About Jeff Brown

Lou Borelli starts Jeff at '67 Nats

Looking back at my karting history – I started karting in 1963. At that time, there were dozens of tracks in Michigan, including tracks right around Detroit, like the one at the State Fairgrounds. We also could run there in the winter. I bought my first kart from a shop about 2 miles away from my home – called Ruttman Enterprises. It turned out that the Ruttman family lived a block away and that the Grandson (Troy Ruttman, Jr.) went to the same school I did. His dad won the Indy 500 in 1952 and continued to race until 1967. Troy, Jr. and I became best friends. I was fortunate enough to get trained by and drive for the Ruttmans with HUGE backing from my parents, by the way. This paved the way for me to meet and drive for the greatest names in karting. When I look back, I still have a hard time believing it myself. The names were Gil Horstman, John Hartman, Lou Borelli, Rich Burton, Dan Lumello, Don Shipps, Don Freber, Mike Burris, and Lynn Haddock.


In 1966 we hooked up with John Hartman and Lou Borelli to win the Jr. Stock class at Indy. Troy Jr. and I shared the ride and he won the Stock Heavy class. In 1967 I drove a Caretta again and won the Junior Stock class at Kent, Washington. We also ran at Quincy in 1966 and Riverside in ’67 where we qualified well and finished in the top 5. In 1968 we ran the Batavia and Green Valley, Texas Nationals, and finished 2nd in both moving up to the Senior classes. Then in 1969 it was Camden and IRP. Finished 2nd at Camden, but did not finish at Indy. At the 1970 Quincy Nationals, I won B Limited. In 1971 and 1972 I ran terrible with the 100 CC BM’s. DID NOT CUT IT. In 1973 I advanced to C-Open class and won at Ontario, California, beating 43 entries. In 1974, running with 75 C-Opens, I broke on the last lap. In 1976 to 1978, I had a job so quit racing. In 1979 got back into racing with a C-Open and won the Daytona Nationals. Then from 1980 to 1983, I ran an Indy Light car and struggled racing against drivers like Andretti, Unser, Gannassi etc. My best finish was 7th at Milwaukee. Ran some F200 B Pro races back east. I won at Cleveland and Road America and got 2nd in the 1984 Nationals. Dropped out again til 1991 when I ran the local Enduros in the Midwest where I won all the midstates series in the controlled classes. At the time, my main interest was high speed road racing.

In 1996, I began to train my son, who eventually won the 125 shifter class at Road America in 2004. I ran some shifter races with him in 2003 and 2004, but I couldn’t run with him for 30 minutes.

I picked up a vintage Lancer around 2002 and started looking for a dual sidewinder, but had trouble finding one. Eventually converted a single Margay into a dual with 2 BM 130’s. I went to Quincy in 2004 for the Vintage Olympics and now I was hooked worse than ever! The guys I got to meet and talk to were awesome. Butch Stewart, Pete Berlt, Junior Neal, Mark Shepard, Terry Ives, etc. I can’t mention all of them and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Some of these guys were my mentors. I watched them run duals when I was too young and they were like Gods to me. We now talk and get together on a regular basis. The comradery is tremendous as you don’t have all the pressure to win in Vintage Karting. Don’t get me wrong, some of us get a little carried away as it is hard to put out that flame. In the past, Mick Rupp and Pete Berlt had triple WestBends, so I decided that I needed to build one. I found a 66 Hornet SS that I restored to copy the one I had in 1967 at Riverside and I took it back there in 2008 to race. I have a 1963 Hellcat with a Mac 30 which was my first kart. I have collected 4 twins, a triple, 1 single and about 30 engines of all types. The karts are all complete and run terrific . Needless to say that I spend all my spare time and money on them! I enjoy working on them and helping others get involved in the sport.

