Mac Tools crew chief Rob Flynn and Team Ace’s Harold Parfett have more in common than both being members of the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame. Their similarities go back decades to Edmonton International Speedway but it was years later that a partnership was forged between Team Ace and Kalitta Motorsports. It was a deal that started with a bang in Las Vegas and has continued through today. Recently both Hall of Famers connected to talk about the beginning of their personal drag racing careers and also how the Kalitta Motorsports relationship with Ace Racing has flourished. Please enjoy this back and forth conversation between two legendary contributors to drag racing.

Harold Parfett – “We have our nostalgia nitro car in common and Rob and I both went to Speedway Park when we were younger. We live about an hour apart. A few years ago I came to you in Las Vegas with my decals and you took one look at them and said talk to Bob Lawson, the Kalitta marketing manager. Bob and I sat down and had a wonderful first meeting. Within an hour we were putting those decals onto the race car. If you remember that was the day when you decided blowing up injector hats was a good idea. I gave you six decals and by the end of the weekend you needed them all.”

Rob Flynn – “I met Harold in 2015 he was sponsoring a nostalgia Funny Car I was working on. At the same time he had a couple of altereds and race cars in other classes too. We got to talking a little bit and I was kind of working on the car and helping around so I didn’t have a whole lot of time. We did meet at Bakersfield and I believe it was at Vegas where we really got to talking and I think that is how this whole program came about. We were talking about the Vegas event when I introduced you to Bob.”

HP – “Of course the first time we ran with our logos on the injector hat there was a leak in the injector and the camera zoomed right in on Ace Racing. Within like two minutes my phone started going off like crazy. Everyone was like there goes my sponsorship. The very first race was extremely interesting and so much fun. I really, really looked at that real estate on that injector hat. I thought that has to be used it is too valuable. I couldn’t believe no one was there already. Everybody asked me how did you manage that and why hasn’t anyone else had that spot. They suddenly realized how valuable that spot was. It is not that you can necessarily see it during the races but you get those close ups when you are at the line. I couldn’t believe it was the very first time out and I got the full screen. I started with a bang for sure.”

RF – “It is funny you say that about that real estate. In 2007 when I worked for David Powers we were running really well, winning races, qualifying No. 1 and we were in the midst of putting the Caterpillar program together. We were doing Cat races here and there. One of the crew guys coined the phrase ‘Canadian Horsepower’ and they made a decal and it went on the injector.”

HP – “I think you needed all six of those decals by the end of the weekend and you had used all my decals. That was a memorable start. It all started with a big bang and I looked up on the screen and I couldn’t believe it. That whole monster screen was all Ace Racing. You can’t get any better than that. “

“Rob do you remember what year you started going to Speedway?”

RF – “Oh yeah, 1975. I went to the very first event and the very first car I even saw were fuel cars. That is pretty much what set the hook on fuel racing.”

HP – “1966 was the first race I went to and I also saw the fuel cars. I was famously picked out of the crowd by Don Garlits and I still have in my office here the picture that he gave me. There were no hero cards back in those days. He pointed into the crowd and there were probably a hundred of us sitting there in the grandstands. I was way in the back and he pointed at me. I didn’t think he picked me but he said ‘Yeah you come up here.’ The very first time I went to Speedway and the very first time I saw drag racing the very first pair of cars I saw were fuel cars and the very first guy I met was Don Garlits. You can’t start off with a better bang than that.”

“I remember his hands were really greasy but he was able to sign that picture without putting a bit of grease on it. I grabbed that picture but I didn’t leave. Garlits was ready to get back to work on his car but he asked me if I had any other questions. I was 15 years old at the time and I said I didn’t think I will be so cool to own my own race car. He squared straight on and tapped me on my shoulder and said ‘Hey kid, you work hard enough and you will own your own race car one day.’ I think I had a net worth of about nine dollars that time. I left knowing one day I would own a race car which I did.”

“Last year at SEMA Don Garlits was selling books so I got in the line up there I told him my story and they recorded it. Now it is on some website somewhere about the kid that was 15 that got the tap on the shoulder. It has been quite a tour for me for the last 50 plus years.”

RF– “It is funny you say that. When he was selling the books I went to talk to him as part of that 1320 Club Traci Hrudka was organizing. I was wearing a Mac Tools shirt walking around the show. I got him to sign that shirt and I have never even washed it.

HP – “There was a really good story about how Don Garlits got paid. It that time there was more than twenty five cents worth of silver in quarters. One of the things I heard him say was he would come up here and race in this area and he wanted quarters in a fuel barrel. I don’t know if that is true but he was an innovator and I have heard that story more than once. He would go back across the border with this undeclared barrel of quarters.”

RF– “Getting back to our memories of Speedway I know the one race I went to was in May because I think they always had the first race at the end of May. There was Hot August Nights, which weren’t really that hot.”

HP – “Hot August Nights still carries on to this day and I think the last couple of years we actually had hot August nights but most of the time it is miserable.  I got a great picture of back in the 60s of Terry Capps and Don Garlits standing side by side. I don’t know who was trying to look tougher. They both had their arms rolled up and they were posing for the picture I guess.”

RF – “What I like about our relationship is even though it started with a bang we have always enjoyed talking together. We really first got started in Bakersfield in 2015 I think.”

HP – “You are right it was 2015 I had those two altered that were my cars so I had two teams running at Bakersfield and I was sponsoring a couple others. I knew Rob was going to be here and I wanted to meet you. It was pretty hectic and you asked me if I was going to be in Las Vegas the next week. I said yes I am and you said why don’t you come and visit me since you were working on Leah Pruett’s dragster at the time.”

“I have always wanted to be in those surroundings inside the ropes not just looking over the ropes. I remember coming into your pit area and how everything was pristine and clean. I was amazed. We were just amazed at the size of the operation and how many motors you had. My wheels were turning at that time. That program ended and you went over to Kalitta’s after that. I said well it has to be worth the gamble to see about getting hooked up with Kalitta so I rolled up by decals and put them in the back of my Jeep. The rest is history.”

“I look at my 2005 injector and it is so puny compared to what you guys have today. There is room for a couple postage stamps on my injector but the ones you guys have now have just gotten bigger and bigger. I always figure I have a 50/50 chance of getting a good shot of the injector either when it goes by or when it is in the pits.”

RF– “It is very noticeable for sure. How did you come up with that logo?”

HP – “I made my logo more by accident. It is pretty simple. I got the name Ace because I was a pretty good pool player when I was a kid. I just took the idea of the Exxon sign and put the Ace right in the middle. Back in 1977 everybody had these elongated business names. I knew that the simpler the logo was the easier it was to get burned into your head.  That is why it is effective because there is not much on the decal. Red is my color so the red and the black on a white background it sticks out pretty good.”