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This stock car racer developed his interest in and knowledge of cars growing up in Fort William, setting the wheels in motion for a truly legendary half-century career. First taking to the track in the late 1950s, it was not long before his #1 car became a fan favourite at the CLE fairgrounds. Over the years, he competed in various car classes and built and drove an assortment of cars, with his all-out aggressive style earning him the nickname, 'Tom the Bomb'.

In 1962, he claimed the CLE Hobby Stock title in a ‘51 Olds and in 1964 he moved into Late Model racing, driving to victory in his ‘55 Chevy. At the same time, he began to race successfully on the highly competitive circuit south of the border at Hibbing and Proctor.

Taking up racing full time in 1967, his 1960 Studebaker dug up the dirt at Superior, Rice Lake, and Riverview Raceways, claiming all three track championships in 1968. Over the course of the next 40 years, he would continue on with his winning ways, amassing an incredible record of success. At Riverview between 1967 and 1994, he earned an unprecedented 13 track titles, 157 Feature wins (more than double that of his closest competitor), and five Canadian Dirt Track Invitational titles.

Competing on the Upper Mid-West US Circuit during the 70s, 80s and 90s, he added multiple Dirt Late Model Track championship titles at Cedar Lake, North Starr, Red Cedar and Stillwater to his previous wins. Competing on the WISSOTA circuit, he was the 1990 Overall Late Model Track champion, the 1992 and 1993 Cedar Lake 100 and the 1996 Cedar Lake 50 champion. Other notable victories included the 1972 Wisconsin and 1992 Louisiana State Dirt Track titles, the 1979 and 1996 Superior Invitational, the 1992 &1993 Baton Rouge Raceway Feature and a 1992 win at the Battleground Speedway in Houston.

These victories, and a reported 600 plus Feature wins, did not go unnoticed. The top Dirt Late Model driver in Superior Speedways history, he was inducted into that track’s Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2005, he became the first Canadian ever to be inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame in Florence, Kentucky. That same year, at the age of 65, he won the 40-lap Late Model feature at the Budweiser Northern Nationals at Superior Speedway. Running his final race in the fall of 2008, he did not hang up his keys, continuing to remain involved by passing on his knowledge to the next generation of racing stars.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 26, 2009

Tom Nesbitt

Auto Racing
Thunder Bay
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