LOS BANOS, Calif. – Ken Jenkins, 65, died Saturday, May 11, 2013, after a long illness.
He was born Sept. 30, 1947, in Liberal.
He married Sunny Ely on April 8, 1967. She survives.
He entered the U.S. military in 1965 and served in Vietnam as an aircraft mechanic aboard the USS Oriskany and the USS Hancock.
He built custom vans, and also built and raced a stock car in the Southwest Kansas area. He later entered the field of sprint car racing. He created a number of winning chassis and suspension designs over the next 25 years. He joined Nance Performance in 1979, and in 1982 relocated to Tennessee with Gambler Chassis.
In 1985, he relocated the former Stanton chassis manufacturing operation to Bondurant, Iowa, and Challenger Chassis was born. He later developed the Magnum chassis, and in 1988 joined Maxim Chassis and relocated to Springfield, Ill. In 1992, he launched Jenkins Motorsports, building and servicing sprint car chassis throughout the U.S. In 1998, he created the Intruder Chassis. He later worked for Carrera Racing Shocks and Panzer Motorcycles.
He is also survived by parents, Roy and Dessie Jenkins, Liberal, and Audrey Ely, Canon City, Colo.; daughter, Jami Jenkins, Tulsa, Okla.; brothers, Ron Jenkins, Wichita, and James Jenkins, Mannford, Okla.; sister, Teresa Stevens, Liberal; and granddaughter, Mackenzie Allen, Mount Vernon, Ill.
He was preceded in death by son K. Scott Jenkins.
• Military rites will take place Friday, June 7, at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetary in Santa Nella Calif.
A memorial service in Kansas will be at a later date.