Warren “Jelly” Wilhelm at age 17

Jelly Wilhelm collection

 

Bill Moore in the #6 Devin-bodied Corvette

Mike Sims collection

 

Jelly owns the #99 Offy powered midget he built with Vic Kline & displayed at the Texas Racers’ Reunion in Irving, TX in 2016.

Bart Stevens photo

 

Ed Schauf after setting fast time in time trials at the Hutchinson (Kansas) Nationals with the #99 PE-built “Stagecoach” in 1966.

Leroy Byers photo

 

Harold Leep with Jelly’s #99 “Stagecoach” at 81 Speedway, Wichita, KS in 1966

Jack Coleman photo

 

L to R: Jelly, Bill Johnson & Roy Bryant with Jelly’s PE-built “Stagecoach” at the Kansas State Fair in in Hutchinson, KS in September of 1966

Jack Coleman photo

 

Harold Leep in Pius Selenke’s PE-built sprint car at Belleville, KS in 1966.  That is Pius Selenke to Leep’s left & Jerry Stone at right.

Jack Coleman photo

 

Jelly built this Pius-Selenke-owned sprint car in 1967.  Although it appears to be black in this photo, the car was actually candy-apple red.

81 Speedway photo

 

Harold Leep with a car that PE built & that Jelly owned in 1967

Bob Mays collection

 

Harold Leep in the #99 Jelly-Bilt “Stagecoach” is shown here leading Gene Gennetten at Amarillo, Tx in 1968.

Leroy Byers photo

 

L to R: Harold Leep with back to camera & hand on the #99 “Stagecoach”, Larry Prather leaning on the top of the car, & Jelly at far right.  Taken at Manazita Speedway at Phoenix, AZ

Tim Belk collection

 

L to R:  Jelly, Karen Buchanan and Harold Leep standing beside the #99 Jelly-built “Stagecoach”

Mike Cornelison collection

 

Jelly, at left, at 81 Speedway with an unidentified trophy girl & Bill Bookout, who drove this modified jalopy that had been jointly built & was co-owned, by Jelly & Jack Walker.

Jelly Wilhelm collection

 

Bill Rigsby with George Hibbs’ PE-built car at 81 Speedway in 1969

Rigsby collection

 

Bill Nelson in a PE-built car that he drove for owner Jerry Livingston in 1967 at 81 Speedway

Dwane Wolf collection

 

Bill Nelson by a PE-built super-modified that he drove for owner Jerry Livingston at 81 Speedway in 1967.  The #44 car was a Junior-modified driven by Richard Powell.

Dwane Wolf collection

 

Davey Ross in Bill Flagler’s PE-built super-modified

Lies collection

 

Freddy Street with a PE-built, ex-Jerry Livingston super-modified he drove for Tommy Leach in 1972

Dwane Wolf collection

 

Harold Leep with Aaron Madden’s PE-built Chevy at Tulsa, OK.  Leep won the 1973 NCRA championship while driving this car.

Bill Mills collection

 

Walt McWhorter with the PE-built #77 car he drove for car owner Jerry Livingston in 1973

Lies collection

 

Walt McWhorter in the PE-built #77 car he drove for car owner Jerry Livingston in 1974 at 81 Speedway

Mike Monatoboy collection

 

Larry Dewell in the PE-built, Bob-Billups-owned #112 supper-modified

Warren Vincent photo

 

Eddie Leavitt in “Speedy Bill” Smith’s #4x PE-built sprint car in 1973

Bob Mays photo

 

Harold Leep at Tulsa, OK with a PE-built super-modified he drove for Aaron Madden in 1973

Freddy Gaither collection

 

Art Bybee owned this PE-built, ex-Jeff Forshee super-modified

Larry Hall collection

 

#15 PE-built Poor Boys Racing Team super-modified that was driven by Herb Copeland

Rusty Manning photo

 

#15 PE-built Poor Boys Racing Team super-modified driven by Herb Copeland

Mike Pogue collection

  

Larry Madden driving a family owned PE-built car at Oklahoma City in 1974

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Harold Leep, Sr. was the first to drive this PE-built sprint car owned by Pius Selenke

Dwane Wolf photo

 

The #1 PE-car driven by Larry Madden, is seen here in 1975 in the pit area, parked beside the #56 of Frankie Lies in 1975.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Larry Dickson in the #48 PE-built USAC Dirt Champ car on the mile dirt racetrack at Indianapolis, IN in 1974

Bob Mays collection

 

Jeff Sikes in his PE-built, ex-Aaron Madden super-modified at Lawton, Ok in 1975

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Harold Leep, Sr. in a PE-built super-modified owned by Pat Suchy, at Enid, OK in 1975.

David Grace collection

 

#2 Harold Leep, Sr. in a PE-built super-modified he owned, at Wichita Falls, TX in 1977.  #04, at left, was being driven by Bob Hurley.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Harold Leep, Jr. in a PE-built super-modified owned by Harold Leep, Sr.  This photo was taken at Tulsa, OK.

Monte Cole collection

 

Frank Riddle with a PE-built, Harry-Campbell-owned sprint car on February 2, 1977 at Golden Gate Speedway at Tampa, FL

Chad Freeman collection

 

Jerry Stone in the PE-built #24 super-modified known as “Gertrude”.  Standing beside the car are, L to R:  Jerry Stone’s brother; Jelly’s father, Art Wilhelm; and Jelly.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Frank Riddle on dirt in a PE-built, Harry-Campbell-owned sprint car built for asphalt racetracks

Chad Freeman collection

 

Billy Brown in his PE-built super-modified in 1974

Mike Monotaboy photo

 

Roland Brunson drove this PE-built, #99 ex-Billy Brown super-modified

J.D. Porter photo

 

Gene See on May 2, 1976 at 81 Speedway in the #117 PE-built Junior-modified that was owned by Norman Gumm

Bobbie Wells photo

 

Pit crewman Wayne Nicholas helping pack the racetrack in A.J. Little’s PE-built super-modified known as the “Orange Bandit”, in 1976

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

A.J. Little, in front of his PE-built “Orange Bandit”, with pit crewman Wayne Nichols

Mike Monatoboy photo from the Dwane Wolf collection

 

#99 Harold Leep in the yellow PE-built “Missle,” super-modified outide of Mike Peters who was driving the black #1 Ochs super-modified at a race in Oklahoma City in 1981.

