The U.S. racing community was deeply saddened recently to learn of the passing away of racer, team owner and USAC founding father Bob Estes.
Born Robert Stewart Evans in Los Angeles on Sept. 21, 1913, Bob Estes devoted more than 60 years of his life to the automobile and racing. Estes owned several car dealerships in Southern California including Hudson, Lincoln-Mercury, Lamborghini and a now famous Porsche dealership with partner Otto Zipper. Success in the automobile business allowed Estes to pursue his passion for racing. An avid racer himself, Estes raced a number of cars including a Grand Prix Talbot-Lago. But Estes is probably better remembered for his many years as a team owner. Some of his many accomplishments as an owner included: eight years of participation in the Indy 500; a Class-C World Land Speed Record; countless wins with Ken Miles driving his and Zipper’s Porsche Spyders; numerous Midwestern Sprint Car Championships with driver Pat O’Connor; and the fielding of competitive machinery in everything from the Carrera Panamericana to the Mobil Gas Economy Run. Not surprisingly, in 1955 when the AAA pulled out of racing, Estes joined with Anton Hullman, and several other gentlemen in forming the United States Auto Club (USAC), which sanctioned Champ car racing in the U.S. for the next three decades. Estes’ contributions to American motorsports was significant – so will be his absence.