This car is a tribute to Tom Randol and the drivers who handled it. In Kansas City in 1950, Randol was a big midget racing fan. Olympic Stadium was one of the best 1/5-mile tracks in the Midwest. Late in the 1950 season Randol became a race car owner, purchasing a 1948 Kurtis Offy midget. His first drivers were Cecil Green and Bob Slater. The 1951 season was great for my Randol with driver Bob Slater winning the KCMRA Midget Championship.
In 1952 he purchased a frame and body for a sprint car from the shop of Frank Kurtis. Tom and Bob Slater put this car together in 1952 to race the IMCA Big Car circuit in the Midwest. This was Bob Slater’s way to get the Indy 500. Randol thought having a Frank Kurtis car, with his Indy 500 experience, was the best you could get. Another reason the car has significant Indy history is the Offenhauser 270 cubic-inch engine. This was the best engine you could get and at the time was winning all the Indy 500’s. July 4, 1952 was the first race for the car.
Bob Slater won over Bob Grim, Jim Campbell and Bill Holland, Indy 500 winner. The car was so new, it had not been painted yet. Bob won 11 of 21 features in 1952. Bob Slater lost his life in 1955 at Des Moines, Iowa, in his own car.
There were two drivers who drove the Randol Offy who also drove at Indy. Tom hired Jud Larson in 1954. Other owners thought Randol was crazy to put this big, wild Texan in his sprint car but they became a great team. In 1954 they won several IMCA feature races and finished fifth in the points.
In June of 1955 IMCA held the first Hawkeye Futurity 100 Lap race on a one-half mile dirt track. Jud won the race and later said this win helped him get to USAC racing and the Indy 500. Carl Williams drove the car in 1960 and ran in the Indy 500 six times.
Other drivers of the Randol Offy included: Mac McHenry; Vito Calia; Pete Folse; Bill Chenault and Herschel Wagner.
Tom Randol’s son, Mark had the car restored by Don Brown in 2002. This was the last car Brown was able to finish. His workmanship is second to none. Later that year Mark got a call from a man in Pittsburgh, PA, who said he had the original Offy engine #160. He had seen Randol’s bill of sale from 1953 and from that it was positively identified. The engine was put together with the help of A. J. Watson and put on his dyno on December 26, 2002. After 50 years is was running again. What a day! With the engine the car was now complete.
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