Local racer, Bob “Rambo” Hanes, age 81, of East Lansing, MI, died on February 24, 2019. He was born on February 26, 1937, in Roanoke, VA, to Hathaway and Mable Hanes.
Bob was a mechanic while serving for 4 years in the Marines from 1955-1959. He rose to the rank of sergeant. He had lived in the Lansing area since 1943 and worked 26 years at Melling Drop Forge.
He has been racing since 1953 and he was the second person to build an asphalt front dragster in mid-Michigan in 1958. He ran Figure 8 at Spartan Speedway. Bob also ran demolition derbys, roll over contests, manufacturer blow-up races, and once drove in a school bus race at Owosso Speedway.
Rambo drove stock cars around mid-Michigan for 16 years from 1967 – 1983 and was track champion at Mt. Pleasant and Merritt speedways. He then went to Clown School at LCC, and became a clown at Spartan, Mt. Pleasant, and Merritt speedways for 3 years. In 1988, he started building 4WD rear engine mud dragsters and for many years was the only one in the state. His 2WD mud dragster still holds the Michigan state record for 2.03 seconds in 150’ mud pit and was state champion.
He was inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. Later in life, he built many street rods (mostly Model A’s) and once built a 1930 Model A Coupe in 75 days.
Bob was married to his wonderful wife, Marilyn for 58 years.
Bob is survived by: his wife, Marilyn; son, David Hanes; daughter, Susan (Mark) Schumacher; 4 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; brother, Bill (Irene) Hanes; and sister-in-law, Jean Ballard.
His family will receive friends at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday and from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Monday, with a funeral service at 1:00 p.m. at the funeral home, with interment to follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Semper Fi Fund, 825 College Blvd., Suite 102, PMB 609, Oceanside, CA 92057 in memory of Robert Hanes.