Art Crawford 1928 - 2002 Art Crawford, Irwindale Speedway's first and only volunteer press box manager, died on Tuesday, July 16 from complications of a massive stroke which he suffered on July 4 of this year. "Art was the heart and soul of ...
Art Crawford 1928 - 2002
Art Crawford, Irwindale Speedway's first and only volunteer press box manager, died on Tuesday, July 16 from complications of a massive stroke which he suffered on July 4 of this year.
"Art was the heart and soul of press box operations at the Speedway -- He was always there week after week from our first race on. He really anchored the operation and kept order in the plant whether I was there or not," said Irwindale Director of Communications Doug Stokes.
"He truly made it look easy ... He always knew how many laps a particular race was scheduled for, who had the lead, who had changed a motor after practice -- He was real racing fan! He didn't often chime in during driver interviews, but, when he did," Stokes remembered, "-- It was one of those perfect questions that all the pro writers in the room wished they had asked. The Speedway press box was 'Art's House' for sure, I just sort of hung out there," said Stokes. "He was the one who remembered to stock the copy paper, bring up the bottled water, and have the spare fax machine cartridges on hand -- All the stuff that we needed to operate."
After graduating from UCLA with a degree in psychology Crawford worked in his family's radio stations doing both advertising sales and promotions. He also promoted races at Culver City Speedway in the 50's, and it was there that he started a life-long love affair with motorsports. In the late 70's Art became a full time Realtor owing and operating his own Century 21 office.
His intense interest in racing saw him volunteer to work at California Speedway where he worked as a elevator operator for many of that track's big events. "Art came here to Irwindale when we had just begun construction," said Stokes. "He wanted to help out here any way that he could and we decided that his expertise would make him a great press box manager ... We were sure right."
Eldest son Kane was Art's "relief driver" on the rare night or two when his father could not be at his post in the Irwindale press box. A real chip off the old block, Kane shared the same great enthusiasm for racing and respect for the motorsport media as his dad. He plans to still be "upstairs" in the "pb" when ever he's able during the racing season. "No one will ever take my dad's place, everybody knows that," said Crawford. "All of us in the Irwindale Speedway family will miss Art, he was part of the team, he was our good friend," Stokes concluded.
A successful Realtor right up until the time of his death at age 74, Crawford is survived by his wife Connie and their twin daughters Ashley and Erin, age 8. Art is also survived by five adult children Tom, Karen, Cindy, Kathy and Kane from two previous marriages.
Memorial Services for Art Crawford will be held at:
Shepherd of The Hills Church
6080 Haven Avenue
Rancho Cucamonga, Ca 91737
10 am Saturday, July 20
Refreshments will be served at the church directly after the services.
Many of Art's family and friends (including his wife Connie) will be attending the races at Irwindale on Saturday Night (July 20) and his adult kids will be taking a ride in the track's pace car.
The Family requests in lieu of flowers, Donations be made to the "Shepherd of The Hills Family Ministry" at the above address.