John Fedricks *

Inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 1999


FedricksJohn72(deceased)

John Fedricks from Detroit became good friends with Harry King, a well known race car driver. Harry inspired John to be a driver himself, and John had one goal in mind and that was to whip Harry’s butt, because Harry would razz him about it.

One night at Motor City Speedway, Harry told some guy with a Ford V8 60 that John was from California looking for a ride. Things didn’t go too well that first night, but the next night at Lima, Ohio, not only did John beat Harry King, but also Gays Biro, Neal and Vic Carter, Ralph Pratt, Bill Boyd and a host of other top drivers to win the feature event. Later he got a ride with Lee Budd’s Ferguson A B Class car. John went on to win 25 races at Deerfield, Lima, Montpelier, all in Ohio and Lafayette, Indiana in the Ferguson. Fedricks later drove for Charlie Engle from Dayton, Ohio. Some of the high banked tracks they raced at included Dayton, Ohio and Salem and Winchester, Indiana.

Bill Cantrell passed John on his drivers test, and John was proud to point it out. John won numerous races on that circuit. He was getting appearance money as well as the purse money he won. John moved up to the Championship cars and ran the fair dates in Detroit, Michigan, Springfield and DuQuoin in Illinois, and at Syracuse, New York.

He teamed up with Cal Connell, a Cadillac dealer from Detroit, to drive the Mexican Road Race in 1951.

John lost control of the car while leading a leg of the race and plowed through a house in Victoria Rosales. In 1952 he again drove in the Mexican Road Race, this time co-driving with Jo Bozied for Bill Toya of Gratiot Auto Supply. He had to swerve to miss Clay Smith and Troy Ruttman who had spun in front of him and John lost control and went over a 187 foot cliff. His co-driver had to drive the car 70 miles in a dry river bed before they could get back on the highway. John rode thousands of miles before getting medical assistance but in the process they won the second, third and fourth leg of the race. His injuries included breaking his back in five places. John got a chance to run the Indianapolis 500 with Ed Goula in 1951, but the car sat on the trailer for lack of parts. He did pass his driver’s test in Pete Salimi’s Central Excavating Special in 1953 however. This was reportedly the one Bill Vukovich was leading the race with the year before, but crashed with nine laps to go when a steering pin broke. But the new owner had changed just about everything on the car and it didn’t handle very well. John got it up to over 130 m.p.h., but it took 133.9 just to make the race. John got out of the car the last day of qualifying and the owner put Len Duncan in the car and he proceeded to stuff the car into the wall trying to qualify.

During that period his exploits in the midgets were going fine. He was a consistent runner at Detroit’s Motor City Speedway, Sportsman Park in Cleveland, and Langhorne and Hatfield, Pennsylvania. He drove for Duane Carter, who later became John’s best man at his wedding. John figures he won about 100 races at Motor City Speedway beating the likes of King, the Carters, Pratt, and Doc Shanebrook. Most of the time we was driving Lee Budd’s car. He also drove for Leonard Rao and he won 50 or 60 midget races throughout the Midwest.

John, who died in 2001, proved he could run with the best of them, from Harry King to Troy Ruttman, Duane Carter and Mike Nazaruk.