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~ Rest in Peace ~

~ Chuck Finders ~

Chuck Finders

July 16, 1939 - May 27, 2009

Farewell, Chuck Finders


By Chuck Finders, Jr

Legendary Drag Racer / Builder Chuck Finders passed away on Sunday, May 17, 2009. Chuck’s career spanned a total of 6 Decades; he started drag racing in 1958 and did his last full run in the 90’s. Chuck was not only known for his driving skills but was also recognized as one of the industry’s legendary builders. In 2002 Chuck completed a replica of a car remembered by most Gasser enthusiasts, the SWC & Chuck Finders “Dark Horse.” This car was not an exact replica; the painter didn’t verify the color and only after the car was finished being painted did Chuck find out it was the wrong Blue.

In the 33 Willys “Dark Horse,” Chuck had one of many “30 seconds of fame moments” as it was quicker than the SWC “A” car! The car was later removed from the SWC team; this was Chuck’s car with a Tim Woods engine that was painted to match the team’s colors. It was basically added to the SWC team to help meet booking commitments. The “Dark Horse” was later converted to another car, the “Traveler.” Partnered with Bill Altizer & Neal Kibler, this car did set and hold both speed and low ET in B/GS (146.57 MPH in 9.76 ET) in November 1964.  Many of Chuck’s cars were partnerships of this type.

Chuck successfully campaigned in the professional ranks as well. In the 1970s, he moved into the fuel Funny Car class. Partnerships and cars built abound in this class, too. During this period Chuck was in contention for the top spot in Division 3 but full sponsorship and success were always a dream and never within his grasp. In the late seventies, Chuck lost a leg to a Drag Racing accident. Don Garlits was at the track that day; he ran down to the accident then ran back to the tower and asked everyone to pray for Chuck or he wouldn’t make it. Chuck survived and eventually went back to the cars he loved, the Willys.

Chuck ended up winning his class and competing at the level he had always wanted. He was a champion to those he raced with and at the same time racers always said he was a racer’s racer. He just wanted to race “Balls Out” and he did. Chuck was fortunate and always did it his way. Chuck leaves 21 entries in Draglist.com and has touched the lives of Racers and Hot Rodders around the world. If you see a 33 Willys, say Hi to Chuck, because he probably had a part in it.

A final Memorial organized by Chuck’s family was held in his Honor at the NHRA Museum in Pomona on Sunday, June 7.