Founder’s Award

Kenny Youngblood grew up in the “hot bed” of the hot rod/Street racing/automotive love affair, in Southern California, after the end of World War II and was exposed to this element at a very early age. When he was 12, Kenny and his friend John Kaiser were treated to a day at the original San Gabriel Dragstrip and from that day forward he was hooked on the sport.

At this point in life, all the boys wanted to do was get behind the wheel of a car, any car. John’s dad really got them started by helping them build and maintain go carts to begin with then later assisting them in building a 354 cubic inch Chrysler powered B/Altered 1932 Ford coupe. From this point Kenny went on to build and drive to AA/Fuel dragsters over the years, along with either co-owning and or crewing on other various race vehicles.

While Kenny is known by some as a racer; most of his fans know him as a first-class artist. His first effort at artistry on a vehicle came when he did the graphics on his friend Gary Messengers dragster. Custom painter, Dick Olsen, saw the car and hired Kenny to handle the sign painting at his Bellflower, California shop. His stardom began a sharp climb within the racing community and it has continued to do so ever cents. Because of his last name, a lot of his pals called him “Blood” which is where his famous “Blood Did It” signature came from. Kenny enjoyed the steady work, painting signs and doing graphics for a lot of the top race cars of the day. It was promoter Bob Kachler who encouraged him to turn his skills to canvas and become a true artist.

As his reputation and popularity as an artist grew and he did more and more designs of race cars and paintings from major racing publications. The really big boost in visibility came when he designed the interlocking ZZ logo for the group ZZ Top. He applied it to Billy Gibbon’s Eliminator 1934 Ford coupe that was featured on the group’s famous Legs video and on millions of record albums.

It was around this time that Kenny really became serious about devoting his talents to painting “automotive portraits” that would find a place on some very prominent walls with more and more enthusiast buying and appreciating his paintings and prints. Kenny was able to extend his visionary talent into producing some of the most memorable one-of-a-kind works. This popularity also afforded Kenny the opportunity to open the Youngblood Motorsport Gallery in Orange, California in 1993. He not only displayed his own work, but also gave other artists the opportunity to show off their talent.

All of this success and time have not slowed Kenny down, nor has it dulled his love of the sport. He operates out of his studio in Las Vegas. But more often than not, he is on the road making personal appearances at car shows, trade shows, or NHRA events. Besides painting, making the appearances, and on occasion lending a hand to a needy race team, Kenny also has a website, “Fuel Coupe Magazine” that is dedicated to nostalgia funny cars

In addition to the awards and accolades Kenny has received, he is affectionately known as “The Father of Modern Race Car Designs” a title that is well-deserved.