50 Greatest Modified Drivers – Ollie Silva 1929-2004
Ollie Silva only ran a handful of events at Stafford in the late 1960s and early 1970s but, nonetheless, he became a legend in his own time. He never won at Stafford, but when an open competition was run there, somehow he would attach a body to his super modified and it was worth the price of a ticket to watch him manhandle the car through traffic.
Silva began his career in 1949 at the Dracut Speedway in northern New England and drove for 31 years. He was forced into retirement, suffering near fatal injuries after hitting a tree on the backstretch of the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire.
During his long career, he was electrifying to watch. He never had a sponsor and always built his own cars. Numbered 0, his cars were ratty looking, but they flew. He had over 500 career victories in 12 different states including Florida, California, and Ohio. He is best known for his Supermodified exploits at his home track, Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire where he had over 100 feature wins and track Championships in 1967, 1968, and 1978. He was also the Can-Am Supermodified Classic Champion in 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1974. Other career highlights include being four time U.S. Winternational Champion in Florida and the 1972 Thompson Speedway World Series Modified winner. In addition to Supermodifieds and Modifieds, Silva drove Pro Stocks, Sprints, and Late Models during his career.
In early 1998, Ollie Silva was inducted into the New England Antique Auto Racers Hall of Fame during their first annual banquet and induction ceremony. Silva was in a class all by himself. He raced… he conquered…and most of all, he did it with class. He now also joins the prestigious list of the Fifty Greatest Modified Drivers of All-Time, part of the Stafford Salutes NASCAR at 50 program.
By: Phil Smith