The Legendary Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins dies at 81

On behalf of the Katech staff, we express our deepest condolences to Bill’s family, friends and racing community. Fritz Kayl, CEO and one of the founders of Katech knew Bill personally and had a long-lasting relationship on and off the track. “We’ve lost a friend, and Bill’s death is a great loss to the sport”


One of the worlds’ greatest drivers and innovators has died at the age of 81. According to the National Hot Road Association(NHRA), he died early Thursday morning. Bill was born in Malvern, Pennsylvania in 1930 and has been a fierce competitor in drag-racing since the 50’s. He re-invented the sport with numerous innovations in chassis and engine technology. Bill “Grumpy” Jenkings raced in stock, naturally aspirated and gasoline-fueled classes. He pioneered the Pro-Stock class and he won the first Pro-Stock event, the 1970 Winter-Nationals, in his 1968 Super Sport Camaro. At that same event he made Pro-Stocks’ first 9-second quarter mile pass.


Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins was inspiration for grassroots drag racers across America. As a driver, master engine builder, and championship-winning team owner. Throughout his racing career, Bill constantly challenged the norm and always thought out-side the box. He experimented with unconventional set-ups such as taking advantage of NHRA’s weight allowances and using them to his advantage. Mr. Jenkins crammed a 331 CID small block Chevrolet into a short-wheelbase Vega and dominated the field. He invented the tubular chassis and brought the dry-sump oiling system to drag-racing.

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