Friends and family of “Wild” Bill Foster — a stock car racer during the height of Saugus Speedway’s prime years — met at the old sports ground Saturday to honor his memory.
Few in the general public know what Saugus Speedway was like in its heyday, before racing at the track stopped permanently in the 1990s, but everyone at the get together seemed to either remember visiting or growing up on the track, they said. Many of them remember what it was like to see Wild Bill hitting upwards of 80 mph on its two straightaways.
“He was a racing legend,” said Tom Bush, a driver in attendance who had raced against Foster. “You had to have lived in the times, but it was tough guys who worked on their cars 40 hours a week after they worked a day job and never gave up.”
In attendance at the event, which featured over more than 100 people throughout the day, were Foster’s two daughters, Alicia and Lindy, who said their father had died in May of this year.
“He was one of the racers out here, and he owned a business in town, and these are all racers and fans and everything came out to pay their respects,” said Alicia Hornaday, Foster’s daughter. “He was my everything. I was a daddy’s girl.”
Lindy said she had taken up racing at Saugus Speedway, as well as other places, because of her time learning the sport from her father. She said her father was a popular driver that would give everyone a nickname.
“If you didn’t get a nickname from dad, there was a problem,” said Lindy.
One such person, “Sad” Sam Stanley, was in attendance, telling stories about racing in the 1960s.
“I raced with the old guys,” Stanley said, adding that he and Bill, who generally drove a Pontiac, would race cars without power steering. He called the racing back in the 1960s, back when Nascar was still only a few decades old, “aggressive racing.”
“I just loved cars,” he said.
During the event, pictures of Bill Foster were hung up and his daughters were given the opportunity to once again walk on the track on which their father made a name for himself.
“And it’s been nice to be out here all day long,” said Alicia, “hearing all these nice stories about him.”