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Dirt/Asphalt Racer Don Stives Passes

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Don Stives  with his #3 coupe at East Windsor Speedway (early 1970's) - Ace Lane photo

Very sad news has reached us of the passing of Dirt/Asphalt racer Don Stives.

Don drove many, many cars over his career and found success in almost anything he drove.   Locally, Don competed at many speedways throughout NJ and the Northeast, and even ran at Daytona on at least one occasion.

Before moving south to Florida a few decades ago, at one point Don lived within walking distance of the Hightstown/East Windsor Speedway.  Don was one of the few drivers that competed on the original asphalt track (Hightstown Speedway) in the late 50's located on the speedway grounds, as well as on the dirt 1/2 mile track (East Windsor Speedway) that followed.

Some of the cars Don raced on dirt include:
 #3 red Coupe
#3 red Gremlin
#93 George Taylor owned white coupe
#600 Spivey's Auto Parts
#89 Taylor built white Coupe
#9 Bob Cass owned Pinto
#35 Council Harroll owned maroon coupe
#77 white Gremlin owned by Nick Piscitelli
#81 Norcia Coupe (at Syracuse)
#77 Red Coupe





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Some of the cars Don raced on asphalt include:

#81 Norcia Coupe
#32 Sedan
# 57 blue and white
# 2jr blue and white (former Ray Hendrick car)
# 89 white owned by Ron Smith
#16 blue Pinto owned by Bill White (also a white #16 coupe)
#29 Coupe
#89 coupe with the red numbers
#8x white owned by Frank Ariano
#66 blue, owned by Don Cramner
#14 red, owned by Dick Barney
...and a Chevelle at Daytona!

 



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Don won at at many of the tracks he competed on, with one of his biggest wins happening in the early 70's at the very prestigious Garden State Classic at Wall Stadium where Don beat the locals as well as the hot shoes from out of state.

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As mentioned, Don moved south a few decades ago, and when he did, he took red #3 Vintage coupe south with him and competed at some of the local central Florida speedways.  At some point Don sold the old coupe, but his commitment to supporting the history of short track racing continued, including adding his first hand experience and thoughts to discussions on our Message Vault, where appropriately he would post as "DonDownSouth."   Don also provide many images of some of his different rides over the years, as well as fellow competitors, and we are proud to have included many of those images in the pages here in  "The Vault."

For those who were fortunate to know Don, as great as the racing accomplishments were, it was  Don's personality that made you an instant Don Stives fan from the moment you met him.  There was a sincerity to Don that came through in every conversation, whether it be when discussing a past racing event that he was involved in, or in talking about things that had absolutely nothing to do with racing.!  It is something that is hard to describe other than that you always looked forward to saying hello and catching up on things anytime you saw him, whether at a racing event, a swap meet, or other.

I was fortunate to attend Don's 80th Birthday celebration "a few" years back, held at the Cabin restaurant on Rt 33 near Farmingdale NJ.  The room was full of friends and racing folks including drivers Gil Hearne, Kevin Eyers, and others.  When visiting the area Don was involved with his Hunting Club in Jackson NJ, and was also known to compete in marathon running events.

It is because of this website that I have been fortunate to get to meet many of my racing heroes from the past, and Don Stives will always be at the top of that list.

My sincere condolences go out to Don's wife Sue, to Don's sons, and to the many friends of Don Stives.


Wednesday July 10th 2024



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