Robert Guy “Bob” Moffitt, Jr.

1910 – 1982

 

The First President of the Kansas Auto Racing Association

The First Race Director / Promoter at Robbins Speedway north of Wichita, Kansas

 

 

Bob Moffitt, Jr. seated in the Moffitt Brothers special hot rod

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

 

Bob Moffitt, Jr., at right, with Bill Mears, driver of the #10 stock

car in the background that was owned by Ted Kammerer and

sponsored by Moffitt Brothers Connecting Rod Service

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

Charlie Lutkie, at left, with car owner, Bob Moffitt, Jr. and his unidentified pit crew, after a feature race victory at Cejay

Stadium in Wichita, Kansas in 1951

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

Cejay Stadium, Wichita, Kansas – 1951

Charlie Lutkie in a 1934 Ford 5-window coupe stock car owned by Bob Moffitt, Jr. & sponsored by Moffitt Brothers Connecting Rod Service

Ira Woodward photo

 

 

Left to right: Wichita radio personality Lee Nichols; driver filling in for Charlie Lutkie, Will Forrest; and flagman / starter Ted Davis after Forrest had won a race in Bob Moffitt, Jr.’s 1934 Ford 5-window coupe #51 at Cejay Stadium in Wichita

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

 

Cejay Stadium, Wichita, Kansas – c1950

Left to right: Bob Moffitt, Jr.; Stan Schoenberg; Will Forrest; Lee Nichols; Bill Mears; Ted Kammerer and Lee Cornish.

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

#25 Bill Nichols, #69 G. A. Pearson, #76 Sam Fessler and #51 Charlie Lutkie in Bob Moffitt, Jr.’s #51 Ford stock car on the front chute just past the hump at Cejay Stadium

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

Bob Moffitt, Jr. beside his favorite Cadillac at his lake home at Kimberling City, Missouri in December of 1975

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

Moffitt Brothers Connecting Rod Service product box

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

Charlie Lutkie with his V8 Mercury Flathead powered hot rod sponsored by Moffitt Brothers Connecting Rod Service

1949 program, Cejay Stadium, Wichita, Kansas in the Jim Edwards collection

 

 

This photo was taken at Scott City, Kansas on April 23, 1950.  Left to right are Frank Manley, Charlie Lutkie and Bob Schuelker.  Note that the Moffitt Brothers Connecting Rod Service special was equipped with Ardun heads this day.

Lies collection

 

 

Charlie Lutkie pulling Bob Moffitt’s brother, Bill Moffitt, in the Moffitt Brothers hot rod for a publicity photo for one of Lutkie’s upcoming professional fights at the Wichita Forum.

Wichita Eagle staff photo

 

 

Cejay Stadium, Wichita, Kansas c1950

Front row, left to right:  Bob Moffitt, Jr.; Stan Schoenberg & Will Forrest.  Back row, left to right: Lee Nichols, Bill Mears, Ted Kammerer & Lee Cornish.

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

Bob Moffitt, Jr. at right, congratulating his driver, Charlie Lutkie after a race at Cejay Stadium in Wichita, Kansas in 1951.

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

Charlie Lutkie in a 1934 Ford 5-window coupe stock car owned by Bob Moffitt.  The man at left has yet to be identified.

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

Bob Moffitt, Jr. in his office at Moffitt Brothers Connecting Rod

Service at 5427 East Kellogg in Wichita.  The office also doubled

as the headquarters for the K.A.R.A. during the time that Moffitt

was the president of that organization.

Anthony Miller collection

 

 

Bob Moffitt was born on September 6, 1910 in Rutherford County, Tennessee, the youngest of seven children born to Robert Guy Moffitt, Sr. (1873-1952) and his wife, Jane “Jennie” (Miller) Moffitt (1876-1932).  Bob was married to Jean F. Evans (1911-1997) in 1929 in Benton County, Arkansas and the young couple moved to Wichita, Kansas where Bob found work as an auto mechanic.

