John Rostek drove his way to a remarkable stock car racing career on the short tracks of northern Coloradobefore moving on to national level events sanctioned by USAC and NASCAR. John returned to his home town of Fort Collins after military service in 1947, and began looking for old cars to rebuild and race. In 1949, he helped create the Interstate Racing Association, which sanctioned races in Cheyenne, Greeley, and Longmont. John began competing in races nearly every night of the week, and when Speedway Park opened in Fort Collins in May of 1950, he had a home track. Events in these early days of Colorado racing often saw entry lists exceeding 50 cars, and John thrived in events were the racing was close and the driving was often rough. He drove his way to five championships with the Interstate Racing Association, and began racing in Denver and Colorado Springs. At each track, his bold driving style and winning ways made him a fan favorite. He won the championship at Pike Peak Speedway in 1958, while adding six USAC races into his busy schedule and driving a race-prepared Mercury in the Pike Peak Hill Climb as well. He competed in two division at the Hill Climb the next year, finishing fourth in the Stock Cars and winning the sports car division in a Mercedes Gull-wing Coupe.
John competed in USAC and NASCAR Grand National races across the country in the 1960’s. He entered the 1960 Daytona 500, but a crash in a preliminary event prevented him from racing in the 500. He won his first NASCAR race two months later at the Phoenix Fairgrounds, taking the lead from Parnelli Jones and winning the race in a convincing manner—he lapped everyone but the 2nd and 3rd place cars. John was a strong contender in many races over the next few years, racing against the best drivers in the premiere divisions of stock car racing. He was also a race promotor, organizing a 200-mile stock car race at Continental Divide Raceway in Castle Rock, Colorado, which he won. John was headed for further success when, sadly, he perished in a plane crash in 1969. A brilliant career and richly led life was over at age 44. John Rostek’s career statistics are impressive: seven Colorado track championships, as well as one win, one pole, and 3 top ten finishes in six NASCAR races, a USAC National Championship, and one win in five starts in the ARCA West series. Has career accomplishments now include his 2021 induction into the Colorado Motorsport Hall of Fame.