Bill Reichert grew up in Owosso, Michigan, the son of a small-engine repair shop owner. As a youngster, he and his brother Jim, with their father’s assistance, would construct crude go-karts from lawn mower engines and putt around in them. When they had learned to increase the performance of their karts to the point of tearing up their dad’s front law, Bill’s father decided to get the boys into real racing.
When Bill was 12 years old, he and his brother took their go-karts to the local kart track and began to obtain formal racing experience. Racing his kart every Friday night for the next four years, Bill took home a room-full of trophies and was hooked. A father who was not a racer had started Bill Reichert down the road to racing success.
At the age of 16 Bill took his streetcar, a 1964 Pontiac GTO, to the local dragstrip where he raced in the C/Modified Production class. Racing for pride and taking home many trophies Bill began to envision a long-term pursuit of drag racing glory.
Throughout the 1970’s, Bill continued to race, first in his GTO, then a 1965 Chevelle SS and finally in a 1969 Camaro. Bill Reichert was now a racecar driver. However, being a married man with two children meant that Bill had more to be concerned about than just elapsed times and miles per hour.
Reichert’s upbringing in the engine repair business rubbed off and after working in a small machine shop for a few years, Bill chose to begin his own engine building repair business in 1984. Thus, Reichert Racing Engines was born and it soon flourished. The only downside of the business was that Bill had less time to spend at the racetrack. Incorporated in 1990, the company now included Bill and four-full-time employees, including his son Andy who also served as his father’s crew chief.
When Bill felt his company was on sound footing, he allowed his thoughts to drift to a substantial return to drag racing, this time in a Federal-Mogul Dragster. The evolution of Bill Reichert the racer was taking its next major step.
1992 marked Reichert’s rookie season in an alcohol-fuel dragster and he made a debut that any racer would dream of. After acquiring his alcohol dragster license in the spring, Bill entered 14 races. With one win, two runner-up finishes, one semi-final appearance and six other quarter-final appearances, Bill finished 20th in the final 1992 national point standings. The Reicherts looked more like seasoned veterans than rookies in this high-powered class of racing.
1993 brought more of the same, including Bill’s first ever NHRA National Event Championship round win and a 12th place finish in final points. 1994 was even more successful with four WDRC wins and the clinching of his first NHRA Division 3 Alcohol Dragster Championship as well as a fine 7th place finish in the national standings. 1995 was equally successful with 3 NHRA WDRC wins to go along with Bill’s first ever NHRA National Event win and his third consecutive top ten standing. 1997 produced a fourth consecutive top ten national standings and 1998 made it five straight along with his second NHRA Division 3 Championship. Five consecutive national top ten point finishes is a significant accomplishment in the rarefied air of NHRA Championship Drag Racing. Equally significant is that for the past seven years he has enjoyed sponsorship from Bar’s Leak.
What does the future hold for Bill Reichert? As Reichert explains, I always want to be the best I can be at something. We’ll stay right here while we work towards winning the Federal-Mogul Championship in this class. I think the Federal-Mogul Series has shown it is a very viable format for marketing products and reaching millions of consumers. I love what we’re doing and I want to do it to the best of our abilities. After “paying” our dues for several years I feel that we are in a position to truly challenge for a World Championship.
As a racer, team owner, businessman, husband and family man, Bill Reichert has to wear many hats. His 29-year marriage to Gloria, his two children Andy and Ashley, a successful business, 2 divisional championship, 5 consecutive national top ten finishes, 2 national event wins, 12 divisional event wins, 4 national event runner-ups and even more divisional event runner-ups show that Bill Reichert is something special.
Bill Reichert passed away on March 26, 2023