Jim Nelson passed away on May 9, 2012. Most famous for his association with Dode Martin and Dragmaster, he also left an indelible mark on many other types of racing. After a stint in the Navy during WWII, he returned to his hometown of Carlsbad, California. There, he organized the Oilers hot rod club. The Oilers would often meet and build cars at his parent's turkey farm in what was called the "bug barn" because of the amount of fleas that infested the farm's turkeys.
Nelson's involvement with the SCTA caught the attention of Wally Parks, who soon tapped Nelson for duties within the SCTA's structure. Nelson rode with Parks to Utah to survey the Great Salt Lake for its use in speed trails. Nelson was also one of the founders of the San Diego Timing Association, a forerunner of the NHRA, at the Paradise Mesa drag strip in San Diego. For over 30 years, Nelson worked in many capacities within the NHRA as well as racing at events with the Dragmaster Team. In 1962, the Dragmaster Dart won Top Eliminator at the NHRA Winternationals.