Hall of Famer ‘Wild Man’ Kelly dies

December 31, 2012 4 Comments

MACOMB, Ill. — Francis “Wild Man” Kelly, one of the pioneers of dirt-track racing at Quincy Raceways and the surrounding region, died Monday morning. He was 87.

No other details are available at this time.

Kelly was part of the second class of inductees in the track’s hall of fame in September 2012. He was unable to attend the ceremonies that night because of health problems, His grandson, modified driver Matt Pepmeyer, accepted his plaque that night.


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  1. Qcy Godfather says:

    Received this word this morning with a lot of sadness. My knowing Wildman goes back over 50 years when my Dad and Uncle took me to a race at the old Pittsfield Speedway and the only thing I remember about that night was Kelly winning and I had a new hero. When ever we went to a track it seemed he always got the biggest cheers as he well should have. After I was old enough to drive to the races myself spent a lot of nights in the pits with him and Dick Vance. The knowledge I got from those 2 no amount of money could buy. When Quincy Raceways opened and he started running there his fan base grew as he quickly became a favorite. I had the honor of inducting him into The Hall of Fame this year and it is something I will always cherish. God now has a new star on the great dirt track up above and we have many of memories of one the greatest drivers of this area. Now as he takes that final checkered flag all I can say is R.I.P. Wildman.

  2. chuck ancell says:

    i remember watching him at pitsfield drive dick vance`s old yellow ford falcon. he would show up wearing all black with a big black duffel bag with his helmet and driving suite inside and he won EVERYTHING !!!

  3. mike huntley says:

    Wildman Kelly…..what a name from the era of Pittsfield Speedway in the 1960s when the cars were made of American Steel and the men were too! He raced with the cream of the crop on that great old high banked clay track…Jerry Blundy, Fiber McGee, Spider Web, Jay Ellis, John Petty, Mac McGowan, Eddie Freese, Ivan Long, Eddie Reinhardt and many others…..I will never forget Wildman and those mile high rooster tails being thrown over the fence coming off that last turn……Mike Huntley, Los Angeles, CA

  4. Michael McGowen says:

    I definitely remember Wildman Kelly, and am sorry to hear of his passing. Mac McGowen was my uncle and Walt McGowen my father. I spent a good part of my childhood at the old Pittsfield Raceway, not to mention many other tracks in the St. Louis region…such as Tri-City Speedway, Godfrey Speedway, St. Charles Speedway and Little Springfield. Uncle Mac passed away a few days after Thanksgiving 2009, and Dad in early November 2010.

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