The staff and management of The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway would like to extend its heartfelt condolences to the family of local drag racer Mark Tomlinson, who passed away Sunday morning at age 56.  According to published reports, Tomlinson had been hospitalized since March 10 following a choking incident at a local restaurant.

The Las Vegas resident was famous for piloting the big black 1971 Thunderbird "Bird of Prey" in The Strip's Pro class.

Mark was the executive vice president of Pacific Properties and Development in Las Vegas and immediate past president of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association.

Born Oct. 25, 1946, in Wisconsin, Tomlinson moved to Arizona with his family and attended high school there. He earned a degree in business administration from Arizona State University in 1972 and went to work for Security Pacific Bank in Los Angeles.

He joined Fredericks Development Corp. in 1975 and was assigned to Phoenix in 1985 when Fredericks merged with Presley Cos.

He came to Las Vegas in 1989 as the housing market started to boom, working nearly 15 years for Molasky. He oversaw $250 million in apartment construction for Pacific Properties in four Western states.

"A sad day indeed," said fellow Pro division competitor Ron Landram.  "Mark has been a regular since the Speedrome (Las Vegas' local drag strip before The Strip at LVMS was constructed in 2000) days."

"What a shock, to say the least," said Jerry Mock, who also raced against Tomlinson at The Strip.  "I was talking to Charlie Treadwell of Tubular Engineering the other day and he said Mark had the chassis on 'The Bird' dialed in and he was going to make a full assault on the points this year at LVMS." 

Mark is survived by a daughter, Lisa Loftis, of Texas; a son, Alex, of Southern California; and two grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending with Hite Funeral Home of Henderson. 

A memorial service for Mark will be held on Sunday, March 30, at 2 p.m. at the Hughes Center (off E. Flamingo), in the park north of the Wells Fargo Tower.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the newly-formed Mark Tomlinson Memorial Fund, "anticipated to grant scholarships or awards to those who make outstanding contributions to homebuilding."

For more information, contact Sharon at (702) 734-4644.