Dick Ralstin

Dick Ralstin

3/4/1925 - 31/7/2006

In his own words:

"For all of my life, which is more years than I care to remember, the automobile has played a major role.

Well that's not quite true, there were those years from early '43 till Jan. of '46 when one of Uncle Sam's 2100 ton Fletcher class Destroyers was my home and first love. Lordy I did love that ship, the USS McDermut DD677.

My Dad opened his automobile "repair" shop in 1919 so you can see the Ralstin family and the automobile sorta grew up together. After the Navy I went to work for Dad and, under his expert tutelage, became a pretty fair mechanic. That is until I got in an argument with the editor of the Peru Daily Tribune one morning about all the mistakes in an automotive column he was running in his newspaper. The editor told me if I was so damn smart why didn't I write the column. Presto before I could say Ernest Hemmingway I am a "famous" newspaper columnist, at least in Peru, Indiana.

Next stop Kokomo Morning Times where I finally wound up as Sports Editor, with a strong tilt toward anything automotive, especially racing. I saw my first race in 1933 in Rochester, Ind., at a half mile dirt track, what else in those days, and was hooked for life. As a kid I lived, breathed and dreamed automobile racing.

My heroes were any of those guys in the cloth helmet and goggles who had nerve enough to drive one of those fire breathing monsters. Louie Meyer, Rex Mays, Ralph Hepburn, Wilbur Shaw, Wild Bill Cummings those were names kids in my neighborhood spoke with reverence. The Morning Times was perfect, I had a "reason" to go to such places as Langhorne, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Trenton, Allentown, Springfield, Atlanta and the holiest of all Indianapolis with a silver badge.

I was suddenly living among some of my old heroes and a lot of new, younger ones. Hey they were all humans, just like me, some of the same likes and dislikes. I even found a couple who were Cub fans. When the track closed it was time for a cold brew and then the stories would fly, God what stories they told, each of those guys should have written a book.

Then Dame Fortune smiled at me again and suddenly I was manager of public relations for Goodyear's racing division. I was in heaven riding a racing merry-go-round, 30,40,50 races a year representing the world's largest tire company. Eleven years of this and I was burned out, so I became field manager of off road racing for Goodyear and became a lover of the dirt and desert.

Met many, many more damn fine people and had an absolute ball in Baja for the next nine years, until I retired in 1987. Now I set on a mountain in Tijeras, New Mexico and watch the world go by, perfectly happy, perfectly content. I've been there, done that. If I had written a script the day I was born, I couldn't have written it more perfect that my life has been.

I would hate to be the undertaker who has to try to get the smile off my face. "

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Dick Ralstin

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