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Roberto "Poncho" Rendon

Roberto "Poncho" Rendon, a lifelong resident of Roseville, Michigan was born Dec. 21, 1942, in Armada, Michigan and passed away December 28, 2005 in Roseville, Michigan.
Poncho had a racing career that spanned 20 years and later developed into the hot rod and street car passion in Motor Sports. He owned and operated a variety of dragsters and funny cars -- most notably the "Detroit Tiger" funny car. He was associated with notable racing greats such as 1985 MMSHoF Inductee Connie Kalitta and 1989 MMSHoF Inductee Shirley Muldowney as well as 1993 MMSHoF Inductee Dick Lahaie and 2010 Inductees the Logghe Brothers. Following his racing career, he owned and operated a hot rod shop in Mount Clemens. Relatives said racing was his passion and he loved street rods and helping others to enjoy their street machines.
 
Poncho was not a driver but owned cars driven by many of the sport’s top drivers and started out with 63 Pontiac Tempest in 1965 that ran as an A/FX car and then later moved into 1966 and 1967 with a 1939 Willys that ran in A/Gas with a fuel injected 426 Hemi. He campaigned the Willys at local tracks all over Michigan.
 
1968 saw Poncho purchasing Connie Kalitta’s 1965 Logghe front engine dragster. He installed a fuel injected Ford Cammer and with driver Dave Miller they secured a runner up finish at the US Nationals.
1969-1971 saw Poncho crewing for The teams of Connie Kalitta and Shirley Muldowney before buying a new Logghe rear engine dragster complete with a wedge body by famed tin man Al Bergler (2006
MMSHoF Inductee). It was slated that Gene Demagalski would drive the car but not before Connie “The Bounty Hunter” Kalitta gave the car a whirl. Only to have a horrendous crash in the car that saw it flip multiple times resulting in some injuries to Kalitta and mangling the car.
 
1972-1974 saw Poncho with a rear engined Logghe named “The Frito Bandito” with Gene Demagalski filling the cockpit. Unfortunately Gene would lose his life in this car in 1074 at St. Louis. This was also the same car that Shirley Muldowney made her licensing passes in to garner her Top Fuel license in 1973 at Motorsports Park in Cayuga, Ontario.
 
1975-1976 saw Poncho move over to Funny Cars as at this time He realized that he could make more money with these type of cars so he bought a used Logghe from Kalitta Motorsports and dropped a Cuda
body in it for match racing all over the Midwest with Bob Pacitto behind the wheel of the “Desperado”.
 
1977-1978 saw Poncho with another Logghe chassied; Nitro burning Funny Car, this time with a Monza body dubbed “The Detroit Tiger” and wheeled by the legendary Tom Prock. With sponsorship from Gratiot
Auto Supply this duo ran the full NHRA schedule along with some AHRA and IHRA shows. This combination was always a strong contender and won numerous match races at drag strips all around the
mid west. This was a fantastic appearing car and won best appearing at its first meet in Pomona California.
 
This combination continued on into 1979 with Hume and Forster and a Plymouth Arrow bodied “Detroit Tiger that ran the full NHRA schedule and continuing its winning ways by taking the top spot in numerous match races meets around the mid west.
 
Poncho retired from racing at the end of 1979 and started a successful Mexican restaurant called “Ponchos” before pursuing his dream and passion of building hot rod and street rods for his customers in the Detroit area. Poncho was known to be the go to guy to find those hard to get parts for vintage cars and street rods. Poncho truly was a pioneer and a huge contributor to the sport of Drag Racing.