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Oscar Koveleski, 1932-2020


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#1 Steve Deiters

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 10:30 AM

Just read on a Can-Am racing Facebook page that slot racing and modeling giant Oscar Koveleski has passed away. More details to follow I'm sure.

 

Oscar Kovelski-montage -12.28.2020.jpg

 


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#2 Tex

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 10:55 AM

RIP, racer man...


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#3 MSwiss

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 10:58 AM

Sad to hear, but Oscar obviously lived a great, full life.

May he rest in peace.
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Mike Swiss
 
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#4 Maximo

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 11:13 AM

RIP, Oscar!


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#5 YetiSRP

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 11:24 AM

Met him at Mid-Ohio, Lexington, Ohio. He with his orange McLaren and the slot cars sitting on the painted slot car track design on it.
 
Bought slot car stuff out of the AutoWorld catalog back in the day.
 
Cool guy.
 
Peace, OK.


Jim Bandes

#6 Howie Ursaner

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 11:35 AM

RIP, Oscar. You were always larger than life. I'm glad I got to see him and talk to him at Road America Vintage Weekend.


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#7 Isaac S.

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 11:42 AM

A great legend. Can-Am and slot racing wouldn't be the same without him. Auto World helped modeling and slot racing progress greatly.

 

I never fully met him but he was at the Radnor Hunt Concours once while I was in PA. 

 

RIP.


Isaac Santonastaso

#8 Dave Crevie

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 12:22 PM

To the Clown Prince of Can-Am; drive on, sweet prince.



#9 Noose

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 12:49 PM

RIP, Oscar.
8978ecfcc1a31861a7e4118033e2d1e5.jpg


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#10 Riccardo

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 01:27 PM

Rest in peace, driver!


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#11 SpeedyNH

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 04:12 PM

How old was he? He was a fair amount older than I was when i met him at a raceway back when. 

 

What a great guy. RIP. 


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#12 MSwiss

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 04:41 PM

Poking around Google, it's not easy to find.

They do reference him winning a race in 1951, so I think that would put him at least somewhere between 85 and 90, but possibly older.

I also saw he started Auto World in 1958.

Mike Swiss
 
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Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave., Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#13 MSwiss

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 04:59 PM

Looks like 88, according to PDL.

20201229_155810.jpg

Mike Swiss
 
Inventor of the Low CG guide flag 4/20/18
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave., Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#14 tonyp

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 07:08 PM

Really nice guy. Met him a couple times when he was at Car Model magazine when we stopped in to visit.


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#15 TSR

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 07:47 PM

Sad to learn that Oscar Koveleski passed away yesterday, age 88.

Oscar was of course one of the big movers and shakers of slot car racing in America in the 1960s and 1970s, creating the famous Auto World store and mail-order company that served so many hobbyists for decades.

RIP, Oscar, we will all miss you...

Sports Car Racer Oscar Koveleski, 88
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Philippe de Lespinay


#16 Steve Deiters

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 07:54 PM

Whenever I was around Oscar I asked him why did they (him) have the nickname “Weiner” for Teddy Mayer. He never really answered in a typical OK way.

Fun guy. Now we’ll never know, but thanks for the memories, Oscar.

#17 Gary Adams

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 09:59 AM

Steve,

Maybe Teddy's name came from the commercial, "Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer weiner." Makes some sense given their names, at least in my opinion.

Straights are for fast cars. Turns are for fast drivers.


#18 SpeedyNH

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 11:04 AM

Thanks, everybody.  


Steve Lang

#19 Steve Deiters

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 07:20 PM

Home town coverage of Oscar’s passing.

 

https://www.citizens...bcaf282699.html


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#20 Alchemist

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 04:56 PM

RIP ,Mr. Koveleski and thank you for your contribution to the racing/slot car world!
 
I always enjoyed looking at the Auto World Catalogs.      
 
http://99wspeedshop..../autoworld.html
 
https://racer.com/20...scar-koveleski/
 
Oscar Koveleski, who got his racing start as a member of the Sports Car Club of America’s Philadelphia Region and went on to race his orange “Car 54” in the SCCA’s Can-Am Series that he helped launch, has died.
 
Koveleski, inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2015, scored his first SCCA Regional race win in 1951 at Bone Stadium in Pittston, Pa., at the wheel of a 1948 MG-TC.
 
