Andrew B. “Cokey” Fuller

1902 - 1932

 

Cokey Fuller of Arkansas City, Kansas in the Gallivan Ford he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson at Arkansas City Speedway located just west of Arkansas City on July 4, 1929 – Lew Irwin collection

 

 

Cokey Fuller was born February 25, 1902 at Guthrie, Oklahoma to Louis L. Fuller (1875-1914) and his wife, Rose (1882-1944).  Cokey was 3/16 Osage Indian and his father was an heir to oil money from tribal lands in Oklahoma so, when the elder Fuller was killed in an automobile accident, he left Cokey well enough off to indulge in his passion for automobile racing.

Cokey, who got his nickname due to his fondness for mixing whisky with Coke-a-Cola, found early success as a driver in races in Oklahoma.  By 1929, he and partner Joe Hutchinson had purchased a racing car complete with a new Gallivan Ford engine (one of only seven that had been built up to that time) and hit the Midwestern racing circuit.

The following is a very incomplete listing of his driving record as gleaned from various newspaper articles of the time.  Each of these racetracks was a half-mile dirt oval unless otherwise noted:

 

 

September 24, 1926 – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Car:  Ford Special

 

 

July 4, 1927 – Cushing Speedway Park at Cushing, Oklahoma

 

 

Cokey Fuller

Arkansas City Traveler photo

1927 – Oklahoma State Fairgrounds a.k.a. Coalgate Speedway in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

 

 

July 30, 1927 – Cowley County Fairgrounds on the west edge of Winfield, Kansas

Car:  #4 Chevrolet owned by Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

Finished:  2nd in the feature race behind Earl Hovenden

 

 

July 4, 1928 – Cushing Speedway Park at Cushing, Oklahoma

 

 

August 29, 1928 – Valley County Fairgrounds at Ord, Nebraska

Car:  Green Model A Ford

Finished:  Tied with Wilson Pingrey of St. Louis, Missouri for the fastest time in time trials with 29.0 seconds for one lap of the ½ mile racetrack.  Pingrey was driving the #100 Howe Hisso.

        “1st in one of the races” followed by John Bagley of Omaha, Nebraska in a bright red Frost #4.

 

 

August 30, 1928 – Valley County Fairgrounds at Ord, Nebraska

Car:  Green Model A Ford

Finished:  “Won the second race.”

 

 

September 6, 1928 – Ottawa County Fairgrounds at Miami, Oklahoma – ½ mile dirt oval – Sanctioned by A.A.A.

 

 

September 8, 1928 – Ottawa County Fairgrounds at Miami, Oklahoma – ½ mile dirt oval – Sanctioned by A.A.A.

 

 

1928 – Mid-America State Fairgrounds in Topeka, Kansas

Finished:  Broke an engine rod

 

 

October 2, 1928 – West Texas Fairgrounds a.k.a. Abilene Fairgrounds at Abilene, Texas – 5/8 mile dirt oval

Car:  #4 Chevrolet owned by Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

Finished:  “overturned”

 

 

October 4, 1928 – Haskell Speedway at Haskell, Texas – 5/8 mile dirt oval

Car:  #4 Chevrolet owned by Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

 

 

October 9, 1928 – Cowley County Fairgrounds on the west edge of Winfield, Kansas

Car:  #4 Chevrolet owned by Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

Finished:  5th in the first heat race behind Jim Pickens, Ira McIntire, Russell Hill, and Wendell Sparling after dropping out on the 5th lap with engine trouble, and 4th in the fourth heat race behind Russell Hill, Ira McIntire, and Ralph Chrysler after dropping out with engine failure.

 

 

July 4, 1929 – Arkansas City Speedway a.k.a. West Madison Speedway just west of Arkansas City, Kansas

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

Qualified:  Tie for 1st place at 31.2 seconds with Mack McAnally of Arkansas City, Kansas

Finished:  1st in the first heat race; 1st in the third heat race; and 1st in the feature race

 

 

July 20, 1929 – Anthony Downs in Anthony, Kansas

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

Finished:  wrecked

 

 

August, 1929 – Valley County Fairgrounds at Ord, Nebraska

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

 

 

September 2, 1929 – Arkansas City Speedway a.k.a. West Madison Speedway just west of Arkansas City, Kansas

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

Qualified:  Tie for 1st place at 31.1 seconds with Earl Hovenden of Duncan, Oklahoma

Finished:  3rd in the first match (heat) race behind Earl Hovenden and Cotton Grable but a burned piston eliminated Cokey from the rest of the program

 

 

September 12. 1929 – Collingsworth County Fairgrounds at Wellington, Texas

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

 

 

September 14. 1929 – Collingsworth County Fairgrounds at Wellington, Texas

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

 

 

