Monday, November 20th, 2017

Yamaha Mourns The Passing Of Dragbike Racing Legend Jay “PeeWee” Gleason

Published on February 14, 2017 by   ·   5 Comments


Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., is sad to learn that Jay “PeeWee” Gleason, an iconic dragbike racer and member of its Yamaha family of racers, passed away over the weekend.

Bob Starr, General Manager of Communication at Yamaha Motor U.S., said, “PeeWee is a huge part of the Yamaha VMAX legend. His talent on a dragbike helped us sell a lot of VMAX motorcycles, and he will forever be associated with the fabled, V4-powered, Sport Heritage machine. Mention ‘PeeWee Gleason’ and a lot of people instantly think of the VMAX, and what he did on that bike. We will miss him, but we will never forget him.”

Jay “PeeWee” Gleason

Jay “PeeWee” Gleason

Back in 1986, for a feature story that was published in Cycle World magazine, Jay ‘PeeWee’ Gleason, a well-known and highly talent dragbike racer, climbed aboard a Yamaha VMX12 VMAX at Baylands Raceway, did a rousing and smoky burnout to bring the rear tire up to temperature and maximum grip, and proceeded to post a quarter-mile time of under nine seconds.

That day, the world found out that the VMAX was the fastest, quickest, most powerful production bike ever. It also compelled many customers to visit their local Yamaha dealers and purchase VMAX motorcycles of their very own.

In 2009, more than two decades after his original VMAX quarter-mile run, PeeWee repeated history aboard a 2009 VMAX, on which he ran the quarter mile in 9.513 seconds and at a trap speed of 143.70 miles per hour.

Jay “PeeWee” Gleason was one of a kind; a soft-spoken, yet highly talented dragbike racer.

Godspeed, PeeWee.




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Readers Comments (5)

  1. Bob Duffey says:

    J Gleason was a great guy and was a fun to be around. We only spent a few times together, mostly through American Turbo Pack. He will be missed by many and me for sure !!

  2. Pattie Prestidge Frost says:

    Dear Jay & Family
    So many times in the last 40+ years – yep you have to remember you started Racing Flat Track in the 70’s I have wondered how you were I can almost tell you the last time we were at Ascot bench racing. Your Dad had gone into the Turbo business and you were doing a lot of work for Cycle World – it seems odd to read of your passing. I moved from So Cal to Kansas City in 1980 and stay away from Motorcycles until 2009 – since then Many a ship
    Has sailed as they say but you my friend will always Rate in my life as one for the books……you will be missed God Bless You Jay!

  3. Bill Barrett says:

    I remember him setting a new record every pass down the track on a Honda CBX when it was 1st released. Every pass was better than the last. Sorry to hear he is gone.

  4. Mike says:

    Sad to hear this. He was great, and an inspiration to many.And man, was he fast! RIP.

  5. curt nauert says:

    god speed pee wee thanks for the fun times rip bud

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