Tony Peters collection

 

#2 Jim Toombs in a PE-built Junior-modified that he co-owned with Larry Hall, & #117 Gene See in a PE-built Junior-modified owned by Norman Gumm

Larry Hall collection

 

The origin of this car, owned by Dan & Jan Lacy & driven by Larry Radcliffe, can be traced to Jelly’s PE shop.

J.D. Porter photo

 

Johnny Luttrell with a PE-built, ex-Billy Brown super-modified he drove in 1977

Mike Monatoboy collection

 

This #99 PE-built car was driven by Johnny Shannon in 1978.  It was the former Billy-Brown-super-modified that Jelly built in 1974.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Jeff Forshee rides over a wheel in his #3 PE-built super-modified

Bob Mays collection

 

Harold Leep in the PE-Built #99 sprint car owned by Lonnie Snowden in 1985

Mike Pogue collection

 

Jelly got this car from Jerry Stone, added a 360 Chevy engine, repainted it a blue & white #30 & raced it at the Hutchinson Nationals in 2009 with Rick England as driver.

Jelly Wilhelm collection

 

This #32 PE-built, ex-Jerry Livingston super-modified belongs to Dwane Wolf in 2016.

Dwane Wolf photo

 

This PE-built super-modified was driven by A.J. Little and known as the “Orange Bandit”.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Jack Bunyard with a 305 cubic-inch sprint car that he drove for Jelly.  Jelly had not built this car but had purchased it from Jim Selenke.

Jack Bunyard collection

 

A 2-sparkplugs-per-cylinder experimental Offenhauser engine that Jelly purchased from Indy car owner, Jack Hinkle.

Rick England & Bart Stevens photo

 

Jack Hinkle in his Kurtis Kraft 500X SX-2 sports car at the Eagle Mountain National Guard Base at Ft. Worth, TX in 1956.  Later, Jelly would purchase the 2-sparkpark-per-cylinder experimental Offenhauser engine (pictured just above) that Hinkle raced in this car.  Although the car appearss to be white in this black & white photo, it was actually a light yellowish cream color.

Willem Oosthoek collection

 

Jelly, at left, with driver Rick England c2007.

Rick Englnd collection

 

Ken Schrader, left, with Jelly at the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, KS on August 4, 2016

High Banks Hall of Fame

 

  

L to R: Fred Hudson, Jelly, Jerry Stone & Shane Carson at the induction ceremonies at the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, KS on August 4, 2016.

Ray Cunningham photo

  

This hot rod was built by Carl LaBouff, co-owned by Jelly’s father, Art Wilhelm & Otis Livingston, and was driven by Marvin Thompson at Cejay Stadium in Wichita.

Marvin Thompson collection

 

#154 A / C coupe at McConnell AFB

Jelly Wilhelm collection

 

#154 A / C coupe at McConnell AFB

Jelly Wilhelm collection

 

A / C coupe at McConnell AFB

Larry Wolfe photo from the George McDowell collection

 

Jelly owns the #99 Offy powered midget he built with Vic Kline & displayed at the Texas Racers’ Reunion in Irving, TX in 2016.  The #1 midget is owned by Rick England.

Bart Stevens photo

 

Jelly at right with “Big Louie” Thompson & the #99 PE-built “Stagecoach”

Jelly Wilhelm collection

 

This photo of an early Jelly-built super-modified was taken at 81 Speedway in the mid-1960s

Dwane Wolf collection

 

Grady Wade with Jelly’s #99 “Stagecoach” after a race at Topeka, KS in 1972

Brian Conn collection

 

Dale Reed in a PE-built sprint car owned by Pius Selenke, at Belleville, KS in 1967.

Leroy Byer photo

 

Davey Ross in the Pius-Selenke-owned sprint car at Erie, CO in 1972

Leroy Byers photo

 

Jon Backlund in Pius Selenke’s PE-built sprint car in 1974

Jon Backlund collection

 

Myron Rust with the PE-built 999.

Warren Vincent photo

 

Car owner George Hibbs at left, with his driver, Bill Rigsby & his PE-built car in 1968

Bob Mays collection

 

Starter Al Alexander congratulating Jerry Stone for a victory in George Hibbs’ PE-built Chevy.

81 Speedway photo

 

Jim Harkness in George Hibbs’ PE-built Space Fame super-modified at Dodge City, KS.

Harkness collection

 

Jerry Everhart in Larry Prather’s #97 super-modified leads Jim Harknews in George Hibbs’ PE-built #69 Space Frame super-modified at Dodge City, KS

Harkness collection

 

George-Hibbs-owned PE-built Space Fame super-modified.

Mike Pogue collection

 

L ro R: Ed Schauf (in front), Davie Moore and Jelly outside Jelly’s show with the “Stagecoach” during the short time the “Stagecoach” was #7.

Jelly Wilhelm collection

 

L to R:  Ed Schauf (behind the car), Jelly & Davie Moore beside Jelly’s shop during the short time that “Stagecoach” was #7

Jelly Wilhelm collection

 

Grady Wade in a PE-built super-modified owned by Pat Suchy following a feature win at Enid, OK in 1970

Enid Speedway program

 

Davey Ross in Bill Flagler’s PE-built super-modified

Mike Pogue collection

 

Davey Ross in Bill Flagler’s PE-built super-modified

Mike Cornelison photo

 

Davey Ross with Bill Flagler’s PE-built super-modified at Hutchinson, KS.  The man at the back of the car with his hand on the roof, is Danny King.  Davey Ross, in white, is standing in front of King.  Bob McCutchen & Mike McClelland are also in this photo.

Mike Pogue collection

 

Starter Al Alexander waves the checkered flag over Jerry Everhart in a PE-built super-modified owned by Jerry Livingston, at 81 Speedway at Wichita in 1971.

