RolandLeong (born 1945), whose "Hawaiian"
Top Fuel Dragsters swept the National Hot Rod Association's two
National Events, the Winternationals at the Pomona Fairgrounds
and the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, two years consecutively,
in 1965 and again in 1966. This feat by Leong's entries was accomplished
with two different drivers, as Don "the Snake" Prudhomme
scored the back-to-back victories in 1965, followed by Mike Snively
in 1966. In 1967, Leong failed to three-peat at Pomona or Indianapolis,
but did triumph that year at two popular independent drag races,
the notoriously fierce March Meet in Bakersfield, and the Hot
Rod Magazine Championships in Riverside, CA.
In 1969, abandoned campaigning
Top Fuel Dragster in favor of the burgeoning Funny Car class.
The following year, with driver Larry Reyes, Leong campaigned
a 1970 Dodge Charger AA/Funny Car that won its class at the 1970
NHRA Winternationals. In 1971, Leong's "Hawaiian" Funny
Car repeated at Pomona, winning Funny Car Eliminator again, this
time with Butch Maas driving.
Throughout the 1970s and into
the early 1980s, Leong campaigned a variety of "Hawaiian"
Funny Cars, both in NHRA competition, as well as "match
racing" at smaller, independent tracks.
In 1980, having hired Ron Colson
to drive in what was that man's final year as a professional
race-car driver, Leong tuned his "King's Hawaiian Bread"
Corvette Funny Car to victory at the NHRA Winston World Finals
in Ontario, California. Besides being Colson's last race, the
event was also notable as being the last drag race at Ontario
Motor Speedway. In 1983, with MIke Dunn at the helm, Leong's
"Hawaiian Punch" Funny Car won the Bakersfield March
Meet. The car crashed and was destroyed later that year at the
NHRA World Finals at Orange County International Raceway.
After Leong and Dunn parted ways
in 1984, Leong and his new driver, Rick Johnson, won the 1985
Bakersfield March Meet, followed later that year by a victory
at NHRA's Le Grandnational-Molson in Quebec, Canada.
In 1991, Leong once again won
the US Nationals at Indianapolis, this time in Funny Car Eliminator,
and with Jim White driving. Later, at the Chief Nationals in
Dallas, Texas, his "Hawaiian Punch" Funny Car was the
first in the class to break the 290-mph speed mark.
Following the 1991 season, Roland
relinquished his role as car owner. In 1996, he began serving
as a crew chief for the Red Line Oil Dodge Avenger Funny Car
of Ray Higley. Despite the entry's limited finances, with Leong's
input and expertise, Higley posted his career-best 1/4-mile elapsed
time, posting a 5.00-second clocking at the 1996 US Nationals.
In 1998, Don Prudhomme, then retired from driving and now a multi-car
team owner, hired Leong to tune his "Skoal" Funny Car.
With Ron Capps driving, Prudhomme's Leong-tuned entry won Funny
Car Eliminator at that year's Winternationals. Despite winning
more NHRA National Events than anybody else in the class, the
Prudhomme-Leong-Capps collaboration finished second in NHRA points,
behind winner John Force.
In 2009, after having taken a
hiatus from the sport, Leong returned to drag racing, now acting
as crew chief for "vintage" Nitro Funny Cars racing
primarily in NHRA's new Hot Rod Heritage Series. In 2014, Canadian
drag racer Ron Hodgson hired Leong to tune the Troy Lee Designs
Nitro Funny Car driven by Tim Boychuk, for competition in the
NHRA Heritage Series.
In 2015 Leong took on the roll
of Crew Chief for Jim Murph's Nostalgia Top Fuel car and quickly
had it running stronger than ever. He will pick up in 2016 where
he left off.