Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins

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Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins
Drag Racing • Berwyn

Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins began drag racing in a 1955 Chevrolet convertible at Berwyn, Pa. before going off to college at Cornell University for engineering. He became nationally known after helping to build 30 cars that set national records. He became known in national circles as the engine builder for Dave Strickler in the early 1960’s. Jenkins teamed with Strickler to win the 1963 Little Eliminator Nationals with an A/FX 427 Chevy. He drove hemi-powered Dodges in 1964 and 1965 after Chevy left drag racing early in the 1963 season. His first driving victory was at the 1965 Winter Nationals. In 1964 Jenkins and Strickler travelled to England as part of the U.S. Drag Racing team. He entered Pro Stock when NHRA started in 1970 and won the first two events of the year (the Winternationals and Gatornationals) in a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro. Between 1965 and 1975, Jenkins won a total of thirteen NHRA events. In 1972 he recorded 250 straight passes without missing a shift. Jenkins also worked on NASCAR engines. He built the engine Donnie Allison used to take the pole position in the 1975 Daytona 500 and Mike Swaim used a Jenkins motor to take the pole for the 1987 Busch Series race at Daytona.
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