Joseph “Joe” Sostilio
1915 – 2000
Joe Sostilio in the Johnnie Parsons owned sprint car at a Triple A race at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa run on August 19, 1951. He set the fastest time in time trials with a lap of 22.68 seconds and what was billed as a new “world half-mile dirt track record” of 79.37 mph. He then went on to win the first heat race and the trophy dash before finishing eighth in the feature event.
This photo showing the #38 “AutoBright Special” driven by Johnnie Parsons and Parsons’ second car, the #54 driven by Joe Sostilio, was also taken at Cedar Rapids, Iowa on August 19, 1951
Joe Sostilio in the Johnnie Parsons owned sprint car at an AAA race at St. Paul, Minnesota run in August of 1951
Joe Sostilio gets ready to be pushed off in the Johnnie Parsons owned sprint car at a Triple A sprint car race at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, Minnesota that was run on August 26, 1951. He set the second quickest time in time trials that day with a lap of 23.42 seconds but only managed a third place finish in the consolation race.
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thirty-five year old Joe Sostilio, a fine midget driver from Natick, Massachusetts, had spent most of
the season racing AAA midgets in the Midwest. He was a
small, unimposing man with receding hair and a long face. He seemed
perpetually to have a forlorn basset hound expression. Joe had first
raced, in a big car, in 1932, but soon was racing midgets. He was a
contender in Northeastern midget racing both before and after the war. In 1941 he was so successful on a quarter mile midget track in Westboro, Massachusetts, that Bill Schindler was brought in several times to mount a challenge. Joe proceeded to win all four of those races!
"He was second in the Bay State Midget Racing Association (BSMRA) in 1945, fourth in 1946, and was the BSMRA Champion in 1947. In 1948 he raced with the United Car Owners Association (UCOA) and became entangled in bizarre criminal charges after a tragic Massachusetts midget crash. Steve Bishop had been killed in that crash and Sostilio was charged with manslaughter. The prosecutor convinced the jury that even though there had been no contact between Bishop's car and Sostilio's car, Sostilio's tactics had caused the other car to crash. Joe was convicted and given a three month suspended sentence.
"Joe continued to race during the months of court proceedings, and finished the season sixth in UCOA points. He switched to Triple A in 1949 and finished both fifth in the AAA National Midget standings and fourth in UCOA. He stayed with AAA in 1950, racing midgets on the Pacific Coast as well as in the Midwest."
- - - From an unpublished manuscript by Bill Green.
All of the photographs on this web page were taken by Larry Sullivan and are from the Bill Green collection