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Buddy Morrison, Pro Stock giant, dies

12-16-98


-- Charles "Buddy" Morrison

Charles "Buddy" Morrison, co-founder of Reher-Morrison Racing Engines and partner in the Reher-Morrison racing team that won seven NHRA and IHRA Pro Stock championships, lost his long battle with cancer shortly before midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 15. He was 54.

Morrison was one of the Pro Stock communities most liked and respected competitors. A bear of a man, Morrison's size did not belie the kind and deep soul inside. Longtime Morrison friend and former publicist Rick Voegelin described Morrison in a 1984 National DRAGSTER story as "a laid-back slightly mischievous observer ... a philosopher/racer who is equally adept at discussing fuel curves and Eastern religions."

Morrison was born June 27, 1944, in Huntsville, Texas and a quarter-century later teamed up with David Reher and Lee Shepherd to form what eventually would become one of Pro Stock's all-time dominant teams.

Morrison met Reher in the late 1960s when both were attending classes at the University of Texas in Arlington, where the team's famed shop eventually would reside. Both already had existing race teams -- Morrison with Beal Turney and Reher with former Comp champ Bobby Cross -- but Morrison and Reher soon formed a fast alliance in a team known then as Reher, Morrison, and Cross.

The team began to get more serious about racing and soon discovered that it might be easier to get parts and machine work done if they did it themselves. When they opened for business, their total assets consisted of a drill motor, a die grinder, and one pumpkin-orange Chevrolet-powered Maverick. Morrison built a flow bench and the team hired a shy young Texan named Lee Shepherd to help them in the machine shop, but took over the wheel of the Maverick when Cross quit racing.

The team moved to Pro Stock in 1976 and within a few years the Reher-Morrison-Shepherd name had become synonymous with winning in the class. The team survived tragedies, such as Shepherd's death in a 1985 testing accident, and found new fire and fame with driver Bruce Allen, who continues to drive the team's current machine, the Outlaw Pontiac.

Reher and Morrison were honored as the "Pro Stock Engine Builders of the Year" five consecutive times (1982-86) on the Car Craft All-Star Drag Racing Team. Reher, Morrison, and Shepherd were named "Persons of the Year" by Car Craft in 1980.

At the time of his death, Morrison was actively involved in a new NASCAR Craftsman Truck program with driver David Starr.

Morrison is survived by his wife, Susan, and sister, Carolyn.

The memorial service for Morrison will be held Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. CST at Moore and Sons Funeral Home, 4216 S. Bowen Rd., Arlington, Texas 76016; (817) 458-8111

The Morrison family has requested that gifts be made in loving memory of Buddy to the following organizations:

University of Texas
Southwestern Medical School
PO Box 91088
Dallas, Texas 75391-0888

or

American Cancer Society
8900 Carpenter Freeway
Dallas, Texas 75247

or

National Childhood Cancer Foundation
PO Box 60012
Arcadia, Calif. 91066-6023
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