Kentucky native Willard Kinzer was ousted in the first round of eliminations at the Quick Fuel Technology NMCA Muscle Car Nationals in Bowling Green on Sunday, but he was easily the weekend’s biggest story. The 83-year old natural resource business magnate is making the most of his golden years, recently adding David Wolfe’s former record-setting Mustang to his stable of race cars earlier this season. Over the weekend, Kinzer made the cross-state trek to Beech Bend, and with the assistance of Pro Street competitor Jeff Lutz and his crew and tuner Patrick Barnhill, entered the iconic Mustang in the Super Street 10.5W category.
Kinzer opened the weekend with a 7.13 at a booming 220 MPH during the afternoon testing session, getting the attention of everyone. Kinxer’s mount lost traction on his opening qualifying lap on Friday night, but returned on Saturday – and without the wheel bars that a few internet critics jabbed on on Friday – and reeled off a 7.04 at an even faster 224 MPH, surpassing the class speed record and placing himself solidly in the third spot in the qualifying order heading into eliminations.
While that lap may have been the highlight of the ageless wonder’s day, his unanimous victory in the burnout contest certainly brought a smile to his face. Along with the Mustang, Kinzer brought out one of his other race cars, a fourth-gen Camaro outfitted with a pair of street wheels and tires. And as promised, he brought the house to their feet during the burnout contest with a tire-roasting affair that lasted some 90 seconds and was stopped only by his wife, Lucy, who was riding shotgun and told the young at heart racer he’d wiped out enough mosquitos for one afternoon. In the process, Kinzer caught his own race car on fire and ripped up a chunk of the Beech Bend burnout box.
On Sunday, Kinzer was paired with reigning class champion Frank Mewshaw, who had struggled during qualifying, in the opening round of eliminations. Mewshaw grabbed an .023 to .061 advantage out of the gate and ran a 6.83 to hold off the hard-charging 7.04 at a record-setting 226.09 MPH blast from Kinzer. And showing his tenacity behind the wheel, Kinzer was able to safely bring the car to a stop after the parachutes were late in blossoming. With a smile on his face, Kinzer indicated “we were fast, we just weren’t quite fast enough.”
Needless to say, Kinzer is having the time of his life at a point when the majority of his peers are unable to drive a car, much less one of the quickest and fastest racing machines on the planet. And now, at 83, he’s undoubtedly the oldest record holder in street legal drag racing history.