not forgotten . . .

Carl Bergkvist


Swarthmore, PA
12.Jan.1951 - 21.Oct.1973


 Carl Bergkvist was killed October 21, 1973 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH while competing in a USAC Sprint Car race... Carl finished 2nd in the 1973 URC point standings.

"Meet new driver Carl Bergkvist" article from an Oswego Eagle program dated September 9th, 1972...

The state of Pennsylvania has failed to produce top running asphalt Carl Bergkvists in the supermodified circuit. One young star coming over the horizon trying to be an exception to that fact is 21 year old Carl Bergkvist, pilot of the red roadster number 42. Carl hails from Swarthmore, Pa., is single, and is strictly a professional race Carl Bergkvist.

Carl first went racing at the age of 9 driving go-karts. Each week he could be found racing his little speed car at some oval around the state. Carl was a real big winner in this go-kart division and for two consecutive years - 1966 and 1967, he was crowned the Pennsylvania State Champion. Carl won well over 100 trophies and as he states, "Each race became less of a challenge". With that in mind, Carl (Only at the age of 16) decided to move up in racing.

While he was peddling his go-karts each week, he took time to get out and see the roaring dirt modifieds in action at such tracks as Nazareth and Reading. He knew what type of racing was going on at those tracks and he knew that he wanted to be part of it. As soon as he quit running the karts, he started building his sportsman car 16 - which he ran at Grandview and Nazareth Speedways. When asked about his first year behind the modified, Carl claimed, "1 like the professional racing more. It was alot more interesting than the karts. I had a fair year considering that financial support was limited. We learned alot, the experience is valuable.

The second year found Carl looking for another car. At the same time, John Williams had a sprint car and was looking for a Carl Bergkvist and knew that Bergkvist showed loads of potential. Thus he offered the ride to Carl and a new team was formed. They competed in the U.R.C. circuit as well as the Pennsylvania super-sprint division. Carl had a fairly good year as he normally finished in the top 10 at each race meet. For two years, Carl was in the service (Navy) and was forced to miss action. When he returned in May of 1972, he quickly teamed with Skip Matchak of Vernon, Conn. Skip first had a sprint car which Carl ran URC as well as several other New England ovals. This new team proved to be very successful as they copped two features earlier this season. With intentions of running the supermodified circuit, both Skip and Carl felt they needed a roadster and thus they purchased the former Red Barnhart car 66 - which Red, on several occasions, won features with at Oswego and Pocono. Once the car was in their hands, they completely reworked the car and installed a large 427 Chevy powerplant. Carl has himself an extremely enthusiastic and able bodied crew in the form of Charlie Gray (crew chief) and Bob Theriault. Carl claims they're the hardest working crew in racing, spending countless hours each week getting the car ready.

When they competed here on Classic weekend, it was the second time the car had been out this season. It just wasn't their weekend as the engine blew Friday night during warmups forcing them to miss the events of the weekend. It was the first time all season long that they had engine problems (including the sprint car). Car owner Matchak has a good word for this young star saying, "Carl is young, talented, and has a great desire to win. There has been a fantastic improvement since he first sat in the car". Carl feels the Oswego track is one of the best he's ever seen. He also added, "Oswego is definitely a challenge. It's the best and fairest track for supermodifieds. It's good training for the championship racing".

Next season both Carl and Skip are toying with the idea of building an all new (possibly a rear engine) machine for Oswego. We'd certainly like to wish them the best of luck in their career and hope they'll find the best of luck in all they attempt. We hope to see them on a regular basis here at Oswego for the 1973 season - they would be a most welcomed participant.



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