Multi-time NHRA winner Jack Beckman invested in the past, and for him, it returned a once-in-a-lifetime memento, which will forever link him to a drag racing legend.
As the story goes, when NHRA required drivers to start wearing a Hans Device, Karamesines was prepared to walk away from racing before he’d buy one. This, according to social media for Karamesines.
Beckman then brought his personal HANS Device to Karamesines’ trailer and insisted that the Greek use it until he retired. The only stipulation was that Karamesines returned the device autographed.
Karamesines made his final run on Sunday at the Dodge NHRA Finals hosted by The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“This past weekend’s race was a tough way to end six years of the Chandler Family allowing us to better so many veteran’s lives through Infinite Hero,” Beckman said in a statement on his Facebook page. “I will get over the bitter disappointment of losing. What I will NEVER forget is watching my hero make his last-ever run in a nitro car, and come over to spend time with me.
“After nearly 70 years of racing, this nonagenarian (cool word) closes the book on perhaps the coolest drag racing career ever. Chris Karamesines, you are one-in-seven billion! Long live “the Greek.”
Krista Baldwin, Karamesines’ granddaughter and heir apparent to his Top Fuel dragster, said Beckman’s actions speak volumes for his character.
“Some people claim to be historians of drag racing, but Jack’s actions prove he is one,” Baldwin said. “He appreciates what these guys like my grandfather did in the 1950s and ’60s, to grow this sport.”
Baldwin said so many people helped her grandfather along the way that there’s no way she could ever repay them.
“There’s been so many along the way who helped him … Jack Beckman, Bob Stange, Don Schumacher, Forrest Lucas … how could you ever repay these guys? They helped him to continue to pursue his dream, to build the legacy. There’s no full way to tell them how much we have appreciated it.
“I hope when he got out of the car at the end of that last run, he was completely content with the huge feat he has pulled off with his career that no one else has in the motorsports world.”
The feat would be in racing for a gazillion years.
“More like a bazillion years,” she countered.
Of course, the third-generation drag racer whose father was the late Bobby Baldwin said she’s already got her HANS device.
“Are you kidding?” Baldwin, who races A/Fuel Dragster, said with a laugh. “I couldn’t wait around for my grandpa to buy me one.”
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— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) September 20, 2020