Dwane Wolf collection

 

Lloyd Beckman in “Speedy Bill” Smith’s #4x PE-built sprint car at Eagle Raceway at Lincoln, NE in 1972

Bob Mays photo

 

This PE-built, ex Jerry Livingston super-modified was owned by Jimmy Stafford when this photo was taken in 1973.

Dwane Wolf collection

 

Aaron Madden in a PE-built super-modified he owned himself in 1973

Freddy Gaither collection

 

Lloyd Beckman in the PE-built #00 sprint leading #37 Jo Thomas at Eagle Raceway at Lincoln, NE in 1973

Bob Mays photo

 

Walt McWhorter drove this PE-built car for owner Jerry Livingston in 1974

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Jerry Stone drove this #5 PE-built midget that he co-owned with Jelly.

Russ Beckner collection

 

This car was originally built by PE and was raced as the #2 Junior-modified driven by Jim Toombs.  Today, it belongs to Fred Stewart.

Larry Hall collection

 

Charles Jarvin in the PE-built, ex-Billy Brown super-modified #01

J.D. Porter photo

 

This #17, driven by Sebie Davis in 1976, was an ex-Jerry Livingston super-modified originally built by PE.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Herb Copeland with his #15 PE-built Poor Boys Racing super-modified

Merrick racing program

 

Jerry Douglas in his PE-built car in 1974

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Frank Lies, in yellow, standing near the back of the PE-built #1 driven by Larry Madden

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Larry Madden, at left, with his family-owned, PE-built super-modified #1, in the pit area in Oklahoma City in 1975

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Jeff Sikes in his PE-built, ex-Aaron Madden super-modified at Lawton, Ok in 1975

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Jon Johnson’s #86 Blue Flame special that was originally a PE-built super-modified.

Dwane Wolf collection

 

Jerry Everhart in a PE-built super-modified owned by Pat Suchy, at the Hutchinson Nationals in 1972. The car had a parallel rear end back then and only weighed 1,305 lbs.

Leroy Byers photo from the Bob Mays collection

 

Pat Suchy, left with Benny Taylor and a PE-built super-modified owned by Pat Suchy.  This photo was taken in front of the Machinery Locators building early in 1975.

David Grace collection

 

Jan Opperman in Harry Campbell’s #11 PE-built sprint car at Golden Gate Speedway at Tampa, FL in his first ever pavement race & he won

Chad Freeman collection

 

Harold Leep, Sr. in a PE-built super-modified at Wichita Falls, TX in 1977.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

This #99 PE-built car was driven by Johnny Shannon in 1978.  It was the former Billy-Brown-super-modified that Jelly built in 1974.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Jerry Stone in the #45 PE-built USAC Dirt Champ car on the mile dirt racetrack at DuQuoin, IL in 1977.  Standing, L to R: Jim Toombs, Jelly, Melvin Stone & Russ Beckner.

Bob Mays collection

 

A. J. Little, driving his orange #10 PE-built super-modified, leading #86 Jon Johnson at Lawton, OK.

Rusty Manning photo

 

#9 Court Grandstaff leading #09 Jim Bell in the PE-built, ex-Leon Bommershine super-modified

Jim Bell collection

 

This photo was taken at 81 Speedway.  The origin of this car, owned by Dan & Jan Lacy & driven by Larry Radcliffe, can be traced to Jelly’s PE shop.

J.D. Porter photo

 

Doug Joyner driving a PE-built, ex-A. J. Little super-modified

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Larry McDaniels in the PE-built #99 sprint car that was formerly known as the “Missile”.  This photo was taken at a NCRA vs USAC race at 81 Speedway at Wichita late in 1985.

Bob Mays photo from the Mike Monatoboy collection

 

Jon Johnson, high on the racetrack, barely leads Dale Reed, in the PE-built #17j Dirt Champ car at Dodge City, KS in 1985.

Brian Carroll collection

 

This #32 PE-built super-modified was originally built for Jerry Livingston c1967 & is owned by Dwane Wolf in 2016.

Dwane Wolf photo

 

Although this car has seen several changes over the years, the chassis of this tribute-to-Jim-Harkness car originated in Jelly’s PE shop.

Dwane Wolf collection

 

Tanner Mullens with a sprint car he drove for Jelly but was one that Jelly had not built.

Mullens family collection

 

Mike Farrell with a 305 cubic-inch sprint car that Jelly made by welding the front & back of two other sprint cars together.

Mike Farrell collection

 

Jelly, in the white shirt, in his shop at Performance Engineering with Jerry Bolton in 2009.

Bart Stevens photo

 

Jelly in his office at Performance Engineering in 2009

Bart Stevens photo

 

Jelly, left, with a trophy girl & Jerry Stone after winning the 100-lap USAC midget race at the King Dome in Seattle, WA in March of 1977.

Webmaster’s note:  Jelly was proofreading this web page after I had finished constructing it and, referring to the first line of this photo caption, he said, “You know it says that I ‘left with a trophy girl,’ don’t you?  I left with the trophy; not the trophy girl.”  I said, “Ok, Jelly.  I’ll reword it” but he said, “NO!  I like it.  Leave it just like it is.  Maybe I should have left with the trophy girl!”

Elaine Blackstock collection

 

Jelly’s Performance Engineering at 2237 S. Mead St. in Wichita, KS

Google photo

 

Warren Wayne “Jelly” Wilhelm

1937 – 2017

 

 

Performance Engineering

Builder of Speed & Custom Hot Rod Parts as Well as Complete Race Cars

“I was WWW before there was an Internet.”

 

Warren Wilhelm was born October 19, 1937 at Kremlin, a small town 13½ miles north, northeast of Enid, Oklahoma.  He was the older of two children born to Arthur G. “Art” Wilhelm and Eunice (Appel) Wilhelm.  Warren’s sister, Marla Kay (Wilhelm) Ramsey, is eight years younger.  The Wilhelm family moved to Wichita, Kansas when he was two-years old and, since his father was employed by the Boeing Company, they settled in the Planeview neighborhood in southeast Wichita at the beginning of World War II.

