Drag Illustrated Issue 177, July / August 2022 - Page 52

Dirt

TRIBUTES

Ronnie Hobbs 1960-2022

By Nate Van Wagnen

The drag racing community lost a beloved personality , Pro Mod driver Ronnie Hobbs , on June 3 following an on-track incident during Friday night qualifying at the Mid-West Drag Racing Series Great Bend Nationals at SRCA Dragstrip in Great Bend , Kansas . He was 62 .

Hobbs , who earned his first Pro Mod win just a few weeks before the Great Bend race , lost control of his screw-blown “ Texas Rattlesnake ” ’ 17 GT350 Mustang , impacted the right-side retaining wall , and exited the racing surface . He passed away at the scene .
“ The loss of Ronnie Hobbs is a huge blow to us and the drag racing world and everybody affected by it ,” said Keith Haney , founder and owner , MWDRS . “ He was a total advocate for MWDRS , period . Just a tremendous loss . He was doing what he loved , that ’ s for sure . He really loved drag racing . Not that that makes it any easier or any better . All of us at the MWDRS offer our deepest condolences to Ronnie ’ s family , friends , and fans .”
MWDRS and SRCA Dragstrip officials postponed the rest of the Great Bend Nationals following the incident out of respect for Hobbs and his family . Officials and racers spent Saturday morning remembering Hobbs .
“ Jr . Dragster racers from the area and from Colorado went and got flowers and put them outside his motorhome door for Mara [ Hobbs ’ wife ] and their family and crew ,” Haney said . “ Then we held a great Racers for Christ service that everyone attended the next morning .”
Another racer , Robert Gallegos , was in the other lane and contacted Hobbs ’ car . Gallegos wasn ’ t injured in the incident .
“ I ’ m glad Robert Gallegos is well and made it out unscathed ,” Haney said . “ His car is not , but I ’ m glad that he didn ’ t get hurt as well .”
Between officials and fellow race team members , first responders reached Hobbs ’ car as quickly as possible , and Haney commended those individuals for their efforts .
“ The track staff did a good job handling a situation they ’ ve never faced before ,” Haney said . “ I have to thank the SRCA staff and Tim Davis , Andrew Alepa , Jimmy Boles , Cale Hancock , and Todd Martin for being first on the scene and making sure everything was handled professionally .”
The MWDRS series continued racing two weeks later at World Wide Technology Raceway ’ s Summer Speed & Fire Spectacular , where the series and its teams raced in memory of Hobbs .
“ Ronnie wouldn ’ t want us to stop ,” Haney said . “ He loved our series . We do what we do so racers like Ronnie have a place to race . We have to move forward . The MWDRS team is very shaken up , but he wouldn ’ t want us to not go forward .”
Hobbs is survived by his wife , Mara ; son Landon and daughter-in-law Kayla ; stepsons Nick
Barham and Cooper Barham and wife Lauren and their children Brooke and Wells ; stepdaughter Molly Barham , and his canine best friend , Harley .
Hobbs was set to share the driving duties of his “ Texas Rattlesnake ” Mustang with his son , Landon , who started driving the family ’ s twinturbocharged “ Texas Rattlesnake ” Chevy S10 in 2020 . Despite not growing up as a driver in the sport , Landon quickly found success and won races in the same truck his dad drove to wins in No-Time and No-Prep competition .
“ This has absolutely been the hardest time of my life ,” Landon said in a Facebook post . “ Ronnie was not only my dad but he was my best friend and we did absolutely everything together . I cannot express how blessed I was to have had 30 years with him and the memories that we had . Most people are not that lucky to have what I have had and I am so thankful for it .”
Along with No-Time and No-Prep racing , Hobbs has competed in Radial vs . the World before his latest venture into the ultra-competitive Pro Mod world . His screw-blown Mustang was the latest in a line of cars known as the “ Texas Rattlesnake ,” following a supercharged ’ 53 Corvette and the turbo S10 .
The Mustang previously sported turbocharged and ProCharger combinations before Hobbs partnered up with Todd “ King Tut ” Tutterow to build a screw-blown powerplant . With Tutterow tuning , Hobbs was off to a successful start this season , winning the spring Throwdown in T-Town at Tulsa Raceway Park in just his second outing .
“ There ’ s no words to express what it takes at this level and to be up against this level of competition and be successful ,” Hobbs said after winning at Tulsa . “ Everybody wants to win and there ’ s no amount of money that can buy a win . It takes so much more than money . It takes luck and a lot of other things . We just wanted to compete and to compete at this level .” DI
PHOTOGRAPHS BY VAN ABERNETHY AND STEVEN WILSON
52 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 177