George McKernan

George McKernan
By David Greene

George McKernan began his career in racing as a member of the prestigious Slo-Mo crew in the early fifties. When the crew broke up after the Hawaii Kai III's Gold Cup victory in 1958, McKernan became the crew chief of George Simon's Miss U.S. I when the latter used the Kai's engines in the final races of 1958.After McKernan took over , the U.S. won three of five races and nearly captured the High Point Championship that year. In 1959, George went over to crew chief the Miss Bardahl and after two uneventful years became involved with the Stoen brothers and the Miss Seattle Too. In 1962 McKernan moved up as crew chief and when the Miss Exide came along in 1963 George was the crew chief when the former Wahoo won two of four races after being off the circuit since 1960. Victories came at the rate of one a year in the next two years and in 1966 George became crew chief of the Miss Budweiser. The Bud won four races over the next three years, but this was just a prelude to George McKernan's finest hour in the sport which began in 1969.

McKernan first combined with Bill Sterett and then with Dean Chenoweth to give Bernie Little three consecutive National High Point Championships before he retired after the 1971 season. At the time he retired George McKernan was the leading crew chief with 21 victories.

(Reprinted from the Unlimited NewsJournal, June 1985)

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