Larry loved cars and speed as long as he can remember. At age 13 Larry would ride his bike to Lions Dragstrip where he handed out time slips and where at the age of 16, he took over the job of track starter. At this same age of 16, Larry also took his first ride at the wheel of a blown Chrysler powered dragster. When it came time to close the gates at Lions forever Larry was the starter that sent the last two cars ever down the track. However, no one was anxious to leave and since it was late and just about everyone had a nip or two. When one of the locals tossed a rope around one of the outhouses and asked if anyone wanted a ride; Larry and his assistant, Bill Keys, actually became the last people to take a trip down the track.
Unlike most track officials who were either working or driving Larry would often hand over his starting duties to his assistant and make a pass and return to his starting chores when the next pair of cars lined up. Over the years he competed in almost every really hot class; driving everything from an AA/GS coupe to a blown fuel Corvette. Along the way front motor junior fuel dragsters, injected nitro funny car, the Joint Venture dragster in both Comp and Pro Comp in AA/Alcohol and AA/Fuel dragsters.
Larry’s greatest success as a driver came at the 1978 PDA meet at Orange County International Raceway when he won one of the last 32 car top fuel events ever; posting a speed of 239 MPH and an ET of 5.93 seconds. He closed 1978 out with a win at the Nitro Championships held at OCIR, in the same car, this time with the speed of 236 MPH at a 5.98 second ET. He continued competing on a part-time basis until 1990 when he posted wins at two Division 7 events in Jerry Darian and Ken Meadows blown Hemi Chrysler powered TA/Dragster.
Because of his love of the sport and experience on the starting line, after Lyons closed out in 1972, Larry continued to work the starting line at various other tracks including Irwindale, OCIR, Seattle, and Fremont.
Standing on the starting line wasn’t always easy and safe as Larry can vouch for after being struck by parts from exploding engines, hit by push cars, and even having to dodge a race car on occasion. Today Larry is retired from the racetrack world and does some camping, fishing, and traveling but from time to time he will pop up at one of the racer reunions swapping stories with his fellow retired racers.