 

In the late 1940s, Bob and a brother, William Venus “Bill” Moffitt (1894-1959), opened Moffitt Brothers Connecting Rod Service.2  The company was soon sponsoring a V8 Mercury Flathead powered, track hot rod on small racetracks in Western Kansas and at Cejay Stadium in southeast Wichita.  The hot rod’s owner and driver was Charles John “Charlie” Lutkie (1918-2013) who had purchased the hot rod from the car’s builder, Leonard Albert “Cotton” Musick (1920-1980) in 1949.  Bob Moffitt soon bought out his brother’s, interest in the connecting rod business.  Moffitt then built a 1934 Ford 5-window coupe #51 for Lutkie to drive in stock car races around South Central Kansas, which were growing in popularity at the time.

 

Seeking higher purses, especially for the longer races, and more control over the rules under which the races were contested, a group of those involved in the sport, banned together to form the Kansas Automobile Racing Association, Inc.1 (K.A.R.A.) in 1952.  Bob Moffitt was well liked and highly respected in the Wichita auto racing community so he was elected as the first president of the fledgling organization.  Payne Ratner (1896-1974), a local attorney and former Governor of Kansas 1939-1943, was elected as the group’s first “resident agent.”

 

The primary points of contention between the factions were that the K.A.R.A., and its supporters, lobbied for relaxing the “strictly stock” rules and changing the cars to “Modified Stock Cars.”  Of course, since these new “Modified Stock Cars” would be more expensive to build, maintain and race, race promoters would be expected to increase the purses that these “Modified Stock Cars” competed for.

 

One of the first actions of the K.A.R.A. was to place the following as an ad in the Wichita Eagle newspaper.7,8

 

 

Charter Members of the K.A.R.A.

(Only one membership allowed per car)

Name:

Associated with car #:

 

Name:

Associated with car #:

Orval Beckel

65

 

Harold Leep

2

Dave Blackwell

13

 

Frank Lies6

85

Carl Brown

73

 

Ralph Lowry

57

Alfred Bullock6

87

 

John Marshall

90

Mason Bullock

67

 

Bill Matlock

60

John Bush

39

 

Jim McAmis

15

Rod Carter

22

 

John McGee

23

Wes Cattrell

46

 

Bill Mears

10

Art Cox

72

 

Bob Moffitt

51

James. “J. D.” Cox

70

 

Chuck Moses

77

Benjamin “Whitey” Darnell

20

 

Bill Nelson

62

Clyde Derringer

1

 

Bob Newman6

21

Dick Doran

29

 

George “G. A.” Pearson6

69

Sam Fessler

76

 

Harry Prater

34

Maurice Flynn6

43

 

Bob Riner

17

Dean Goodrum6

18

 

Troy Routh

98

Jim Hall

31

 

Norman Rush6

49

Bill Harrison

35

 

Gordon Sample

55

Bob Jackson

36

 

Glenn “Bud” Webster

4

Noel “Shorty” Jones6

89

 

Albert “Al” White

24

Horace “Stan” Jowers

44

 

Ira Woodward

3

Bill Killion6

25

 

 

 

 

Carl Johnson countered Moffitt’s list of K.A.R.A. Charter Members by having the Wichita Beacon newspaper7 publish the following list of “Loyalists” who had signed a pledge to continue racing for Johnson at Cejay Stadium.5,8

 

Name:

Associated with car #:

 

Name:

Associated with car #:

A. E. Addington

 

 

Fred Kuhlman

 

Bob Arrington

32

 

Bill Laughlin

 

Claude Ash

 

 

Bob Lehman

 

J. F. Austin

 

 

Frank J. “Frankie” Lies6

85

Lyle Baker

 

 

Charlie Lutkie6

 

Leon Barrow

 

 

Glen Martin

2 & 3

W. A. Barrow

 

 

Bill Matlock

60

Bruce Barton

 

 

Ed McCaslin

 

K. M. Bellmard

 

 

Ray McEwan

 

Bill Blume

 

 

Bryson Mills

2

Dean Brennaman

 

 

Bob Moore

 

