BROKEN ARROW, Okla. – National Sprint Car Hall of Fame crew chief Kenny Woodruff has died. He was 79 years old.
Woodruff earned World of Outlaws championships with Bobby Davis Jr. and Dave Blaney driving.
Woodruff was born in Iowa, but relocated to California at 19 and became interested in race cars, working on supermodifieds at West Capital Speedway near Sacramento.
When supermodifieds evolved into sprint cars, Woodruff’s cars became frequent winners with the Northern Auto Racing Club and Woodruff traveled annually to the Knoxville Nationals at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway and to events at Manzanita Speedway in Arizona.
Traveling became more important to Woodruff’s career when Ted Johnson created the World of Outlaws in 1978. Woofruff and his driver, Jimmy Boyd, towed to Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Texas and won the first World of Outlaws feature.
Woodruff traveled the WoO circuit with drivers Johnny Anderson and Tim Green in 1979 and 1980, garnering eight victories.
Danny Smith took the wheel of Woodruff’s car in 1981 and the following year the pair campaigned the Gambler house car. Woodruff managed the Gambler entry through the 1985 season with Doug Wolfgang, Steve Kinser, Bobby Davis Jr. and Sammy Swindell among those taking a turn at the wheel.
Woodruff took a jo with team owner Casey Luna in 1987 with Davis driving. Davis steered the Woodruff prepared No. 10 to the World of Outlaws championship in 1989.
Beginning in 1990, Johnny Herrera, Lealand McSpadden, Danny Lasoski, Jac Haudenschild and Jeff Swindell all steered the Luna sprint car for Woodruff.
In 1993, Dave Blaney began a partnership with Woodruff and the Luna sprint car, which lasted five years and was the most successful period of Woodruff’s career.
Blaney won the WoO title in 1995 and finished second four times. During his tenure with Woodfruff, the duo won the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway twice and the Knoxville Nationals once.
Woodruff worked with Dale Blaney for a time before joining Donny Schatz Motorsports and winning 15 features with Schatz.
He later worked with Roth Motorsports and the Sather Racing Team before retiring and making his home in Broken Arrow, Okla.
Woodruff won the Historical Big One at Eldora four times with four different drivers (Dave Blaney, Dale Blaney, Kevin Gobrecht and Schatz).
He was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2005.