Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame

Class of 2014

              CARL CASPER

                                                        

                                           

Carl Casper is internationally regarded as one of America’s top Motorsports Auto Show producers.  He produced and co-produced over 35 shows annually throughout the United States.  His Louisville event has been one of the nation’s largest and most popular motorsports shows for over 50 years. National magazines also consider Carl as a legendary national award winning iconic designer, builder, master craftsman, movie & TV car builder, drag racer, antique carriage restorer, and model car & toy designer.

His high school 1951 Chevrolet, the Empress was a fantastic drag car that gained much more fame for its radical design and custom work. It won the 1960 Detroit Autorama’s “Best of Show” top award plus the 1961 NHRA National Custom Car Championship.

The Undertaker competition roadster and Renegade D Gasser were two more of his racing creations that were quickly followed up with his Galloping Ghost I and II top fuel dragsters.  The Galloping Ghost II won the AHRA Summer nationals at New York Speedway in 1969 as well top fuel eliminator at dozens of top Midwestern drag strips including Kentucky’s Blue Grass Dragway.

In 1970 Carl designed and created the Young American top fuel dragster.  He was not only the owner but co-crew chief on this incredible record breaking machine.  It won top fuel eliminator at almost every appearance while setting many new track records at very competitive California drag strips.  In 1971 it won the AHRA Winternationals in Phoenix, Arizona.   The Young American is the only top fuel dragster to defeat Don “Big Daddy” Garlit’s front engine Swamp Rat # 13 and his rear-engine Swamp Rat # 14.  Casper’s Young American is considered as one of the greatest legendary dragsters of all time.

Carl’s cars have been featured in hundreds of national magazines.  In addition to his incredible drag racing success he is America’s only “3” time NHRA National Custom Car champion and America’s only Triple Crown show champion with victories by his Ghost at the 1964 NHRA Nationals, 1965 NHRA Winternationals, and Oakland  Roadster Show.

Carl is regarded as America’s top Movie and TV car builder.  His Hollywood Productions built three of the Batmobiles actually used in the Batman Returns Movie.  His company became the only officially and legally licensed company by the movie studios to build and tour the Dukes of Hazard’s General Lee Dodge Chargers, the Knight Rider Trans Ams, the A-Team Vans, Fall Guy Stunt Trucks, Stingrays, and Street Hawks.

He is also America’s first and only “4” time national Antique carriage restoration champion. His popular model car kits and automotive toys have sold in the millions.   

Carl fell in love with Kentucky and moved his entire operation to Louisville in 1979.  In addition to his new shop and offices he also bought several Kentucky houses.  He currently splits his time between Louisville, his Florida ranch and Auburn, Indiana where over a hundred of his cars and carriages are on display in the National Military History Center Museum.


                                                                                                                                   


 
      HAROLD "CHUB" LORAH
                                                    
                            
                    Chub(right) presenting Tommy Ivo with his Record Holding Jacket



Harold “Chub” Lorah has lived in Louisville for the past 35 years.  He has been involved in motor sports all of his life.   Chub has been a drag race driver, car owner, custom and race car auto show manager, and NHRA drag strip track manager during his very exciting 56 years in motorsports.

In 1958, 59, 60 he was a drag racer with his ‘55 Chev. Gasser.  From 1959 to 1964 he managed some of the top NHRA drag strips on the East coast including Cecil County and Suffolk raceway.  For the next nine years from 1965 to 1974 he worked with Bill Holz managing the famous York U.S. 30 Drag strip.  During that time period Chub, Holz and Monk Reynolds created the Super Stock Nationals which became one of the largest and most successful racing events in the country.  Eastern Drag News magazine selected Chub as the event director for their famous “Top Dog” racing series.    

During the winter months he managed Custom Auto Shows for Bill Holz in the East and Carl Casper in the Mid-west. In 1979 to the present Chub and his family moved permanently to Louisville, Kentucky and began working full time for Carl Casper, managing all of the Mid-west Custom Auto Shows for the next 35 plus years. Dragsters, funny cars, pro stocks, gassers, NASCAR, Indy cars and race cars of all kinds were the main features at the Casper shows and Chub Lorah was the inspiration and hardworking force behind organizing and featuring the best of the best in motorsports at each Casper event.

Chub has been a major leader and very popular personality in the motorsports industry for most of his adult life and his outstanding efforts were rewarded by his 2005 induction into the “LEGION of HONOR (similar to the Hall of Fame) at the York U.S. 30 Reunion.  In 2007 his lifetime of leadership was rewarded once again as he was inducted into the International Show Car Association Hall of Fame.