September 17, 1929 – Duncan Fairgrounds at Duncan, Oklahoma

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

Finished:  2nd in the second heat race behind Vern McComb and 3rd in the feature race behind Sam Hoffman and Johnny Kreiger

Purse:  He won a total of $20

 

 

September 18, 1929 – Duncan Fairgrounds at Duncan, Oklahoma

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

Finished:  3rd in the third heat race behind Johnny Kreiger and Vern McComb

 

 

September 24, 1929 – Childress Fairgrounds at Childress, Texas

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

 

 

September 25, 1929 – West Texas Fairgrounds a.k.a. Abilene Fairgrounds at Abilene, Texas – 5/8 mile dirt oval

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

 

 

September 26, 1929 – Childress Fairgrounds at Childress, Texas

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

Qualified:  9th place at 65.03 seconds (time for two laps) behind Johnny Kreiger, Sam Hoffman, Chet Gardner, John Gerber, Pat Cunningham, (name unknown driving a #99 car), Vic Felt, and George Barringer

Finished:  3rd in the third heat race behind Johnny Kreiger and Vern McComb

 

 

June 22, 1930 – Creve Coeur Lake Speedway a.k.a. Greater St. Louis Speedway at Upper Creve Coeur, Missouri

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

 

 

July 4, 1930 – Arkansas City Speedway a.k.a. West Madison Speedway just west of Arkansas City, Kansas

Car:  #30-30 Gallivan Ford that he co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas

Qualified:  4th place at 31.6 seconds behind Pat Cunningham, Rea Bray, and Lew Irwin.

Finished:  2nd in the first heat race behind Pat Cunningham; 3rd in the third heat race behind Lew Irwin and Robert Landon; and 3rd in the feature race behind Pat Cunningham and Rea Bray

 

 

July 20, 1930 – Arkansas City Speedway a.k.a. West Madison Speedway just west of Arkansas City, Kansas

Car:  Ford roadster owned by Matt Ward of Duncan, Oklahoma

Qualified:  4th place at 31.6 seconds behind Pat Cunningham, Rea Bray, and Lew Irwin.

Finished:  1st in a match race and 1st in the feature race

 

 

August 28, 1930 – North Central Kansas Free Fairgrounds Racetrack in Belleville, Kansas

Car:  Fuller special

Finished:  3rd in the second heat race behind Clyde Gilbert and _____ Cline*; 3rd in the feature behind Vern McCombs and Clyde Gilbert.

 

 

August 29, 1930 – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds in Belleville, Kansas

Car:  Fuller special

Finished:  3rd in the consolation behind Jim White and Fred Dresselhuys.

 

 

          At one time or another, Cokey Fuller held the track records at Arkansas City Speedway west of Arkansas City, Kansas for 1, 6, and 25 laps, the latter two of which were never broken.

Fuller was well on his way to a promising racing career when he unexpectedly passed away on May 20, 1932 in Denver, Colorado.  His obituary in his hometown newspaper said that he died after a short illness while other accounts say that his death was under very suspicious circumstances.  His body was returned to Arkansas City, Kansas where it was interred in the Riverview Mausoleum in Riverview Cemetery.

Joe Hutchinson drove the #30-30 Gallivan Ford he had co-owned with Cokey Fuller in races in Kansas as late as the early 1940s.  He is said to have had the car in storage in a garage in Arkansas City, Kansas as late as the 1950s while it is known that the Gallivan engine was sold to Murray Earl of Hutchinson, Kansas.  Joe Hutchinson was the Arkansas City Fire Chief before his retirement from the department in the 1950s.

Murray Earl ran the Gallivan engine in his #27 big car with driver Waldo Burnett until selling it to John Mauro of Denver, Colorado.  Mauro eventually sold the engine to Vic Felt of Denver, Colorado.  Felt ran the engine with driver Lloyd Axel.

The next owner of the Gallivan engine was Bill Harding of Hastings, Nebraska.  Harding then sold the engine to Jack Lovely of Omaha, Nebraska.

 

 

A very poor photo of Cokey Fuller in the #4 car he drove in the late 1920s – Photo from the Arkansas City Traveler

 

 

 

Cars driven by Cokey Fuller at left and John Bagley of Omaha, Nebraska made up the front row of this race run at the Valley County Fairgrounds at Ord, Nebraska in 1928.  Fuller finished first in the green Model A powered racer followed closely by Bagley in the bright red Frost #4 car – Doug Riedy collection from the book Valley County THUNDER, the History of Racing at Ord, Nebraska by V. Ray Valasek and Bob Mays

 

 

 

 

* This would have been either Frontis Graydon “Major” Cline (1907-1982) or his brother, Philip Bird "Phil" Cline (1903-1978).  Both men competed in these races each driving cars known as Cline specials.

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Fuller

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