Hall of Fame Inductee - Walt Crabtree


Walt Crabtree began his racing career at the young age of 18.  His first “legal” race took place at Terre Haute, IN in 1961.  Walt was an avid racer for over 40 years.  When Walt started racing there was no such thing as a good light or a bad light, they started by the wave of a flag, and hoped they had enough power to get to the finish first.  Walt spent his time at Terre Haute, Indianapolis,  Assumption, & Charleston and CCD was then referred to as Rolling Thunder.  One of Walt’s first cars was a 1955 Ford, followed by a 1956 Ford.  In later years Walt raced in the Street class at CCD in a 1984 Ford Thunderbird.  He was a member of the Indy Bracket Final team every year he raced and finished in the Top Ten in points each year as well.  In 1990 he finally had finished his 1971 Dodge Demon, which his daughter, Nikki, still races today.   A common quote in the Crabtree household was “Mopar or No-car”.   Walt was born August 16, 1943 to Walter and Margaret Crabtree.  When Walt was just a child he traveled around the world, while his father was in the United States Army.  He and his sister attended schools in old barracks buildings on the base they were stationed at.  Walt, along with his sister and mother would return to Mattoon to live after the untimely death of his father in 1959. Walt graduated from Mattoon High in 1961.  Walt worked for Consolidated Communications in Mattoon for over 34 years having worked as a cable splicer and as a field tech in the communities of Atwood and Arthur. Prior to that, he worked at O'Hare International Airport and the Chicago Tribune.  He was the father to 1 son and 5 daughters, the grandfather to 11, and most recently the great-grandfather to 2.   Racing was Walt’s passion for many years.  He stepped out of the driver’s seat and handed the keys to his daughter , Nikki, in 2002.  When asked why he stepped out, his response was that he had just as much fun watching his daughter succeed at racing, as he did racing himself.   Walt called CCD his second home since it’s reopening in the mid 80’s.   His final race at CCD was July 17, 2004, just 5 days before his passing.  Walt was best known for his carefree attitude, and his kindness.  He was always willing to help a racer in need.  Although his goal in racing was to win a championship and as much money as possible, he truly loved to just be surrounded by his fellow racers every weekend.  He enjoyed spending time with people who loved cars and the sport as much as he did. 


 

 




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