Chub has been a race car owner and driver in addition to his multi-tasking at managing some of the most famous and successful race tracks and motorsports auto shows in the world.  He is a very popular and dedicated leader who is proud to live in Kentucky with his wife Bobbi and four sons, Geoffrey, Guy, Gary, Greg and one daughter, Christina.  Harold “Chub” Lorah is extremely honored to be a 2014 inductee into the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame.   


                                                                                                                                


               Hal Miller
                                             
                                   

Hal Miller was born September 26, 1923 in Owensboro to Thomas Palmer Miller Sr. and Pansy Head Miller.

Hal was a veteran of World War II, where he served with the 297th Engineer Combat Battalion throughout the European theater of the war, beginning D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. Miller served through five campaigns with the 297th, including at Cherbourg, France, The Ardennes in Belgium, The Battle of the Bulge and into Halle, Germany.

After returning home, Miller went to the University of New Mexico and later became a local businessman, He built the Owensboro Drag Strip in 1958 and later Windy Hollow Speedway in 1970.  He also operated the Windy Hollow Country Store in 1968 and later operated the Windy Hollow Recreation Area and Windy Hollow Restaurant, which were built by his twin brother, Thomas “Tom” Miller. The Windy Hollow Restaurant became a local attraction and museum that was filled with historical pieces from WWII, Western movie posters and more. Hal was an avid collector, a friend to everyone and always had a positive attitude that he shared with all he met.

1958 – Owensboro Dragstrip opens- managed by a group of hot rodders including Dr. Oldham and others. The track was located on property owned by Hal Miller on Veach Rd in Owensboro. The original track was a two- lane dirt track with a chip and seal surface. The start system was not the state-of-the-art computers used today but they handicapped the start by using lines drawn on the track and a flagman to start the races. Later a stoplight was used to start the races.  Many racers, including Gene Snow, raced at the Owensboro Dragstrip.

1968 – Windy Hollow Fairgrounds- grandstands were built for a professional rodeo. Rodeos were held in 1968 - 69 - Delmar Shown approached Hal Miller about building a ½ - 1-mile speedway at Windy Hollow. Later a 3/8-mile d-shaped dirt track was built.

Events of all types have been held at Windy Hollow Speedway & Dragway including concerts (Hank Williams, Jr. 1983), circuses, funny cars, alcohol dragsters, motorcycles, late models, open wheels, sprint cars, hare scramble motorcycle events, dune buggy, 3 & 4-wheelers, 4-wheel drives, truck pulls, monster trucks, dare devil events, demo derbies, chain races, rodeos, jet cars. NASCAR drivers Jeremy Mayfield, Mark Green and others have raced here. The Hayden brothers raced several motorcycle events at Windy Hollow when they were very young. Jeff Purvis held the dirt track record for UMP late models for many years with at 16.01. CJ Rayburn has the outlaw late model record with 13.85.

His favorite quote was by J.M. Barrie, who said, “God gave us memories so we might have roses in December.”  All who met and knew him were fortunate to walk away with memories of his smile, his courage and his kindness.  He touched many lives with his unselfish giving and concern for others, and by example, showed everyone the importance of loving and caring for others.  Through times good and bad, he always said, “We have to roll with the punches.”

Hal Miller operated Windy Hollow Restaurant and Museum until his death on April 18th, 2014.


                                                                                                                                 


               Jack Roush
                                 
                                                    
                                 
                                 

Born in Covington, Kentucky, in 1942, Jack Ernest Roush grew up just across the border in Manchester, Ohio. He received his mathematics degree with a minor in physics from Berea College in 1964 and moved to Detroit to work for the Ford Motor Company that same year.

While working for Ford, Roush was drawn to the company's extensive motorsports activities, and in 1966 joined a group of fellow racing enthusiasts called "The Fastbacks." After leaving Ford, he partnered with Wayne Gapp in 1970 in a racing venture that would see the duo attract national attention by winning many national events and one championship each in NHRA, IHRA and AHRA with their “Gapp & Roush” Pro Stock race cars, as well as by developing a line of performance parts used by top Ford teams in all classes of drag racing.  In 1971 Jack began what would become a lifelong friendship with Don Bowles (KMHF Inductee, Class of 2009). Bowles initially sought out Jack’s help developing a performance package for his 1971 Super Stock Mustang. The relationship would progress over the following years and in 1977 Roush would act as crew chief and engine builder for Bowles’ Super Modified “Little Coal Digger” Maverick. That season Bowles had one IHRA National event win, and set multiple E.T. and World Speed Records with the car.