In 2007, I called Mark Dismore and asked him if we could bring a bunch of C-Open Sidewinders to the Pro Race at his track in New Castle. We were invited and 20 karts showed up and put on quite a show. Then I got the bug to put on a Vintage Karting event at New Castle. I asked Gus Trader for his advice, as he is a veteran race promoter. I tracked down several old karters using the internet and sent postcards. I was fortunate enough to drag Richard Peck from Hornet Mfg. into it. I also got to meet and visit Mick Rupp at his home at Mansfield, Ohio and got him to come to the race at New Castle. I have now put on many races at New Castle, Camden and even one at Circleville.

Next year (2018) will be the 10th annual event at New Castle and the 7th annual event at Camden. The attendance has grown over the years especially after the Yamaha classes were added. Some of the greatest people involved in karting have attended the races at New Castle over the years. Mick Rupp, Duffy Livingstone, Faye Pierson, Don Freber and the list goes on and on. The Hall of Fame have many of the best listed on it. There is a complete list on this site. We have lost some of them due to age and illness and they will be greatly missed. I am trying to continue the great sport I love so much by working with the VKA and others to get younger drivers involved. The people involved in Vintage Karting are tremendous and we have a common bond that unites us. I hope to continue to give back to the sport that I grew up with and experience some more good times along the way.

 

20 Responses to About Jeff

  1. John Sutton says:

    How are you Brownie?

  2. Steve Williams says:

    I remember back around 1973/74 at MidOhio, Don Nash had a second twin engine kart with him with no motors on the chassis. You signed up to run B Stock that day with no practice time. You had a good pit crew that day putting together two engines and barely making the start grid. I believe that was the first time I ever saw you drive a twin, let alone a Mac. I had only seen you drive sidewinders at Flat Rock, Gratten and MidOhio before that.

  3. William Borelli says:

    Lou was my grandpa and my Dad raced sprints until about the early 70’s when enduro racing became the focus. His name is John…Lou’s son. Great pic of my grandpa. John Hartman used to come by and eat and stay here and there at my folks place. I grew up going to visit my grandpa and his neighbor Art Ingalls. Was always amazing to hang out in the shop where they built the karts as a kid of 11, 12 and 13.

  4. Bill Keselowski says:

    Oh the memories of the ’60’s karts & great times. I will always remember Jeff Brown as the “one to beat” Can’t say that I ever beat him unless he broke, HA! He, Kathy Hartman, Jim Fry, Russell-not sure of first name were always the ones to beat. I started in 1962 & sold my Parilla powered Hornet Allegro 10 years later-talk about 10 memorable racing years. I hope to see you Jeff this year, please send me a schedule of any Vintage events.

    Best,
    Bill Keselowski

  5. Doug Sharp says:

    I saw you smoke all the boys at Ontario in 73 . Being a west cost racer I was rooting for Tamburo and Ives . That day you simply put all the best C open driver in the country on the trailer. I remember standing on the line the flag is up 40 plus C Opens lined up, engines running, alky in the air, what a beautiful site . I have never actually met you, odd considering I was at many of the same races . I am still in karting after 50 years , working in Indy head of R&D at TopKart USA . Anyways thanks for the memories !
    Regards Doug

    • kenny lawson says:

      you obviously did’nt see the pic. in the first turn, he shot off in first and never looked back, all the while laying rubber down (see the pic?) 44 YEARS LATER….. STILL ONE BMF!!!!!!! RacerXXXXXX

  6. Roy Wireman says:

    Jeff, Just curious if you’ve dynoed any stock Mc101’s. Would love to know just how much HP they make. I have a Mc101m/c and a Mc101D. Haven’t run either yet.

  7. John Weakley says:

    I am asking, I think I ran against you at Indy Raceway Park a few time in the late sixties… But I thought you were running A-Light then…. Is that the case?

  8. OOOHHHHH CRAP!!!!! Jeff.. I now have you to blame for an addiction that transcends any 12 step program.. After your phone call from Pete/Matt Michels, I dragged out an old Margay Sprinter (1979ish), powercoated it and now in the process of restoration. I’m in deep shit!!
    Please put me on the Vintage list for your next event and other updates.
    This looks like too much fun to avoid.
    Can’t wait to see you again.
    Benny Buchacher
    954 439 4827 c.

