UPDATE on March 20: Shrewsberry was inducted this past week into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. This is our article on the honor which was first published in October.
A one-time Mansfielder who went on to become a key person in the development of “wheelstander” exhibition cars has been named as an inductee to the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Ocala, Florida.
Bill Shrewsberry, also known as “Wild Bill” for his driving while standing in the windshield with the car on its real wheels as it went down the racetrack (a “wheelie”). According to Wikipedia, this would take place “…at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour (160 km/h). Steering was accomplished by a combination of the service brake pedal activating the brake on the left wheel while a brake lever from a racing go-kart activated the right brake. So proficient was Shrewsberry at this sort of driving that he would often spin his car to face the opposite direction at the end of the track and race back to the starting line, all the while maintaining the wheelstand.
In the August 11, 1968 edition of the Mansfield News Journal, Shrewsberry shared the daring which came from this act. “”The hood is in front of me. It’s like driving blindfolded. I can’t see where I’m going. I have to feel my way.” A year earlier, the News Journal reported that he had come to Weidner Pontiac in Mansfield with the original Batmobile car, then insured for $1 million.
Shrewsberry also helped to develop the Hurst Hemi Under Glass Barracuda, pictured above.
According to the Hall of Fame announcement, the inductees will be honored during the 27th Annual Hall of Fame Banquet presented by Lucas Oil Products, which will be held next March in Gainesville, Florida.
From Press Releases and Wikipedia; Photo Credit – Creative Commons License