Sprint Car Legends: Bob Sall
ARA begins its periodic feature Sprint Car Racing Legends with Bob Sall. The career documentation of the early sprint car racing greats is a challenging research project. ARA’s research has involved consulting AAA sanction records, National Speed Sport News, Illustrated Speedway News, and Speed Age on microfilm. The result of this effort to identify the dates and venues of races and the racewinners is illuminating but may not be complete in scope or detail; some races and winners may not have been published in the material consulted, and exact date and sanctioning information was often sketchy. ARA will be pleased to hear from any reader with additional information useful in chronicling the history of these great drivers.
Bob Sall’s documented racing victories from 1930 through 1941 include sixty-eight (68) AAA Sprint Car wins, three (3) CSRA (Central States Racing Association) Sprint Car triumphs, three (3) AAA Midget race wins, one IMCA Sprint Car victory, and one sprint car win of unknown sanction for a total of seventy-six race victories.
Sall’s first documented victory came on October 11, 1930 at Winston-Salem Fairgrounds. His National Sprint Car Hall of Fame biography refers to 1929 victories at Winston-Salem and Concord in North Carolina but ARA has been unable to document those wins and feels they may refer to wins he scored at those tracks on October 10 and October 17 in 1931 following a victory September 7, 1931 at Hohokus.
Sall’s career really took off in 1932 as he scored eight AAA Sprint Car wins and ranked third in AAA Eastern Sprint Car points behind Bryan Saulpaugh and Billy Winn. His 1932 victories included two each at Hohokus and Woodbridge. In 1933 Sall won the AAA Eastern Sprint Car championship title over Johnny Hannon with an outstanding fifteen-win season! Five of the victories came at Woodbridge, New Jersey’s half-mile dirt oval.
In 1934 Sall ranked fifth in AAA Eastern Sprint Car points and third on the Hankinson Circuit; he scored four AAA Sprint Car victories with two of them coming at Altamont in New York.
Sall put up another strong season in 1935, ranking second in AAA Eastern Sprint Car points and third on the Hankinson Circuit. Bob won twelve AAA Sprint Car races in 1935 including four at Woodbridge.
Bob Sall won the 1936 AAA Southeastern Sprint Car championship and ranked fourth in AAA Eastern Sprint Car points and ninth on the Hankinson Circuit. He won seven AAA Sprint Car races on seven tracks!
Sall’s AAA Sprint Car race win total was twelve in 1937 as he finished second in 1937 AAA Eastern Sprint Car points to Frankie Beeder. He also contested some midget races.
In 1938, Sall scored three AAA Sprint Car wins with a notable victory at Langhorne. He also won three AAA Midget races in three days, two at Nutley and one at Cedarhurst, in the Caruso Offy. Later in 1938 Sall suffered a serious crash in the midget at Cedarhurst.
Sall’s 1939 racing was contested in the IMCA Sprint Car series and in the CSRA (Central States Racing Association) Sprint Car series. Sall won at Brockton in IMCA and at the Savannah Fairgrounds in CSRA.
For 1940 Sall returned to the AAA Sprint Cars, winning two races at Altamont and placing ninth in AAA Eastern Sprint Car points.
Sall began 1941 driving Ted Horn Offy entries in the AAA Sprint Cars and won at Langhorne and Altamont. Horn then switched Sall to the CSRA circuit and Bob won at Batavia and Flemington and finished second in CSRA points to Horn. The shortened 1942 CSRA season saw Sall rank thirteenth in points.
Bob Sall contested four AAA Indycar races. In 1934 he competed in the Mines Field (Los Angeles, California) road course race in a Fred Frame entry. He started eighteenth by the “draw” process and finished fourteenth, albeit seventeen laps down.
Sall competed in the 1935 Indianapolis 500 for Harry A. Miller in a Miller-Ford V8 FD. Bob started thirty-third; the steering froze during the race, ending his day after only forty-seven laps and placing him twenty-ninth.
Bob contested the 100-miler at the Syracuse Fairgrounds in both 1936 and 1937. In 1936 he started tenth in a Shorty Cantlon-owned Stevens-Miller and finished sixth, on the lead lap. In 1937 he started second in a car he entered himself and finished third! Sall’s third place came behind Billy Winn and Jimmy Snyder but ahead of Duke Nalon, Mauri Rose, and Ted Horn. Sall ranked twenty-eighth in 1936 AAA Indycar points and twenty-first in 1937.
Bob Sall’s real name was reportedly Antonio Saldutti; he was born January 22, 1908 and died October 14, 1974. After his retirement as a driver, Sall served as NASCAR’s Northeast Field Manager. Bob Sall was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1992.