  9. OOOHHHHH CRAP!!!!! Jeff.. I now have you to blame for an addiction that transcends any 12 step program.. After your phone call from Pete/Matt Michels, I dragged out an old Margay Sprinter (1979ish), powercoated it and now in the process of restoration. I’m in deep shit!!
    Please put me on the Vintage list for your next event and other updates.
    This looks like too much fun to avoid.
    Can’t wait to see you again.
    Benny Buchacher
    954 439 4827 c.

    • Jeff Brown says:

      Benny The events are listed on the main page here along with my e-mail and phone number.
      New Castle Indiana is next June 17th.

      Good to hear from you, lets talk. Thanks, Jeff

  10. hello jeff , i joined VKA as #24 ,my 1st ral race kart was a dart Kart A-Bone unpainted kit ,with a new MC-92 to power it , that was 1974 . my late father and i went to “RUNT’sPlace” here in ala. i had allrready been thru 2 yard karts! / jumpin up to the 80s i ended up raceing on 1/4 mile hi banked clay raceway in the 4 cycle open modifyed class ,i ran from 87-93 darn near every weekend , i ended up with a engine man provideing me with my engines , his son and i were teamates and we did very well ! thats a very( short version of my experence)open flatheads faded out , and the OHV clones hit , i do not care for them ,i ALLWAYS wanted to race 2 cycles, i allways loved my McCulloch 92 and the A Bone ! so the vintage thing hit while i was being a full time caregiver for my mother after a stroke , so on a computer i started following vintage karts , met jim donovan of max torque , he took me to barnsville so was really hooked then ! , now i have collected up 10 macs , K-78tt,ATLAS , copperhead 8.2 , us-820 alot of mac parts ect, margayPRO-x, simplex, sears Racer-300 and i have my modern karts i keep a laser AV-2 by CKI for dirt , a FINE MACH-2000 by comet kart sales ! it is a kart built for street races or BIG tracks roadraces it was the last kart that the late DIZ dismore designed and built i added frount brakes to it , YET i am into vintage stuff that i can run my macs on ! would love to find and retore a vintage enduro ! , all of my macs are stock except for GEM bolt on items , i allways have wanted one modifyed McCulloch MC-91B-1, i have been useing haddock to rebore my McCullochs , i have a 91b1 with the thick top fin , had it line bored to .050 and had haddock raise the ex port ( 1 inch from top of port up to the deck) the transfer ports are stock , i am thinking of haveing the porting job finished out , it is set for a GEM V-12 dual intake , have a nos mac shotpeened/magnafluxed rod to use as well as other goodies , i am sure you are experenced in modifying McCulloch ports ect, is this the type job you would be willing to do ? i do not have proper tools for 2 cycle port work or experence on 2 cycle mods , thinking of contacting you when i deside to move forward on this engine , i have 2 other 91b s and i am running 91 A engines now i also have 2 mc92s and one mc101 they are all stock . DBN

  11. Edward King says:

    Hello Jeff Brown, You do nice work on go cart engines to me that is very interesting I love go karts too. I raced a Dart Kart in the early 1960s about the same time you started racing go karts. I have used McCulloch, Westbend , Tecumseh and Clinton engines in my years of racing go karts over 60 years I will be 70 years old in May 2017. I have used all those engines in the past in my life too. Thanks Edward King.

  12. Scott Bolsta says:

    Jeff,
    My grandfather Al Bolsta was racing the FKE Karts in the 60’s. He had one of the first Mole carts, then went to the Duffy Mole FKE. Both of which I still have. Al Bolsta was the Police Captain in Ontario Ca. & raced many years at Ontario Race track, Pomona, Riverside, And even won the winternationals at Willow Springs. Lot of memories

  13. richard williams says:

    jeff do you have any newer tees left thankyou

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