In 1976 the Gapp & Roush partnership unraveled, Wayne Gapp took leave from the business and Jack ran the company until, in 1978, he formed Jack Roush Performance Engineering. Bowles would follow Roush as he struck out on his own. During the 1979 season Roush would again serve as Bowles’ crew chief, this time for a 1978 Ford Fairmont in the NHRA’s Modified Eliminator class, leading to one National Eliminator title, along with numerous class wins. Roush’s  success on the track, combined with his reputation as an innovator and performance engineer helped his young business thrive, and although he stopped operating his own drag race team in 1978, his company stayed well entrenched in the sport; building engines for other teams into the early 1980's.

In 1984, with Ford's encouragement, Roush returned to racing in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) road racing series. He went on to claim 24 national championships and titles in the two series, including 12 manufacturer's championships, winning 119 races, while working with acclaimed drivers such as Tommy Kendall, Scott Pruett, Willy T. Ribbs, and many others. Roush also captured 10 consecutive sedan class championships at the prestigious 24 Hours of Daytona, teaming with drivers such as Tommy Kendall, Scott Pruett, Mark Martin, Bill Elliot, Ricky Rudd and Kyle Petty, as well as actor Paul Newman and Olympic star Bruce Jenner.

In 1988, again with Ford's encouragement, Roush launched his first NASCAR Cup team with driver Mark Martin. In October 1989, Roush and Martin claimed their first NASCAR Cup victory at North Carolina Motor Speedway (the first of 135 to date). The two would go on to form one of the most successful partnerships in NASCAR history.

Roush joined forces with Robert and Doug Yates to form Roush Yates Engines in 2005. The engine shop, located in Mooresville, N.C., supplies horsepower for Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Team Penske and many other Ford teams in racing Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Truck and the ARCA Series.

In 2007, Roush Racing and Fenway Sports Group announced the formation of Roush Fenway Racing, an unprecedented relationship that brought together two championship organizations with a distinguished track record of success in their respective businesses and sports. As of July 2014, Roush Fenway has won 6 Driver Championships across NASCAR's three premier series. The win totals are 50 for truck, 132 for Nationwide, and 135 for Sprint Cup, bringing the grand total to 317. In the 26 years the team has existed it has provided opportunities for a total of 48 drivers to compete in the team’s Ford cars and trucks. Jack thinks of himself as a “build it for yourself” and “promote from within” enabler.  Of the 48 drivers he has provided rides for, 23 had never competed in NASCAR before.  Seventeen of the 48 won events and 17 are still driving today.  Eight have given up driving careers for careers in broadcasting and race track or sanctioning body administration.

Though he now splits much of his time between Michigan and Roush Fenway’s North Carolina headquarters, Jack Roush has always considered the Southern Ohio/Northern Kentucky region to be his home, and as such is highly honored to be among this year’s class of inductees.

                                                                                                                                   

                       Bob Taylor
                                          
                                      
             

Bob Taylor has been intrigued with automobiles since 1946, when as a four year old his wonderful father had a 1938 Plymouth coupe and he had made a horn button hidden on the floorboard of the car unbeknownst to the young Bob. Bobs father along with four of his brothers, had a house painting business and he always enjoyed going and spending time with them. He remembers his father as always being a very happy guy who was always joking with those around him. His dad’s hobby was being a stand -up comedian along with his pal George Zingle, and they were two very funny guys! He remembers one day in Louisville, Ky while riding with his dad in the 1938 Plymouth, who of course had both hands on the steering wheel that the horn started blowing, and to his amazement his dad told him that he could make the horn blow by just saying "horn blow", and it would not knowing that his dad was using his foot to press the button on the floorboard! The young Taylor thought that was so cool and that was the beginning of his love for the automobile.

Bob also loved drawing and lettering since the age of seven, and in 1968 started a pinstriping business called Bob Taylor's House of Color in Louisville, Ky. He has painted over 39,000 cars, trucks, motorcycles and even caskets. His work, along with his son Danny has been featured in over 250 Hot Rod type magazines, with 28 of those featured on the front covers. Bob and Danny also custom painted the 18 wheeler for country duo Brooks & Dunn. Bob has been the show director for the Carl Casper Custom Auto Show, which is one of the largest indoor shows on the circuit, which also just happens to be in Louisville. Bob says Carl Casper is one of the finest people he has had the pleasure to work with. Bob also has built over 20 custom cars, trucks and street rods. In 1976 he built a 1932 Chevrolet sedan street rod and in 1980 showed it on the International Show Car Association circuit. The sedan was one of fifty vehicles in 1981 that earned enough points for the Las Vegas Grande Finale.

