Jim Back to be Inducted into MIS Hall of Fame July 19, All Former Racers Invited

Story Image

The late Jim Back of Vesper, Wisconsin, will be remembered when he is inducted into the Madison International Speedway Hall of Fame on Friday night July 19th as part of Racers’ Reunion Night.

Track owner Sam Bartus had a definite vision for what he wanted to see racing-wise at Madison so he decided to build a half-mile track to replace the quarter-mile that he paved some six years earlier. His vision was to get the best of the best in the Upper Midwest coming to race at his track. With strong connections to the tracks of central Wisconsin, a talented group of drivers soon made the trip “south” to race at Madison. That group included some of the greatest talent in Wisconsin racing history including Dick Trickle, Tom Reffner, Marv Marzofka, and Jim Back who were here to take on the stars of southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois in Late Model action.

The best of the drivers that first season in 1969 was Jim Back.

Back won the first Late Model track championship on the half-mile that year powered by six feature wins. His victories came on June 20th, July 11th, August 1st, August 29th, September 5th, and September 6th.

Although he didn’t win any other track championships at Madison, he did pick up eight more checkered flags in his career here with wins on June 29th and July 20th in 1973, August 27th in 1982, May 18th, June 8th, July 3rd, and July 13th in 1984, and his final win at Madison on May 24th of 1985.

Back was no stranger to Late Model racing in Wisconsin having competed and won at nearly every paved track in Wisconsin including LaCrosse, Dells, Wausau, Plover, Marshfield, Black River Falls, and Griffith Park in Wisconsin Rapids. In the 1973 and 1974 seasons combined he won 36 races piloting his #61 car. Jim was also a very familiar name running the CWRA circuit winning the championship in 1985.

He raced in a very hands-on era for stock car racing and in 1982 started Bac-Kar building chassis for short track drivers and didn’t hesitate to help out his fellow competitors.

A non-racing accident in 1986 on Highway 13 in Wood County sidelined him for the remainder of the race season. He was able to return in 1987, but the effects of that accident in which his hauler was struck from behind by a semi meant an end to his racing career that began in 1961.

Jim Back passed away on July 18, 2010 at the age of 76.

Madison International Speedway Hall of Fame Members
2015: Joe Shear, John Ziegler, Tom Reffner, Sam Bartus
2016: Conrad Morgan, Fritz Bishofberger, Bob Schmelzer, Dave Watson
2019: Rich Bickle Jr., Matt Kenseth
2021: Evie Handeland

Former Racers are encouraged to RSVP for the Racers’ Reunion. Free tickets/pit access and appetizers will be provided in the Turn 4 Party Pavilion

Racers' Reunion RSVP