27/9/1917 - 20/5/2005
Larry Shurter was a NASCAR driver from Samsonville in New York State. He started racing midgets in 1938 but also competed in five NASCAR events, making his NASCAR debut in 1950 on the Daytona Beach Road Course. Larry Shurter died 17 years ago, he was 88
Larry Shurter was born in Samsonville in New York State. He started work at just 9 years of age helping his father, Jesse, to cut and sell ice in the winter. His grandfather had built a water mill for grain which was later, after the floods of 1928, converted to a diesel-run saw mill mill.
Larry soon became a very adept mechanic. He loved cars and in 1933 travel to California with his friend Carlton Locke. They also made two trips to Florida over the next few years in an Austin Bantam.
Larry also started building cars and in 1938 he build his first racing car, a midget, and started racing at the Bearsville Track in Woodstock. He got married that year and, with his wife Mavis, started visiting other tracks with Mavis driving the tow car so that Larry could rest up before racing.
He was drafted in the winter of 1943 and joined the 312th Medical Battalion of General Patton's 87th Infantry Division as a Sergeant in the motor pool. He was awarded 3 Bronze Stars.
After the war he returned to racing on the East Coast and even travelled to Cuba, racing at the Tropical Stadium in Havana in the winter of 1947.
In 1948 he attended 95 race meetings at 13 different tracks and drove fourteen different midgets. He usually qualified for the main event which meant that he would race three times at each meet.
He switched to stockcars in 1949 and won his heat and the main event at Middletown his first time out. He took more wins, but always preferred racing midgets. He said, “Racing a stock was like trying to race a lumber truck compared to the light touch it took to race a midget.” He also felt that the camaraderie of midget racers was missing in stock cars.
His NASCAR debut came in 1950 when he competed at the famous Daytona Beach Road Course. Starting 27th in the field of forty-one, Shurter recorded a respectable 25th place finish. He might have done much better had he not damaged the car avoiding a young couple who had lost their footing on the dunes by the south turn and fallen into his path.
In 1952 he took part in four NASCAR events. At Daytona he ran with the leaders until sand jammed the gear lever in his Oldsmobile and he couldn’t get out of top gear, eventually finishing and impressive 12th. He was 20th at Jacksonville, 26th at Langhorne and after a 21st at Rochester. Larry finally hung up his helmet in 1961.
Larry continued working at the Shurter Lumber & Piling Company that he co-owned with his father, and last cut in the summer of 2004.