Long-time S. Florida Car Owner Bob Kirk Passes

Just got word tonight from my brother and Dad that former south Florida Late Model car owner Bob Kirk, of Palm Beach, Florida, passed away last Sunday.

Kirk owned race cars that raced at Palm Beach and Hialeah Speedways, along with running at Tampa’s Golden Gate Speedway, St. Pete’s Sunshine Speedway, DeSoto Speedway, Citrus County Speedway in Inverness, along with just about every asphalt track at one time or another in the state of Florida.

My dad crew-chiefed for Kirk’s race cars from about 1975 to 1995, winning a TON of races (at least once at each track that we competed at), and nearly winning several track championships.

The list of drivers that drove for Kirk Racing reads like a “who’s who” in Florida Late Model racing. Kirk started out with Don Denny driving the #12 in south Florida, and had southern hot shoes Paul Conners and Charlie Reagan in the car in the late 1970’s. Around that time, Kirk started hauling up to Tampa and St. Pete, putting some big-name Gulf-coast guys behind the wheel: Dave Pletcher and Dave Scarborough, Billy Gill, and Wayne Reutimann just to start. In 1978, he gave Jimmy Cope his very first Late Model ride at Sunshine Speedway. Then, guys like Jim Childers, Bryan Wescott, Junior Purcell, Dave Dunkin, Ernie Bass, Shorty Stuart, Tony Watson, Mike Cope, Larry Moyer, Randy Warren, and John Gertsner all drove for Kirk Racing at one time or another. Childers would give Kirk his biggest win in 1981, at DeSoto Speedway, winning the Sunday-afternoon portion of what was the Florida Triple Crown, the Coca-Cola 200. His car and driver also won the annual mid-summer Gulf Coast Championship (not the Classic) at Sunshine Speedway. In his first time at Citrus County Speedway, Kirk’s driver defeated then track owner Dickie Anderson in a near-dead-heat at the line.

Kirk is survived by his wife, Glenda, and several children. Services were held in Palm Beach on Friday.

Is the service next Friday Jimmy? I was thinking of looking for that race and copying it. Bob Kirk was around a long time. Bob…

Bob, they were held today (11/12). My brother and dad called me up on their way back from the service tonight.

I’m sure I missed a few names that got into Bob’s cars, but I was around the car most of those years (except the early '90s, when I went into the military). He had some of the best drivers that I knew from way back when, all the way up until he quit racing in the mid-'90s. I think we even won the very first Florida Pro race at Bradenton with Purcell driving, and it wasn’t without controversy…LOL…even the 200 we won at DeSoto had some questionable scoring. We were at the track…well, Dad, Bob, my brother, and Childers were at the track…that day/night until like 1am, didn’t get home til like 3am, tearing the car down in tech…

I’ll see if I can find it any way. I’d like to see it again. Man those were the days.
I didn’t realize Percell drove for Bob. I guess I just don’t remember. These days that ain’t any thing unusual. I don’t remember much. LOL! Bob…

Boy do i rember bob. He was the car owner fof the #12 and we had a late #12 also. He had racing in his heart.
Jimmy now i rember wo you are. When u showed up with the black#12 we were sure it wasent going to be boring

We we not friends but he is part of our racing famley and memories.
All us old guys hopefully will meet agin for 1 more race

Jimmy sorry for your loss.
Don Nerone