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The Finish Line
In Memoriam

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 been something.


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