Joe Sostilio
Driver
Class of 2003

     Seventeen year old Joe Sostilio won the first race he ever ran, in a Model A in1932.  By 1935, he won the New England Dirt Championship, driving the “big cars”, which were similar to today’s sprints.  He successfully defended his championship in 1936, running at events mainly throughout New England, although he ventured to tracks as far south as Florida and as far west as California throughout his 30 year career.  In 1938, Sostilio won the New England Midget Championship.  The following year, in ’39, he won the Vermont State Midget Championship.  Joe stopped racing from 1941 to ’44, in order to serve his country during World War II. 

      He returned to his midget roots in 1945, competing in the Bay State Midgets Racing Association, finishing second to Bobby Blair by a one point margin.  1946 found Joe driving the Koopman Offy, and he competed at tracks from Seekonk, Mass to Akron, Ohio.  1947 was a good year for Sostillio.  Driving the 54 Leader Card Offy, he won 31 features, taking down 23 seconds and 12 third place finishes on his way to a BSMRA Championship.  

     1949 found Joe running stock cars.  He discovered a small track in South Bend, Indiana at which he particularly enjoyed competing.  He traveled from New England to South Bend for three consecutive weeks, taking down the win in all three features.

     In 1950, Joe was running a AAA Big Car.  Joe teamed up with Indy 500 winner Johnnie Parsons, and the two became a feared twosome.  He continued running the big car, and took down the 1953 Eastern Sprint Car Championship.  Throughout his years with AAA, he was considered a standout driver, along with fellow topnotch competitors Joie Chitwood, who later went on to head the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show, Indy 500 winner Lee Wellard, Bill Holland, and Tony Bettenhausen.

     Joe Sostilio passed away on July 9, 2000.  His obituary talked about a racing career that included over 300 midget and sprint car feature wins.  Today, we honor Joe Sostilio and that career, as he is inducted into the NEAR Hall of Fame.

 


Joe Sostilio



John Notte III presents Joe's award to the family of Joe Sostilio.