This is a letter written to the Northern California Racing Association after sad news of my good friend's passing, Del Quinn. Del died last night. He raced in the main event and finished 5th. The top finishing drivers go to the scales to have their car weighed after each race. The scales were broken so the officials sent him to his pit. As he pulled up to his pit he slumped forward, collapsed and died of a massive heart attack still buckled in his seat belt. All efforts to revive him failed. After two hours of recessitation they pronounced him dead.
Last Sunday I spoke with race car friend, Del Quinn, about last
Saturday's night race (April 21 at Placerville). We talk to each other
quite often considering the distance were apart. He in California and me in Texas. The conversation was mostly about car racing and my upcoming flight (May 11th) to watch him race at Altamont. I was flying up to letter his race car trailer and stay with him for the weekend. I was really looking forward to seeing him for my yearly visit. You see, Del has played a big part in my life. He opened the door to my profession. Del had just started racing at Vallejo Speedway in 1965. I was a 15 year old kid that loved to build scale models and I loved race cars. After my first attendance at Vallejo speedway I built a model of his race car and presented it to him. He liked it and had me build more models of his race car for giveaways. He later hired me to work at his Signal Gas station along with long time friend Marlin Lemons. After a rough night of racing at Vallejo Speedway the door to his race car was damaged. I asked him if I could reletter the door after it was repaired. The next year he built a new race car. He allowed me to letter it. And lettering that new race car got me started in my sign painting career. Now my new passion was for lettering signs. In 1966 we moved away to Texas and Del
and I lost contact for a number of years. But a couple of years ago I
contacted Del and told him I wanted to do something special for him. To show my appreciation and graditude for allowing me to letter my first race car I wanted to letter his current race car. In '98 Del won 'Best Appearing Race Car' from NCMA. Again we (my son,Jonathan, and I) lettered Del's car with the American flag flowing on the hood and again he won 'Best Appearing Race Car' for 1999. Today, after church I received a phone call from Del's daughter, Terri, that Del died last night after the NCMA main event. He raced his last race. I am going to miss Del dearly. He never had a son. But I felt like one to him. I loved him so much. He had such a tender heart. Always so warm and friendly. Always a smile and a joke to tell. Del was 68 and leaves his wife, Marie, and two daughters,Teri and Sheryl. Please pray for his family. I know that God was with him to allow him to depart this world the way he would have wanted to go. In his race car after his last race. What a blessing to have known him.
League City, Texas