M. Brunda

 

 

B. E. Moses

 

Alfred “Al” Bullock6

87

 

J. R. Newhouser

 

Mason Bullock6

67

 

Bob L. Newman6

 

Emmett Carpenter

 

 

Noel “Shorty” Jones6

 

Robert “Bob” Champlin

88

 

George A. “G. A.” Pearson6

69

Herbert E. “Herb” Chase

85

 

LaMoine D. Pegg

 

M. Chavez

 

 

Bill Perkins

81

K. O. Christian

32

 

Lafe Pierce

 

Marvin Harman Church

 

 

H. Pollock

 

Vernis Ivan “Vern” Church

 

 

B. T. Porter

 

Marvin Dwight Clary

33

 

Ron Powell

Richard Converse

 

 

James Price

 

George “Saylor” Cornish

33

 

Harry Proft

98

Lee Cornish

33

 

Andrew “Buddy” Quick

 

J. R. “Bob” Cox

49

 

Doran R. “J. R.” Raine

 

Harold J. “Squire” Dean

48

 

Jim Ramsey

 

R. B. Dean

 

 

Bob Roberts

 

Lloyd Dodds

 

 

Jim Roper

48

Ken Ellum

 

 

Norman Rush6

606

Maurice Flynn6

43

 

M. E. Salmon

 

Carroll Forrest

 

 

Tom Salmon, Jr.

21

Will Forrest

24

 

Hugh Shea

60

Red Francis

 

 

Paul Sheldon

 

Arch Froman

 

 

A. J. Shepard

 

Ben Gilham

 

 

Bob Simms

 

Ken Goddard

 

 

Carl Simpson

 

Dean Goodrum6

 

 

Dick Sims

 

Milt Goodrum

 

 

Earl Smith

 

Tom Gordon

 

 

George Snell

 

F. B. Hamilton

 

 

Elmer Stillwell

 

Ben Harvey

 

 

Bill Stollenberg

 

Jim Hayes

 

 

Bert Stoner

 

Johnnie Hays

 

 

C. V. Terrell

 

Herman Hoke

 

 

Ray Terrell

 

Bob Hughes

 

 

George Truier

 

Jerry Hutchinson

 

 

Jack Tucker

 

Bob Johnson

 

 

Ray Tucker

 

Ted Kammerer

10

 

Raymond “Ray” Watkins

 

Bill Killion6

25

 

Ray Wood

 

L. R. Kirk

 

 

 

 

 

 

As president of the K.A.R.A., Bob Moffitt presented Carl Johnson, owner and racing promoter at Cejay Stadium, with a list of the K.A.R.A.’s demands but Johnson rejected them outright.

 

 

KANSAS AUTO RACING ASSOCIATION

TO MAKE FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT

OF NEW RACE TRACK SOON

 

A Formal announcement of the new auto race track with a full racing program for next year will soon be made by the Kansas Auto Racing Association.

 

K

ANSAS Auto Racing Association members are sorry that Cejay management would not meet with them to discuss Plans to ensure a better racing program for the remainder of this racing season.

 

Proposals were submitted by race drivers and car owners to the Cejay management which would have lessened hazardous conditions and assured better races, but were promptly rejected.

 

The two clauses of the proposals which forced the race drivers to withdraw are as follows: (1) Longer races at a decrease in prize money for each position. (2) Excess watering in front of the grandstand causing mud to be thrown on spectators, no watering on the back turn causing severe dust conditions, larger holes in the track, and refusal to remove rocks and steel fragments from the track.  With the rejection of these requests by Cejay Management, it is obvious that drivers and owners could not continue to operate on Cejay track.

 

Cejay management has published a list of 100 so-called “Loyalists” who will participate in Sunday’s race.  This list contains approximately 13 owners and 20 drivers.  The balance are pit personnel and people who do not own a stock car.  Cejay management has consistently published the names of drivers belonging to Kansas Auto Racing Association to mislead our racing fans.  The drivers and owners listed below will not race Sunday.

