MURPHYSBORO, Ill. – Randy Bateman, a long-time competitor as a driver and team owner in USAC’s Silver Crown and National Sprint Car series, died Sunday after a battle against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. He was 63 years old.
The Murphysboro, Ill., driver was well-known for campaigning the familiar No. 55 for more than three decades on the Silver Crown trail. However, Bateman’s early years were spent in the seat of the blue No. 37 in which he made his first series appearance at DuQuoin in 1982 and, one year later, broke through to make his first feature start during the 1983 season in Nazareth, Pa.
Bateman made 60 USAC Silver Crown starts in 27 different seasons with his most prolific year, 2014, being his final as a competitor behind the wheel, making five starts with a 15th place showing in the points to his credit.
Bateman was a staunch supporter of USAC racing as an owner and driver and his dedication to the sport was honored with a ceremony prior to the main event at the 2014 Ted Horn 100 in DuQuoin, Ill. Just a little over a month later, Bateman made his final series start at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, N.Y.
In 2002 Bateman earned a career-best finish of ninth in the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and put the fans on their feet with a memorable front-row qualifying run at the 2008 Ted Horn 100.
Bateman stepped out of the seat in 2015 after beginning his battle against ALS, but remained as a car owner for Brian Tyler’s remarkable run from 27th to 3rd at that year’s Hoosier Hundred as well as Casey Shuman’s Rookie of the Year season in the series in 2016.