Bob says his life's journey has been a great blessing with the help of his wife Joann, his son Danny, and lots of others who he has written about in his book. His dad once said, "If you see a turtle on a fence post, he didn't get there by himself". Bob was inducted into the Pinstripers Hall of Fame in October of 2013 and says it’s an honor to be inducted into the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame along with all the other inductees, and he wants to thank everyone for this great journey!


                                                                                                                                

Chuck Winders

(February 2, 1948 – September 18, 2008)

                                        
                                                        
                                      
                                                     

The late Chuck Winders is honored posthumously as the first track champion of the former NASCAR sanctioned Louisville Motor Speedway to be inducted into the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame. He was the speedway’s most accomplished driver and Chuck was not only a champion on the race track, but a champion and an inspiration to people even beyond the speedway.

His father left at an early age and he was raised by his mother, inspired by his sister Brenda and an uncle, Cleve Shielley. He spent much of his childhood in the housing projects in one of Louisville’s neighborhoods, while his mom worked to earn a living to support them. Chuck shed the temptations of juvenile delinquency and chose to become active in sports instead, as Louisville’s Manual High School star pitcher on the school’s baseball team. He attended Western Kentucky University on an athletic scholarship and later he joined the Metro Louisville Fire Department with Engine Company #8. Chuck married his wife Jan, in 1974. He juggled his hours at the firehouse while playing men’s softball, first with Jesse’s, and then Jiffy’s, before joining the nationally known professional softball club, the Kentucky Bourbons alongside Bill Gatti.

Following the demise of the ballclub in the early 1980’s Chuck’s interest turned to local auto racing and by 1984, he was winning feature race events at Jeffersonville’s (IN.) Sportsdrome Speedway and won the track’s Street Stock title in 1986. He became Charlestown (IN.) Motor Speedway’s “National Street Stock 100 Champion” event winner in 1986 & 87 and Sportsdrome’s “Pepsi 100” winner in 1987 as well.

In 1988, he won the Kentucky Motor Speedway’s (Whitesville, KY.) “Kentucky Asphalt Championship” Late Model stock car event, but Winder’s greatest accomplishments came at the new NASCAR Louisville Speedway from 1988 to 2001. He won the speedway’s NASCAR Winston-Busch Late Model Championship in 1989 and the speedway’s NASCAR Winston-Martin Landscaping Sportsman Championship in 1991, 94, 96, 97 and 2001. He won a total of 31 NASCAR Late Model feature races and led the NASCAR Sportsman Division in career feature victories with 57 wins. Overall, he collected 88 career victories, more than any other driver during the existence of the track.

He had the most consecutive winning seasons of any driver in the NASCAR Late Model Division with 13 years of Victory Lane visits, among them, the prestigious “Bluegrass 300” in 1992 and 1993. Chuck also holds the speedway’s NASCAR Sportsman Division Official Track Record 16:652@94.583 MPH. He was voted “Most Popular Driver” by the Kentuckiana race fans six times, more than any other driver and he was honored by NASCAR as a Top Ten Regional finisher on four occasions.

Winders was the most marketable driver representing the area’s best sponsors such as Phillips Lighting, LG&E, Kentucky Lottery, McDonald’s Restaurants and Papa John’s Pizza during his career. Chuck spoke on behalf of the speedway at many men’s clubs in the Louisville area and he was the most interviewed race driver by the Louisville media. He also performed many charity services in conjunction with his racing efforts for St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital, American Diabetes Association, Ronald McDonald House and Make A Wish Foundation. He was also a part-time sales representative for Lose Bros. Nursery. Chuck competed in selected events at other area speedways after Louisville Motor Speedway closed following the 2001 racing season. Following his racing career and after retiring from the Metro Louisville Fire Department, Winders became a homebuilder.

After a long illness, Chuck Winders lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on the evening of September 18, 2008. He left behind his wife Jan and two children, Joey and Wendy and six grandchildren.

                (Special Thanks to Frank Scott for submitting this bio)


                                                                                                                             


        V.V. Cooke Sr. & Jr.
                          

