The community lost a local drag racing pioneer, competitor, businessman and good friend in 67-year-old Bill Kost, who died Aug. 3 because of medical issues.
A memorial was held Aug. 7 at Maple Valley Presbyterian Church.
The former national recordholder enjoyed the sport he grew up with. Even in the late stages of his racing career, Kost refused to slow down. He continued to compete on the regional level and qualified well in the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways last month.
Kost and his trusty Oldsmobile Cutlass amassed more than 40 wins, including three national-event victories. One of those nationals was his finest hour, the 1996 NHRA World Finals victory in Pomona, Calif.
Kost, a longtime car dealer and Auburn restaurateur, brought a warm, fun and competitive presence to the garage.
He loved his family, his crew, his work. The black-clad “Hit Man” will be missed.
Kost was a Division 6 icon and belonged to one of the genuine bread-and-butter local drag racing families.
“It has been people like Bill who keep it going, by continuing to race and inspire others to start,” Sheila Miller and her family wrote in an e-mail to the NHRA. “Sometimes the sportsman classes don’t get much recognition. But if you looked back at the Kost family racing history, it is truly amazing.”
Mark Klaas is editor of the Auburn Reporter, part of the newspaper group that includes the Covington and Maple Valley Reporter.