The Kotary brothers, from Rome, NY, were very familiar names in central New York racing - particularly in the 1950's and 1960's. The family did participate in the 1970's somewhat, as well but the bulk of their efforts were in the decades before. Clifford "Cliff" Kotary, one of the older of a large family, was the first to race and definitely the best known. The Name Kotary may have come from the name Khotari, but I have no absolute basis for that suspician. Cliff, who holds the distinction of winning the big Syracuse race six straight years  [unprecedented] was often assisted mechanically by brother, Al.

      Younger brothers, Tom and Robbie also raced extensively, particularly at Utica - Rome Speedway and Fonda Speedway [but not exclusively there]. Tom, a World War II veteran, would first be widely known when he drove the Joe Romano 97, succeeding Herb Donleavy, Dutch Reed, and others. "Tiger" Tom would drive the car in New York and [where I saw him] in Vermont until Romano's son, Andy was ready to take the wheel around 1963. Tom also drove cars for the reknowned Hudosn
falls car owner Henry Caputo, as well as Hal Kempeny. Like all the brothers, he would take turns in the family race cars as well.

      Robbie, the youngest of the three racing brothers, also began in Kotary family cars. He would begin to make a name for himslf in Ward Petit's pink and white coupe the 148 at Fonda. Robbie would go on to have a considerable stint in Bill Fowler's 27Jr cars, after older veteran Ollie Palmer retired following a
hellacious crash at Fonda. Robbie had other rides, as well and was more focused on the asphalt than were the other two Kotarys.

      Later on, second generation driver Dave Kotary would drive, often running #60 cars - probably as a tribute to Cliff. I don't know who his father was.

 

CLIFF The Copper City Cowboy KOTARY

Mike Dickinson Memorial Library
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Early in the '50's [and in
Cliff's career] - the Carollo
30 car.

Courtesy of Midstate Club

Cliff with Al Kotary's
188, which he drove
at numerous locations
from Canton to Rome to probably even Vermont.

 
Bob Danough Collection
Midstate Club

Chuck Kotwicka, of Utica
shown here with the car
88. He was briefly a team mate to Cliff with this car.
 
Courtesy of Rick Parry
Cliff with Al Kotary's
188, being towed into
the high - paying St.
Lawrence Valley Speedway  in Canton, in the '50's.

Courtesy of Midstate Club

Cliff with Al Kotary's
188, which he drove
at numerous locations
from Canton to Rome to probably even Vermont.

Source Unknown
Cliff in a pose with
the Mike Suraske 10-10
Studebaker.


Russ Bergh Photo
Courtesy of Jo Towns
via Otto Graham

Cliff wins one with
Mike Suraske's 10-10
at Fonda. He had a leg injury much of the time he drove this car - thus, the odd stance.
 
From Dan Ody's 8MM
Old Speedways DVD's

On the gas with the Suraske Studebaker at Stateline Speedway in Vermont. He's on the way to winning the big Don Hendenberg Memorial race there in the 1950's.

 
Lew Boyd Collectionn
In Victory Lane at
Stateline with Mrs.
Don Hendenberg after
 winning the memorial race.
Obviously no bad leg yet.
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Cliff and another Fonda win.
I doubt the other man is
Suraske.
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Cliff Kotary at Syracuse
inside of Nolan Swift.
  
Courtesy of Rick Parry
A 1957 trophy from
Stateline Speedway.
 
Courtesy of Rick Parry
The rest of the 1957 trophy
 from Stateline Speedway.
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
From the Syracuse era. Not as famous as his 60X car. Likely,
still wrenched by Al.
 
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club

On the track at Syracuse
with Larry Nye.
 
Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Not sure if Al was still
the mechanic; he clearly didn't
own this one.
 
Courtesy of Mike DIckinson
Memorial Libray

Cliff with one of the
familiar 60X's.
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
This could possibly
be Al Kotary.
 
Courtesy of Revelle family
A trophy maybe from
Watertown Speedway.
 
From the Jalopy Journal
The legendary 60X car in
Victory Lane somewhere.
Quite the motor !
 
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Entering Maple Grove
Speedway, Waterloo, NY
with one of Al's entries.
 
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Not sure whom he is sharing
Vic Lane with here.
 

Courtesy of the Midstate Club

A jacket from the
fan club.

 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
This photo was simply
labeled as "Confident Cliff".
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Another version of the
60X.
 

 
Courtesy of Old Racers Free
Servers.COm

Kotary, with the 90.
 
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
The Copper City Cowboy.
 
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Looks like something
about Watertown Spdwy
or Waterloo.
 
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Victory Lane - maybe
Syracuse.
 
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Leading at Syracuse.
 
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Sideways, at Waterloo.
 

Source Unknown

Cliff in a car I know
nothing about.
 
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Kotary, as Utica - Rome
flagger, presenting to
Rene Charland during the latter's national championship era.
 
 
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
A 1964 trophy somewhere.
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
Kotary, as Utica - Rome
flagger, presenting to a
young Frank Mathalia.

 
Jeff Ackerman Photo
Courtesy of Midstate Club

The Kotary Special.

Rod Nacewicz Photo

Clowning around with
Dracular in Ken Platt's
car when he was flagger
at Utica - Rome.
  
