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 Tony Bonadies
Born: December 29, 1916      Died: July 5, 1964
Home: Bronx, NY

Tony Bonadies was better known as a successful New England midget car driver from the Bronx, NY area, running in over a thousand races. He competed in NASCAR in only two Grand National Series events.

Both came in 1952, when Bonadies debuted at Darlington. Starting 11th in the large sixty-four car field, Bonadies raced his way to a solid 27th place effort. The race was won by Fonty Flock He was unfortunately not able to top that later in the year at Langhorne, finished 30th many laps down, a race won by Lee Petty.

He did win a NASCAR Short Track GN race as the story below.

NEW! Tony Bonadies Photo Gallery

First To Use Pit Stop Strategy?  A NASH four-cylinder wins?

July 14, 1951

Tony Bonadies wheels a Nash Rambler 4 cylinder (!) to victory in the 100 mile, 400-lap NASCAR Short Track Grand National race at Lanham, Md.. Bonadies is the only driver in the 25-car field to run the entire distance, without making a pit stop.


Starting grids were filled with more different makes of cars than we have seen in race lineups since that era: Buick, Oldsmobile, Lincoln, Pontiac, Ford and Mercury, Chrysler, Hudson, Studebaker and Nash. Of all the makes, Nash was the orphan and oddball. You may remember the popular gag line: “You can drive it all day, sleep in it at night, and turn it over in the morning and take a bath in it.” The “bathtub” Nash was the Rodney Dangerfield of the car world — it didn’t get no respect. The most commonly raced Nash was the Ambassador which had a small straight-six engine, at just 234 cubic inches, seemed woefully outclassed.

It surprised many when Bill France, Sr. selected the unlovely Nash as the first official car of NASCAR.

With the mid-1950s introduction of the auto industry’s over square OHV V-8s, the days of Nash’s “little engine that could” were numbered, but their colorful record in racing during that era still stands as a remarkable achievement.

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50 - Larry Shurter - Muir V8,   4 - Tony Bonadies- Bonadies Smart Offy (Outside),
8 - Ted Tappett - Curtis (Jolson) Offy,   18 - Rex Records - Grabow (Pawl) Offy,
3 - Bill Baker - Gerner Offy

DIED: 05 Jul 1964 Williams Grove Motor Speedway, Pennsylvania
Very successful and experienced midget driver, killed at age 47 in
an ARDC series midget crash.

Tony Bonadies drove his first race at the Castle Hill Stadium in 1940. A very popular midget car driver, Bonadies' career spanned over twenty-four years during which he competed in more than one thousand races. Although he never won the ARDC Midget Championship, he was runner-up twice and ranked amongst the top six in seven out of his last eight seasons in the series' final classification table, and he was twice the title runner-up. He entered the Indy 500 three times, but failed to qualify in all attempts: in 1955 and the following year his times aboard a Kurtis 3000D - Offenhauser were simply not quick enough, and in 1957 he wrecked his Kurtis 500C - Offenhauser at the Turn 4 at the northwest end of the track during practice and had to withdraw from the race.

Bonadies was taking place in an ARDC midget race at the 1/2 mile dirt oval at Williams Grove Speedway on 05 July 1964 when, as he pitched his Frankenfield - Offenhauser into a slide at the entrance to Turn 1, the right rear axle of the car snapped. The vehicle barrel rolled several times and then got airborne. Tony was thrown to the ground and died instantly. He was survived by his wife Frances and two young children.

Bonadies's memory was honored by the ARDC - American Racing Drivers Club in a special event with three separate races of fifty, thirty and fifty laps held at the Freeport Stadium 0.2-mile paved oval in Freeport, Long Island, NY, on 12 August 1964.

Burial:: Gate of Heaven Cemetery   Hawthorne,  Westchester County,   New York, USA

Grand National DRIVER Statistics
Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1952 35 2 of 34 0 0 0 0 523 0 360 145 27.5 28.5
1 year 2 0 0 0 0 523 0 360   27.5 28.5
1952 Grand National Series
Race Site Cars St Fin # Sponsor / Owner Car Laps Money Status Led
25 Darlington 66 11 27 85 Tony Bonadies Nash 350/400 325 running 0
27 Langhorne 44 44 30     Oldsmobile 173/250 35 running  

Race #25 won by Fonty Flock. #27 won by Lee Petty

Nascar Nextel Cup Series Tickets


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