The Famous And Not-So Famous Have Raced At The Milwaukee Mile

Many drivers have raced at the Milwaukee Mile since it’s beginning as a auto racing track in 1903. Rex Mays, Tony Bettenhausen, Rodger Ward, Jimmy Clark and Panrlli Jones are still household names to many today. However, here are some drivers, most listed below who have only made one appearance at the venerable one-mile oval.

Danny Kladis

1956 Milwaukee 100

No. 79 Parks Special Dirt-Car Silnes-Offy

Danny Kladis’ racing career spanned over 40-years. The Chicago-native was the last surviving driver of the 1946 Indianapolis 500 in which he made the race driving for the Granatelli Brothers. Danny finished in 22nd in the 1956 Rex Mays 100 after qualifying 12th. He did try to attempt to qualify the Morgan Engineering Maserati at the Mile the following year however parked it on the north turn wall. The engaging Kladis passed away in 2009 at age 92.

Tom Pistone

1958 Milwaukee 100

Owner – Federal Engineering

No. 66 Federal Engineering Spl. Front-engine (FE) Snowberger-Offy

The diminutive speedster from Chicago attempted to qualify the aged Federal Engineering at Milwaukee in 1958. However after missing the field, “Tiger Tom” did run on consi, however failed to finish in the top-2 that advanced. Pistone found better luck in NASCAR where he won twice and earned 53 top-10 finishes. At age 82, Pistone is still active in racing in the Charlotte area.

Nelson Stacy

1960 Milwaukee 100

Owner – George Walther

No. 77 Dayton Steel Wheel Special FE Sutton-Offy

Nelson Stacy was a regular in stock cars, whether it was ARCA, USAC or even NASCAR. On June 5th, 1960 Stacy surprised many railbirds pedaling his George Walther-owned roadster 20th fastest. Although not that impressive on paper, he out-qualified 25 other cars that took a shot at qualifying including Indy 500 winners Troy Ruttman, Jimmie Bryan and Jim Rathmann. Stacy ran the entire race finishing 15th, three-laps off winner Rodger Ward’s pace.

Tony Bonadies

1961 Milwaukee 150 & 200

No. 91 Deakin Special FE Kurtis-Offy

Tony Bonadies was a well-known and respected midget car driver from the Bronx. In ’61 Bonadies tried to crack the starting field at Indianapolis and both Milwaukee races in Bill Deakin’s 1957 Kurtis 500G2-Offy. Unfortunately Bonadies could not muster the necessary speed from the car. Sadly, he lost his life in a midget car crash in 1964.

Cliff Spalding / Ray Wearne

1961 Milwaukee 100 & 200

No. 90 Connor’s Speed Shop FE Kurtis 3000D-Chrysler

Spaulding was a renowned midget race car driver in the Pacific Northwest who also drove the 100-mile midget race at Milwaukee in 1960. Wearne attempted to make the 200-miler in August, neither made the cut. Both drivers and the owner (Edward Connor) were from Seattle, WA.

Leon Clum

1961 Milwaukee 200

Owner – Wally Meskowski No. 23 Competition Engineering FE Kurtis-Offy

Leon was a native of Duchouquet, Ohio who started in hot rods and drove in the August 200-miler at Milwaukee in 1961 finishing 18th. Clum passed away in 1990.

Gil Michaels

1964 Milwaukee 200

Herbert Special No. 61 RE Herbert-Chevy

Gil “Skippy” Michaels was well known to many Chicago-area racing fans. The Berwyn, IL-native stock car driver attempted to qualify the Herbert Special. The ungainly car did not make the field, however the race car gained some notoriety as the “Racing Pictorial car” later owned by publisher Ray Mann.

Hal Minyard

1966 Milwaukee

Owner – Richard Compton

No. 44 Compton Special RE Vollstedt-Offy

Hal was a well-respected west-coast sprint car driver who missed making the field at Milwaukee in 1966. Richard Compton purchased the rear-engine car from fellow Oregonian Rollo Vollstedt. Minyard could be seen many years at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway working the sweeper. The 1964-65 CRA Sprint Car champion passed away last year.

Jim Maguire

1969 Milwaukee 150

Owner – Bulldog Stables

No. 68 Bulldog Stables RE Gerhardt-Chevy

Jim Maguire lost his arm in a USAC Sprint Car accident at New Breman in 1964. Bravely, the 1963 URC Champion went on to race sprint cars again. In 1969 he was entered in the Bulldog Stables Gerhardt however was denied a USAC Championship car license to participate.

Mel Cornett

1974 Milwaukee Tony Bettenhausen 200

Owner – Pat O’Reilly

No. 53 Minnesota Serendipity Mongoose-Foyt

1975 Milwaukee Rex Mays 150

Owner – Pat O’Reilly

No. 53 Minnesota Serendipity Mongoose-Foyt

Mel Cornett cut his racing teeth on the dirt tracks in the Midwest on the Badger and USAC midget circuit driving for the Leader Card team among others. Later Cornett moved on to driving sprint cars and championship dirt cars in USAC. In 1974 Cornett made his first Indy Car start in the Bettenhausen 200 and went ten laps in the ancient Mongoose before a turbocharger failed. In the Rex Mays Classic the following year Cornett spun in turn three and collected journeyman driver, John Martin. Cornett passed away in January of 2008 at age 71.

Clark Templeman Jr.

1977 Milwaukee 150

Owner – Art Sugai

No. 91 Eastside Caf

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