Condolences for racing pioneer, innovator, champion Jerry Nemire

Condolences for racing pioneer, innovator, champion Jerry Nemire

TOLEDO, Ohio (May 16, 2017) -- Jerry Nemire (cover photo left), longtime USAC and ARCA driver, owner, innovator and champion died overnight (May 16) after a lengthy illness. He was 71.

He was born on January 24, 1946 in Toledo, Ohio and developed an interest in auto racing early on through his father, the late Kenny Nemire, who lost his life in a racing accident at Toledo Raceway Park in 1957. Jerry was just 11 years old the night his father died.

Ten years later, Jerry began his own racing career in 1967 and eventually worked his way up through the local ranks into the USAC Sprint and Silver Crown national tours where he competed for decades. Later in his career, Jerry migrated to the Midget tours and became a standout in the USAC and ARCA Midget divisions, winning the ARCA Midget Series championship in 1997. Jerry also raced on ARCA's national stock car tour, finishing a career-best 10th on the Springfield mile dirt driving for James Hylton.

As much as he was recognized for his driving savvy, Jerry was well-known for his innovative ability and craftsmanship in regards to building, designing and engineering race cars, as well as his expertise in the construction of his own parts and pieces, not only for his own use but for dozens of his competitors who would continually come calling. He was also skilled in the restoration of cars, including the 1974 Silver Crown Champ car driven by AJ Foyt, purchased just last week by NASCAR and USAC champion Tony Stewart. The 1941 Ford truck in the cover photo above is another example of his expertise in the field of restoration. The truck was owned by his father Kenny.

A union crane operator by trade, Jerry was known as an "independent" in racing, financing and operating his own race teams over the years.

For the majority of his career, he raced with the No. 16 on his race cars, which he got from his dad, who used the same number over his career. Both were known as "Sweet 16." It did not go unnoticed that Jerry passed away on the 16th.

Jerry was recently inducted into the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame, which is where he started his racing career. Jerry's father Kenny was, at the same time, posthumously inducted.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Judy Sabin Nemire; his children J.D. Nemire, Kenny Nemire and Tammy (husband Chad) Garrison; and grandchildren Austin Nemire, Aubrey Nemire, Alex Garrison and Kelly Garrison.

As per his grandfather's wishes, Austin is entered in the ARCA national tour race this Sunday at Toledo Speedway as well as the Hoosier 100 and Little 500 Memorial weekend.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Check back for more updates on the life of Jerry Nemire in the days ahead.

Don Radebaugh

Darin A.

I remember Jerry Nemire competing when I first spotted the ARCA Auto Value Midget Series, often racing with greats such as Gene Lee Gibson, Sarah Fisher, etc. RIP Nemire.