 

Warren attended first car races at CeJay Stadium in southeast Wichita c1948 as his father was co-owner, with Otis Livingston, of one of the hot rods that raced there.  Their black 1932 Ford hot rod #33 had been built by a local mechanic and body man, Carl LaBouff, and was driven by Marvin Thompson.

 

Warren attended Will Rogers grade school where a friend gave him the nickname “Jelly”.  He doesn’t know why the friend chose that nickname as he wasn’t even chubby at that time.  The nickname stuck, even though his mother hated it.  He attended Planeview High School and was one of only twelve students to attend school in Planeview from kindergarten all the way through senior high, graduating in 1955.  Wanting to play football, he attended Wichita University for a semester, but then quit and went to work at Boeing in 1956.

 

After working for Boeing for three years, Jelly joined the Army National Guard.  He took his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and then extended basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey where he was assigned to the Infantry.  After serving six-months of active duty, he returned to Wichita and to work at Boeing.

 

It was during this time that Jelly said he utilized a chopped 1932 Bantam coupe body, with a frame he built from Plymouth drive shafts, to build an A / Competition coupe drag racing car to fit American Hot Rod Association (AHRA) rules.  Bantams were a small, economy car, that were manufactured in the United States by the English Austin Company.  Jelly then built a 301-cubic-inch, V-8 Chevrolet engine and installed that in the car.  Although he eventually got into the business of building race cars, he never drove any of them in competition himself, so, with Tom Hanna as his driver, they competed in sanctioned drag races on the runways at McConnell Air Force Base at Wichita, Kansas; Schilling Air Force Base at Salina, Kansas and an old World War II emergency airstrip at Edna, Kansas.

 

After 60 years had passed, Tom Hanna remembered things a little differently saying, Floyd Forrest had the car about 85% built when I traded him out of it and finished the little that was needed.  We put Jelly's small block (Chevy engine) in it and Al Williams taught us how to run nitro.  We ran Al's Chrysler (engine) in the car as well.  I think I sold out to Jelly and Glenn Leasher drove it when Warren was the sole owner.  Jelly had a ton of smarts as well as a crafty hand.  (He was) a good man from a good family.”

 

Hanna followed his own dreams into bigtime drag racing and moved to California the following year, so Jelly got fellow Wichitan, Jerry Livingston to be his new driver.  Livingston became co-owner of the Bantam coupe and brought along a 352-cubic-inch, V-8 Chevrolet engine he had built, with six Stromberg carburetors that ran on 98% nitro.  Livingston set an AHRA record that spring by running a quarter-mile on a Schilling airstrip in 9.75 seconds at 152.54 miles-per-hour.  He thus became the first non-dragster class driver ever to join AHRA’s then exclusive 150 mile-per-hour club.

 

Jelly and Livingston sold the drag car to someone, whose first name was Danny, from Kansas City, but then heard that the car had been found later, on a creek bank north of Wichita.  It now belongs to Ken Roberts who is restoring the car.

 

Jelly built a C / Sports class Devin-bodied Corvette sports car in 1961 and got Bill Moore, a Chevrolet new car dealer from Ponca City, Oklahoma, to drive the car in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) sanctioned races.  Bill Moore was a brother to Wichita Oldsmobile new car dealer, Bob Moore.  Several classes of sports cars race on the track at one time making it very difficult to win an overall victory but Bill Moore was able to win his class in some of the races run at Garnett, Kansas; Lake Afton, south of Goddard, Kansas; Lake Ponca, near Ponca City, Oklahoma; and even in Louisiana.  After one year, Bill Moore purchased the car from Jelly and raced it in SCCA sanctioned races for several more years.

 

In 1962, Squire Boone Zane, (who was a brother-in-law to driver Walt McWhorter, the two men being married to sisters), ordered a new dirt track super-modified from Jelly that could compete in races sanctioned by the Mid-America Racing Association (MARA) and Jayhawk Racing Association (JRA).  Jelly built it but Zane had not completed paying for the car yet when Glenn Leasher approached Jelly to borrow the engine for Charlie Lutkie to race in a United States Auto Club (USAC) invitational race at Birmingham, Alabama.  Jelly loaned the engine and Lutkie invited Jelly, Vic Kline and Harold Leep to go along on the trip.  The car that Lutkie drove in that race was a stretched midget with no front brakes, but he qualified it in the top three for the race and he lined up right behind A. J. Foyt.  Foyt noticed the former midget’s lack of brakes and cautioned Lutkie not to run over him when they raced into the first turn.  As it turned out, the small rear-end in the stretched midget could not take the strain of the large tires and motor, so it broke.  On the trip home, Harold Leep told Jelly that, if he ever got a race car, he would like to drive it for him.  Jelly thought about the still-unpaid-for-car he had built for Squire Boone Zane, so he decided to put Leep in that car, number it 99 and they raced it together for several years.

 

A number of different drivers have raced Jelly’s famous #99 car over the years.  Drivers Dale Reed and Roy Bryant named the car the “Stagecoach” due to its high roll bars so Jelly cut the roll cage down and made the bars shorter.  Harold Leep drove this car more than anyone else though and probably had more success in the car than any other driver as well.  Leep damaged a right rear wheel in his first race in the car at 81 Speedway.  Jelly did not have his own shop at the time so Ed Schauf let Jelly repair the car in his garage.  That was the beginning of an enduring friendship between Jelly and Shauf.  Leep came back from that inauspicious first time he drove the car and won the next four feature races in a row at 81 Speedway in 1963.  Leep also won races in this car at Dallas, Texas; Lawton, Oklahoma; and at Eagle Raceway at Lincoln, Nebraska.  He won the track point championships at 81 Speedway in the car from 1965 through 1967, as well as winning six of nine feature races at Eagle Raceway in 1968.

 

With all of their successes, Leep and Jelly never seemed to do well (at least by their standards) at the Knoxville (Iowa) Super-Modified Nationals.  Leep won a preliminary Friday night A feature race there in 1966 but only finished in twelfth place in the 25-lap championship race that year.  His best finish in the championship race came in 1967 when he finished in eleventh place.

 

Another reason that Jelly liked having Leep drive the car for him was that Harold Leep was Jelly’s father, Art Wilhelm’s, favorite driver.

 

Jelly paid Leep 50% of their winnings, instead of the customary 40% that drivers usually received.  Roy Pulver tried to hire Leep to drive for him but Leep told him it would cost him 50% of the winnings if he did, saying that was what he received to drive Jelly’s car.  Later, Pulver asked Jelly why he would pay Leep that much to drive his car.  Jelly told him that he would rather pay Leep 50% to race his car than pay someone else 40% to chase him.

 

In 1964, Jelly built a copy of his #99 car for Ed Schauf but he got the roll bars pretty high in that car too.  In fact, they were so high that friends started calling that car “Stagecoach” as well.

 

Jelly and Frankie Lies had discovered some tires that they referred to as “lightning” drag tires.  Those were soft but seemed to work well if the racetrack wasn’t too abrasive, but they felt those were the “hot setup” at the time.  Unbeknownst to Jelly, Ed Schauf took two of Jelly’s lightning drag tires from his shop and put them on his car to run time trials at the Hutchinson (Kansas) Nationals in July of 1966.  Schauf set quick time that weekend but Jelly was none too happy when he found two of his missing tires on the rear of Schauf’s car.

 

Jelly opened his own garage on Ward Parkway in southeast Wichita around 1965.  He then moved to another building at 2237 South Mead Street in Wichita in 1967 and called the business he ran there, Performance Engineering (abbreviated as “PE” in a number of places here).  He operated, Performance Engineering at that location until he passed away in 2017.

 

Jelly also built another car for Harold Leep to drive in 1967.  Jelly numbered this one #999 and Leep qualified it sixteenth fastest at the Hutchinson Nationals in 1968.  Leep finished in seventh place in the 50-lap championship race that year.  Jelly sold that car to Myron Rust and Buddy Crumley.  Rust drove the car for a while before selling his share to Crumley.  Crumley lettered the car #333 and hired Jerry Everhart to drive it for him.

 

Other customers had begun ordering new dirt track racing cars to be built by Jelly and, for a time, that became much of his business.  Many people in the racing world considered it bad business to build cars for customers and then beat them with your own car at the races so, although he kept the #99 “Stagecoach” that Leep had driven for him, Jelly cut back on entering his cars in races against his customers.

 

Dodge City, Kansas trucking magnate, Evart Isaac, ordered two new 100” wheelbase super-modified bodies and frames from California-based designer and car builder, Don Edmonds, in 1968.  The truck from California delivered those items directly to Performance Engineering in Wichita where Jelly added the nerf-bars, motor-mounts and completed assembly of the cars for Isaac.  Herb Copeland won six of the eight feature races run at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson in one of these cars in 1969, including the Hutchinson Nationals, while Dale Reed won the Hutchinson Nationals in 1970 and again in 1975, in the other car.

 

It was also during this time that Jelly started building items for “Speedy Bill” Smith’s Speedway Motors, a mail order speed shop in Lincoln, Nebraska.  At the height of his long association with Speedway Motors, Jelly was building 28 different parts for street rods and race cars that were offered for sale in the Speedway Motors catalog.  He was still building 10 different parts, that could be purchased through that catalog, when he passed away.

 

Jelly wasn’t through racing all together though.  In 1974, he built car #24 called “Gertrude” for Harold Leep to drive for him.  Leep was traveling a lot, racing for other car owners at other racetracks at that time, so Jay Woodside assumed the driving duties in the #24 car.

 

In 1976, it seemed to Jelly that Woodside was consistently driving the car right around the pole of the racetracks and he asked him why he was always driving that way.  Woodside said that it was working for him and that he could pass quite a number of cars that way.  Jelly told him that he was passing a lot of cars in the turns alright but he was losing all of those spots gained and more when they got to the straightaways.  It was then that Woodside confessed to Jelly that he was having vision problems and that he was following the others to find his way around the racetrack.  Woodside had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and his condition was getting worse.  Late that year, he was a close second place in the National Car Racing Association (NCRA) point standings, with only three races left in the season, when he retired from driving Jelly’s car due to the Multiple Sclerosis.  Harold Leep wound up winning the NCRA championship that year, driving a car #76 owned by Pat Suchy.

 

Jerry Stone became the new driver of Jelly’s #24 “Gertrude” in 1977 and won his heat race before finishing in second place behind Emmett Hahn at the Hutchinson Nationals that year.  Stone and Jelly also built a new midget that carried Stone to victory in the 100-lap USAC sanctioned race in Seattle, Washington’s King Dome that March.  In-between races driving “Gertrude”, Stone helped Jelly install a Chevrolet engine in a three-year-old USAC Dirt Champ car that Jelly had built for car owner “Speedy Bill” Smith.  Jelly had to split a valve cover to get it the engine in the car built to house a smaller-in-size Offenhauser engine.  When they were finished, they entered it in a USAC race at Springfield, Illinois.  On race day, “Speedy Bill” showed up with driver Jan Opperman in tow but Jelly stood up for Stone and made it clear to Smith that Jerry would be the driver that day.  Smith apparently did not like it but Stone drove the car while Opperman looked on.

 

Jelly attempted to build his first rear-engine dragster but soon realized that the wheelbase was too short.  He then converted the dragster into what became the yellow #99, coil-over super-modified that was originally named the “Euclid Missile”, for car owner, Lonnie Snowden, in 1979.  The car was named that as Snowden lived on Euclid Street in Wichita at the time.  Harold Leep drove the car to a fourth-place finish in the first heat race and won the B feature before flipping the car on the eighteenth lap of the 50-lap championship race at the Hutchinson Nationals that year.

 

Jay Woodside’s medical condition had improved enough that Jelly renumbered “Gertrude” as #99x and entered the car for him to drive as a backup car for the “Euclid Missile”.  (The word “Euclid” was soon dropped from the name of the car and it became known as just the “Missile.”)  Woodside finished second behind Frankie Lies in his heat race at the Hutchinson Nationals that year but then dropped out of the 50-lap championship race and was credited with finishing in eighteenth place.

