Earl Motter

Earl Motter

15/2/1919 - 28/11/1992

Earl Motter had a reputation for flat-out, on the edge driving at a time when there were no safety facilities. He won 36 BCRA and three USAC National Midget feature races and missed the West Coast USAC title by less than two points in 1959.

Born in Big Spring, Arkansas, Earl Motter started racing in midgets with the Bay Cities Racing Association in 1946. Racing against the likes of Fred Agabashian, Jerry Piper and Fred Friday, he took his first win in 1948 at Marysville in California driving Norm Rapp's Drake.

During his career Motter won 36 BCRA and three USAC National Midget feature races. He also won the gruelling Hut 100 USAC midget race in 1956 at Terre Haute.

Motter also drove champ cars. He entered 26 races, qualified 19 times. He took one pole position, at Syracuse, N.Y., but never won a race. He did finish in the top 10 eight times in his career with winnings in champ cars of $8580.

Motter had a reputation for flat-out, on the edge driving at a time when there were not the safety facilities that exist today. He remarkably had only had four accidents and all of them were in midgets.

The worst was at Fresno in 1955 when he crashed while leading a AAA National Midget 100-lap race. Motter flipped end over end about three times and then rolled sideways four times sustaining a concussion that kept him in hospital for a few days. He was well enough to drive again the following week.

He married Esther Vukovich, the widow of Bill Vukovich in 1958.

In 1959 he entered the Indy 500 but failed to qualify his Kuzma Offenhauser. That year he missed the West Coast USAC title by less than two points in 1959.

Motter raced midgets on the Pacific coast until his retirement in 1960.

He died of a heart attack in 1992.

With thanks to Tom Motter.