behalf of his NHRA family, we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed."
After his tenure at National DRAGSTER, the hot-rodder from Lincoln, Nebraska, later moved on to editorial positions at Hot Rod and earned the title of executive editor at Motor Trend. As Petersen Publishing Company's director of special events, Wells produced what many believe to be his greatest contribution to the automotive industry: the first SEMA Show in 1967 at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.
Wells, who also began the Street Rod Nationals and was the first active president of the National Street Rod Association, is credited with the massive street rod movement in the U.S. In 2007, he retired from the position of vice president of corporate projects at SEMA, where he also served as executive director in the 1970s.
He has been honored many times over for contributions to the automotive industry. He was named SEMA Person of the Year in 1977 and was inducted into the SEMA Industry Hall of Fame in 1993. He was presented the International Specialty Car Association (ISCA) Founder's Award in 1994, the Street Rod Marketing Alliance Industry Recognition Award in 1996, and was among those honored with the NHRA Pioneers Award in 2001. Last year he was inducted into the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
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