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
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 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
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 & Dottiewdragmemories@aol.com