HomeNews / Race ResultsGrandDaddy Joe Smith Passes | 1930 – 2023

GrandDaddy Joe Smith Passes | 1930 – 2023

Top Fuel Motorcycle Legend: Joe Smith
Joe Smith sitting on his Harley Davidson Knucklehead powered drag bike: his first build. Joe built and tuned all his drag bikes he ever raced by his own hand. Photo Joe Smith family collection

GrandDaddy Joe Smith Passes | 1930 – 2023With a measure of sadness and a great measure of respect, we at Dragbike.com announce the passing of Joe Smith, Top Fuel motorcycle drag racing legend. Joe raced Top Fuel Harleys long before the class even had a formal designation in the early 1950’s.

Starting off with his Harley Davidson Knucklehead, in the late 1940’s, Joe learned quickly how to hot-rod his bike, the same way the car guys were hot-rodding their jalopies back in the day. Early on, during the 1950’s Joe also began “Tipping the can” as nitromethane was sold in gallon-style tin cans back then, not unlike metal gallon containers of paint thinner sold today in 2023.

Joe’s career and accomplishments are so vast, it took not one, but two sizable stories to tell Joe’s tale. You can read of his accomplishments here:

Top Fuel Motorcycle Legend: Joe Smith – Part 1

And here:

Top Fuel Motorcycle Legend: Joe Smith – Part 2

Our deepest condolences go out to Joe’s family and friends, who were with him until his last breath.

Top Fuel Motorcycle Legend: Joe Smith
Joe’s son Eugene, helps dad get ready for a run. Every component on this Shovelhead drag bike was built by Joe Smith. Note the 4” Avon slick on the rear wheel. The bike has three wires: Two sparkplug wires and a magneto grounding wire for engine kill.

Tom McCarthy Until Next time…

– Tom McCarthy
Senior Editor Dragbike.com

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