Born in Madison, N.J., Nicky raced cars from 1946 to 1956, earning the ARDC Midget Racing championship title in 1950 and becoming the first NASCAR Midget champion in 1953. He retired from driving in 1956 at the request of his wife Bette and started flagging the next day at Victory Speedway in Middletown, NY as a way to stay involved in racing.
He became the official flagman (starter) for numerous professional racing organizations including ARDC, ATQMRA, USAC (east coast events) and on occasion URC as well as individual tracks such as Pocono Int'l Raceway. He eventually became the first Chief Starter for the international Championship Auto Racing Teams Indy Car Series, serving in that position from 1979-1992. In 1993, he was the honorary starter for the Indianapolis 500, which marked his last Indy car race in an official capacity. In the ensuing years, he often traveled to races where Drew and Nokie competed as well as to the NASCAR races at Pocono which is owned by his good friends Doc and Rose Mattioli, and to Nazareth Raceway when it hosted the Indy cars.
Fornoro was retired from the Ironworkers Local 11, Newark.
He is survived by Elizabeth (Bette), his wife of nearly 59 years, two sons Drew and Nofri "Nokie" Jr., daughter Cindee Bertling, sisters Celeste Weisgerber and Constance Abdalla, brother Billy Fornaro, owner of Billy's Red Room, seven grandchildren: Jessica Fornoro, Nofri, Lanson and Jarett Fornoro, Tara and J.J. Bertling and Marie Fornoro, and many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the --
Checkered Flag Fan Club Injured Drivers' Fund
P.O. Box 79
Kutztown, PA 19530
-- or the Joey Bella Memorial Fund, Inc. which provides direct assistance to families in need during catastrophic illness.
Joey Bella Memorial Fund, Inc.
15 Myers Ave.
Denville, NJ 07834
-credit: the fornoro family