Nelson Ward *

Inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 1984


WardNelson Head 72(1931 – 1963)

Champion is the only word to describe Nelson “Nellie” Ward. Nellie possessed that relentless drive that makes a champion. He was a likeable guy and those who knew him loved him. He was one who makes the world of racing an interesting one for the fans. With Nellie, racing was more than just a hobby, it was one of the biggest parts of his life, and there is consolation in the thought that he died doing what he loved.

WardNelson Checkered 72A native of Battle Creek, Michigan, Nellie began racing in 1952, and won his first track championship in 1954, at Galesburg Speedway. Since that time he has won 135 features. In 1963 alone he won 12 features, 30 races, 5 fast times, and set 3 new track records.

August 23, 1963, marked the end of a long trail of championships for Nellie. An overflow crowd attending Owego Shangri-La Speedway witnessed the tragedy. After finishing second in his heat, started in ninth spot in the second semi event. At the end of six laps, he was running sixth when his throttle struck wide-open going into the first turn.

“A great sport has lost a great sportsman.”

TRACK RECORDS:

  • Has set 90 track records – 10 still holding

WardNelson standing 72CHAMPIONSHIPS:

  • 1954 – Galesburg Speedway – Track Championship
  • 1955 – Hastings Raceway – Season Championship
  • 1955 – Hastings Raceway – Track Championship
  • 1955 – Hastings Raceway – July 4th Championship
  • 1955 – Hastings Raceway – Mid-Season Championship
  • 1955 – Millburg Speedway – Mid-Season Championship
  • 1955 – Galesburg Speedway – Track Championship
  • 1956 – Galesburg Speedway – Track Championship
  • 1956 – Galesburg Speedway – Pure Oil Championship
  • 1956 – Galesburg Speedway – Season Championship
  • 1956 – Hastings Raceway – Michigan State Championship
  • 1957 – Hastings Raceway – Track Championship
  • 1957 – Galesburg Speedway – Michigan State Championship
  • 1957 – Galesburg Speedway – Mid-Season Championship
  • 1957 – Galesburg Speedway – 500 Lap National Championship
  • 1957 – Lansing Speedway – Mid-Season Championship
  • 1957 – Fort Wayne, Indiana – Tri-State Championship
  • 1958 – Pontiac Speedway – State Championship
  • 1958 – M.M.S.C.A. Championship
  • 1959 – Dayton Speedway – 500 Lap National Championships
  • 1960 – Lansing Speedway – Track Championship
  • 1960 – Fort Wayne, Indiana – Tri-State Championship
  • 1960 – Jackson Speedway – Memorial Day Championship
  • 1961- South Bend Motor Speedway – Rex Crowfoot Memorial Championship
  • 1961 – London Ontario, Canada – International Championship
  • 1961 – Galesburg Speedway – Track Championship
  • 1961 – Jackson Speedway – Michigan State Championship
  • 1961 – Lansing Speedway – Spring Championship
  • 1962 – Galesburg Speedway – Track Championship
  • 1962 – Jackson Speedway – Memorial Day Championship