Road racing icon Kas Kastner passes away at age 93

Very recently, I penned a retrospective for Speed Sport on the legendary Air Force general Curtis E. LeMay, who did a great deal to make sports cars popular by letting them run organized races on Strategic Air Command bases. You could say that old Bombs Away LeMay largely invented the need for sports cars in the United States. A terrific guy, and a fantastic interview, deservedly gets just as much credit for providing the cars to scratch the itch LeMay discovered. Kas Kastner, who passed away this week in California, was an icon whose experience reached back to when import roadsters first started arriving here in great numbers. A native of upstate New York, Robert W. Kastner became enamored of Triumph sports cars early on because they were the only British crocks capable of cradling his 6 foot, 4 inch frame.

Almost immediately after arriving in Los Angeles, Kas got himself named service supervisor for the distributor who handled Triumph sales on the West Coast. He was immersed in the wild world of California sports car racing, attending the first events run at Pebble Beach and later winning a regional SCCA championship in F Production aboard a TR3, plus a prized Cal Club title. He later went on to work as a team manager in Indy cars and Formula 5000 before captaining Nissan’s full factory effort in IMSA GTP during the 1980s. I was lucky enough to interview this terrific guy for Hemmings, and you can read the story here. Rest in peace, big guy, and thanks for everything.

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