Dale Armstrong, a highly-respected crew chief that helped drag racing legend Kenny Bernstein win five of his six NHRA championships and also had a successful driving career himself in the
1970s, has passed away at the age of 73.
Armstrong was inducted in to the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1995
The NHRA reports that he was suffering from complications of sarcoidosis before his death on Friday at his home in California.
Armstrong won the 1975 NHRA Pro Comp title, and a year later claimed the IHRA title. He was also a multi-time winner in the sport’s most important race, the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis (1974, 1975, 1977).
After closing his driving career in 1981, Armstrong became a crew chief for Bernstein’s Funny Car outfit in 1982. Eventually, the duo helped power one of the NHRA’s top dynasties as Bernstein’s Budweiser King won four consecutive Funny Car crowns from 1985-1988.
Following the end of their reign, Bernstein and Armstrong moved to the Top Fuel category in 1990. Two years later, they made history that March in Gainesville, Florida.
Utilizing a cylinder head/magneto combination developed by Wes Cerny, Armstrong tuned Bernstein’s machine to the sport’s first-ever 300 mile per hour run – a 4.823 at 301.70 mph during qualifying at the GatorNationals.
“Being the crew chief on the first car to run 300 means more to me than any national event win or any Winston championship,” Armstrong said in 2001 after being voted No. 10 on a list of the
NHRA’s Top 50 drivers ever. “There isn’t any question at all. People will forget what years we won the Winston championship, but they’ll never forget when the first 300 was run and who did it.”
Another championship for Bernstein followed in 1996 before the duo parted ways after five titles and 48 national event wins together.