The VanHautte family consisted of Bob, Ella May and son Larry. They were very important in Michigan Racing History as they were pioneers starting in 1954 at Zilwaukee and finishing in 1980. They have between 300 and 400 feature wins racing at Dixie, Auto City, Berlin, Auburn, Grand Rapids Speedrome, and Owosso in Michigan. Outside of Michigan they raced at Lorain County, Sandusky, Sharon, New Bremen, and Dayton Ohio. Mobile Alabama where they got $520 tow money and beat the Allison Brothers, Bobby and Donnie. They raced at Oswego New York, the Minnesota State Fair, and all over Indiana at places like Winchester, The Little 500 at Anderson Speedway, South Bend, and in Canada at Delaware, Cayuga, and Flamboro. They raced at the first ever Knoxville Nationals, set fast time and were leading the show against some of the biggest names of the time including Rollie Beale, Greg Weld, and Kenny Weld until mechanical issues put them on the sidelines.
They started racing with MMSHoF driver Larry McKloskey who was just getting his career started and in 1954 switched over to Super Modified and Sprint Cars and had drivers such as Cy Fairchild, Sammy Sessions, Wayne Landon, Bob Seelman, Johnny Logan, Curt Kelly, Dewey Rethman, Danny Johnson, Norm Rust, Johnny Benson Sr., and Jack Lindhout. Unfortunately, the saddest time for them was when Hall of Fame driver Jimmy Nelson lost his life while driving the VanHautte car. The family was going to hang it up after that but Jimmy’s family and friends wouldn’t let them, saying Jimmy would be upset if they quit because of his death so they kept on racing.
During their best years in racing they won 104 feature races over two seasons with MMSHoF driver Cy Fairchild behind the wheel. They never points raced but chose to go to the best paying races and in the process still managed to win championships at Berlin, Dixie, Zilwaukee, and Lorain County and were very proud that if the car was running at the end of a race it was never out of the top five in finishing order.
While these are the highlights of the family racing team’s career there is much more that could be said but the submitters feel that the VanHautte Family would make a fine addition to the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame.
Submitted by: Cy Fairchild, Jim Pape, Dan Crawford.