Remembering Corky Ritter

Remembering Corky Ritter

By Stan Kalwasinski

Sorry to hear about the passing of former Midwest dirt track racer Harold L. “Corky” Ritter, of Watseka, Ill., on November 26 at the age of 91.  Ritter’s racing dates back to the 1950s when he was racing at tracks like the old Lafayette (Ind.) Speedway in 1957, wheeling a modified Packard.  Over the years, Ritter competed at Illinois speedways in Charleston, Kankakee, Danville and Fairbury and Indiana ovals like Broadway Speedway in Crown Point, Henry’s Speedway in Boswell and the raceways at Monticello and Rensselaer.

A lot of his racing success came at the American Legion Speedway in Fairbury, Ill., where he won three stock car titles in 1956, 1959 and 1960.  On July 25, 1959, he beat future Indianapolis 500 driver Allen Crowe in a 25-lap modified stock car feature in front of some 2,500 fans.  Ritter also copped a 50 lapper at Fairbury during the 1959 season.  He grabbed 50-lap Mid Season Championship honors in 1962.

Ritter claimed top honors at the Sugar Island Speedway, near Kankakee, in 1965, winning the sportsman “old model” division championship.  In 1968, Ritter won the late model track championship at Indiana’s Broadway Speedway, capturing six feature races and setting fast time on 16 occasions, including 12 in a row.

Ritter was still behind the wheel in the late 1970s.

Rest in Peace, Corky.