Most of you probably didn't know him, but Ron
Mandella passed away April 2nd, 2007 at age 67 from a very aggressive
form of brain cancer discovered only last August.
I first met Ron when he was working in his parent's florist shop in
Temple City, CA. He occasionally even made deliveries in his 426 Max
Wedge powered 63 Plymouth Wagon (prominently sponsored by Reynold's Auto
Supply, also of Temple City.) He was runner-up in A/SA at the Nationals
in 1963 and with a new sponsor and the car no longer street-driven,
managed to win the class at Indy in 1964. He was later involved with
the Shores & Hess A/GS Anglia; in fact, when S&H put first the blown Rat
Motor in their Anglia, it was actually from Ron's sand dragster while
their engine was being built by Jack Bayer. Ron was a few years older
than me and it wasn't like we were close buddies, but I do remember him
well and he was a good guy...at least he always treated me well.
Ron also occasionally drove the Anglia. In 1967, when S & H split and
Jim Shores took the car east, Ron went with him and handled the driving
duties while they were on tour.
Ron and his wife Debbie were together 40 years until his death.
You were a good man, Ron, and you'll be missed.