 

Courtesy of Midstate Club
Kotary, as Utica - Rome
flagger, presenting to
Ed Flemke, Sr..
 
 
Source Unknown

Restored coupe at the
Saratoga Auto Museum.
 
 
Courtesy of Midstate Club
The Kotarys, at a museum
with a restored car of
his.
 

ROBBIE Fireball Robbie KOTARY

Mike Dickinson Memorial Library
 
Courtesy of
Otto Graham
Early in Robbie's career.
I think this is the Al or
David Kotary car.

Courtesy of
Jo Towns
Via Otto Graham

Robbie's section is pink because I tend to associate him with the
Pink and white Ward Pettit 148. This Ford is a very early version,
and obviously a successful one

 
Source Uncertain
Likely a Russ Bergh Photo
A really good shot of
Robbie and the Pettit
148 at Fonda.
 
John Grady Photo
Another Fonda shot.

Courtesy of
Bill Fifield
Another win for the
Fireball.
 
John Grady Photo
A rare shot where the
148 is not pink.
 
Source Unknown
A Victoria Speedway
fan button popular in
the 1960's.
 
Ladabouche Photo
The well - used Pettit 148
flat towed into Fonda.
 
Ed Feuz Collection
Another Fonda win.
 
Frank Simek Photo
Frank Simek captured
Robbie flying the
checkers.
 
Courtesy of Dave Dykes
A jaunty pose at Fonda.
 
Frank Simek Photo
This Frank Simek shot shows
Robbie's pentient for dressing
to fit his ride.
 
Frank Simek Photo
Robbie and the 148.

Fom Dan Ody's 8MM
Old Speedways DVD's

Robbie and Skip
Roots at Victoria.
 
 
Source Unknown
Another 148 success.
  
Russ Bergh Photo
Gater Racing News

Near the end of the 148 run,
Robbie would end up on
top of one of his next rides,
Dick Bennett's 71.
  
Courtesy of Alan Weaver
Robbie drove this car on
the pavement at Utica -
Rome for a while.
 
Russ Bergh Photo
After the 148, both Robbie and Tom took a turn with the Bill Fowler 27jr., succeeding Jolly
Ollie Palmer.
 
 
John Grady Photo
An extremely similar
photo at Malta.
 

 
Source Unknown
The Bill Fowler 27jr., during
Robbie's tenure.
 
 
Courtesy of David Kilmartin
Another shot showing
Robbie's pentient for dressing
to fit his ride. I remember him coming up into the stands with this outfit on to sit with his wife.
 
Courtesy of Arnie Ainsworth
A Kotary family ride,
at Utica - Rome.
 
Courtesy of Otto Graham
This family car, which bore
a striking resemblance to an early Ed Cloce coupe, was probably a tribute number
to Cliff.
 
Courtesy of Rick Parry
Robbie with Dick
Bennett's 71 at Fonda.
 
Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Robbie took a turn
in the revolving door
that was Dick Bennett's Bernie's Liquor Shop 71.
TOM Tiger Tom KOTARY

Internet Auction

 
Courtesy of
Otto Graham
Early in Tom's career.
This is the Theron Moore 112,
which he eventually wadded up.

Courtesy of
Jo Towns
Via Otto Graham

Tom had a turn with the Hal Kempeny 113, a former Dutch Hoag car that also saw Bill
Wimble and Jim Luke as pilots.

 
Courtesy of Jo Towns
Via Otto Graham

Tom with the Hal k 113
at Fonda.
 
Russ Bergh Photo
Ed Feuz Collection

Tom had a stint with Hudson Falls owner Henry Caputo. This extraordinarily rare shot shows him, not Ken Shoemaker, with the 111, the team's best car.

Russ Bergh Photo
Ladabouche Collection

Tom, with the Kotary
family 12 at Fonda.
 
Russ Bergh Photo
Conde & Parry Collection

Tom, with the Kotary
family 12 at Fonda.
Looks like a feature win.
 
Russ Bergh Photo
Bill Fifield Collection

Tom, with the Joe Romano
97 out of Johnstown. This
team is where I first saw Tom -
driving it at Otter Creek Speedway in Vermont.
 
Courtesy of Blackjack Racing
Tom, with the Romano
bunch after an apparent
win somewhere. I see an
ad on the hood Tom must have
arranged for the car.
 
Russ Bergh Photo
Ladabouche Collection

Only the Tiger would drive
a sportsman coupe in a
wife beater undershirt.
 
Russ Bergh Photo
Ladabouche Collection

Only the Tiger would drive
a sportsman coupe in a
wife beater undershirt.
 
Courtesy of Howard Benway
Tom, with the 97. He would
lose the car after Joe Romano
turned the car over to son, Andy
around 1963.
 
Courtesy of Rick Parry
Tom, with an unfamiliar
car - maybe at U - Rome.
He's wearing his old
Caputo team jacket.

Russ Bergh Photo
Ladabouche Collection

Tiger Tom would succeed
Ollie Palmer in Bill Fowler's
27jr. I don't think he got to
drive the team's best equipment.

Frank Simek Photo
[Obviously]

Another view. This was the last ride I know of for Tom. Robbie
would replace him in the car.

Frank Simek Photo
[Obviously]

Tom, at speed.



 
   

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