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Rest in Peace, Leroy Goldstein

By Bob Plumer and Bill Pratt

Leroy Goldstein was one of the most feared funny car pilots in drag racing history. RIP, Israeli Rocket. Photo from the Drag Racing Memories Archives
Leroy Goldstein was one of the most feared funny car pilots in drag racing history.
RIP, Israeli Rocket. Photo from the Drag Racing Memories Archives

It was a sad night last night to hear that Leroy Goldstein, the Israeli Rocket, had passed away. He was a true CHAMPION if there ever was one.

Leroy has been ill for some time now. We all new it was coming, but when you hear it has finally come, your heart hits rock bottom.

Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and friends.

As one friend put it and I thought was very cute, LEROY lit the ROCKET all the way to HEAVEN. Plum

Leroy Goldstein and the Ramchargers at night. RIP, Leroy. Photo from the Drag Racing Memories Collection
Leroy Goldstein and the Ramchargers at night. RIP, Leroy.
Photo from the Drag Racing Memories Collection

Leroy Goldstein was one of the top stars in the funny car ranks, driving one of the top cars. The Ramchargers were a bunch of Chrysler factory engineers who took some of their high performance ideas to the drag strip on weekends. They began with Super Stocks, eventually went to Top Fuelers, and then created one of the most dominant funny cars in history when that class took off.

Leroy Goldstein was the team's driver in their glory days, moving from their Top Fueler to a Challenger bodied flopper. He recorded the sport's first six second funny car run at 6.99 seconds. The car went on to record several 6.80s at more than 210 mph, when most of the pack was stuck back in the 7s at about 190. He eventually went 6.71 at 220 in the car, which was either the first or one of the first 220 mph runs in a funny car.

Leroy finished his flopper career in the Whipple and Mr. Ed Satellite, another killer car. Photo by Ray English
Leroy finished his flopper career in the Whipple and Mr. Ed Satellite, another top car.
Photo by Ray English

As he was Jewish, Goldstein was dubbed the "Israeli Rocket" -- a perfect nickname. Goldstein went on to more fame while driving for Candies and Hughes and "Mr. Ed" Wills. You'll often hear old drag racing fans long for the golden age of '70s funny cars. It was guys like Leroy Goldstein who helped to create that era. bp

RIP Leroy, we all miss you dearly.

Plum & Dottie
wdragmemories@aol.com

Bill Pratt
bilden@draglist.com

 

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