Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 10, Page

Johnny Loper Sr. 1936 - 2006

Words by Jim Adolph

ohnny Loper died Sept. 24, 2006 after a long battle with cancer. His friend, Jim Adolph, wrote this remembrance.

Johnny was as tough a man and a racer as I've ever met. He was a true champion at anything he wanted to do. He loved drag racing, great muscle cars, and the Speed Shop business.

His Lil Hoss drag cars are internationally known for attention to detail and outstanding performances. Aside from his numerous records set with Gasser's in the 1960's and ‘70s, his fuel funny cars were among the best in that era. Loper's funny car ran one of the first 5-second ET's at the Bakersfield March Meet and on an M&H tire, which was unheard of at the time.

He did everything his way without major sponsorship on his own money. As a successful driver, engine builder, and tuner, Johnny was respected by his competitors but always feared on the starting line. His passion for racing was such that he would be glad to help a "bucks-down racer" in any way he could. I was one of those racers and, had it not been for Johnny's generosity, I would have had to turn around and go home more than once. While he always appeared to be as tough as steel, he had a big heart and loved his family and close friends, as they were the most valuable things in his life.

Sons Johnny and James will continue running the Loper's Performance Centers in Phoenix as they have for most of their adult lives.

Farewell my friend.