The Finish Line
CLEO CHANDLER PASSES AWAY AT 84
by Chris Martin
There are very few good to great drag racers that I have
not seen run at least once, but IHRA Stock Eliminator
racer Cleo Chandler was one I missed. While still writing
for National Dragster I discovered that one of the winners
at the 1992 IHRA All-Pro Winternationals was a Cleo Chandler,
who defeated one Pat Parks to take Stock. At the time,
she was a mere 74 years old. Seventy-four years old!??!
I thought that was astounding. I'd have given anything
to be at Darlington, South Carolina that year and see
her pull it off.
Think about it. I go nuts when Chris Karamesines, who
is younger than Cleo Chandler, just qualifies for a national
event. But a 74-year-old grandmother who won a national
event, runner-upped at the 1992 IHRA Mid-America Nationals
and the 1993 NAPA World Nationals and was a 1992 Car Craft
award recipient for their All-Star team ... KAZART!!!
I was impressed and it was with acute sadness that I
learned of her passing at age 84 this past March 1. Maybe
someone knows better than I, but I can't think of any
female in any remotely athletic discipline, who could
accomplish what she did at her age.
Cleo, I know this doesn't count for much, but I sure
wish I could have met you at least once. You must have