A racing family for the ages! This story begins with Grandpa/Great Grandpa racing go carts, but that was just the start of an amazing family run in Go-Carts and Big Cars as the family called them. The family originates from Germany. It is what they have accomplished in Go-Carts and Big Car racing that has earned them the honor of being inducted into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame.
Go-carts started it all. Dad got the bug to race go-carts from his grandpa. He was known to sit at the kitchen table and build go-cart motors for people. He would take one off a shelve, tear it down, rebuild it, put it back on the shelf, and start the process again. One of the top awards in go-carting is the “Duffy”. Originally, the International Karting Federation (IKF) presented the Grand National Champion a television up until 1976 when a statuette became the golden prize. It was originally known as the “Joe Karter” award. In 1982, the award became the Duffy named after longtime racer Frank “Duffy” Livingstone.
You see, Dad, loved Go-Karting and competed on the national stage. He went to Indianapolis to race and everyone there was telling him, go meet Duffy Livingstone in the pits because once the race started you would not see him again. Dad started behind Duffy and passed him in the first turn at the start of the race and everyone was correct Dad never saw Duffy again as he was the one leading the field and taking the win!
Dad took up racing the Big Cars (Stock Cars) and the family alternated between racing Go-Carts and Big Cars. Dad was the person who approached the owner of Savannah Speedway and asked to bring Big Cars to the track, but the owner was an open wheel fan who was afraid the Big Cars would leave parts and debris on the track and that would affect the open wheel guys. Dad was persistent to the point the owner gave in and Stock Cars made their debut at the track and became regulars.
Dad talked with the Mayor of St. Joseph Missouri and asked her if they could have a go-cart race on the streets of St. Joseph. The Mayor approved and thus a go-cart race was held on the streets of St. Joseph. The go-cart teams utilized a grocery store parking lot as their staging area and “oh boy” the store owner was hopping mad, taking the parking lot away from his customers. However, at the end of the day when his store was bare from all the groceries sold to go-carters and race fans he went to Dad and asked if he could be the central source of the race every year.
Dad built his son his first go-cart from scratch because the young man’s legs were too short to reach the pedals. Dad took his son down by the Missouri River where the St. Joseph riverboat now sits and had him practice. At the first turn the son killed the motor and Dad had to come down and get it restarted. He explained to his son he needed to slide through the corners. Well son went down to the next turn and put it in the ditch. Dad gets him out and says keep practicing, pretty soon the son is sliding the turns perfectly, training was over, and Dad entered son in some local go-cart races.
One time at the races they had a foot race, prelude to the stinky foot races we run today. The prize was an Orange Hi C for first and a hot dog for second place. Son wanted badly to win the race and could think of nothing else, except Mom only brought sandals. The son started off the race but threw a sandal every 10 steps. He did not win the race, in fact, other competitors that were older came back and coached him to the finish. Because he finished his memory of his Dad is a father/son moment – Dad picked up the little boy took him to the concession stand and purchased an Orange Crush for the lad. Two morals to this story, number one Dad and Son hated sandals, sorry Mom, and number two this family had the will to win, nothing else mattered it was all about winning.
They had a saying in the family – “the last race doesn’t count it is over, on to the next race”. It was that same way with trophies and both Dad and Son have the same philosophy, they won so much they quit counting. Dad had over 15 Championships in Big Cars and too many to count in Go-Carts. Son has 10 or 11 in Big Cars and too many to count in Go-Carts. By the time the son graduated High School he had over 200 Go-Cart trophies.
Dad bought one of his first Stock Cars from Leonard Hunt. Son bought his first car from Gene and Wilma Claxton. They ran numerous tracks in the area and enjoyed running with Tony Maucelli. They would run Lakeside, the Topeka Fairgrounds, and Riverside in those days. Dad won a heat race at the original Lakeside and qualified on the front row for the Pepsi Challenge, an annual race everyone looked forward to running. There was an issue though, Dad qualified and won with a 6 cylinder motor, the V-8 cars were jealous and complained to the officials they should not allow a 6 cylinder run against them.
Dad and son were racing Go-Carts at Trenton, Missouri and Dad decided before the races he would enter every go-cart class of which he was able and at the end of the night they would sell everything and return to Big Car racing. In fact that is exactly what occurred as he sold everything after the races to the McGinnis family.
Dad drove for Dorrel Lance and they made the perfect team. Campaigning a 1964 Chevelle, Dad always wanted to win and Dorrel the car owner shared the same passion. Dorrel was willing to spend the money to win and Dad was willing to do whatever it took to win. Dad also drove for Richard Abbott at Winston, Bethany, and Savannah.
Now let’s not forget Dear Old Mom, she was a competitor herself, racing in numerous Powder Puff Derby races. She also would help with the race cars and provide food and drink when necessary. The son was working nights at the regular job and would come over of a morning and work on the race cars. He was having an issue getting a part to go back together and Mom came out and said step away, stop have a glass of tea and a cupcake and then come back to it and it will all fall into place. That is exactly what happened he spent time with Mom over a glass of tea and when he returned everything fell right into place. Mom also helped the week they needed a new car to finish the season. Son went to Dirt Works and bought a car from Mike Clark. They needed the car to win the championship at Savannah. So, Mike Clark welded on the bracket to the rear end, so they could mount the rear axle. Once home Mom was there helping work on the car and at 4 a.m. the car was ready. However, Mom was in the driver’s seat sound asleep after helping bleed the brakes. They left her there to get her rest, and the car was ready for Friday night racing so the son could drive and claim the championship.
Who are these remarkable people being inducted into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame? Dad is Eddie Schwope Sr., Mom is Betty Schwope, and Son is Eddie Schwope Jr. Congratulations on becoming members of two Halls of Fame, Racingkc.com and the I-35 Speedway Hall of Fame.