 

In 1982, Jerry Stone drove “Gertrude” to a second-place finish behind Mike Peters in the fifth heat race at the Hutchinson Nationals.  Stone then finished second to Herb Copeland in the 50-lap championship race while Harold Leep finished in third place driving the “Missile”.

 

Jelly sold a new 100” wheelbase, winged NCRA Dirt Champ car in 1982 but, when the car came back to Jelly, he noticed that it had been numbered “17J” which he thought might be an omen.  #17 was the traditional car number of friend Davie Moore and the “J”, well, that surely must stand for Jelly!  Jelly told Moore how he felt that had to be a good omen so Moore agreed to drive the car for Jelly at the upcoming Hutchinson Nationals.  Moore finished third in his heat race but lost a soft plug from the engine in the feature race and the car took a long slide down the front straightway in its own water.  So much for the good omen.

 

Jerry Stone finished in fifth place in the fourth heat race driving “Gertrude” at the Hutchinson Nationals in 1983 and then came back to finish second in the now only 40-lap championship race, behind Harold Leep.

 

Stone finished third in the second dirt champ car heat race in “Gertrude” at the Hutchinson Nationals in 1984 and then finished fourth in the 40-lap championship race.

 

Jelly finally sold “Gertrude” to Steve Bahm who, in turn, sold the car to Lloyd Stephens of Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Stephens repainted the car as the OFIXCO #21 car for none other than Jerry Stone to race at Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

In 1985, former driver Chuck Frame was commissioned to build a new frame for the O’Day Offy, a vintage big car that was originally built in California over the winter of 1936-37 for owner M. E. “Hank” O’Day, by Louis “Curley” Wetteroth.  The car had been driven by a long list of well-known drivers over the years and, by 1985, it had become part of the race car collection belonging to Jack Hitt of Jenks, Oklahoma.

 

Around 1991, Hitt sold the original frame and fuel tank from the O’Day Offy to Walt McWhorter.  McWhorter, in turn, sold the parts to Jelly Wilhelm who planned to build a car around them.  Before Jelly could do that though, he was approached by Buddy Cagle, on behalf of Jack Hitt.  Cagle asked to borrow the original frame to gather mounting hole locations for the copy frame that Hitt still had.  Neither man wanted to affect the authenticity of the O’Day Offy that Hitt was then having restored, so they struck a deal to swap the copy to Wilhelm for the original frame.

 

Wichita oilman, former Indianapolis car owner and sports car racer, Jack Hinkle, was disposing of some of the items left from his longtime involvement in the sport of auto racing.  One of the items that remained was an 88.36 cubic-inch, 91 Sports Offenhauser engine with Offenhauser serial number 422.  It was equipped with four cams, two-sparkplugs-per-cylinder, a large-journal crank and a special twelve hold-down-stud block with matching crankcase.  Offenhauser had used the engine for experimental purposes in the mid-1950s.  Hinkle had felt the engine held promise and had purchased at least two of the experimental, two-sparkplugs-per-cylinder engines from Offenhauser.  One was a championship car engine that was in Hinkle’s Kurtis Kraft 500C Indy car when driver Jack McGrath qualified it for the front row of the 1955 Indianapolis 500.  The second two-sparkplugs-per-cylinder experimental engine was the engine that Hinkle was now wanting to sell.  Hinkle had run that engine in a Kurtis Kraft 500X SX-2 sports car in races sanctioned by SCCA.  When Hinkle offered the midget engine for sale to the Indy car racing community, the best offer that he received for it was $8,000.  Insulted by the offer, Hinkle said that he would rather see the engine go to a friend who would appreciate the engine for what it was and he sold it to Jelly for $5,000.  Jelly kept the engine displayed on an engine stand in his office primarily as a conversation piece.

 

Around 1999, Jerry Stone loaded up one of his race cars (that Jelly had not built) into his trailer in Oklahoma.  He and Jelly had planned to take it to a race in Oklahoma City the next day but, sometime overnight, the car caught fire and severely damaged both the sprint car and the trailer.  Stone called Jelly, told him about the blaze and that there was no need to him to drive to Oklahoma that morning.  Discouraged, Stone towed the burned car and trailer to Wichita where he parked it at Jelly’s shop.  Sometime later, Jelly called Stone to see what he wanted to do with the car and trailer.  Stone said that Jelly could keep them.  Stone said that, if he wanted to, he could even fix them up and race the car.  Jelly did just that.  He installed a 360-cubic-inch Chevrolet engine in the car, painted it a blue and white #30, and got Rick England to drive the car at the Hutchinson Nationals on July 25, 2009.  During “hot Laps” before the races, the car slid into the crash wall on the north end of the racetrack and tipped over onto its side.  The car was not badly damaged but England had apparently struck his head on the cement wall and was airlifted to a hospital in Wichita.  He had suffered career-ending head injuries in the crash.

 

Jelly welded together the front half of a sprint car he got from Don Foster and the back half of a sprint car he got (he can’t remember where) and ran the car as a winged 305 cubic inch sprint car #99 with James Riner as the driver.  Jelly traded that car to Mike Farrell who raced it as #99x with James Riner as driver.

 

Around 2011, Jack Bunyard, an old friend and former schoolmate of Jelly’s, came up with some sponsorship and persuaded Jelly to field a sprint car for him to drive, even though he had never raced before.  The pair purchased a #43 Maxim sprint car from Jim Selenke, installed a 305-cubic-inch Chevrolet engine in it and Bunyard drove it, even though he was in his mid-70s at the time.  After racing it awhile with the #43 on the car, they changed the number on the car to #3.  Bunyard did surprisingly well in the car from the very beginning and the team actually made a little money in their first year of racing together.  Unfortunately, that success did not carry over into their second season of racing together.

 

Jack Bunyard and Jelly sold the car to Larry Pankratz who eventually changed the number on the car to #7.  Jordan Weaver, Jeremy Campbell and Ritchie Dewell are among the drivers who have raced the car for Pankratz.

 

When not racing, or tinkering with old cars, Jelly’s hobbies included attending swap meets and looking for antiques.

