Ron Ogilvie: A Fantastic Friend

Procrastination, or the lack thereof, should have been the 11th Commandment! (Thou shall not procrastinate) You see, I have been going to write a 'Then & Now' Column about the extensive drag racing career of my good friend Ron Ogilvie, who has contributed a lot to these pages over the years. I knew it would surprise him and I know he deserved it.

May 18, 2015, was not a 'nice day' for the Ogilvie family, Donna, Paige, or Russ, this writer, DRO photographer, Tim Marshall, or Motorsports guru (photographer and writer) Bob McClurg. Or countless others in our sport of drag racing who knew Ron personally or through his work at DRO and postings on Facebook.

Ron had entered Spring Valley Hospital in Las Vegas a few days earlier for what was considered a routine 'outpatient' test. It did not work out that way and complications arose which caused him to be placed on life support. On the advice of his doctors, he was taken off life support Monday afternoon, May 18th, at Spring Valley Hospital's ICU unit. He had lived in Las Vegas with his wife, Donna, and son, Russell, since 1989.

This column is not about the end, but about the life of one of my best friends. And a glimpse into the heart and soul of a lifetime drag racing star who spent his adult life working, racing, and blogging in the sport we love.

I met Ron in 1967 when Mike Jones (Orange County International Raceway GM) persuaded me to contact Bill Thomas Race Cars in Anaheim, Calif., about the vacant Public Relations job left open when Mike became OCIR manager. On my first day there, a young man was introduced as the parts department gopher for the company. His name was Ron Ogilvie.

I quickly learned that Ron already had vast experience with several Southern California racing venues. His experience really helped me learn the nuances of California drag racing. Since I was from the Midwest and Arizona, his local guidance was invaluable.

The Bill Thomas Company was one of the manufacturers involved in the organization of SEMA, Very few DRO readers today know that the largest motorsports trade show in the world started with a small space under the stands at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

In January 1967, the first annual SEMA Show was held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The show provided a forum for industry competitors to meet face to face and a venue for showcasing their new products to potential buyers. The first SEMA Show featured 98 booths and had approximately 3,000 attendees. Believe it or not, there were only five cars on display in that first Show. One of them was a red '67 Nickey Camaro presided over by Ron Ogilvie and a young lady from Bill Thomas Race Cars!