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Back in 2017, I attended one of the premier open-wheel racing events in the world, the Indianapolis 500 in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was an incredible experience, and I was able to check off a major item on my bucket list, especially as a native Indiana boy who took field trips to the track growing up. What I didn’t expect was to come across a different type of historic open-wheel vehicle that wasn’t even involved in the race, the 1946 Bob Nowicke Offenhauser Fastener Special Midget.

  • Car: 1946 Bob Nowicke Offenhauser Midget Racecar
  • Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy 500
  • Photog: Tony Markovich (Instagram + Twitter: @T_Marko)
  • Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T5i, 18-55mm IS STM lens

Bob Nowicke, who passed away at 89 years old on October 22, 2011, was both the founder of Fastener Sales & Engineering Inc. and a legendary racing owner with dozens of wins. Many notable drivers raced Nowicke’s cars, including Lloyd Ruby, Bob Tattersall, Gary Bettenhausen, Parnelli Jones, Len Sutton, Mike Nazaruk, Billy Garrett, and A.J. Foyt, whose name is printed on this No. 6 midget car.

The little racer was powered by an Offenhauser inline four-cylinder, and it helped Nowicke earn his place in the Kentucky Motor Sport and National Midget Racing Hall of Fame. He is a legend in United States Auto Club (USAC) racing, and it was a great surprise to see such a storied ride completely by chance. Check out the idle Fastener Inc. Twitter account to see more vintage photos of his cars.

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