PETE COSCO #17c
Since late August of last year there has been a big infectious smile missing in the racing community.
If his start in racing had not changed venues – we might not have known it at all.
In a racing career that stretched more than 30 years, Pete Cosco’s first involvement in the sport actually came when he started at Dragway Park in Cayuga. Through his St. Catharines trucking company – Cosco Haulage he would sponsor Jimmy Hatt along with our Wall of Fame Sponsor L. St. Amand Enterprises.
Soon after Pete would begin supporting Harry Sittler’s 37s eventually becoming partners with the recent inductee. The Cosco Haulage logo would also show up on Dennis Veillette’s 23 who raced successfully in the Sportsman Division.
Pete really wanted to race himself and took steps towards that goal after purchasing the Sportsman Car from Gerry Wilkens – father of up and coming young racer Trevor Wilkens midway through the season. Quickly a friendship developed with the Wilkens family that would see Trevor remain as driver of the Cosco-owned racer.
One of the only changes on the former York Auto & Truck Collision #12 was a new number … 17 which was a number of one of the Cosco Dump Trucks. A number that would stay til this day.
Trevor would remain as the driver of the Cosco 17c until falling ill with cancer. Trevor would initially fight off the disease but upon it’s return suggested himself that fellow driver Don McGinnis fill him for him until he could return.
Unfortunately Trevor would not recover and passed away in July of 1993. For 17 years – Pete Cosco would host the Trevor Wilkens Memorial which is now the Bob St. Amand Senior Memorial presented this year – Monday August 3rd by L. St. Amand Enterprises and St. Amand Auto and Truck Repair.
With Don McGinnis as his driver – Pete would celebrate McGinnis’ Ransomville Speedway Championship in 1994.
Eventually Pete would realize his dream of racing on dirt with a season of Kart Racing Tuesday Nights before joining the action on the Big Track with stints in both the Sportsman and 358 Modified Ranks. Pete’s first visit to Victory Lane would come Friday July 5th 1996 at Ransomville Speedway with his first Merrittville Win almost 2 years later – Saturday June 20th, 1998.
As a sponsor, car owner and driver – Pete’s involvement would see his 17c cars win numerous Best Appearing Car Awards and when McGinnis won the Ransomville title – he was honored with the Car Owner of the Year Award,
Throughout Pete’s involvement – the Cosco Haulage logos were also on the cars of Curt Wilkens, Kim Boyd, Reg Jessome and his brother Ron Cosco and his niece Katie Cosco to those of his future son-in-law Bob Davidson in addition to Adam Ferri, Rob Ledingham and his son Colton and the Chris Steele # 17c today.
When he raced his 17c – a cartoon character would also become his trademark. When Tanya was growing up, the two would enjoy their favorite show together. Pete was Fred Flintstone to Tanya’s Pebbles and that’s why Fred was always on his cars.
Perhaps his greatest joy came when he could support the racing careers of three of his grandchildren. Dylan and Tyler Davidson – sons of his daughter Tanya and Bob Davidson and Jordan Cosco – son of Joe and Tina.
At one time Dylan and Tyler were both Kart Racers. In recent years, Dylan has joined us Saturday Nights in the Rev’s Full Throttle Powersports Modified Lite Division while Tyler still races Tuesday Nights in the RCM Racing Equipment Junior 1 Kart Division.
Dylan and Tyler have always raced the # 73 in tribute of the Davidson’s 4th generation of racing. Each of their racers this year carry the familiar Cosco colors however in tribute to their grandfather.
Jordan – also a former karter is a veteran competitor in the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division. Right from the start he’s raced his 17c which this this season proudly sports a tribute on the front of the door.
Pete and his wife Linda’s involvement in the local racing scene took on a whole new level in 2004 when they purchased Gasport Speedway and in 2005 returned it to it’s roots as the New Humberstone Speedway.
As news of his sudden passing spread through the racing scene late last August, the community was stunned. As a family we came together for the family and each other. Words still can’t describe the emotional outpouring on the front stretch with all the race teams paying their final respects to Pete that Saturday Night.
Right from his first involvement in our sport. Pete Cosco was driven by being able to provide an opportunity to others who shared the same passion he had for the sport.
Prior to our Awards Banquet last fall, Chris Steele - wanting to pay tribute to him for the opportunity he had provided – established the Pete Cosco Car Owner of the Year Award. Linda Cosco and the family were the first recipients of the Annual Award.
Upon his induction into the L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame this evening, one of the first to congratulate him and thank him from above is Trevor.
From Merrittville Speedway’s Reunion Committee … Thanks Pete Cosco for the opportunity to have known you and for all you have done and continue to do for the sport we love!