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Organ Donor Johnny McPeake


Johnny McPeakes kindness was as great as his smile. Whether he was at the track or his shop or at home, he was there to help those who needed it.


Johnny McPeake "World Foot Break Champion 1988" Story by Steve Sanderson

Johnny McPeake and I,(Steve Sanderson) ET raced at a small track in Byhalia Mississippi called Byhalia Raceway in 1988. We were both entered in the tracks 'Points system' whereby you amass points depending on how many races are won during that summers racing season. As the end of the points season approached anyone finishing in the top 3 in points earned a trip to the IHRA ET World Finals. I finished in 2nd. place and Johnny finished 9th. overall in points.

"1st. piece of good luck"!

Just so happens the 3rd. place winner in points tells the track owner, Mike Franks, that he can't go the the ET World Finals because of his work. Johnny just happens to be standing there at that time and tells Mike he can go in his place. Mike is pressed for time to get his entries sent to the IHRA so he accepts Johnny's entry.

One month later Johnny and I load up the trucks, leave Memphis, TN and head for The Texas Motorplex to compete in the ET World Finals. Johnny will be racing his 1972 Chevelle and I will be driving my 1971 V8 Vega. We finally get into the pits and unload our cars. Johnny's car is missing when he cranks it up.. It's running on seven cylinders. We remove the valve covers to discover a broken exhaust pushrod. The Texas Motorplex is huge. We spent a couple of hours walking the pits trying to locate a stock big block exhaust pushrod. Hard to find with most people there running true racing equipment.

"2nd. piece of good luck"!

Things were looking bad when at the last moment before time trials were ending some guy walked up with a coffee can full of random pushrods. He just so happened to have 1 BB pushrod that was correct! We threw it in and Johnny got to make one pass before the day was over.

The race:

I went out in the 4th. round when I broke a piston ring in an engine worn out from a year of racing.

"3rd. piece of good luck"

I can't remember how many cars were entered in the Footbrake class Johnny was running in, but every time Johnny would have a bad light or run off of his ET the other guy would screw-up worse. Not that Johnny was a bad racer, he was having a bad day and still winning. Johnny went about 6 rounds to win the IHRA ET World Finals at the Texas Motorplex.

I can't count how much luck it took to do this, but it was his to brag about.

On our drive back to Memphis we wrote on our back windows.

"We Came, We Saw, We kicked Ass"

For a guy that didn't qualify for the event, he beat all the odds and won.

...Steve Sanderson...