RUSS TRUELOVE

After graduation from high school in 1942 Russ Truelove, a native of Waterbury, CT, joined the US Navy and the crew of the USS Sherwood DD 520 in the Aleutian and Northern Kruli Islands in the Pacific. He was discharged in 1946 and began racing in New England and the along the east coast in a 1947 Crager. Savin Rock, Plainville, Danbury, Stafford Springs, and Rhinebeck were home to Russ until he joined NASCAR in 1953.

In 1956 Russ qualified fifth at Daytona (128.205 mph) and made a bit of history. While down shifting down from 130 mph for the North Turn, the right tire dug in, and the car flipped six times. Photos of the crash made the March 19th issue of Life magazine.

"I walked away, but spent the night in the hospital. My bell was pretty well rung," says Russ. "I consider myself very lucky to have survived. You don't think about a whole lot but hanging on. You see sand and sky. It all happens so fast," Russ explains. But, he still wonders how Ralph Moody managed to duplicate his gymnastics and still finish the race.

After the race, Russ got a new car body from the factory, but when he blew an engine in 1957, he quit racing. "It was just too expensive for independent drivers," he explains. Russ had two top ten finishes during his Grand National career.

Russ' racing career was revived in 1989 when his wife presented him with a four-cylinder Spec Racer kit car for Christmas, and he was off and running with the Sports Car Club of America. He finally stopped racing when he was hit from behind and knocked into a wall. "The medical people told me to keep out of racing, and I decided to listen to them," he said.

Russ still lives in Waterbury and has served as a director of The Living Legends of Auto Racing, Inc. These days he spends a large part of his time scheduling public appearances for our members. Russ can usually be found posing for photographs with his restored 1956 Mercury and signing autographs for old and new fans at Living Legends events.

Russ still lives in Waterbury and has served as a director of The Living Legends of Auto Racing, Inc. These days he spends a large part of his time scheduling public appearances for our members. Russ can usually be found posing for photographs with his restored 1956 Mercury and signing autographs for old and new fans at Living Legends events.