 

Among the ways that Jelly’s accomplishments in the sport of auto racing were recognized was his induction into the 81 Speedway Hall of Fame in Park City, Kansas in 2001 and into the High-Banks Hall of Fame in Belleville, Kansas in 2009.

 

In the spring of 2017, Jelly gave his sister, Marla, a tour showing her many of the things he had collected over the years, that were stored in various places around Wichita.  Overwhelmed with it all, Marla ask Jelly what he planned to do with all of those things.  Jelly replied, Nothing.  They’re your problem.”

 

Jelly passed away on July 2, 2017 at his home in Wichita.  Later that evening, four men broke into his shop at Performance Engineering and stole a number of tools along with a newly restored 1956 Chrysler that had belonged to Jelly’s mother.  It was eleven days before the car was recovered although it had suffered minor body damage.

 

Jelly is buried beside his parents and his grandparents in the Wilhelm family plot in the La Crosse Cemetery in La Crosse, Kansas.

 

Jelly’s estate was disposed of through an auction at the Performance Engineering shop in the first week in August, 2017.

 

Jelly owned several race cars that he did not build and the list of his drivers, below, includes those who have driven cars he owned, whether he built the car or not.

 

 

 

 

Jelly’s Drivers

  Lloyd Beckman

Larry Dickson

Harold Leep

Dale Reed

  Bill Bookout

Rick England

Jerry Livingston

James Riner

  Roy Bryant

Josh Fairbank

Bobby Marshall

Marc Robe

  Jack Buford

Cody Forshee

Jake Martens

Ed Schauf

  Jack Bunyard

Tom Hanna

Bill Moore

Jerry Stone

  Herb Copeland

Keith Hightshoe

Davie Moore

Grady Wade

  Tyler Davis

Roger Hurst

Tanner Mullens

Jay Woodside

 

 

 

 

Compiled by Jelly Wilhelm

 

 

 

 

Print Advertisement from 1974

Brian Satterwhite & Bart Stevens

 

 

 

 

Advertisement from page 25 of the 1975 NCRA Yearbook

Dwane Wolf collection

 

 

 

 

“Gertrude”

#24 Performance Engineering (Jelly Wilhelm) 100” Super Modified

Overall Competition Summary

Race Results 1975 through 1980 – NCRA Competition

Documented Races of Record

51 (combined Heat, Trophy and Feature Races)

  First Place Finishes

21 times out of 51 races =

41%

  Second Place Finishes

13 (20%)

Finished Second or Better 34 Times out of 51 =

67%

  Third Place Finishes

  9 (18%)

Finished Third or Better 43 Times out of 51 =

84%

  Fourth Place Finishes

  3   (6%)

Finished Fourth or Better 46 times out of 51 =

90%

  Sixth Place Finish

  1   (2%)

Finished Sixth or Better 47 times out of 51 =

92%

  Did Not Finish (DNF)

  4   (8%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statistics compiled by Jerry Sullivan

 

 

 

 

 

“Jelly was one of the best guys welding thin tubing.  You think

back.  I don’t remember seeing any of his welds broken.  Might

rip a hunk out of the tubing but didn’t break in the welds and

you don’t see too many hunks ripped out of the tubing!  Jelly’s

(a) world class guy in my book!”

                                        - - - David Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harold Leep, Jr. drove this PE-built super-modified in 1977.  This photo was taken at Lawton, OK..

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Larry Madden drove this PE-built super-modified in 1974.

Mike Pogue collection

 

Harold Leep, Jr. seated in the PE-built super-modified at Lawton, OK that he drove in 1977.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Scott Carson in a Bud-Carson-owned, PE-built ex-Aaron Madden super-modified

 Shane Carson collection

 

 

Harold Leep driving a PE-built super-modified owned by Aaron Madden

Tulsa Speedway photo from the Shane Carson collection

 

Jimmy Allard driving a PE-built, ex-Jerry Douglas super-modified during hot laps at Lawton, OK in 1976

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Jay Woodside helping pack a racetrack in the #24 PE-built car named “Gertrude”

Mike Monatoboy photo from the Dwane Wolf collection

 

Larry Hall & Jim Toombs co-owned this PE-built Junior modified that was driven by Toombs

Dwane Wolf collection

 

Bill Tuttweiler in a PE-built car he also owned that had once belonged to George Hibbs

Mike Monatoboy photo from the Dwane Wolf collection

 

Dr. Jim Hill drove this PE-built, ex-George Hibbs super-modified as a Junior modified

Mike Monatoboy photo from the Dwane Wolf collection

 

 

Many drivers have raced this PE-built ex-ex George Hibbs space frame car that has raced as both super-modified & Junior modified.

Mike Monatoboy photo from the Dwane Wolf collection

 

Dr. Jim Hill drove this PE-built, ex-George Hibbs super-modified as a Junior modified

Mike Monatoboy photo from the Dwane Wolf collection

 

Jay Woodside in a PE-built, Leon-Boomershine-owned super-modified at Oklahoma City in 1974

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

 

Jay Woodside in a PE-built, Leon-Boomershine-owned super-modified at Oklahoma City in 1974

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Sebie Davis drove this #17 PE-built, ex-Jerry Livingston super-modified with just primer on it for a while in 1976.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Jimmy Crawford drove this PE-built, ex-Billy Brown super-modified in the Mid-1970s.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

This PE-built super-modified was owned & driven by Todd Coker.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

This PE-built, ex-Aaron Madden super-modified was driven by Dick Sheffield in 1978.

J.D. Porter photo

 

Lyndon Moss drove this PE-built, ex-Billy Brown super-modified in 1976.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Lyndon Moss drove this PE-built, ex-Billy Brown super-modified in 1976.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Lyndon Moss drove this PE-built, ex-Billy Brown super-modified in 1976.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

This PE-built, ex Aaron Madden super-modified known as “The Streaker”, was driven by Dick Sheffield in 1978.

Mike Monatoboy photo

This PE-built, ex-Aaron Madden super-modified “The Streaker” was driven by Dick Sheffield in 1978.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

This PE-built, ex-Aaron Madden super-modified “The Streaker” was driven by Dick Sheffield in 1978.

