Fred Crow: Remembering the Namesake of Crow Safety Gear

Fred Crow: Remembering the Namesake of Crow Safety Gear

You may recognize the name from the safety gear you see at the races, but its namesake, Fred Crow, contributed far more to the sport than just a brand name.

Crow’s roots start in drag racing. He won his first IHRA championship in 1963. He set numerous drag racing records with partners and drivers in his cars throughout the 1960s.

In 1966 Crow went to work for Mickey Thompson selling speed parts. This would mark the beginning of a 65-year career in the safety equipment business. He would go on to found Crow Safety Gear in 1997. Crow also served as a board member for SFI.

“In my wildest dreams I could have never dreamed that my true passion would become my vocation,” Crow said in a 2006 speech when he was honored with the NHRA Lifetime Achievement Award. “I owe my experiences in racing to the development of Crow Safety Gear with big thanks to all those racers who have supported me along the way.”

Crow served his country in the U.S. Army, and he also helped many racers and other industry people in the sport. Among them include the Outside Groove, where Crow provided safety analysis and advertised Crow Safety Gear.

“Fred would freely give frank advice about safety,” said Outside Groove editor J.A. Ackley. “Safety in the sport was his passion as much as the actual racing was.”

When Crow received word of the praises his products received from racers, he remained humble.

“It’s the least I can do for the sport I love so much — to keep the men, women, and children who share the enjoyment of racing as safe as possible,” Crow said.

Kevin Shaw and Laura Shaw, of RaceDay Safety, view Fred Crow as more than just a supplier of product to their safety gear retail establishment.

“He was a mentor to Kevin and I,” Laura Shaw said. “He and DeEtte were a husband and wife working together in a family motorsports safety business like my husband and I. Fred and DeEtte were fascinating and hospitable. When we had dinner with the Crows, Fred was in his late 70s and going strong. Kevin asked him if he had any intentions of retirement. Fred replied, ‘No.’ Fred’s work ethic will endure forever.”

In a prepared statement, DeEtte Crow remembered her husband, Fred, as “a remarkable Christian man, beloved husband, devoted father, and esteemed US Army veteran.

“Fred’s journey was marked by dedication, passion, and an unwavering commitment to excellence… His vision, leadership, and relentless pursuit of innovation have shaped Crow Safety Gear into a trusted name synonymous with quality and reliability. Fred was a pillar of strength to his family and friends. His kindness, wisdom and generous spirit touched the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing him.”

Fred Crow passed away at age 89 during the last week of March.

There will be a celebration of life on Saturday, April 27, at Influence Church in Anaheim Hills, California. For more information on that, you can email [email protected]. In lieu of flowers, people are encouraged to donate to Influence Church or the Tunnels to Towers Foundation.