competed with the Bay State Midget Association, winning the New
England Championship in 1941, ’42, and ‘45. In eight consecutive
years (racing was put on hold in 1943 and ’44 during World War II)
Blair posted seven top three finishes for the yearly championship.
As a Navy Seabee during WW II, Bob was seriously injured while
stationed at Norfolk, Virginia, when he was pinned between two
landing craft, resulting in severe head, shoulder, and back
injuries. These injuries eventually led to a medical discharge from
With over 200 career feature wins, Blair was a dominant force at New
England tracks like New Bedford, Tiverton, and Dracut. He raced
against legends like Ruff Anderson, the Simmonetti brothers, and
NEAR Hall of Fame members Johnny Thomson and Joe Sostilio, and drove
for top midget teams like Nemo Russo, the MacLeod Offy, the Kelley
Bros., Frank Lemieux, and the Ashton Offy. Once, Bob once was
driving an Offy at Groveland when he was forced through the infield
to avoid two cars crashing in front of him. It was only after the
race that it was discovered that Blair had broken his steering box
in the encounter, yet he was still able to run the final 7 laps of
Bob’s son, Bob Blair Jr. was an avid race fan, who traveled all over
the country and never had a driver's license. Known as the race fan
with the golden thumb people such as Mario Andretti Richard Petty,
and AJ Foyt all gave him rides.
Bob Sr. passed away at a too-early age in a non-racing accident.
Today, we welcome Bob Blair Sr. into the NEAR Hall of Fame.