Gord Alberg, a friend of Victoria race car driver Billy Foster, reads a letter at a book release in Langford. The event celebrated the release of a book, written by Portland author Bob Kehoe, about Billy Foster and the history of motor sports in Victoria. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Famed Victoria NASCAR driver memorialized in book form

Billy Foster raced at Western Speedway and was the first Canadian to race in the Indianapolis 500

Car racing enthusiasts and community members gathered at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Langford Friday to celebrate the release of a book about Victoria race car driver Billy Foster.

Foster raced at the Western Speedway and was the first Canadian to race in the Indianapolis 500. He was best friends with the popular and successful race car driver Mario Andretti.

In 1967, two years after Foster’s professional career kicked off, his car hit a wall at the Riverside Raceway in California and Foster lost his life.

Fifty-five years ago today, Foster won his first Strawberry Cup which racers will be competing for again this weekend at the Western Speedway in Langford.

READ MORE: Portland author pens biography about Victoria race car driver, Billy Foster

Now, Foster’s legacy and the history of race car driving in Victoria can be remembered and recognized in book form.

Gordon Alberg, Foster’s friend and a Saanich resident, was at the book release and signed copies for those that purchased them. Alberg read a book about Art Pollard, an American race car driver, written by Bob Kehoe a few years back. Shortly after, Alberg reached out to Kehoe to get working on a book about Billy Foster.

“I went over and bought [a book about Art Pollard] and I said you’re just the guy I wanted to meet,” Alberg recalled. “I said you’re going to do a book on Billy Foster.”

Unfortunately Kehoe was unable to make it to the event from his home in Portland, Oregon due to an injury.

Alberg read a letter written by Kehoe to the crowd, adding in some of his own sentiments about Foster as he went along.

“So many of these race car books are just pictures there’s no history so I’m really pleased with the book,” Alberg said.

In the letter, Kehoe explains that as he did his research about Foster he discovered there was a rich history surrounding motor sports in Victoria. He was also able to learn more about Foster.

“The more people I spoke with and the more articles I came across the more I got to know Billy,” Alberg read from the letter, smiling slightly as he went on. “He was quite a guy, even as a youngster he was fully dedicated to the sport. Beyond that he was a lovely husband and father…and he loved playing jokes on everybody.”

READ ALSO: Victoria man pens novel on historic labour strike

The book is more than just a biography of Billy Foster. It is a biography with Victoria’s rich motorsport history woven throughout it.

Langford Coun. Matt Sahlstrom said he received a phone call and e-mail from people who heard about the book as well.

“Anyone that is a fan of auto racing on Vancouver Island should take time to read this book,” the e-mail read. It was from Larry Pollard, a former Canadian NASCAR Busch Grand National Series driver.

“It was sad his career was ended at such a young age but in racing there are no guarantees.”

The book, Billy Foster: The Victoria Flash…plus a walk through the history of motor racing in British Columbia is also available at amazon.com, coastal181.com and through Kehoe himself at bkehoe@gmail.com or by phone at 503-746-4134. It will also be available for purchase at Western Speedway this weekend.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Saanich councillor ‘chose pragmatism over politics’ in opposing EDPA replacement

Coun. Rebecca Mersereau acknowledged her opposition shocked many of her supporters

Change room thief nabbed by West Shore RCMP Bike Unit

Quick-thinking caller leads police to suspect after witnessing theft

PHOTOS: Car Free YYJ entertains the masses in Victoria

Third annual fair where cars are banned goes off without a hitch

BC Ferries adds extra and late night summer sailings

Seasonal adjustments to sailing times also in effect on many routes

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

Man suffers burns, dog dies in fire in Nanaimo

Structure burns down on Clifford Road property in Cedar

Province comes through with funding for Charleigh Fales

Lake Cowichan toddler only one in B.C. diagnosed with CLN2 Batten disease

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Most Read