Tiger Tom Pistone was born on March 17, 1929. His family could have never have

dreamed that he would grow up to be one of the finest competitors to ever strap

himself into a race car.  The young Pistone began his career in his native Chicago

at Soldiers Field during the late 1940's.  Early in his career, Tiger Tom flipped his

racer 22 times in one season. His quick wit and winning smile made him an instant

favorite with the fans!

 

Competing against local legends such as Gene Marmor, Skippy Michaels, and

Sal Tovella, Tiger Tom drove his car no. 3  to the track championships at Soldiers

Field in 1954.  A perennial point chaser, Pistone was always a top contender for

the title at the fabled speedway. One of the cars Tiger Tom utilized during his

1954 championship drive was a foud door Pontiac.  His success caused him to

be idolized by thousands. One of his biggest admirers was a youngster from

Elmhurst, Illionois named Fred Lorenzen.  As a young man, Fred's goal was to

one day be as great as his hero, Tiger Tom Pistone!!!!

 

Running for promoter and longtime friend, Andy Granatelli, the Tiger drove a

very sanitary Cheverolet to the Soldiers Field title in 1955. He also entered his

first NASCAR Grand National race that year in the October 100 miler at North

Wilkesboro Speedway.  An overheating engine relegated him to a 27th place

finish in that event. During the 1950's , winning the track title at Soldiers Field

was quite a feat. Tiger Tom Pistone captured the crown an amazing five

consecutive times!!!! An he still holds the track record at Soldiers Field to this

very day. Promoter Andy Granetelli rewarded Tiger Tom with a huge trophy for

claiming his fifth championship!!!

 

Tiger Tom's first victory in a NASCAR sanctioned race came on June 30, 1956.

An enormous crowd of 38,000 screaming fans watched him drive his '56 Chevy

ragtop to victory in a 100 mile convertible contest at Soldiers Field. He drove his

car no. 54 around the legendary Curtis Turner with six laps to go and held on for

the win!!!  Tiger Tom was also very successful at Chicago's Raceway Park. It was

not uncommon to find him collecting the spoils of victory after a hard fought

struggle on the race track. By today's criteria, 1959 would be considered Tom

Pistone's rookie season on NASCAR's Grand National (now Winston Cup) tour.

To this very day, his remains one of the most outstanding records ever compiled

by a driver during his freshman year in major league stock car racing.  Driving a

Thunderbird, the little dynamo scored two victories and logged a dozen top five

finishes enroute to a sixth place finish in the point standings.

 

The beginning of the 1961 season found Tom Pistone racing a new Pontiac under

the banner of the GO-GO-GO corporation. Pistone and Bill France Sr. were very

instrumental in helping Lynn and B.G. Holloway form a potent three car team

that featured General Motors cars.  Team drivers were, Tiger Tom Pistone,

Ned Jarrett and Johnny Allen. Jarrett drove the teams no. 11 Chevy to the 1961

Grand National Championship.  In 1966 NASCAR and Ford Motor Company became

embroiled in a major controversy over the eligibility of Ford's single overhead

cam engine to compete on the GN circuit. A boycott by Ford led most observers

to believe there would be no competitive Ford's to challenge the onslaught of

Chrysler teams. Someone forgot to tell this to Tiger Tom Pistone!  Driving a

modestly financed two year old Ford, the Tiger was a victory contender.

 

Tom Pistone's ability as a driver is equalled only by his expertise in the field of

designing and building race cars. Drivers who have won races utilizing the Pistone

chassis include the likes of Harry Gant and the late Bobby Issac. However one of

the hottest combinations of the late 1960's was the team of Tiger Tom Pistone and

his great friend, Tiny Lund...Both were renowned as practical jokers, the colorful

duo won races and set records throughout the Southeast.  In 1987 Tiger Tom Pistone

took time off from his race car building and parts business long enough to compete

in a race for retired drivers, held at Hickory Motor Speedway. And showing the same

skill and determination he exhibited at Soldiers Field in the 1950's...

Tiger Tom Pistone found himself in a very familar place once again....VICTORY LANE!

 

                                          

                                                 

                                            

 

                               

 

 

 

                                                    

 

 

 



 



 


 


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