NORWICH, Conn. – Hall of Fame modified driver Bob Potter died Wednesday after a medical emergency and subsequent automobile accident. He was 78.
According to the Norwich Police Department, Potter suffered a medical emergency behind the wheel on Tuesday around 4 p.m. and lost control of his pickup truck, making a sharp turn before hitting a school bus and multiple other vehicles.
Potter was transported to William W. Backus Hospital with life-threatening injuries before passing away the following day.
Potter was a five-time SK Modified champion (1988, ’91, ’92, ’94, ’95) and 24-time SK Modified winner at Stafford Speedway, ranking seventh all-time on the track’s SK Modified division win list. His last victory at Stafford came in 1999.
He also took down six track titles at New London-Waterford Speedbowl during his career, with three modified championships (1976, ’80, ’83) and three SK Modified championships (1986, ’87, ’89).
A 94-time Waterford feature winner, Potter is second on that facility’s all-time win list in modifieds (59) and fifth all-time in SK Modified wins at Waterford.
Potter retired from full-time driving in 1999, but had been the pilot of the Stafford two-seater modified since 2012. He stepped away from that post in June due to an impending medical procedure.
“All of us at Stafford Speedway are saddened by the loss of a great friend and mentor in Bob Potter,” Stafford Speedway officials said in a statement. “For more than six decades, Bob was a true representative of the sport. The Stafford Speedway racing community has lost a great hero. A five-time SK Modified champion, with 24 overall wins at Stafford, his passion for racing is unsurpassed.
“In his retirement from competitive racing, Bob gave back to the racing community, as he continued as the driver of the two-seater modified at Stafford, always looking to give the fans a good ride. Bob was always looking at the big picture and enjoyed sharing ideas. It is without a doubt that we will miss Bob, but his legacy as a champion and love for racing and life will serve as an inspiration.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Dale, son Bob Jr., daughters Debbie and Ginny, and all his family and friends.”
Potter was a 2007 inductee into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame and a 2016 inductee into the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame.