Jerry Gwynn is another member of the “Drag Racing Club” who realized early in life that he had a true passion for cars, speed, and competition. Jerry’s first vehicle was a 1934 Ford pickup, and that machine would start a lifetime love affair with the racing world. By
1955 Jerry was not only building his own cars but he also built the trailers to haul them. His first super competitive car was a blown Hemi powered 1923 Ford AA/Altered roadster. Christened “Baby Huey”, the car would carry him into the winner’s circle numerous times including a win at the 1969 NHRA World Finals where he won the Super Eliminator Title and was crowned the NHRA World Champion.
Jerry also won four NHRA Southeast Divisional Titles in Pro Comp, and Top Alcohol Funny Car along with winning the 1981 NHRA Cajun Nationals. As a crew chief, he one six NHRA Southeast Division “Wrench of the Year” awards for his gifted mechanical ability. In September 1999, Gwynn, his wife Joan, and son Darrell were awarded drag racing’s most prestigious honor by Car Craft Magazine the “Ollie Award” for citizenship in the sport of drag racing.
In addition to his own success as a driver and tuner Jerry also played a pivotal role in his son Darrell’s racing career. Darrell would follow his father’s footsteps by becoming the 1983 Top Alcohol Dragster NHRA World Champion. Making Jerry and Darrell the first father/son world champions. As Darrell’s racing career blossomed Jerry transitioned from racer to team manager in the full sense, building and overseeing Darrell Gwynn Racing. Jerry’s proficient skill as a mechanic, his racing experience, knack for clever solutions, and the ability to firmly manage his crew and demanding sport made him one of the most respected men on the NHRA circuit. In 1985 Darrell moved up to the prestigious top fuel dragster class and the team continued its winning ways until Darrell’s paralyzing accident in 1990 at Santa Pod Raceway. Following the accident Darrell, and his wife Lisa, started the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. The foundation provides support to people living with paralysis, and strives to prevent spinal cord injuries through awareness and education. Jerry has served on the Board of Directors since its inception. Jerry’s tireless work facilitating operations for the foundation to support its development, fundraising events, and program services has been critical to its success.
Prior to focusing on Darrell Gwynn Racing and the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, Jerry spent 32 years working for the Chevron Oil Corporation where he was a construction maintenance supervisor for all service stations in Southeast Florida.
After Darrell’s accident the Gwynn Team continue to compete in the top fuel ranks and they won races and set records with several drivers including: Frank Hawley, Michael Brotherton, and Mike Dunn. In 1993 Jerry became a major champion in the cause for improving race car safety and racetrack conditions by serving on the board as a key advisor and strategist for the Professional Race Owners which is an organization of owners of top NHRA professional racing teams.
For decades the Gwynn family, led by Jerry, toured the NHRA circuit competing for championships, renewing friendships, and serving as innovators and ambassadors of drag racing. To this day the Gwynn family name remains a staple of NHRA.
Jerry and Joan, his wife of 50 years, resided in Davie Florida. Darrell is their only child and they have one granddaughter Katie. They remain very active, mostly through their work with the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and continued involvement as emissaries of the NHRA.