Daniels - and of course Eileen - was a major influence on NHRA drag racing
in the Midwest, the East Coast, and at the national level as well.
For many years Bob was the controlling force of NHRA's major event staging
and organizing operations, manning "Monitor" and barking commands across
the pits and staging lanes of The Nationals and Winternationals. Bob's
sometimes brusquely delivered "orders" were something he came by
naturally, as a former U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.
Bob's naval career is often overlooked because it was a part of his life
that most knew little of. Bob never left his Navy service too far in his
wake. Many years later, he made a sizeable impact on the creation of the
permanently moored, U.S.S. Salem, CA-139, a WW-2/Korea era heavy cruiser
as a memorial museum. Bob worked quietly yet tirelessly on this project
for several years, first securing release of the ship from the waiting
torches of the ship breakers to gaining the confidence and support of city
fathers to secure a permanent site (Quincy, MA) for the ship. At the same
time he made significant contributions of his time and efforts in
organizing the reunions for those who served on The Salem.
After he left his post as NHRA Division III Director he
assumed the operational role at NHRA's premier racing facility,
Indianapolis Raceway Park. He and Eileen (she was at his side all the way,
right up to the end) moved from Ohio to Indy, where they re-made that
already great facility into
the crown jewel of NHRA's track properties, ultimately making the drag
strip and IRP circle track the best of the best.
After Bob and Eileen retired from the IRP post they worked with Steve
Gibbs and Wally Parks to create the Wally Parks-NHRA Motorsports Museum,
at the Fairgrounds, in Pomona. Eileen also oversaw the hospitality
functions at NHRA's various track properties.
These are just a handful of the achievements that Bob Daniels leaves as
his legacy. There are many, many more I know I've overlooked in this brief
Bob had been fighting serious illness for several years, but he still
managed to play a major part in the creation and operations of the
National Hot Rod Reunion, of late at Bowling Green, KY's Beech Bend Park,
and most recently at National Trail Raceway. This year's NHRR, the first
ever at National Trail Raceway, was The Old Chief's last drag race. May he
rest in peace.