Tony Adamowicz

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Tony Adamowicz (May 2, 1941 – October 10, 2016) was an American racing driver, active from 1963 until his death. He won the Under 2-Liter class of the 1968 Trans-Am Championship and the 1969 SCCA Continental Championship.

Early life[edit]

Adamowicz was born in 1941 to Polish immigrants in Moriah, New York and raised in Port Henry, New York. He began his career with the US Army and worked as a communications staffer at the White House during the late 1950s and 1960s.[1]

Racing career[edit]

The Datsun 280ZX Turbo that Tony Adamowicz drove to the 1983 IMSA GTO Championship.

It was during his time in Washington DC that Adamowicz took up auto racing. He started racing with a Volvo PV 544 in neighbouring Maryland in 1963. He later contested the Under 2-Liter class of the 1968 Trans-Am Championship in a Porsche 911, then raced in the Can-Am Series and Formula A/Formula 5000, winning the 1969 SCCA Continental Championship.[2] He had an opportunity to race in the 1970 Indianapolis 500, but during the first lap of his qualifying attempt in his Eagle-Offy the yellow light was shown and Adamowicz slowed. However, the yellow was an error and Adamowicz was ordered to continue with the other 3 laps. The first lap, 6 mph (9.7 km/h) slower than his others, dragged down his average to a point where he was bumped from the field. He got in another car but crashed in practice before having a chance to requalify.[citation needed]

Adamowicz returned to sports cars, racing TransAm in an Autodynamics Dodge Challenger as teammate to Sam Posey, achieving second place in the 1971 24 Hours of Daytona in a Ferrari 512S, shared with Ronnie Bucknum, and third place in the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans with Sam Posey in a 512M [2] After the decline of the Can Am and F5000 formulas, he moved to IMSA series and won the 1981 GTU championship in an Electramotive Nissan 280ZX and 1982 and 1983 GTO championships in an Electramotive 280ZX-T.[citation needed]

He returned to prototypes in 1984 but had little success at that level and retired after the 1989 24 Hours of Daytona. He then competed in select vintage races in the same 1969-model Eagle racing car in which he won the 1969 SCCA Continental Championship. The car is now owned by Doug Magnon, the founder of the Riverside International Automotive Museum, and prepared by mechanic Bill Losee. It bears the identical livery it carried back in 1969. As the Eagle had been parked immediately after the 1969 season, and was not run again until following its restoration in 2008, Adamowicz remained the only driver to actually have driven this car.[citation needed]

Adamowicz was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.[1]

Personal life and death[edit]

Early in 2015, Adamowicz was diagnosed with brain cancer, glioblastoma.[3] He died on October 10, 2016 at the age of 75.[4]


  1. ^ a b McKinstry, Lohr (July 20, 2016). "Port Henry race car driver honored". Sun Community News & Printing. Retrieved October 11, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Pryson, Mike (October 10, 2016). "American sports-car champion Tony Adamowicz dies at 75". Autoweek. Retrieved October 11, 2016. 
  3. ^ Pruett, Marshall (December 31, 2015). "American racing legend Adamowicz fighting brain cancer". Racer. Retrieved October 10, 2016. 
  4. ^ Tony Adamowicz, 1941-2016, Racer, October 10, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2016.

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