There's not a person in our sport who isn't familiar with John Force. He first started coming to Firebird in the mid-70's. This picture is from the `77 Nightfire 500 with his Brute Force Corvette. What makes this photo quite memorable is the person holding the remote microphone. His name is Richard Schroeder. We recently learned of the passing (August 13, 2007, at the age of 64) of the man they called "Wall to Wall". He was an extraordinary announcer and a true character, barnstormer if you will, a person that personified what this sport is all about. He first came to Firebird in 1969. He brought an exhibition wheelstander, a Javelin if you will, to perform quarter-mile wheelstands just one year after Firebird first opened to the Hemi Under Glass in July of 1968. A friendship was instantly struck. He helped announce almost all of Firebirds's major events well into the 70's, and included an appearance at the inaugural Boise Roadster Show in 1973. Richard was a real character, someone who understood the origins our sport. He had his hands in a whole variety of areas of Drag Racing. He helped start Super Chevy Sunday. He was keenly involved in the infancy of Import Drag Racing in southern California. His candy apple red Bad Bossa Nova wheelstander was one of the all-time most popular and beautiful `standers ever to appear anywhere. He built and drove a Dualie Crew Cab wheelstander that had twin supercharged engines in the bed of the truck. He created the sport's first Jet powered Sport Compact (a Ford Escort). His roots take him all the way back to early Super Stock racing, a former class winner at the NHRA Winter Nationals, where wheelstanding was a big part of the show and fun factor. But most of all he just flat loved announcing. He had such way with words and visiting with racers during an event. He spent several years announcing with quite a number of NHRA announcer at national events like Bernie Partridge, Mike Lewis, Dave McClellend, Bob Frey and even a young protege' by the name of Scott New. Schroeder pretty much took the little redheaded New under his wing in the mid-70's and taught him the ropes. Schroeder loved telling the story that unfolded at the 1978 World Championship Series race at Firebird where he had to get back to L.A. on business (prior to Sunday's final eliminations) and leave all the announcing to the upstart New. It was basically a make or break (him in) deal. Fortunately enough, three years of training (much of which fringed on something between awful to just plain horrible) led him to complete his first major announcing qwest at the age of 17. Somehow the eldest New boy survived that significantly stress-filled day in front of one of the track's all-time biggest WCS crowds and (as most know by now) continues announcing to this day. Schroeder will be sadly missed. He was by all accounts a real icon of this sport and someone who deserves to be recognized at the highest level. All we can say is, we're sure going to miss you pal. We'll always be indebted to your friendship, tutoring, and enthusiasm for every aspect of our sport. God Speed, Richard.