rename street to honor Peddie family
Way would be short
section of Madisons First Street
(January 2009) Champion race car drivers are
a rare breed of individuals. Successful Unlimited hydroplane drivers
are also a rare lot. A man who is a winner in both sports could truly
be called unique. Madison, Ind., native Jon Peddie is that man, and
friends have lobbied city officials to honor his achievements.
Peddie was a successful race
car driver before he became the
driver of the Miss Madison in 1978.
A proposal was presented to Madisons Public Board
of Works to rename a section of First Street between Central Avenue
and West Street Peddie Way, in honor of Peddie and his familys
dedication to the community.
Peddie and his family deserve this honor for their continued commitment
to our community, said Joe Johnson, longtime family friend. Johnson
is the American Power Boat Association Vintage Representative for Region
7, and he was the race chairman for the Madison Regatta for several
years. He presented the proposal for the street renaming to the Public
Board of Works on Nov. 3.
Peddie was the only native Madisonian to ever drive the city-owned Unlimited
Hydroplane, Miss Madison. His best finish in the hydroplane came in
1978, when he placed second in the APBA Gold Cup at Owensboro, Ky.,
with a victory in the third heat.
His father, Paul, was also involved in boat racing. He participated
in the very early stages of racing that would later become known as
the Madison Regatta.
His mother, Anna, was Deputy Recorder for Jefferson County and Recorder
for two terms. His grandfather and Annas father, Kirby Buchanan,
was County Recorder before her.
It would be a great honor and a nice gesture for the Peddie family,
said Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong, who serves on the Public Board of
Works. They have done a lot for the community. He said Madison
City Council is looking into the proposal.
Johnson cited other similar street renamings in Madison,
including Shamrock Lane along East Second Street, McCormick Lane along
West Second Street, and Tommy Thevenow Way along Vernon Street.
Peddies auto body shop is situated along the section of First
Street that would carry his name if the City Council approves the measure.
Peddie has operated the shop for more than 37 years at that location.
The shop sits just one block from the Ohio River and the race course
on which he loved to compete.
Prior to becoming the driver of the city-owned Miss Madison in 1977,
Peddie had earned a name and numerous awards as a race car driver on
a variety of regional and national circuits. When I was a teen,
all of my friends were going into the service, said Peddie, 65.
They wouldnt take me, so some buddies helped me put together
Peddie raced late model cars, rails and sprint cars on both paved and
dirt tracks. He traveled to Florida, Texas, New York, Georgia, Kansas
and Kentucky to race. He was the track champion at local tracks in northern
Kentucky, North Vernon, Ind., Salem, Ind., and Brownstown, Ind.
Dave Johnson, avid hydroplane enthusiast and Joes brother, said,
Peddie had become a well-established race car driver, and his
solid reputation was well earned.
When he signed on to pilot the Miss Madison, Peddie had never driven
a hydroplane. He is the last man in the sport to drive an unlimited
that didnt come up through the limited class of boat racing, according
to Joe Johnson.
I used to come down to the river and listen to the roar of the
hydroplanes when I was just a kid, said Peddie. I always
wanted to drive one.
He got his chance when Miss Madison Board President Bob Hughes decided
to give him a try. I just kept bugging him, until he gave me a
shot, said Peddie. He always believed the board let him drive
the boat because they were looking for a new hydroplane. If they
hired a hometown boy, the city would get behind them and get a new boat,
believed Peddie. I was terrified, but excited that I was going
to get my chance.
Many thought Jon would fail, said Dave Johnson. Well, he
Instead, in 1977 he went on to win Rookie of the Year honors in the
Unlimited Class. He piloted The Hurrying Hoosier to a fourth-place
finish in that years National High Points; he finished third overall
at San Diego and fourth in six races that season.
Over the next few years, Peddie piloted several other hydroplanes. His
last race was the 1983 Detroit Thunderfest. The boat he drove crashed
in splinters during a test run, but Peddie was not seriously injured.
Although long retired from any kind of racing, Peddie still has the
spirit of a racer. It didnt make a difference to me if I
made a penny, said Peddie. I just wanted to drive. That
feeling has never left.
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