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On July 21, 2011, another one of our great drag racing heroes left us after succumbing to a horrible and debilitating respiratory illness that he battled no differently than one of the many great drag racing opponents he raced time and time again in his career.
Dave Condit was 64 years old and possessed the same fun-loving personality that many a drag racer has come to know as the “typical” Condit family way: Brutally honest to the point of mass hysteria. You know that your sides will be aching from laughter. His entire family was Drag Racing’s anti-Ozzie & Harriet and the stories about them will live forever. While this is supposed to be an obituary for a great friend and great drag racer, one cannot simply write about one without including the others. They were selfless in every regard.
Ask anyone that has been fortunate to hang around the Condit family and they will tell you of parties and other experiences, some of them from Drag Racing’s greatest stories ever told. Many of these memories were off-track, taking place at the Condit family home that was seemingly buried on a one-way in and no way out cul-de-sac in suburban Whittier, California.
These legendary events, also known as “card games” featured very little in terms of master card play, but more, a wild-like party atmosphere that out-did most frat houses one could find at any university in the country. Some nights it could be like a scene out of Animal House, only where all the attendees from every walk of life had nothing but the greatest respect for the property and the people that owned it. There would never be any broken furniture should one of the attendees get out of line, because then they would have to deal with either “Ma” or a 6’ 6” muscular Goliath that looked more like Randell “Tex” Cobb’s character from the movie Raising Arizona. Doug or “Shooter Doug” was, according to urban legend, the youngest person ever admitted into San Quentin Prison, and he was a sergeant-of-arms type who maintained the peace at most Condit affairs.
Meanwhile, inside Pa Condit would be in the kitchen making up one of his master dishes of melted Velveeta cheese mixed with chunky tomato salsa, and a bowl of Fritos which to dip it in. He would offer it up to you in a deep gravely voice, “Here try some of this, it’s delicious!”and then proceed to go into great detail of how he made it and with what ingredients. There was great comedy alone in the description.
If you arrived late you were greeted with a “You horse’s ass!” scolding for missing the previous portion of the party. It was also a given that one could see some sort of famous drag racer or crew guy passed out on the couch or on the grass in the front of the yard. But come sunrise, they would be awoken by Ma, telling them to come in and that it was time for breakfast (which both she and Pa had conjured up).