News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Trackside

July 10, 2007

Trackside: Wabash Valley racing scene mourns loss of Bill Biddle

TERRE HAUTE — What’s started as one of the most difficult seasons in a number of years for Wabash Valley fans and racers became even tougher in recent days with news of the passing of local U.S. Auto Club car owner Bill Biddle.

The 61-year-old Terre Haute businessman fell victim to a heart attack while with his race team for a USAC race at Richmond, Va.

The loss will leave a large void in the area representation on the USAC sprint and champ-car scene. The team has suspended operations and is not expected to return to racing. Although the team that ran under the BWB Racing banner was involved in the sport for a relative short time, it left its mark under Bill’s able leadership.

With a roster that at times represented a who’s who in USAC racing, the team came just two spots shy of a national championship back in 2002. It was credited with 14 national championship feature wins.

Many drivers filled the seat of the always immaculate open wheel machines — the cars invariably red, white and blue — made it to victory lane were Jack Hewitt, Jay Drake, Tracy Hines, Dave Steele and Derek Davidson.

Davidson gave the team its first USAC win at Paragon in July of 1998 and Drake its final at Newton, Iowa, last fall.

Family and friends gathered to pay their final respects last Friday. Many spoke of the generous and competitive ways of the Williamsport native.

Among those in attendance was USAC President Rollie Helmling, who spoke of Biddle’s many contributions to racing.

“He [Biddle] was the epitome of a racer … a very successful businessman who shared his love of family and racing — USAC racing in particular,” Helmling said.

“He was not only a car owner, he was an enthusiast, spelled with a capital E. He loved being part of this sport.

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Trackside
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