I got an interesting email message this week from Steve Gore from up in Oshawa, Ontario. He noticed that Oscar Koveleski had attended the John Fitch birthday party and also was at the Road Racing Drivers Club luncheon with Stirling Moss at Lime Rock. Steve shared a story about his encounter with Oscar Koveleski going back over 40 years.
For those of you who might not know Oscar Koveleski, Oscar was one of the early racers in the Can Am Series in its glory days of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1970 there was a Can Am race at the Mosport track, north east of Toronto. At that time Steve’s mother worked in one of the local hotels where a number of the racers stayed for the race. Steve’s mother pointed out to Oscar, who was staying at the hotel, that her 14-year old son (young Steve) was a complete motorhead and loved racing. Oscar responded by giving Steve’s mother two free tickets to the Mosport race.
On race day Steve and his mother went out to the track and Steve was introduced to Oscar Koveleski. Oscar gave Steve a through “tour” of his Can Am race car which completely awed Steve. What has stayed with Steve, over all of the intervening years, is that when Oscar was giving Steve the “tour” it was only about an hour before the race and Oscar had been busy with those last minute race preparation activities that always need to be done. But Oscar had stopped and taken time to show a 14-year old kid his race car. This act of kindness has not been lost on Steve. Steve now has a 1963 Volvo 122 that he uses for lapping days and that he takes the ocassional car show. At those events, any time someone shows any interest in his car Steve always takes the time to talk to them. Steve clearly remembers and respects the time that Oscar Koveleski spent with him.
Steve sent me a photo of a poster that he has in his rec-room from that 1970 Can-Am race at Mosport and if you look just above the poster, there you will see the ticket that Oscar Koveleski gave him to attend that race!
Steve Gore’s Can Am Poster & Ticket From Mosport 1970
This story is impressive and shows how a simple act of kindness can have a lasting impact. It should serve as an example for those who take part in motorsports to take the time to share your enthusiasm with the younger fans who look up to you. Like it or not, you are an example.
While at the Lime Rock Historic Festival, I was fortunate to meet up and share some time with three examples of motorsport people who do take the time to share their time and enthusiasm with others. I was able to take a photo of these fellows.
Bob Melhado, Howard Kroplick, & Oscar Koveleski at the 2012 Lime Rock Historic Festival
On the left side of the above photo is Bob Melhado (Chief Steward of the Lime Rock Historic Festival), Howard Kroplick (Owner of a 1909 Alco racer and owner of a great Vanderbilt Cup website), and on the right is the above mentioned Oscar Koveleski. Bob Melhado has been very helpful to me at the Lime Rock Historic Festival. Howard Kroplick is just a bundle of enthusiasm for his Alco race car and works very hard at the car shows to make sure that everyone gets up close and personal with his car. I think that every child under 12 at any car show that Howard is at has sat at the wheel of his big, black Alco racer – an example for everyone. And Oscar Koveleski, whose kindness to Steve Gore over 40 years ago is still having its affect.