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In Memory of Edwin 'Jabo' Elam
Mr. Edwin Elam passed away at the age of 71 after a life-long love of auto racing. He was a Korean War veteran and is survived by his wife of 49 years, Barbara, and his son, Brad. 'Jabo' had retired in 1984 after a 32 year career working on machinery at the City Prison Farm in Atlanta.
Not much of a talker, the nickname 'Jabo' was given to him by his Uncle Jack at a young age.
He was a very popular Street Eliminator racer who ended his driving career in 1976 after a 20+ year career of drag racing a series of Chevrolet small block powered cars. Throughout his career he had the support of his wife and it was very unusual not to see his family with him at the races.
A former NHRA National Record Holder, he was awarded the honor of being named the 1972 NHRA Division II Driver of the Year. A recent conversation with Mrs. Elam revealed that this award was Jabo's proudest moment in a drag racing career that contained many highlights.
Jabo was always one of my favorite drivers. I first saw him race at Houston Brothers Drag Strip (Fairburn, Georgia) in 1967 or 1968. He had flat-towed his Camaro to the track with a tow bar and free wheeling hubs. Throughout the following years I witnessed Jabo win several races in Camaros and a Corvette.
He was also a NASCAR fan. He loved the Daytona races and attended several. Dale Earnhardt was his favorite driver.
Recently, I have been researching a book on Atlanta area drag racing. I have been talking to many of Mr. Elam's peers and I'm finding that not only was Jabo a very respected competitor, but he is remembered as a good man. I believe that says it all.
Rest In Peace and thanks for all of the memories.. - David Dilbeck