Obituary: Tom “Mongoose” McEwen 1937 – 2018

Obituary: Tom “Mongoose” McEwen 1937 – 2018

McEwen (right) was the first to bring sponsorship to US motor sport

By V. Moore:

The man who achieved more for modern drag racing than any other has departed. Tom “Mongoose” McEwen died in his sleep sometime on Sunday night or Monday morning 10-11 June 2018 at the age of 81.

McEwen was a rare bird: he had a gambler’s nerve and his word was dependable. He was also one of the most popular and charismatic personalities on the US drag racing scene. More importantly, his horizon extended beyond the dollar bill. He kept racehorses, as many as twenty, and though some were uncompetitive he preserved and loved them anyway.

During his heyday with Coors sponsorship, he earned between 3 and 4 million dollars a year. Yet, on the topic of finances he described himself as “not too reliable”. On matrimony, “not easy to live with day in and day out.” On diet constraints, where his compulsive nature was well known, he regarded himself as, “on the goofy side—impossible to control.” Tom “Mongoose McEwen” was a generous and exceptionally lovely man.

Born in Florida, he moved with his mother to California following the death of his father. His ambitions from the beginning lay with drag racing. It was a passion he never relinquished.  An endearing man, he was amusing and a formidable debater. He was also a gifted raconteur and entirely devoid of lofty opinions regarding his own accomplishments.

To apparently intractable problems, “Mongoose” had a knack for conceiving wonderfully improvised solutions.  And to those who knew him, particularly those closely acquainted, Thomas “Mongoose” McEwen was unusually selfless, in fact, probably the most generous man they have known.

To Peter Ward and Rabbie and Tom Prock and Mike Thermos and his many friends, our sincere condolences.

See you on the other side dearest old chum.

(This obituary was unfinished on the day of Tom’s death, but it will be completed when our office reopens in a week).

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