 

This is not a drivers’ strike or war as Cejay has stated.  We want to give racing fans the best races possible and are stating the facts as they stand.

 

KANSAS AUTO RACING ASSOCIATION, INC.

 

E. L. Anderson

Don Forty

Billy Mears

Theodore P. Archer

Jack Garrison

Bob Moffitt

Orval Beckel

Ralph Graham

Chuck Moses

Dave Blackwell

Leslie Haines

Bill Nelson

Benny Blair

John Hale

Phillip Patrick

Norris Blair

M. C. Hall

Ray Payne

Willard Bodkins

Milt M. Hall

Harry Prater

Bill Bonewell

W. L. Hall

Claud Rallsback

Carl Brown

Larry Hammond

Bob Riner

Johnny Bush

William J. Harrison

Troy Routh

Rod Carter

W. R. Hayes

Leonard Russell

Lloyd Casebolt

George Head

Gordon Sample

Rolla Caster

Henry Hedgepath

Carl Schlichting

Melvin L. Cattrell

Merle E. Hearing

J. R. Shunterman

Wes Cattrell

Clifford Hedrick

Bob Simmons

Wayne C. Cearing

Bill Henson

Eldon A. Smith

Chuck Clark

Horace S. Jowers

Frank E. Smith

Forrest Coleman

Myron Laflin

Maurice B. Smith6

Ronald Coleman

Harold Leep

O. S. Spicer

Joe E. Collins

Frank Linder

Robert L. Thackery

Art J. Cox

Dick Lippoldt

Freddie Tinnemeyer

J. D. Cox

Vernon Lippoldt

Jack Troxel

Whitey Darnell

Don Lowman

Harry Truelove

Clyde Derringer

Ralph Lowry

Jack H. Walker

Harry Dey

Charlie Lutkie

Glenn “Bud” Webster

Marion Dey

Bob Mack8

Albert “Al” White

Dick Doran

John Marshall

Jim White

Pete Dougan

Jim McAmis

C. Duane Wilkinson

Ural R. “Pop” Drain

Robert A. McElroy

E. A. “Al” Williams

Worgie Dringer

Johnny McGee

Guy Wise

Bill N. Dutes

Dan McGrew

Jack Wood

Rex Egy

Everett McMillan

Roy Wood

Sam C. Fessler

James McMullan

Ira Woodward

Red Forshee

 

 

 

 

 

Wichita Eagle

May, 1953

 

After Carl Johnson rejected the demands of K.A.R.A., Bob Moffitt met with Jim Robbins who offered to run the new “modified stock car” class at his new Robbins Speedway provided Moffitt agreed to become the race director and the events be exclusively supported by K.A.R.A. members on Robbins Speedway race dates.

 

ATTENTION

 

STOCK CAR DRIVERS

 

AND OWNERS IN

 

WICHITA AND VICINITY

 

A meeting will be held at 5427 E. Kellogg for all parties interested in racing at the 81-Speedway, Inc., at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9th.  Rules and regulations will be presented at this time.  We urge all drivers and owners to attend this meeting if at all possible.  Any information desired can be answered by calling Bob Moffitt at MU 2-0312 or MU 3-5013.

 

81-SPEEDWAY, INC.

7700 N. Broadway

Wichita Eagle

June, 1953

 

 

The K.A.R.A. met at the Moffitt Brothers shop at 5427 East Kellogg in Wichita on June 9, 1953 and voted to accept Robbins’ offer.  The association soon held new elections in which Moffitt was elected to a second term as president, Bob Thackery of Wichita was elected vice-present, Ralph Lowry of Newton, Kansas was elected secretary-treasurer and Bill Bonewell of Blackwell, Oklahoma was elected sergeant-at-arms.  Moffitt then hired local KWBB-AM radio personality Lee Nichols to announce the races over the public-address system and Carol Pierce, of Evan Charles Studio, was to present the first trophies.

 

When K.A.R.A. announced that they would run exclusively at Robbins Speedway, Carl Johnson barred all members of K.A.R.A. from participating in any races at Cejay Stadium.3

 

 

RACING FANS, ATTENTION!

