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Author Topic: George Santos passes  (Read 4457 times)
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Tom Simon
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« on: October 05, 2011, 11:59:34 AM »

I just got word that my friend, George Santos passed away on Sunday. I don't think George ever raced on the salt, but I know their shop, S&S Automotive in San Leandro, CA built engines for plenty of SF Bay Area racers that did.

I met George 15yrs ago, while building a couple of drag race engine for air-cooled VW. He gladly let me use the small machine shop behind his house, the same he and 5-time national NHRA champ Rick worked on several different sbc powered, then later Hemi powered Top Alcohol Dragsters.

The skills and knowledge that George had was hard earned through hard knocks. At the same time, I found him open to listening to different points of view and open to learning through others experiences. In talking with George for just 15 minutes, I'd learn more than I could in 40hrs of hard work on a racecar. I'll never forget the advice he gave me when I mentioned the TAD team I was part time crewing for, was about to test a new setup, switching from 3yrs of blown alcohol, to injected nitro. Normally the kind of guy to offer up advice to me, this was different. He stopped, looked at me very seriously, and gave me some sobering words about working with 95% nitromethane  "You be careful Tom... that stuff will ignite all on it's own, it don't need no spark to go off!" or something like that. Then he told me a story about Dave Hirata and Dave's dad almost loosing his hand at Indy a few years earlier, parts being launched through the side of the enclosed trailer.

Anyhow, it's guys like this that enrich all of our lives, George Santos is in the top few of people who have mentored and helped me along the racing path. God's Speed buddy!  cry
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jdincau
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2011, 01:29:50 PM »

He and Rick were great to compete against in TAD, RIP George.
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lvsalt
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2011, 08:16:20 PM »

watched that small block beat up on all those Hemis for years.   RIP George
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Gary Cole     DCWATERJET Z
Tom Simon
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2011, 11:43:46 AM »

watched that small block beat up on all those Hemis for years.   RIP George

George (and Rick, and his brothers) were VERY proud of that.

Beside being a talented machinist and engine builder, the guy was an outstanding tuner as well (although his innate humility would not allow him to ever publicly admit to it).

One conversation he and I had went like this:
George "I'm tired. I just flew back home from <somewhere in the midwest> last night"
Me: "What were you doing?
George "went to see a buddy of mine race his TAD at a national event"
Me: "you rolled up your sleeves and jumped in, huh?"
George "hehe... kind of I guess. I just watched as he made his first pass. it was ok, but it looked lazy to me. Safe, but lazy. He don't have much money, runs kind of a bucks-down deal" he went on "He asked for help, so I looked. They run a Cygnus computer, so of course there was no data after the pass... those dam Cygnus things almost never work, that's why you can always get a deal on a used one. Anyway, I looked at the plugs, the timing. I added some lead and <added or took away fuel,I can't remember>.
Me, waiting for the result: So what happened?
George: "he went the fastest and quickest he'd ever gone <smile, then shrug>. So what are you working on, Tom, more Volkswagen stuff?"
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dw230
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2011, 02:45:39 PM »

Sorry to read this. I had the pleasure of meeting George last December when I was in the bay area. I knew his rep but didn't realize that when walking into S & S the shop would look like a throw back to the 60s. Stuff everywhere!

Good things happened there - God Speed George

DW
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