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Head Racing Introduces Dylan Cromwell Memorial Scholarship

Will Lester Photography

On Sunday, October 24, 2021, Dylan Cromwell was killed in a highway accident while driving one of the Head Racing Funny Car transporters to the NHRA Nevada Nationals in Las Vegas. The 23-year-old Montana native made a profound impact on the Head Racing team and driver Blake Alexander, and the group has now banded together to form the Dylan Cromwell Memorial Scholarship. Head Racing will also honor Cromwell during the upcoming NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, beginning with a celebration of life on Thursday, August 31.

Cromwell was born and raised in Scobey, Montana, a small town in the northeast corner of the state. The region is known as the “Middle of Nowhere, USA,” as the nearest metro area is more than four hours away. Cromwell was proud to call Scobey home, so it was important to Head, Alexander, and Cromwell’s family to help other young people from Scobey through the Dylan Cromwell Memorial Scholarship.

“We have been working with the Cromwells for some time on establishing this,” said Jim Head, team owner, Head Racing. “Our mission is to help promising individuals like Dylan gain opportunities to hone their skills in mechanical schooling. It is an honor to establish this memorial scholarship alongside the Cromwells and the people of Scobey, Montana. Dylan’s legacy in his hometown and our sport will once again be celebrated this weekend.”

The scholarship’s first recipient is Taite Weltikol. An aspiring diesel mechanic, Weltikol plans to attend Montana State University – Northern in Havre, Montana. Through the scholarship, he’s been provided with tools and all other necessary items.

“Follow your dreams and you can go anywhere you want to go,” said Shane Cromwell, Dylan’s father. “Every goal my son set, he met. He told his friends when he was playing tee ball that he was going to be on a professional race team one day, and he did. As hard as it was to see him go, the big plan was for him to be here a short time, and he accomplished everything he needed to here. We are excited to get his racing colleagues together to celebrate Dylan and continue his memory.”

Scholarship recipient Taite Weltikol (left) with Shane Cromwell, Blake Alexander, Tiffany Cromwell, and Kevin Cromwell.

Ahead of the NHRA U.S. Nationals, Alexander, the Head Racing team, and the Cromwell family will visit the crash site on I-70 just west of Indianapolis with a police presence to spread ashes. Later, they’ll hold a celebration of life at the Jonnie Lindberg Motorsports shop on Thursday, August 31, at 6 p.m. EST. Lindberg drove the Head Racing Funny Car when Cromwell, 18 at the time, was hired. 

Alexander first met Cromwell in 2019 when he was tapped to fill in for Lindberg at one event. Alexander was later named the team’s new full-time driver for the 2020 season, and the two began working together closely. Cromwell did anything from service the bottom end on the Funny Car and drive one of the team transporters to various tasks at the shop like taking care of the team dog. Cromwell was posthumously named to the Drag Illustrated 30 Under 30 list in December 2021. 

“I am glad that we can all get together this weekend to celebrate Dylan’s life and announce something that will provide opportunities for others,” said Alexander, who earned his first NHRA Funny Car Wally with Head Racing at the Norwalk race this season. “When Shane told me what him and Jim were working on, I was excited to be a small part of it. Dylan developed a mechanical knowledge at a young age due to his schooling, and I know Taite will do the same learning to be a diesel technician.”

Head Racing will host the Cromwell family, including parents Shane and Tiffany and Dylan’s brother, Kevin, throughout the U.S. Nationals weekend.

This story was originally published on August 28, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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