If you were ever involved in dry lake racing, sprint car racing or funny cars, you know the name Don Blair. By most accounts, Blair was a pioneer in California speed shops when he opened Blair’s Speed Shop in Pasadena as a 25 year old business owner.
Don’s older brother Bruce, played a major role early on by engineering parts like dropped axles, before he was killed as a passenger in a car that crashed while drag racing in Arcadia, California.
Blair was born in Highland Park near Los Angeles in 1921. His family moved to South Pasadena where Don went to grammar school and Lincoln High School. Concentrating on the automotive trade, Blair enrolled and graduated from Wiggin’s Trade School.
Finding work at parts stores and machine shops, Blair learned the business from within, and from the ground level. His grandfather passed away leaving the young man enough money to buy a lot in Pasadena where he began selling used speed equipment and racing fuel.
When Don became interested in circle track racing, the days of building drag cars for match races was over. Blair sold the business and concentrated on sprint car racing. Realizing that sprint car racing took a lot of money, Blair opened a new shop in Glendora, California.
Blair continued to sell speed equipment and support sprint car racing in Southern California even at the advanced age. Blair had been in failing health for several years, and while details are still sketchy, we can report that Don Blair has passed away on September 29th at 90 years old.