How Rajo Jack went from speed parts salesman to one of the first black race car drivers – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

How Rajo Jack went from speed parts salesman to one of the first black race car drivers – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Advertisements
[Editor’s Note: The story of Rajo Jack isn’t an easy one to tell – he went by multiple names throughout his life and told many a tall tale of his exploits – but it’s a necessary one when discussing the color barrier in motorsports. Bill Poehler took on that task recently and the result of his research, The Brown Bullet: Rajo Jack’s Drive to Integrate Auto Racing, will hit bookstores soon. Ahead of its May 5 release date, Chicago Review Press has given us permission to run this excerpt from the book in which Rajo Jack determines he wants to be a racecar driver and takes his first step toward that goal.]
The Tacoma race was a dud. Jimmy Murphy was the biggest name driver in the race, having won the Indy 500 a month earlier. Barney Oldfield, chomping on his trademark cigar, drove the Marmon in the pace laps at such a fast pace people thought he might take off from the rest of the field and drive the full 125 laps. Oldfield eventually pulled off the track in time for the green flag, allowing Murphy and Tommy Milton to speed off from the rest of the field. Murphy won the race and the $7,500 top prize. As the prize winnings were announced over the public address system after the race, Rajo Jack could hardly believe what he was hearing. Even the last‑place money was more than he could earn if he sold dozens of Rajo heads each year for the next decade.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.