The V.V. Cooke Oval racing team; was just that, a team, with the right mix of sponsorship, ownership, skilled mechanics, and a solid, skilled and proven driver that worked together and respected each other’s talents  like no other before or after in the history of the Fairgrounds Motor Speedway.

With 5 Championship wins starting in 1961 (the opening year for the Fairgrounds Motor Speedway), incredible back to back Championships in 1966 and 1967, and another back to back Championships win in 1970 and 1971. 

2 Championships at the Danville Speedway, 1965 and 1971 International 500 wins, and a 1968 Salem Speedway 500 win.

Not only did V.V. Cooke sponsor this Oval racing team, they also were sponsors of the wildly successful Corvette racing team with the Barker brothers (Inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2012).

V.V. Cooke Sr. a successful teacher, businessman, and cattleman from Butler County, KY, bought and sold several car dealerships in Western Ky.

 In 1930 he established and ran one of the most successful car dealerships in Louisville, V. V. Cooke Chevrolet.

By the 1960’s Mr. Cooke would employ over 100 sales, mechanics and other personnel that were highly trained and respected in their fields.

Gerald Newman his brothers Tom, Leon and son Larry all would be included in his personnel over the years.  Gerald retiring from Cooke’s in 1978 and his brother Leon still employed there until the business closed.

V.V. had a unique perspective and business know how that included an in-house apprenticeship program for new employees (especially) his technicians where they would be placed with an older, experienced mechanic and apprentice for one or two years before allowed to work on their own.

The sales staff and technicians were so well trained and proficient that performance seeking customers came from all over Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee to buy their cars and have them serviced at V.V. Cooke’s.

When the 1953 Corvette came out, V.V. Cooke Chevrolet received the first one delivered in Kentucky. It was during these years that V.V. Cooke would heavily advertise his High Performance Automotive Business and services for Chevelles, Chevy II’s, Corvairs and Corvettes.

Their Cooke sponsored Oval racing team would start with a 1958 model Chevrolet that Larry Newman would purchase and partner with his father Gerald Newman. By the time the Fairgrounds Motor Speedway would open in 1961 the V.V. Cooke sponsored Chevrolet would be a record setter at the Sportsdrome and Fairgrounds and win its first Championship. The oval race team would consist of Gerald Newman mechanic and co-owner with Larry Newman and Roy Wathen as the driver. The cars were always modified and painted with a tasteful combination of red, white and blue with the V.V. Cooke logo prominently displayed.

As V.V. Cooke eased into retirement after years of dedication to his business, V.V. Jr. took over the reins of the business.

V.V. Cooke was a generous benefactor to the Louisville religious community and could be considered the model after which many of his own family and employees would start their own successful businesses. In 1990 a list was compromised of over 75 automotive businesses spawned by previous mechanics, salesmen and body men that had learned their trades at V.V. Cooke’s.

Even though the dealership has long since closed its doors and V.V. Cooke Sr. has passed, the racing teams and cars are gone; V.V. left behind a legacy that dominated the Louisville racing arena.

His red, white and blue #1 car remains one of the most remembered and loved memories of the Oval track in the 60’s and 70’s at the Fairground Motor Speedway.

                                                                                                                                

    Gerald & Larry Newman
                                                    

Widely regarded as one of the most talented mechanics to own and race cars at the Fairgrounds Motor Speedway, Gerald Newman a Muhlenberg county Kentucky native moved his family to Louisville Ky in 1941 and began working for V.V. Cooke Chevrolet. It was during this time that Gerald and his son Larry (Sonny) to most would become members and title holders at the local drag strips with their very competitive cars. They both were Members of the Pushrods and Contenders car clubs during the 1950’s.  They were regulars at Beech bend and Cedar Creek drag strips. In 1958 Gerald and Larry Newman co-owned and raced the first of many race cars that were sponsored by V.V. Cooke Chevrolet. Gerald would also be a mechanic for the successful Corvette race team sponsored by V.V. Cooke. He served as Pit Crew Chief and on the governing committee at the Fairgrounds. 

After the addition of Roy Wathen as driver of their cars, Gerald and Larry Newman would become one of the most competitive race teams at the Fairgrounds and win their first championship in 1961 (the opening year) for the Fairgrounds. In 1966 and 1967 they would win back to back championships. They won again in 1970 and the final and 5th championship was won in 1971 with Ken Reiter as the driver.

In 1965 Larry Newman would campaign and race his own car again and become “Rookie of the year in “1966” and most improved driver in “1967”.

