RPW Column: Former Orange County Fair Speedway Racer Jack Whitehead Passes Away
Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – MIDDLETOWN, NY – A family with a long history at the Orange County Fair Speedway has suffered a loss.
Jack Whitehead, driver of the 244 for many years, passed away Sunday, March 12th.
The Whitehead family has been around the racing scene for 50+ years.
In his early OCFS years, Jack did his racing in the Limited Sportsman division. By the late 70’s, he was racing in the Modifieds.
Jack did most of his racing at OCFS, but he was also often seen racing at Accord Speedway. When the Whitehead family moved to Florida in the mid 80’s, Jack did some racing in the south.
For many years, Jack was a fixture in the pits with his son, Chris Whitehead. He enjoyed seeing Chris develop into a winning racer at the historic speedway. Jack would certainly have the look of a proud parent in Victory Lane photos with Chris.
I remember back when the 2014 OCFS Nostalgia Night drivers list was posted, I noticed that Jack’s name was on the list. I printed out a group of photos to have them signed, including a photo of Jack’s 244. When he signed it, we got to talking about racing and how it was back in the day. It was most enjoyable speaking with him.
Jack was one of those drivers that was racing when I first regularly attended the track and I always enjoyed meeting those drivers that I remembered from that era of racing. It was nice seeing how much Jack was enjoying the Nostalgia Night festivities.
Seeing some of the comments on social media about Jack, so many people commented what a fine person he was and how much they enjoyed listening to his stories and seeing him at the track or at a local speed shop. He had that way about him.
On behalf of Race Pro Weekly, we send our condolences to Jack’s family and friends. R.I.P. 244. Thanks for the memories.