- Written by webmin
Yesterday, we noted the passing of Bean Bandits founder Joaquin Arnett. For the past couple of days, we have also been trying to verify the circumstances behind a sad event involving another fabled drag team from California, the Gasser force known as Stone, Woods and Cook.
The news was last week’s death, apparently by suicide, of Lenny Woods, the son of late team co-founder Tim Woods. He was found dead inside his car dealership, Chino Valley Ford, which closed earlier this year due to financial problems. The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported that law enforcement sources had found a gun next to his body. Lenny’s name, not his Dad’s, was the Woods that was listed on the side of the 1941 Willys. Last year, Lenny explained why in an interview with Greg Sharp, curator of the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum, saying “I think he just felt the need to put my name on it as a hook to keep me interested in such a wholesome sport, plus he was a little concerned with the liability his construction company might face if something happened.” Finished to almost full-custom quality, the Stone-Woods-Cook Willys, known as the Swindler, was named the NHRA’s all-time favorite race car in a fan poll. So many onlookers were riveted on the wild, blown-Olds monster that they never realized most of the team members were African-American. Lenny Woods is second from right in this photo of an early Swindler, driven by K.S. Pittman, who later became a Gasser icon in his own car. The original Swindler, a 1941 Studebaker sedan with blown Olds power, was wrecked in a 1960 towing accident.