Mort Anderson was a friend of my dad, Ron Nielsen. I don't know how good of friends they were, but we visited them at their house several times. I remember the Anderson's race track they had out back where they would race their go cart. On one visit, I got the chance of my life (as a 10 year old kid) to run their go cart around for a few laps. Back then, if you had a go-cart, you were a God in my eyes. Well, stupid me, I got out of the groove and the track was like a washboard. I didn't get it - that the groove was nice and smooth - and I freaked out from the vibration and stopped after one lap. Everybody was hollering at me to move over into the groove, but I couldn't hear them above the Briggs and Stratton power plant, so I just pulled it over. I made up a story that my foot got caught in the pedals and it hurt, so I wanted to stop. Geesh, what a goofball I was.
. . . written by Dan Nielson
Well, it was a great day anyway, watching the others race around there. You could tell that racing was THE DEAL around this house. Mort was always cracking jokes and I remember my Dad and Mort laughing their butts off in the Anderson's kitchen like it was yesterday. It wasn't too long after that Mort was killed at the World 300 in Mobile, Alabama. I will never forget our go cart racing over there and what a great time we had.
News of Mort's death hit hard around our house, and my parents saved these pictures and these articles.
I recently talked with the Andersons (actually, the family name is Andresen, for some reason, the racing fans always pronounced it "Anderson" (that settles that!). The whole family pretty much lives around Greenville, Michigan and are racing fans. I talk with (Mort's son) Jim occasionally via email.
Local Racer Killed in World 300
MOBILE, Ala. - A driver from Grand Rapids was killed Saturday when his supermodified racer plunged over an embankment during afternoon warmups for Saturday night's World 300 race here.
source. . . Grand Rapids Press, August 7, 1967
Officials at Mobile International Speedway said Mort Anderson, 32, died en route to a local hostpital. He was the second driver to die in a racing mishap at the track in its three-year history.
A spokesman said Anderson's car left the track on a banked curve and overturned, severing the bolts which secured the driver's seat.
Gene Tapia of Mobile captured top prize in the accident marred race.
The race, because of the mishaps on the track, was not completed until the early hours of Sunday when Tapia rolled across the finish line three laps ahead of Herman Wise of Atlanta.
Third place went to Wayne Niedecken of Pensacola, Fla.
The $22,000 race, of which the winner got $3,500, is the richest for supermodified cars.
During the 48th lap of the race, Donnie Hamilton of Santa Ana, Calif., escaped injury when his auto caught fire in a ditch after it was struck from behind.
Hamilton, stopping in the middle of the track when a caution flag appeared, went carrening into the ditch. The race was delayed one hour and 45 minutes because of the fire.