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Casey Christie / The Californian

Tony Waters, 84, is shown at left working with his son Darrell Waters in the pits at Famoso preparing their car for the 2012 March Meet. Waters was the 1959 runner-up in the first March Meet.

Longtime Bakersfield drag racer, engine builder and engine tuner Tony Waters, 84, died Saturday in Bakersfield after an extended illness.

Waters was an original member of the Smokers Car Club, which staged the first U.S Fuel and Gas Championships at Famoso Drag Strip in 1959.

Waters drove his A/Modified Roadster to a runner-up finish in that inaugural race, losing to Art Chrisman's dragster in the finals. Waters also drove the roadster on dry late beds.

Waters remained active in racing throughout his life and in recent years he owned and turned a and A/Fuel dragster driven by his son, Darrell.

Services are pending.