Gerald’s particular talent of mechanical genius would be the backbone of this team and would keep the Cooke sponsored cars running despite the changes in the tracks and racing regulations over the years. Gerald Newman would rework and “reskin” the cars for the next racing season to keep them competitive and in turn teach Roy to drive the “new” car with its changes.  The original 1958 car Larry bought used from an individual and this car would be reworked for the 1959, 1960 and the 1961 season. In 1962 Gerald bought a new car from Cooke’s and “reskinned” and raced it for the 1962, 1963 and 1964 seasons. In 1965 Gerald had a car built and he and Roy would become co-owners of the later cars. The 1965 car would be “reskinned” for the 1966, 1967 and1968 seasons. In 1969 a new Camaro was purchased. That car alone was reworked 4 times before the 1971 season was over.  Gerald would find a way to compensate for any disadvantages to his short wheel based and light cars, keeping them competitive.  Many times the Newman car would just out handle its competition. But it is easy to see why Gerald Newman was one of the best and the busiest mechanics to ever race. Between his family, his job at Cooke’s the long hours with the race car, weekend races and catching up in the off season rebuilding the cars; he was a very busy man but always made time for his family and grandchildren. He was well respected by his peers, and dearly loved by family and friends. He could always be counted on to lend a hand when and where needed with a smile.

Gerald Newman’s wins and achievements on and off the track over the years was due to his hard work, his honesty and his belief in being fair and fair minded. He always chose to look for the best in any situation and in any person he met. His contribution as owner and mechanic to the team could easily be overlooked by most as he was a very quiet and humble man often just out of the spotlight with his jumpsuit on and a mechanic rag in hand.

After the 1971 racing season was over, Gerald Newman sold the race car and continued to work at V.V. Cooke until he retired in 1978.

                                                                                                                              
               Ken Reiter
                                                             
                                  

Ken Rieter, “The Night Reiter” as he was often called by his fans, started testing his racing abilities at the young age of 18 at the Sportsdrome in Indiana.

After winning his first ever amateur race, in his own words he was” hooked”.

Working as a mechanic in the Reiter Garage, Ken also became one of the best Body men in the industry.

In his racing career he is often referred to for his consistency on the track, always placing in the top ten in point standing no matter where he raced or what he drove. He won the “Runner up Award’ in 1966, barley missing the Championship title that year by a mere 14 points.

He has often been called by the best in the Industry as one of the most “consistent”, “iron nerved”, and “hottest drivers”.

Roy Wathen even said of Ken as he was driving the Powell Dodge in the beginning of the 1971 season, “that’s a helluva lot of car and a helluva lot of driver.

Coincidently Ken Reiter, Larry Newman and Roy Wathen were all members of the illustrious “15 second club” at the Fairgrounds. Reserved for the fastest 4 qualifiers for the year.

His sponsors and cars over the years would include, The Atherton trenching owned Ford, the Duncan owned Arab Pest control Ford, and probably two of the more famous; the Powell owned Dodge, and the Newman co-owned Cooke sponsored Camaro.

Ken after a 4 year hiatus came back in 1971 starting the season with the Powell owned Dodge and was the hottest driver on the track, still leading in the point standing when incredibly he was ousted by the Powell’s over disagreements between them.  At the time the Newman co-owned Camaro needing a driver due to Roy Wathen’s progressive illness that ended his driving career. The switch in cars and drivers was immediate and Ken set the track on fire that year with the International 500 win, and the season Championship in the V.V. Cooke sponsored Camaro. After his experience with the Newman owned car Ken stated it was the best ride he ever had. All he had to do was get in the car and drive, all the work was already done and the car was set up perfectly for him.

The V.V. Cooke Camaro and Ken Reiter would be featured in the Stock Car racing monthly magazine, “YOU CAN’T BEAT THE LOCAL GUYS” after his victory over ARCA’s big gun and hottest driver Ramo Stott by two laps. This took place on Reiter’s home track at the Fairgrounds for the International 500 win in 1971.

Ken moved on to race in USAC stock car circuits and was a hit there, always managing to be in the top 10 in points standing. He would garner an impressive “outstanding Rookie” driver award in the USAC stock car division in 1972 In the Atherton Ford.

In 1973 after 18 months with a string of other drivers, Katherine Powell again approached Reiter to drive the Dodge in the ARCA series races, where he captured a 3rd place win at Daytona in the Royal Triton race.

He would go on that year to race in the USAC stock car series against the greats such as Iggy Katona and Ramo Stott. Powell eventually sold the Dodge and

Reiter started driving again for Atherton’s in a Chevrolet Chevelle.