In the inaugural SCCA American Road Race of Champions (now the Runoffs) at Road Atlanta in 1970, he won the A Sports Racing class, beating 27-time National Champion Jerry Hansen by just one-tenth of a second.
 
The following year, he joined teammates Tony Adamowicz and Brad Niemcek – all founders of the infamous Polish Racing Drivers Association – in a second-place finish (behind Dan Gurney and Brock Yates) in the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash.
“Oscar Koveleski was a treasure,” said Road Racing Drivers Club President Bobby Rahal. “His outspokenness and passionate demeanor in trying to convince you of the importance of his latest project were the essence of his personality. Never quitting, always promoting, in such a charismatic way that one just couldn’t say no.
 
“As a race car driver he was one of the best in an era where competing against the likes of Mark Donohue, Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme was a challenge he was happy and willing to take to help promote his Auto World business and the KidRacer brand he created.”
 
Ernie
Ernie Layacan

#21 MG Brown

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Posted 03 January 2021 - 05:56 PM

Oscar's obituary:

 

Oscar Photo.jpg

 

Anthony Michael “Oscar” Koveleski passed away on Monday, December 28, 2020.

 

Born on Nov 29, 1932, in Moosic Pa, first son of Anthony John “Tony” and Anna (Chisdock) Koveleski, Oscar grew up with the passion of his father’s love for hobbies, automobiles, and racing. He married the love of his life Elaine Helen Ivanik on Nov 9, 1951. He was a loving husband and caring father of his family, bringing them along his epic journey at every opportunity available.
 
He won his first race at Bone Stadium in Pittston, PA, at 18 years old. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he raced in Sports Car Club of America Regional and National events with close friend and mechanic Jack Deren, such as the first 24 Hours of Daytona in 1966, the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1965. and won a 500-mile race at Watkins Glen, NY, in 1965 in a Shelby Cobra Ford. In 1970 he won the SCCA National Championship at Road Atlanta. He won the Giants Despair Hillclimb six times, setting the record of 44.127 seconds in 1977 with his Can-Am McLaren. 
 
Beginning in 1970, he was President of the Polish Racing Drivers of America, with noted members as Johnny Carson, Paul Newman, and even President Nixon. With two other drivers, the PRDA Racing Team placed second in the first Cannonball in 1971; a race from ’Sea to Shining Sea” (NY-LA) in a Chevy Van loaded with five 55 gallon drums of gas in an attempt win it non-stop.
 
He served on the Board of Directors of the Motor Racing Safety Society, the Road Racing Drivers Club, on the SCCA Board of Directors, and many other related organizations. From 1980 to 1996, Oscar directed the SCCA Pocono Sports Car Grand Prix at Pocono Raceway. He was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2015.
 
Oscar's promotional skills were legendary, raising charitable contributions for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang, and several others. He consulted for many drivers and race teams. His innovative interests pioneered the earliest motorsports safety gear, engine equipment, and huge variety of related projects. His skilled craftsmanship of electric ride-on Kidracer cars gave thousands of kids a chance to drive and compete at many events in the USA. 
 
Not just “Anything for Racing,” Oscar and his wife Elaine also started the well-known "Auto World" mail-order company in 1958 on their kitchen table, and thereafter at 701 N. Keyser Ave. in Scranton, PA. His world-famous catalog was noted as the “Sears and Roebuck” of model kits, slot cars, and much more. He also published Car Model from 1962 to 1968, a magazine with hundreds of articles dedicated to hobbyists of all ages, teaching hands-on skills of creating custom scaled models. From hobby kits to slot racing, and even radio control cars, Oscar was a pioneer in providing the young and old worldwide with everything needed for modeling, racing, fun, and much more.
 
Oscar’s relaxing sport was fly fishing, catching salmon from the Pulaski river, trout from the Lehigh, Tunkannock Creek, and many other places.
 
Oscar Koveleski will not only be remembered, he is immortalized in the works of all his fans, and in the automotive industry and motorsports that made our “Auto World” what it is today, as written by the countless tributes and posts that can already be found online.
 
He is survived by his wife Elaine, children Robert, Sharon, Lee Ann , Christopher, grandson Michael, his brother Ron and his wife Barbara, nephews, and nieces.

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