THE KANSAS AUTO RACING ASSOCIATION, Inc.

Wish to thank all of our fans and followers for your past patronage during the 1952 season…  We hope to see all of you again next year and to provide you with BIGGER and BETTER racing programs

AT OUR NEW TRACK

THANK YOU

 

Members of Kansas Auto Racing Association, Inc.

E. L. Anderson

Marion Dey

H. S. Josers

Troy Routh

Theodore P. Archer

Dick Doran

Myron Laflin

Leonard Russell

Orval Beckel

Pete Dougan

Harold Leep

Gordon Sample

Dave Blackwell

Ural R. “Pop” Drain

Frank Linder

Carl Schlichting

Benny Blair

Worgie Dringer

Dick Lippoldt

J. R. Shunterman

Norris Blair

Bill N. Dutes

Don Lowman

Bob Simmons

Willard Bodkins

Rex Egy

Ralph Lowry

Eldon A. Smith

Bill Bonewell

Sam C. Fessler

Charley Lutkie

Frank E. Smith

Carl Brown

Red Forshee

Bob Mack8

M. B. Smith

Johnny Bush

Don Forty

John Marshall

O. S. Spicer

Rod Carter

Jack Garrison

Jim McAmis

Robert L. Thackery

Lloyd Casebolt

Ralph Graham

Dan McGrew

Freddie Tinnemeyer

Rolla Castor

John Hale

Everett McMillan

Jack Troxel

Melvin L. Cattrell

Leslie Haines

Robert A. McElroy

Harry Truelove

Wes Cattrell

M. C. Hall

Johnnie McGee

Jack H. Walker

Wayne C. Cearing

M. M. Hall

James McMullan

Glenn “Bud” Webster

Chuck Clark

W. L. Hall

Billy Mears

Al White

Forrest Coleman

Larry Hammond

Bob Moffitt

Jim White

Ronald Coleman

William J. Harrison

Chuck Moses

C. D. Wilkinson

Joe E. Collins

W. B. Hayes

William J. “Bill” Nelson

E. A. Williams

A. J. Cox

George Head

Phillip Patrick

Guy Wise

J. D. Cox

Henry Hedgepath

Ray Payne

Jack Wood

Whitey Darnell

Merle E. Hearing

Harry Prater

Roy Wood

Clyde Derringer

Clifford Hedrick

Claud Rallsback

Ira Woodward

Harry Dey

Bill Henson

Bob Riner

 

 

 

 

 

Wichita Eagle

 

James R. “Jim” Robbins, of Enid, Oklahoma, opened the new half-mile dirt Robbins Speedway4 on a 20-acre tract of rented property southwest of the intersection of North Broadway Street and 77th Street on the mid-week date of August 5, 1953 after rain postponed the scheduled opening date of August 2, 1953.  The first A feature race at Robbins Speedway was won by Ralph Lowry who was driving a modified stock car #51 owned by Al Williams who was the owner of Scientific Motor Service in Wichita.

 

A feud soon developed when both Bob Moffitt and Carl Johnson tried to hold races on Sunday nights.  Johnson then added a second weekly racing program on Saturday nights.  Moffitt countered by adding Wednesday nights at rain dates for any Robbins Speedway races that might be rained out on Sunday nights.  Wichita area race fans found themselves with races offered two to three nights a week that summer but that also led to the field of available race cars and spectators alike, being split between the races at two racetracks.

 

The name of the Kansas Automobile Racing Association was officially shortened to the Kansas Racing Association (K.R.A.) late in 1953.

 

The K.A.R.A. “clubhouse” shared the building at 5427 East Kellogg Avenue in Wichita with the Moffitt Brothers Connecting Rod Service.

 

The 1953 racing season found Carl Johnson increasing the height of a hump in the racetrack in front of the grandstand, almost weekly.  As the hump grew higher, the cars would fly farther down the racetrack as they jumped over it, making the races even more exciting for the fans, not to mention for the drivers!

