Chuck Amati Remembered as One of the Original Outlaws
Concord, NC-- November 19, 2008--Chuck Amati was an "Outlaw" long before the inaugural 1978 World of Outlaws season. For over 40 years he raced from coast-to-coast chasing wins, and when he took his helmet off for the final time in 2002, he had accumulated hundreds of them in his career in a numbers of different types of race cars.
The World of Outlaws and the entire racing community mourn the loss of the Hall of Fame driver, who passed away on Tuesday, November 18 at the age of 68 in his home state of Illinois, after suffering a massive heart attack while driving.
Amati will always be remember as "The One Armed Bandit," a nickname he earned on a night, when he sustained an injury to his right arm and devised a harness to hold the arm in place in his lap, driving using his left arm. The arm would eventually heal, though the nickname stuck with him for the rest of his career and contributed to him being one of the most colorful drivers to ever climb into a sprint car.
He won a in a variety of machines during his legendary career including: winged sprint cars, non-winged sprint cars, supermodifieds and even midgets. From 1969-1986, he won at least one sprint car race every year during that span. Among the tracks that he won at were a number of stops on the 2008 World of Outlaws schedule including: Tri-City Speedway in Illinois, Eagle Raceway in Nebraska, Tri-State Speedway in Indiana, Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania, and I-55 Raceway in Missouri.
Amati competed in a number of events during the World of Outlaws inaugural season of 1978, including the series first race at Devil's Bowl Speedway in Texas. He earned three Top-Five finishes that season with the series, including a runner-up performance at Paragon Speedway in Indiana, in an event which was won by a young driver named Steve Kinser.
Earlier this season Amati, who was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2004, shared his thoughts on the early days of the World of Outlaws, as part of the series 30th anniversary celebration, in a series entitled "Catching up with."
"The idea of traveling all over was probably the biggest challenge, though for me I was used to it," explained Amati of the World of Outlaws first couple seasons. "Most of the races I ran were all over, so it didn't really affect me. I was thrilled to death to be able to run with the organization when they formed the World of Outlaws."
Amati was the Grand Marshall for the World of Outlaws event this past season at I-55 Speedway in Pevely, Missouri on April 5. While at the track he visited with a number of fans and also was able to reminisce with a few of the drivers that he competed against back in the early days of the series.
One of those drivers was another of the 'Original Outlaws,' Shane Carson, who raced against Amati countless times during his career. The Oklahoma native, who was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2007 and now is the head of Industry Relations for the World of Outlaws, was instrumental in having Amati serve as the Grand Marshall for the event.
"Chuck was a good friend, a great racer and brought a smile to everyone's face when he showed up," said Carson. "Chuck was a true showman in our sport, way before it's time. Having him at Pevely this year as the Grand Marshall for the Outlaws show was quite an honor for me and all that were there. When he talked to the fans, he just lit up. It was a great night. He will be missed."
Amati had recently spent time helping and coaching his Grandson, Shane Wade, who races a sprint car at tracks in and around the Illinois area.
To view the entire "Catching up with Chuck Amati" from earlier this season which contains photos from his career, as well as an interview with the 2004 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee visit:
Services for Amati will be held at Johnson Funeral Home in Herrin, Illinois.