Al Baldus 1932-2020 2018 Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame Inductee

Al Baldus 1932-2020 2018 Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame Inductee

Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame Officers and Board sends our heartfelt condolences to the family of our 2018 Hall of Fame Inductee Al Baldus.
     In 1956, Freddy Neal (neighbor) whose dad worked the backgate at Riverside Stadium told Al, "Let's go racing at Riverside." He never dreamt that is when a life time of stories and memories would began.
     Although Al did not have the greatness of experience and knowledge, he persevered to accomplish being an owner, driver, builder and mechanic.  Al will tell you, "I was a fair mechanic back then, but in order to make it all those years out of necessity, I had to get better.  Now I am a very good mechanic."
     Al, like many, had a full-time job to support his family, being a fireman on weekends and trying to race 1-3 times a week which made for long nights. Like many others, this may have cost Al possibly many championships.
     The first few years in racing was a continuous learning experience and produces no wins.  However, in 1959 at Riverside, Al was honored with the 'Sportmanship' Award. That is when things started to turn around for him in the later part of 1960 season, when Al stood 5th in points behind the great Virgil Chapman.  In 1962 and 1963 he received the "Points Sportmanship" Championship at Lakeside.  Al continued racing at Olympic, Riverside, Lakeside, Sedalia, Savannah and West Line. Al, like many others, drove Jalopies, Sportsman, Modified and Supers covering, MO, KS, IA, IL, and OK.  Even today, Al is very appreciative to all those that helped him through those years, especially Jerry Weld.
    The four memorable moments for Al would be: his most frustrating race at 81 Speedway in Witchita being a 200 lapper.  He finished 4th but they only paid the top 3.  The funniest race was at Riverside when 2 2 other cars wrecked and colletected him in turn 1.  By the time his crew got there, they could not find Al.  They looked everywhere and finally they found him in the bleachers. When they found him they asked, "What are you doing?"  Alreplied. "Waiting on you!"  Al had crawled through a hole in the fence and went up to finish watching the reat of the races.  The race he would like to discard from his memories would be at Sedalia in 1973 when in turn 1,he flipped and rolled just short of the mile track.  It tore off the roll cage, however, he walked away.  The happiest moment of Al's careerwould be when he received the call from Karen Darlingsharing with him that he was selected to go into the Hall of Fame.  "Wow, I would have never thought this would happen."  In no words could I ever express my feeling to the voters, nominator(Ed Sanders), and everyone involed with the Central Auto Racing Booster Hall of Fame, Inc.  Just to be in a class with many friends I raced with bacj then is quite an honor.
    Al gives special thanks to his wife (Eva Lynn), his family, Terry Thomas - who shpwed up at the age of 12 and never left, Lyle Stafford and Carrol Smith (mechanics), for all their help and support over the years.
    A word of advice from Al to all the young drivers out there, "Know your priorities and keep your head on straight."

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