Roland Leong AUTO RACING
Roland Leong’s drag racing career was brief, just 8.01 seconds to be exact. That’s the time it took the then-20-year old to speed down a Los Angeles-area drag strip at 191 miles per hour and crash when he couldn’t find the parachute release. The accident convinced the Hawai‘i-born Leong that his proper place in the high-speed sport wasn’t behind the wheel but as a member of the pit crew as an engine tuner and car owner. He soon teamed with another youngster, drag racing legend-to-be Don Prudhomme to win both the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Winternationals and the U.S. Nationals in 1965. Leong repeated the double win a year later, taking the prestigious races again in 1966, this time with driver Mike Sinvely behind the wheel.
Leong eventually duplicated his back-to-back wins at Winternationals with two different drivers. In 1991, Leong and his driver, Jim White, had one of the most dominating performances in history when they won the “Big Bud Shootout” and the U.S. Nationals and became the first Funny Car to run over 290 miles per hour.