Landy Scott, a fan favorite throughout the Midwest, drove his famous #17 midget racer, powered by an unconventional Studebaker engine, on a shoestring budget to victories on oval dirt tracks everywhere. Landy a virtual unknown from Milwaukee, Wisconsin competed against the nation's greatest racing stars of yesteryear.
Landy's career began as a member of the great Wally Zale's pit crew, followed by his winning the Badger Midget Auto Racing Association's 1947 Championship and eventually becoming the president of Badger. Over a two-year span (1947–1948) Landy won an incredible 20 feature races, with 14 second place finishes and 12 thirds. Landy also won 33 heat races and semi-features. All totaled, Landy had 151 top 3 finishes over that two-year period.
After selling the car after the 1960 season, Landy hung up his helmet and retired from racing. He lost track of the car for the next 37 years.
The car saw several owners and fell into a sad state of repair. The "race car bone yard" was a real possibility when Richard Raclawski of Chicago found and rescued the old 17. Richard bought the car from Bill Gunderson of Greenfield, Wisconsin and transported it back to his home in Chicago where he and his son, Rich Jr., began restoration. Richard used a photo of the car with Landy behind the wheel, racing at Soldier Field as his guide, in bringing the 17 back to life. Richard eventually sold the car to Dave Rumsey of Holland, Michigan. Dave contacted Landy in Las Vegas and decided a total restoration was necessary to preserve this remarkable car and Landy's legacy in racing. Dave completely dismantled the car and rebuilt it as original as possible, including the installation of a Studebaker "Champion" engine, complete with fuel injection.
Dave enjoyed racing the newly restored #17 at Vintage Midget races throughout the mid-west. In 1997 Landy was reunited with the newly restored #17 when Dave Rumsey and Dick Welch (son of original car owner) arranged a 50th Anniversary celebration to honor Landy's 1947 Badger Midget Racing Championship at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. After an emotional reunion and a few hot laps around the track, Landy and his #17 parted ways, but the separation was temporary.
Again, whereabouts of the car were lost until 2008 when a race fan notified Landy's son, Dan, that the #17 was in Omaha, Nebraska and might be for sale. Dan and his sister contacted the new owner, Charles Myers, and negotiated a deal. Through Mr. Myers' generosity and sense of family, the #17 was on its way home. Dan and his son, Daniel Jr., drove to Omaha from their home in California and towed the #17 to Las Vegas, where Landy was living, surprising him on Father's Day. Landy was speechless when he stepped outside and saw his race car parked in his driveway.
The next year (at age 90) Landy traveled to California to witness his beautifully restored midget racer win first place in the race car division at the 2009 Corona Del Mar Coastline Car Classic. He was also on hand when the #17 participated as a special invitee in the 2010 Grand National Roadster Show's "The History of the Race Car" exhibit in Los Angeles.
The #17, now retired like its former driver, will remain in the Scott family and continue to be shown at car shows and special events to help preserve the history of the Mighty Midget's impact on auto racing and to honor the accomplishments of its fearless driver who we proudly call Dad. Landy, now residing in Milwaukee, will turn 95 on June 21, 2014. He still follows racing and loves to hear how his "Old #17" did at the latest car show.
Landy's famous #17 Studebaker powered Kurtis Kraft Midget Race Car has won the following awards on the car show circuit:
1st Place, Race Car Division - 2009 Corona Del Mar Coastline Car Classic
3rd Place, Race Car Division - 2010 Del Mar Concours d'Elegance
1st Place, Race Car Division - 2011 Desert Classic Concours d'Elegance (La Quinta, CA)
1st Place, Race Car Division - 2011 Santa Barbara Concours d'Elegance
Greatest Racing Heritage Award - 2011 Santa Barbara Concours d'Elegance
3rd Place, People's Choice Award - 2014 Winter Meet, Los Angeles Chapter, Studebaker Drivers Club
Featured car - 2010 Grand National Roadster Show's "The History of the Race Car", Los Angeles, CA