Cincinnati, OH - The racing community suffered another loss Thursday as Claude W "Buster" Lowther II died December 23, 1999 at the age of 60 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Lowther's accomplishments and contributions to the sport were significant and distinguished.
Lowther won his first track championship at the Cincinnati Race Bowl at the age of 15. Before graduating high school, he drove under an assumed name on the beach at Daytona for Nelson Stacy. Lowther had to falsify his age to have the opportunity to compete.
Lowther continued to have much success throughout the late 50's and early 60's as both a driver and owner. He competed in stock cars, modifieds and many other classes.
His biggest successes came in the USAC midget division. Foyt, Jones, Rutherford, and many other legendary drivers piloted his Kurtis-Kraft copy Lowther Offy. Jimmy Davies, the only driver besides Jason Leffler to win 3 consecutive national midget titles, and Bob Tattersall drove Lowther's midget to 3 USAC national championships.
Lowther worked with virtually all classes of racing. He worked with many teams at the Indianapolis 500. One year after being on the crew for Jackie Stewart, he had the opportunity to crew at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He worked with chassis manufacturer and WoO championship car owner Laverne Nance designing, testing and distributing sprint cars and kits. Lowther became an ASA crew chief in the early 80's competing against Nascar stars Wallace, Martin, Trickle and Kulwicki. Since, Lowther has also worked with many drivers and teams, from mini-stocks to late models.
Through the 80's and 90's, Lowther built and distributed cars, roll cage kits, and parts for dirt and asphalt cars, many of which hold track records throughout the midwest. His most recent creation was a generation of IMCA/UMP Modifieds he was building under the label of Damdus Chassis. Lowther also researched and tested shocks and suspension parts. Many of his "experimental" setups are standard on race cars today. His son, Buddy, currently competes in the Colorado Mini Truck Association and is preparing to compete in the Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association.
Lowther was diagnosed with cancer in December 1998. His community efforts included coaching youth sports. As a past president of a local youth basketball organization, Lowther created a scholarship program to assist participating students.
Visitation was held Sunday, December 26th and services Monday, December 27th at the Vitt, Stermer and Anderson Funeral Home, 4619 Delhi Road, Cincinnati, OH.
Len in Indy
edited from Hotlaps