 

The two racetracks continued under these circumstances until 1957 when the spectator parking lot at Cejay Stadium was condemned by the State of Kansas through eminent domain, so that the Kansas Turnpike could be built.  Carl Johnson claimed that, due to the lower purses that he was able to pay out to the strictly stock cars, he would have been able to continue operating indefinitely, if he had a place for the spectators to park their cars.  Since there was not, he closed Cejay Stadium and sold the remaining property to the Cessna Aircraft Employee Club.

 

The closing of Cejay Stadium brought an end to the feud as well as to the K.R.A.  Jim Robbins sold Robbins Speedway to O. L. Douglas of Kechi, Kansas in 1958 and Douglas officially changed the name of the facility to 81 Speedway (although the racetrack had been informally referred to by that name from as early as 1954).

 

 

Moffitt Brothers today

www.moffittbros.com/

 

Bob Moffitt, Jr. took a job as a driver for the Gainesville-Wichita Falls Bus Line in Texas and he also worked for a time as a bail bondsman in the early 1960s.  He passed away in Taney County, Missouri on June 24, 1982 and is buried beside his wife in the Pea Ridge Cemetery at Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

 

Today, the “Moffitt Brothers” name lives on with an automotive custom design business operated by Bob Moffitt’s great-grandson, Anthony Miller and his wife, Jessie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Not to be confused with the Auto Racing Association of Kansas of Wichita that sanctioned stock car races at Winfield, Kansas in 1967 and 1968.

 

2 Bob Moffitt, Jr. owned Moffitt Brothers Connecting Rod Service at 5427 East Kellogg Avenue in Wichita, Kansas which manufactured a line of light weight connecting rods for racing engines.  He also drove some in auto races but was better known as a sponsor of race cars, race official and owner of the 1934 Ford 5-window coupe stock car #51 driven by Charlie Lutkie, a Sedgwick County, Kansas Deputy Sheriff and professional wrestler, who was also from Wichita.

 

3 The Webmaster has learned of at least one incidence where Bill Mears, of Wichita, drove Johnny Goertz’ stock car (that Mears normally raced as #86 at Robbins Speedway) at Cejay Stadium after having installed another set of doors on the car with a different car number on those doors.  Most everyone saw right through the rouse but it appears that Mears was considered to be such a drawing card for the races that he was allowed to compete.  Robbins Speedway also suspended drivers that raced at Cejay Stadium, but only if they raced at Cejay Stadium at the same time that Robbins Speedway was also holding races.

 

4 Newspaper reports from the time placed the cost to build Robbins Speedway, with its 4,150-seat grandstand, at $30,000.  Plans for the future called for bringing the seating capacity up to 7,000.  The speedway at that location today is known as 81 Speedway.

 

5 According to a newspaper ad placed in the Wichita Eagle7 by the Kansas Auto Racing Association: “This list contains approximately 13 car owners’ and 20 drivers’ names.  The balance are pit personnel and people who do not own a stock car.”

 

6 Joined Auto Racing Association of Kansas but continued to race at Cejay Stadium instead of competing at Robbins Speedway.

 

7 In the 1940s and 1950s, there was an intense rivalry between the Wichita Beacon and the Wichita Eagle newspapers that extended to a keen competition for the advertising accounts of both Cejay Stadium and Robbins Speedway.  The Wichita Beacon became the primary advertising vehicle for Cejay Stadium after they sponsored the Beacon Trophy race there in on September 6, 1947.  The Wichita Eagle landed the primary advertising account for Robbins Speedway soon after it opened in 1953.

 

8 Bob Mack was an alias used by Bob McElree.

 

 

 

 

This photo of Robert Guy “Bob” Moffitt, Jr. (1910-1982) at left, with brother, William Venus “Bill” Moffitt (1894-1959) was taken at Ashville, North Carolina on August 19, 1951.  Together they founder

Moffitt Brothers Connecting Rod Service in Wichita, Kansas in the 1940s.

Sharon Smith collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Thank you:

Anthony Miller and Sharon Smith