Everyone knew the man with the cigar. And it is with great sadness that the IHRA family announces the passing of Jim Weinert, who died in his sleep last night.Fans, racers, owners and anyone involved in the world of drag racing knew who Jim Weinert was and what he did. “Big Jim”, as he became known to many, was the Picasso of track prep. He was a staple on the Norwalk Raceway Park starting line for years before joining the IHRA team and managing the field operations and track preparation at every IHRA national event since the 90s. His prep work was unmatched and heralded by racers.
Roaming the starting line with an authority he earned after decades in the business, he was one of the brightest lights the world of drag racing has ever known.
On March 7, 2012, at the age of 58, that light was extinguished.
“Big Jim had an irascible nature about him that cleverly covered up the fact that he was a giant teddy bear who would do anything for anybody,” said IHRA President Aaron Polburn. “No one could outwork Jim, but what separated him from everyone else was his loyalty. He could have easily taken his talents elsewhere for twice the money but refused because IHRA was where his friends and family were and his loyalty lie.
“To say Big Jim will be missed is a gross understatement. Godspeed Big Jim.”
His legacy lives on through his wife and IHRA team member Carrie Weinert, his two sons Matt and Wes, his adoptive “sons” Bobby and Dom Lagana and everyone in the IHRA family that he touched throughout the years.
No arrangements have been finalized at the present time and will be announced in the coming days.