J.D. Porter photo from the Mike Monatoboy collection

 

#24 PE-built super-modified known as “Gertrude”

NCRA Yearbook

 

#24 PE-built super-modified known as “Gertrude”, after it was restored

Jelly Wilhelm collection

 

 

Jay Woodside with #24 PE-built super-modified known as “Gertrude”, at 81 Speedway

Tim Belk collection

Dave Scarborough with Harry Campbell’s

PE-built sprint car

Chad Freeman collection

 

Frank Riddle in Harry Campbell’s PE-built sprint car

Chad Freeman collection

 

Dave Scarborough in Harry Campbell’s

PE-built sprint car after winning a race in OH

Chad Freeman collection

 

#99 PE-built super-modified known as the “Missile”, that was owned by Lonnie Snowden & driven by Harold Leep

J. D. Porter collection

 

Jelly with his #24 super-modified known as “Gertrude”

Jelly Wilhelm collection

This #99 PE-built car was driven by Johnny Shannon in 1978.  It was the former Billy-Brown-super-modified that Jelly built in 1974.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

“Gertrude” after being renumbered #99x as a backup car for the “Missile”.  Otto, applying tape to the cowl; Russ Beckner, squating down; Jelly, to Beckner’s right; and Lonnie Snowden, to Jelly’s right.

Russ Beckner collection

 

  

Jelly grooving tires for the #99 “Missile” at Amarillo, TX in 1979

J.D. Porter photo

Jay Wo9odside in “Gertrude” as #99x after the super-modified was renumbered to serve as a backup car for the “Missile”.

Jelly Wilhelm collection

 

The PE-built “Missile” in the pits.

J. D. Porter photo

 

Larry Madden in a PE-built super-modified

NCRA yearbook

 

Jim Harkness in a PE-built super-modified at Hutchinson, KS

NCRA yearbook

 

This PE-built, ex-Jerry Livingston super-modified, on display at the Dallas Autorama, was owned by Karl Peihl at the time.

Dwane Wolf collection

 

This photo of a PE-built, ex-Jerry Livingston super-modified was taken at the Devil’s Bowl at Dallas in 1977.

J. D. Porter photo

 

Karl Peihl with the PE-built, ex-Jerry Livingston super-modified he owned & drove at the Devil’s Bowl in Dallas in 1975

Dwane Wolf collection

 

Ted Bacon & Jim Bell drove this PE-built car owned by Leon Boomershine, in 1975

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

Ted Bacon in Leon Boomershine’s PE-built super-modified at Hutchinson, KS

NCRA Yearbook

 

Ted Bacon & Jim Bell drove this PE-built super-modified owned by Leon Boomershine, in 1976

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

This PE-built car has been owned by Jerry Eggbert, Bob McCutchen, Mike Pogue, Paul Martens and Sam Saeger lbut it has yet to compete in a race.

Sam Saeger photo

 

Jeff Sikes in his PE-built, ex-Aaron Madden super-modified at Enid, OK shortly after he purchased it from Bud Carson

Enid Speedway program

 

An unidentified driver in this PE-built #17J NCRA Dirt Champ car taken at 81 Speedway at Park City, KS.

J.D. Porter photo

 

The origin of this car, owned by Dan & Jan Lacy & driven here by Larry Radcliffe, can be traced to Jelly’s PE shop.

Warren Vincent photo

Jerry Douglas in the PE-built #43 super-modified

NCRA Yearbook

#17J Davie Moore in a PE-built NCRA Dirt Champ car leading #37 Jerry Everhart

Davie Moore collection

 

Davie Moore with a PE-owned & built NCRA Dirt Champ car at 81 Speedway at Park City, KS

Davie Moore collection

 

Davie Moore driving a PE-owned & built NCRA Dirt Champ car at the Hutchinson Nationals in 1982

Davie Moore collection

#17J Davie Moore in a PE-built NCRA Dirt Champ car

Davie Moore collection

 

Terry Uehling in his PE-built #27 super-modified at Hutchinson, KS

Rusty Manning photo

 

Mike Stewart in the #01 and Harold Leep, Sr. in the PE-built #99 Missile at Dewey, OK.

Mike Pogue collection

 

#24 Jerry Stone in “Gertrued” inside of #99 Harold Leep, Sr. in the “Missile”.  Both cars were PE-built.

Bob Mays photo

 

Jelly, at left, with Harold Leep, Sr. at the State Fairgrounds Speedway in Oklahoma City on June 18, 2004 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the races held there.

Mike Monatoboy photo

 

L to R: Lonnie Snowden, unidentified trophy girl, Harold Leep, another unidentified trophy girl & Jelly after winning the 1980 Hutchinson Nationals

Jelly Wilhelm collection

 

Ken Sweet in A. J. Little’s PE-built super-modified known as the “Orange Bandit”

Mike Monatoboy photo from the Dwane Wolf collection

 

 

Jerry Sullivan, at left, the current owner of “Gertrude”, with Jelly

Jelly Wilhelm collection

Engraved Bench near the entrance to the High-Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, KS

Tim Belk photo

 

Jerry Stone, left, with Jelly at a racers’ reunion

Tim Belk photo

 

 L to R:  Dale Reed, car owner Evart Isaac & Herb Copeland with the two Edmonds’ 100” wheelbase super-modifieds that Jelly completed the assembly of.

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 To see a list of the race cars built by Jelly Wilhelm and his company, Performance Engineering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You

Roger Burnett, Brian Carroll, Shane Carson, Mike Cornelison, Rick England, Jerry Entin, Gary Flatt, Chad Freeman, Rich Giadone, David Grace, Larry Hall, Tom Hanna, Clinton Herring, Marci Kohn, Jerry Livingston, Paul Martens, Bob Mays, Mike Monatoboy, Davie Moore, Willem Oosthoek, Jim Petty, Mike Pogue, J.D. Porter, Marla Ramsey, Rosy Rosenboom, Davey Ross, Sam Saeger, Tom Savage, Bart Stevens, Jerry Stone, “Little Louie” Thompson, Jelly Wilhelm, Dwane Wolf, Kyle and Randy Willingham.