Maurice H. Kraines, the founder of Kraco Enterprises, passed away on November 29, 2005 in Rancho Mirage, California. Kraines was a successful businessman who opened the doors to Kraco Enterprises in 1954 at the age of 34 and never looked back.
Those in racing will fondly remember Kraines' delight when Michael Andretti placed the Kraco Team Indy racing machine in the winner's circle for the first time and in the team's backyard! Andretti won the CART Long Beach Grand Prix in 1986.
The entrepreneur who kept an active role in his company saw it expand over the 50 years to a major complex in Compton, CA.
On the racing side, Kraines and Andretti formed quite a dynamic duo from 1984 to 1988 scoring victories and podium finishes, alas the championship was one item missing. Andretti earned the Indy 500 rookie title in 1985, his second full-time season in CART (now Champ Car).
Taking over the Kraco seat in 1989 was the man who bested Andretti for the championship in 1986 and '87. Bobby Rahal stayed with Kraco until he ventured out as his own, forming his own team in 1992.
Rahal's teammate for the 1990 two-car Galles-Kraco team gave Kraines his one and only CART championship as a team owner. Al Unser, Jr. had a year filled with with tight fights between himself, Andretti, Rick Mears and Rahal to score the title at the season end.
In the same year, the fastest 500 on record, at that time, was won by Unser Jr ahead of Rahal at the Michigan 500. The The Galles-Kraco team posted a one-two finish at an all-time record average speed of 189,727 mph at Michigan International Speedway.
In 1992, Unser Jr gave Kraines the opportunity to drink the milk in victory circle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, clinching the Indy 500 was on the top of Kraines' hopes.
As the racing community says good-bye to Kraines with fond memories, his family and friends held a private memorial service.
Kraines was born December 25, 1920 in St. Paul, Minnesota to Isaac and Rebecca Kraines.
He is survived by his wife, Yasuko Kraines; four sons, Larry, Steve, Dan and Ted Kraines; a sister, Anne Firestone; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
The family suggests that donations be made to:
Chabad of California
c/o The Kraines Family Early Childhood Education Center
Los Angeles, CA