After a crippling injury in the beginning of 1974 where he crashed into the wall at the Fairgrounds after a stuck throttle, Ken Reiter would turn his attention away from racing for the last time. This ended a racing career that lasted from 1956 to 1974.

Besides racing Ken is an avid motorcyclist having ridden since he was 14, and part of the famous “Gypsy tours” in Louisville. He still rides often and is a  member of the Kentucky Motorcycle Association. He also is a talented tournament shooter competing at some of the local gun clubs and has even found time over the years for bowling tournaments and flying model airplanes.

Some of Ken’s most enjoyable times when not on the “track” involved spending time with family and friends and boating on Kentucky Lake and the Ohio River.

Ken Reiter is truly one of the “local guys” that added so much to the sport of racing here in Kentucky.

                                                                                                                           


              Roy Wathen
                                    
                                             
                                     

A Louisville native, a loving Husband and Father, and one of the most popular, and talented racers to ever compete at the Fairgrounds Motor Speedway.

Roy Wathen and his brother Tony began racing Motorcycles as soon as they could drive. They were regulars at Beech bend and Cedar Creek dragstrips on their Harley’s.

After the opening of the Sportsdrome in Indiana, Roy Wathen started racing in the midget races and his early cars were called the “Yahoo Specials”.

Some of Roy’s early sponsors at the Sportsdrome would include Vince’s welding and Heil produce.

Roy later co-owned and built a Crysler powered and Copper colored car with Huggie Thornsberry that he raced at the Sportsdrome and the Danville tracks. He later would run that car through a retaining wall at Danville and demolish it, almost demolishing himself with it.

While hanging out at the Sportdrome one night in the 1960 season a driver took ill and a replacement driver was needed. Roy Wathen climbed into Larry Newman’s Cooke sponsored Chevrolet and remained the driver for the Newman’s cars until 1971.

 In the early years of their partnership, Larry, Roy and Gerald would race at the Sportsdrome, Miles park, Danville, Campbellsville, Covington, Corbin and  Dayton Ohio just to name a few.

The Newman’s having come from a mostly “dragster” back ground would learn a lot from Roy about “Oval” track racing. And Roy now having a great car, the mechanic skills of the Newman’s and the stability of the generous and unwavering sponsorship of VV. Cooke, would now be set to make his mark on the local tracks.

Roy set and broke track records including several of his own including qualifying times.

He was already a one lap record holder at the Sportsdrome and Fairgrounds by 1961 and broke his own record at the fairgrounds in 1962.

At the tracks Roy was a consistent Trophy Dash winner, fastest qualifier, and or the point leader whenever he raced.

His many championships would include the first one in 1961 (the inaugural season for the Fairgrounds). In 1965 Roy placed 2nd in the ARCA King Coal Classic race in West Virginia, and 3rd in another ARCA race that year.

Roy won the tough international 500 in 1966 at the Fairgrounds, followed by back to back championships in 1966 and 1967, also winning a championship at the Danville track for the 1967 season.

In 1968 Roy won the Salem 500 race with his partner Jerry Norris by an unheard of lead of 7 laps.

In 1969 Roy won 5 of 7 feature races at the Danville Speedway to win a second Championship there.

In 1970 Roy placed 2nd in the ARCA 500 at the Fairgrounds partnered with Dave Kulmer, in Dave’s Camaro after deciding not to change the engine (due to racing regulations) in his own Camaro for that race.

Roy placed 5th in the 1970 “Monza” style Bluegrass 300.

Roy won several “Sportsmanship” awards and had his own fan club at the Fairgrounds.

Roy Wathen’s philosophy on racing was very simple; in his own words “I just take it as it comes, if you win okay, if you lose to bad”.

Roy was on fire in 1970 winning a never before or after 5 features in a row to include 8 for the season and his last championship at the Fairgrounds.

 Roy started out the 1971 season with every intention of winning his 5th Championship and a second back to back Championship. What he did not expect was the return of Ken Reiter after a 4 year hiatus driving the Powell Dodge, or the toll his newly diagnosed “Bright’s disease would play in his racing future. With the opening of the newly rebuilt Speedway, with its improvements and new regulations, it would now put the smaller wheel based and lighter Camaro at more of a disadvantage than ever.

Roy raced up to the middle of the 1971 season when his illness would put a permanent halt to his racing career. No longer able to drive he stepped aside as Ken Reiter took over the driver’s seat and as the champion he was assisted in any way he could to help the team through the transition.

The Oval racing team of V.V. Cooke and all its team members in 1971 winning their 5th Championship proved once again that superior handling, the talent and hard work of Gerald Newman’s mechanics, proven, talented and consistent drivers, and a little luck would once again prove them “Champions” on the track.

With all the battles and feuds fought over the years, the only battle Roy Wathen could not win was his battle with Bright’s disease and

On September 26th at the young age of 42, Roy Wathen died at Jewish Hospital in Louisville. Even before his loss however his family and fans at the Fairground Motor Speedway hosted a benefit race on September 1972 to help defray the cost of his very expensive Kidney Dialysis.

The Fairgrounds went on to honor this great racer with a memorial race for the next 8 years after his death. The last trophy for these races being won and kept by Dave Kulmer in 1979.

I think John Potts summed it up best about Roy by saying: Roy Wathen was one of the greatest competitors and gentlemen to ever participate at the Fairgrounds. He was a champion from the moment he stepped foot on the track. He was no quitter and his fans respected his ability and loved him for the man he was. A man among men, a champion among champions, and a giant in a sport where men become giants the hard way.

To this day Roy Wathen remains one of the most popular and dominant memories for the fans of the Fairgrounds Motor Speedway in the 60’s and 70’s as do his cars, the red, white and blue Chevrolets with the #1.

                                                                                                                           

           Pioneer Award
            Tony Schiller
                                    
                              
                                                      

From the time Tony was a teenager he always loved cars, fascinated by speed and control of a vehicle and maneuvering it. Tony always liked to push his limits with almost everything he did. In 1952 was when he started to visit the races on the beach of Daytona. The atmosphere, sounds, smells made him feel more and more alive each time he saw hard nose driver's giving there all for one goal to be number one. Tony wanted that, thrived for it.

Tony's racing career started in 1948 driving (for other's) on quarter mile dirt tracks. He knew he needed to work his way up the totem pole slowly and it would take a lot of hard work, time and dedication. Over the years he raced those dirt tracks, finding himself constantly driving back to Florida to watch the races on the beach. Tony was there in 1959 to watch the first Daytona 500 on the international speedway, watching Lee petty and Jack smith race the asphalt he knew one day that would be him. The racing bug had bitten Tony and only fueled him more and more he raced and watched the races. During his downtime he owned a service station where he would work on his own cars in his garage for the upcoming Friday and Saturday afternoon/night races. Tony had no sponsors being an up comer and all he used his own pocket money to fund himself and his cars to race.

Over the years he raced from known tracks such as Campbellsville, Midway, Louisville Fairgrounds, and Harrodsburg Ky. Tony has driven over 40 tracks, from as far west as Texas and as far south as Florida. Tony joined the Automotive Racing Club of America (ARCA) in the late 1960's to give him his first big break for more competitive racing. No one was better at dirt track racing than Tony Schiller, he won many races on 1/4 and 1/2 mile tracks both dirt and asphalt. Competing in the ARCA series his main goal was winning with “A if you’re not 1st you’re last mentality”. He loved racing bumper to bumper and made sure to let you know he was nearby on the track. With this mind set and driving skill it was un ordinary for Tony to have rivals on the track, Benny Parsons, Iggy Katona, Ron Hutcherson, Bobby Watson  just to name a few were his most fierce competitors on the track.

In 1973 at Daytona International Speedway, Tony raced the ARCA Speedweeks race driving his known Chevy on the same track he would visit throughout the 1950's. Realizing his dream had finally come true as he sat in the cockpit on his Chevy awaiting for the guest to say those famous words "Gentlemen start your engines"! Tony's day came to a sudden halt on the 4th turn during the race crashing into the wall going over 180 mph ending his day at Daytona. The day was not lost though Tony knew he had made a giant step in the right direction to his future of racing and welcomed the next race that would come along in his future.

He continued to race the ARCA Division winning the Sportsmanship Award at the 73 ARCA banquet. Tony's fondest memory of racing came from an ARCA Grand National East Race where Tiny Lund came to his garage and congratulated Tony on a great race and patted him on the back, the following week Lund was killed in 1975 Talladaga leaving a special place in Tony's mind and heart after that race night.

Tony raced for a little while longer while enjoying his off time with his wife Ann Schiller, which was his biggest supporter during his racing career.  Even when he decided to walk away from racing he still enjoys going to the Daytona 500.  Racing will always be Tony's passion and he will always remember the days he lived his dream behind that wheel.

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