Well after 50 years of drag racing and 37 years with the NHRA, Steve Denbo decided it was time to retire. 2011 was a pretty rough year for Steve and for health reasons he has decided it is time to slow down. I met Steve about nine years ago when I moved from Southern California to Vancouver WA. I needed to renew the certification on my A/A Thunderbird’s chassis, so I called NHRA to find out who the tech was in my area. They gave me Steve’s name and number. He came to my shop, tagged my car, and we’ve been friends ever since.
A familiar face at both divisional and nationals events here in Division 6, Steve has a long and storied past working for the NHRA. He managed the drag strip at Portland International Raceway (PIR) for 23 years and recalls such events as Bill Donner’s 32 Funny Car extravaganza. Steve campaigned a ’67 Nova in C & D Modified Production and later in SuperStreet. In recent years you’d find Steve at the scales & fuel check at all the Division 6 events.
Back in 2006 (I think!) Steve talked me into taking the Thunderbird to PIR on the 4th of July just to show off a little. Since it was the 4th of July, we made it sort of a family & friends deal, so my wife and her sister were there too. During one of our attempts to get the car down the track, my wife was standing in front of the tower watching as we were bringing the car up. She was listening to the tower announcer who was providing the spectators with this over-the-top description of me and a detailed history of my the car. As my wife was listening she was thinking “who is this announcer and how does he know so much about my husband”. She looked up at the tower and there was Steve Denbo. He’d gone up to the tower and asked for the microphone when he saw us in the lanes and they gladly gave it to him.
I’m going to miss seeing Steve at the scales after we run. After so many years in the sport, I know that was a difficult decision for him. All the best to you Steve… See you at breakfast!