CHESTER, Conn. – Phil Kurze, Whelen Engineering’s Vice President of Motorsports and Mass Notification, died Wednesday. He was 69 years old.
Kurze’s career at Whelen spanned more than 25 years. He had a passion for motorsports and spearheaded Whelen’s participation in multiple NASCAR partnerships, including the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
He was also an advocate for the Whelen Hall of Champions at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.
“Whelen would not be where it is today in the NASCAR community without the efforts of Phil Kurze. It was an honor to work with Phil for so many years. He was genuine and kind to all,” said Whelen President and CEO George Whelen V.
Kurze was also a first responder. He served as a police sergeant for Deep River, Conn., and a Police Commissioner for Colchester, Conn. He was the Chairman of the Board of Police Commissioners for 14 years. He also spent time as a volunteer firefighter and Deputy Fire Marshal in Deep River.
“Phil was instrumental to Whelen’s involvement in motorsports, as well as in the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project,” said George Whelen IV said. “His passion for racing and his ability to fight for what he believed in have left a lasting mark on Whelen Engineering and the world of motorsports.”
“Phil Kurze possessed an undeniable passion for grassroots, short-track racing and NASCAR, and his love for the modifieds was unrivaled,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France. “Phil’s commitment and love for our sport cannot be overstated, as Whelen Engineering supported every level of NASCAR racing – from our local race tracks to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“He was both a valued partner and a cherished friend. On behalf of NASCAR and the France family, I extend our condolences to all of Phil’s friends and family.”