Lap 01

Lap 02

you're on
Lap 03

Lap 04

Lap 05

Lap 06

Lap 07

Lap 08

Lap 09

Lap 10

Lap 11


Victory Lap


Lap 03 - The Early Days

Born October 9, 1922, Seymour Kaback grew up in Riverdale, N.Y. and graduated from Dewitt Clinton High School. Though he was not "big" enough in body to compete in most high school sports, his mind was sharp enough that he was a member of the ARISTA honor society. His parents both came from small villages in Russia near Minsk, but they met and were married in the US. They both worked in the dress business in lower Manhattan like many Russian Jewish immigrants of their day. Sy always loved automobiles, though no family or friends were involved in automotive pursuits.

My mother worked in a shirtwaist factory (like the famous one involved in The Triangle fire [March of 1911]) She retired when she married my father.

My father came over as in indentured servant. He walked from Minsk to the seacoast when he was 15 and got passage on a boat courtesy of a tailor who paid his passage (which was $10). My father worked for him for a year, sleeping on the ironing board, in order to pay off the $10. (This was a common Russian Jewish immigrant story.) He worked for him for another year to earn $15 with which he bought a pushcart and went into business for himself.

Eventually he became very successful in the dress business and had his own firm, Wasserman and Kaback, making ladies' dresses. As he became more successful we moved up in the world and became one of the first Jewish families to move to Riverdale, N.Y. My parents divorced when I was 11 which was very unusual in Jewish families of that day.

We didn't have toys when I was young. My father, brother Bernie, and I always loved cars and could identify them on the street. We would go to car shows. There weren't many foreign cars in Riverdale when I was young. I liked Buicks and Cadillacs.

Sy's older brother, Bernie, taught him to drive in the family Buick, and Sy says "as soon as I found out about racing I wanted to do it." Interesting that the make of car in which Sy learned to drive happened also to be the make of engine in his most successful race car...

As a boy, Sy was always interested in how things worked, and when the time came he applied to NYU where he went into engineering and joined the Army ROTC in 1941. When he signed on, he was disappointed that his mother made him sell his Indian motorcycle.

Though his unit was activated, Sy was kept in school by the Army as they needed engineers. He was transferred regularly, starting at NYU, moving to Rutgers, the University of Illinois, etc. "The kids in the class just ahead of us were sent to work on the atomic bomb." While on duty, Sy remained in school in the US. Apparently Army life was beneficial to his health as Sy became suitably physically fit to endure a stint on the boxing team of his Army unit! Upon graduation, he received his degree in Mechanical Engineering from New York University in 1946 and was licensed as a P.E.

Sy got involved in motor racing the first chance he had, though on the water rather than the road. After the war ended Sy and his first wife, Alice Phillips Gross raced hydroplanes in upstate New York. These hydroplanes were very small, light , high performance watercraft not unlike a sports car for the water.

Sy and Alice had two children, Karen in early 1949 and Richard in late 1950, while living in Styvesant town. Sometime in the early 1950's, Sy and Alice were divorced, and Alice moved overseas with the children. Sy was soon remarried to Ann Gray of Winnipeg, Canada. Though they had no children, this marriage lasted nine years, during the height of Sy's auto racing exploits.

Sy's original company was in the relatively new and lucrative air conditioning industry: The Weathermatic Corporation, under whose banner he would soon campaign race cars of various makes and classes. Eventually, Weathermatic merged with an electrical engineering firm called Mebco. "I was unhappy with the merger and withdrew to found a new firm, Kaback Enterprises in 1971" which survives and thrives today in the heating and cooling contracting business in and around New York City.