This is an update to the Tony Sawyer story. He and I have talked twice recently, and we want his fans to hear more of this story from his words. Also, I did not intend to hurt anyone by publishing this story before talking to Tony, ever since Bob Libbey passed I want to capture and install as many deserving race family members who are deserving of being inducted into a Kansas City area racing Hall of Fame. None of us are promised tomorrow, including myself, so time permitting I want to get the racing stories captured, typed, and published, also I want to extend to anyone else who loves remembering our history jump onboard or call me and let me converse with the person you believe should be in the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame. As I have stated before I don’t own these stories these are your stories, your history, your life let’s just capture them and publish them, so others can see our racing history! I just want to use a talent provided to me by God to continue the betterment of auto racing. Now on to Tony’s story.
Tony Sawyer began racing at the original Lakeside Speedway, we think in 1983, he was still in high school. McNish Towing Service bought a car from Doug Richards and offered Tony the chance to drive it if he came up with a motor, transmission, and rear end. I guess we can say the rest is history.
Tony and his brother, Curtis, started C&T Racing. C&T Racing did quite a bit for the racer during the late 80s and early 90s, once straightening a rear end for myself. When asked about his number #64 it was the year he was born but it was also a sequence of C&T racecars with him in the #64, Scott Sanders in the #65, and Gary Davis in the #66.
Tony’s proudest achievements was 6 Championships in four years competing at the asphalt Lakeside and I-70 Speedways. His worst moment in racing was when he was burned in 2005 in a racing incident. He was also a hero pulling his eventual cousin-in-law Ron Hartford from his burning car after a turn one crash into the I-70 Speedway wall in 1995. He misses racing with Ron and at one time drove a car for Ron. Ron likes stiff springs in his racecar and Tony prefers a soft spring setup to the car, their driving styles were just a bit different. He remembers competing with Jamie Hager in Ron’s car. His nickname, Tony “The Shark” Sawyer was given to him by close friend Monte Cox.
Tony also liked competing in the days of the Gene Claxton rule developed by infamous promoter Larry Kaster when Gene was winning all the races at Riverside Stadium. This rule is the winner from the previous week had to start the feature race in the rear the following week. Tony said this was one of the most fun times in racing as you had to pass cars trying to get to the front. Take notes current promoters and drivers, ex racers are telling us how fun this time was looking back.
Another high note to Tony’s racing career was the invitation to race at Orlando Speedway with the Bodine Brothers in the Baby Grands. He and his wife Shelley were on their honeymoon and he received this invitation to race with some of the best in the business. They then went to Daytona International Speedway for what was then the Twin 125s and then from there to Key West Florida to enjoy the remainder of their honeymoon.
Tony left the sport because it was getting too expensive and he had three boys to raise. Now a Papa, Tony was one of the greatest drivers in Kansas City racing history! Tony thank you for sharing, thank you for competing, and thank you for all you have done for racing to make it the great sport it is Today!