Daredevils in The Driver’s Seat

Fran Riley Feature


COAL VALLEY, Ill. (KWQC) – It begins with a single photo. One which Jeff Adams discovered twenty five years ago. A picture of his relative driving a race car at the Iowa State Fair in 1946.

That photo started Jeff on a journey to find out as much as he could about these auto racing daredevils from decades ago.

Adams calls them gladiators. Often racing on dirt and dusty tracks in cars which by today’s standards were quite rustic.

There is a special place in Jeff’s collection for the Tri-City Boys. A group of local drivers from the area who were barnstormers. Racing at tracks throughout the Midwest.

Several of those racers were quite successful. However, sadly some died doing what they loved to do. Thrill seekers.

In his Coal Valley home, Adams has a spectacular collection of photos. helmets, posters,  and other items which chronicle that special era of auto racing. The days of daredevils in the driver’s seat!

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