By Konnie McCollum
(May 2006) In 1992, race officials in Charlotte, N.C., noticed a declining count in racers across the country. They decided it was due to the high costs of owning and operating a race car. So they decided to launch 600 Racing Inc., a company dedicated to the creation and manufacture of affordable race cars.
Tom Eubank of Crestwood, Ky.,
poses with his race car.
600 Racing Inc., based in Harrisburg, N.C., created the now-famous Legends Cars, which are 5/8-scale fiberglass full-fendered versions of the famed NASCAR modifieds. The cars range in price from $10,000 to $15,000 and come in three styles: Legends, Bandoleros and Thunder Roadsters. The company has created a fun and affordable spec class of racing in which anyone, regardless of experience, can participate.
Today, the Legends Cars have become one of the fastest growing segments of motorsports, with about 3,500 cars in existence. There are four Legends divisions that cover just about anyone willing and ready to race. The Pro Division is for experienced racers. The Masters Division is for drivers 40 years old or older. The Semi-Pro Division is for drivers who are new to the sport or have been inactive in other racing categories for a while. The last class, the Young Lions Division, is for eager drivers between ages 12-16.
Today, about 2,000 members nationally are actively racing in various Legends series, according to James Spink, the general manager of 600 Racing Inc., which is based at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. Racers at the Kentucky Speedway are generally from the Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana Legends (KOIL) tour, which Spink runs from a showroom and office inside the tracks infield.
Three Oldham County, Ky., men are among the Legends racers from the region Tom Eubank of Crestwood; Bob Doligale of Prospect; and Bob Vinsand of Centerfield, which is near Crestwood.
Eubank, 54, can be seen racing around the track in his silver and blue car with the No. 37 in painted yellow. He picked that number because the three stands for his wifes and daughters birthdays. He says the seven stands for two of the people he admires the most his father and his son. His wife, Susan, is the head librarian in Oldham County.
Eubank, an electrician, became interested in Legends racing as a hobby five years ago, not long after the kids moved out. He was reading the newspaper one night when he saw an advertisement for a test drive for Legends cars. He had always been fascinated with racing, so he thought he would give it a try. He was hooked from that first lap, and he went and bought himself a Legends car.
Eubank now races in the Masters Division and last year finished ninth place in overall season points in that group. KOIL drivers compete in several races on the tour and try to earn points.
At the end of the season, rankings are established based on the point system. The winners receive cash prizes and trophies.
Although he has yet to win a race, Eubank said he has had an incredible amount of fun and has met many friends while traveling and racing his Legends car.
Doligale, 41, also competes in the Masters Division in his No 59 white 1934 Ford coupe. He picked 59 because is its his favorite number.
Doligale said four years ago on Fathers Day he had a chance to test drive a Legends car at the Kentucky Speedway. Just like Eubank, Doligale was completely taken with the car and decided to purchase one.
Doligale said he races about 25 times a year, mainly at the Kentucky Speedway. On April 15, he won his first feature race, the Easter Bunny Twin 40, which is a 40-lap race at the Kentucky Speedway.
The Masters Division usually runs against the Pro Division, and most of the time the Pro racers will win the race overall, Doligale said. However, the scores for the divisions are separated, and then the winners of each division are announced. While he won three races in his division last year, he had never won the checkered flag until his recent victory wherein he finished first overall. Doligale finished fourth in the Masters Division in the KOIL tour last year.
Bob Vinsand, 38, races in the Semi-Pro Division. He had raced in another class previously but took about four years off before switching to the Legends cars this year. He has actually raced in two Legends races so far, but in his first race he was knocked out of the race very early on. He didnt let it bother him; he is looking forward to many more races this season.
Vinsand, a civil engineer and land surveyor, drives the No. 44 blue and purple 1937 Chevy. He said that while he absolutely loves racing, the demands of his family and work limit the time he can devote to the sport. He plans to race one-third of the KOIL schedule this year.
The KOIL tour at the Kentucky Speedway runs about 20 races on a quarter-mile track throughout the season, which starts in March and ends in October. Spink said there will be several days throughout the season in which anyone interested can test drive a Legends car. It costs $50 for eight laps.
Most people who try the test drive just love it, he said.
For more information about KOIL Legends racing visit: www.koil.com or www.600racing.com.