Chassis Builder Robert Hamke, 73

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(From left) Sandy Hamke, Robert Hamke, Preston Peltier, Robby Hamke and an unidentified fifth person share victory lane after Peltier won the 2016 Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway driving Robert Hamke's house car. (Adam Fenwick Photo)
(From left) Sandy Hamke, Robert Hamke, Preston Peltier, Robby Hamke and an unidentified fifth person share victory lane after Peltier won the 2016 Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway driving Robert Hamke's house car. (Adam Fenwick Photo)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Robert Hamke, a prominent race car builder, car owner and driver, died Thursday morning at the age of 73.

Hamke is best known as the founder of Hamke Racecars & Parts, a chassis and parts business that supplied race cars to some of short-track racing’s best competitors.

Hamke was also a successful driver. He claimed two victories in the Florida Governor’s Cup in 1969 and ’77 when the race was run at the now-defunct Golden Gate Speedway in Tampa, Fla.

In 1981, he founded Hamke Racecars & Parts, which built cars that won most of the major asphalt super late model races in the United States. He also fielded his own house car from time to time, earning victories with drivers such as Preston Peltier, Stephen Nasse and Matt Craig.

Hamke retired from the racing business in 2018, selling Hamke Racecars & parts to Justin Oertel. Oertel later partnered with Kyle Busch to form Rowdy Manufacturing, which continues to build asphalt late model chassisfor competitors across the United States.