KALWASINSKI: Chicago Chips
“Fifty to 100 years from now this will be the last memory of all those great memories that we all experienced at that track,” Behounek said. “Santa Fe was the place where people came to see the speed, having the fun of being with the family watching the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. It was just the best place to go every Saturday and Sunday night. I’d never miss it.”
Kenny Kuehn probably summed it up best saying, “Howard Tiedt built a playground for all of us.”
The Illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame hosted its “Hall of Fame Day” at Wayne Lensing’s Historic Auto Attractions in Roscoe, Ill., Oct. 27. During the day’s activities, nominees for the Class of 2014 were announced.
Nominees include Erik Johnson, Bob Chapman, Joe Finn and Whitey Gerken for the Northwest sector. Al Johnson, Earl J. Hubert, Skippy Michaels and Bryant Tucker for the Midwest; Ed Hoffman, Frank Gawlinski, Tom Jones and Bob Pronger for the Northeast and Roger Long, Jerry Roedell, Frank Schickle and Bill Hazel for the South.
Track promoters are represented by Howard Tiedt, Port Defrates and Pete Jenin. The announcer/race officials group includes Chris Clark, George Krueger and Elmer Steinbeck. The car builders/mechanics sector has Bill Koenig, Rudy Hoerr and Mike Terrafino.
Official ballots have been included in the group’s recent newsletter with only Hall of Fame members able to cast votes. To become a member, contact Art Fehrman at (708) 254-5196 or [email protected] Completed ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 20.
A group of O’Hare Stadium racers got together in October at Hubcaps Pizza Bar & Grill in Schiller Park, not far from the site of the old speedway at Mannheim and Irving Park Road. Former track champions Roy Martinelli, Tom Jones, Bob Weyrauch and Bob Boyce were among those in attendance.
Congratulations to locals Wayne Adams, Leon “Jigger” Sirois, Emil Andres and Cletus “Cowboy” O’Rourke for being elected into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame. With a bundle of racing stories at age 94, Adams was the longtime track announcer for the stock car races at Raceway Park near Blue Island. Before short-track stock car racing took the area by storm in the late 1940s, Adams announced countless midget races in the Midwest. In 1947, he handled the microphone duties weekly at midget racing “hot spots” like Raceway Park, Chicago’s Hanson Park Stadium and the mammoth Soldier Field on Chicago’s lakefront. He announced more than 100 midget events in 1948.
Now living in Virginia, Sirois grew up in northwest Indiana and was a front running midget racer on both local and national levels. He was the champion of the old United Auto Racing Ass’n midget group in 1961. Andres and O’Rourke both started the racing careers at the old Evanston Speedway in the 1930s. Andres and O’Rourke both enjoyed success in the small cars with Andres going on to compete in the Indianapolis 500.
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