To our departed friends, who've helped make us the team we are, and the people we are: we'll never forget you, and we're all-the-better for the time we were lucky enough to share with you.
We're deeply saddened to pass along the news that near-and-dear friend to the team, Dennis Grace, passed away in his sleep on August 21, 2016. He was 72.
A teacher by trade, Dennis was often seen at Road America, where he was a shareholder. Dennis often came to see us race at RA, and joined us in our trip to Indianapolis this past May. His easy-going nature was a constant and something that could-and-would put us at ease at the track.
Dennis was an amazing person, defying a life in which he lived with severe MS since the 1970s. He did it with dignity, humility and most-often, quick wit and a smile that drew you in as if to say 'if this is as bad as life gets, we're all okay.'
You can put values on a lot of things in racing, but you cannot put a value on having a guy like Dennis rooting for you. He even joined Facebook this year just to see our posts of all things!
Dennis was at Road America on a cold day in October in 2010 when we were shown a blind-eye to spread the ashes of our dearly-departed friend Loyd Haslee at-speed with our Eagle FF. While we were all teary-eyed that day, Dennis was also giggling a bit, all-the-while knowing that his friend got one of his final wishes, and that we pulled all the stops to have Loyd join the track he loved so much.
He was there with us for the Weathertech International vintage races just a month ago. When our own Jacques Dresang needed a ride to the driver's meeting, Dennis gladly gave him one. On the ride back, Jacques commented that Dennis had to have the fastest golf cart at the track (it was). Dennis replied he wouldn't know, his hand-controlled cart was the only one he knew. He of course winked while saying that...
A great man has left us, and we will be forever grateful for having the incredible luck to be on this earth at the same time as him. He is survived by his amazing wife Karen and a troop of thousands who've had the chance to call him a friend.
Michael R. Argetsinger
It comes with via heavy hearts that we regret to announce that Michael Argetsinger, a great friend and occasional driver for KMPR has passed away. Michael was very much the driving force that led Mayer Racing and UMW to briefly join their efforts together in 2013, after driving for both squads previous.
Mike was in-line to drive for us again next weekend at the Hawk vintage races at Road America as a guest driver, but sadly, we will be without our friend.
His time driving for both Mayer Racing and UMW had a consistent quality- he never spoke poorly of a car or its handling, even if we thought perhaps he was just being nice. He was just happy to race a car and spend time with people.
He loved people. It didn’t matter who you were, if you were talking to Mike, he made you feel as if you were the most important person in the world to him at that moment. He was also great at uniting people and seeing to it that everyone felt at home in his company.
His tireless efforts at the International Motor Racing Research Center will be seen for years to come, as his passion for the preservation of motor racing history was fully on display at the center and through its wonderful staff.
His life was one filled with adventure, pursuit and determination.
The world has lost one of the good guys. It was an honor to know him and call him a friend, and we are all better people having knowing him. Thanks for everything Mike- you are greatly missed.
Michael Argetsinger (right) appears with his father Cameron Argetsinger Argetsinger (second from left) following the first United States Grand Prix held at Watkins Glen, New York in October 1961. Joining them are BRM's Tony Brooks (left) and Wilkie Wilkinson. The image is from Michael's 2011 book Formula One at Watkins Glen: 20 Years Of The United States Grand Prix, 1961-1980. [David Bull Publishing]
We have met some wonderful people during our time in the sport, and sadly, someone who has worked closely with us since our first restoration in 2006, has passed on.
Richard Bruce 'Dick' Soliva came to us highly recommended when we were in need of a skilled hand lettering sign painter in 2006 when we were finishing up the restoration of our 1972 All American Racers Indy Eagle.
To say we were impressed with his finished product would be a giant understatement. He would go on to letter and number our '77 Eagle DGF, our '81 Eagle as well as our '72 International Fleetstar transporter, which allowed him to revisit the scaffolding he used during his days as a 'walldog,' painting advertising signage on buildings and silos around the Midwest.
His skill set was formed from the work of his father, who was one of the top sign painters in the country before WWII. Dick's work was primarily focused in eastern Wisconsin in his later years, painting signs for Slinger Speedway as well as murals in downtown Plymouth.
Dick passed away September 16 at the age of 76. KMPR would like to send our sincerest condolences to the Soliva family as well as all of his extended family and friends.
His work will be on our cars for years to come, and we have been fortunate to have such a wonderful person lending his custom finishing touches to our machines. He will be greatly missed.
In life there are friends that come and go, leaving a small sample of their persona behind to remember them by. Our eldest crew member left us in 2010 with much more than a sample of his lifetime. He embodied what it meant to live on his own terms; valued camaraderie, attention to detail and a good ice cream.
To say that Loyd Haslee was a valued member of our racing team is an overwhelming understatement. From the days in the mid-1970s in which Rick Dresang owned and managed Riverside Service in downtown Plymouth, Wisconsin, Loyd would always pop in and see what exotic sports cars would be in for maintenance and tell a great story or two, generally ribbing Rick about something relating to the Lucas Components he was installing in a British car.
Thirty years later, Loyd joined us in our Spec Miata struggles and would always be up for a laugh and a share a story of the golden age of sports car racing in America. He knew first-hand, as he was one of the program vendors at the first street race in Elkhart Lake in 1950, and attended every major race at the venue until his untimely passing in 2010.
In the days before his death, we all visited him in Elkhart Lake at the hospital where he was looked after. Loyd was in such a medicated state to take away the pain of his cancer that he was unresponsive. Regardless, we told him we'd be leaving Saturday morning for the Fall Sprints at Blackhawk Farms, and that if he wanted to join us, we'd be leaving at 5 a.m. Saturday morning.
Loyd passed away twenty minutes before we left for the race that morning, but he was there in spirit to see to it that we were able to beat 10 other Formula Fords for the Fall Sprints title with our 33-year old AAR Eagle DGF.
His ashes were spread over two of his favorite landmarks in Sheboygan County: the Sheboygan County Airport via a 1940s Stearman, and at Road America, via the same bi-wing airplane and a certain Eagle DGF we hold dear.
We recently uncovered this great photo (top left) of Loyd from some time around 1954 where he is shown on his Schwinn Whizzer motorbike on the outskirts of Plymouth. We thought it was a great image of a man who we affectionately knew as 'Uncle Loyd.'
To the man who preempted James Dean in looking cool, we raise a waffle cone to you...