OXFORD — Ask any fan of Modified racing to talk about the sports’s rich history, and you’re bound to hear the name Judkins. 

Bob Judkins was a highly respected car owner in Modifed racing starting back in the 1960s. Considered the father of the “Pinto Revolution,” Judkins changed the landscape of open-wheel short track racing when he first built a Pinto-bodied car. 

On Saturday, Judkins’ son, Bob Jr., was at Oxford with a very special piece of his father’s racing legacy. The legendary No. 2X car his father owned (the last one) was in the Oxford pit area once again for the first time since 1980. Paul Kusheba, 21, of Monroe, Connecticut, a regular at the Waterford Speedbowl, now drives the car.  

The team was at Oxford competing in the Valenti Modified Racing Series event.

“We’re a young team with a ways to go,” Judkins said. “Our goal right now is to finish a race. We need to have a good outcome, yet we have a lot to learn and are OK with that. There are a lot of good cars on this series.” 

The elder Judkins is nearly 81 now, living in Florida and battling health issues. He still remembers the good times in racing, giving a lot of credit to his drivers.

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“I had some of the best in the business drive my cars,” the legendary Judkins said from his home in the Sunshine State. “I’m pleased to know the boys have the 2X at Oxford this weekend. I’ve wished them well, and hope they have a great run.”

Judkins was inducted into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame in 2003. His drivers included Modified icons like Ed Flemke, Billy Harmon, Mario Caruso, Rene Charland and Gene Bergin.  In later years, Reggie Ruggiero piloted the car to wins throughout southern New England. 

Bob Jr. has been planning to run the car at Oxford for a while. On the windshield is the last name Farrington, a tribute to two very special people. 

“This is an emotional race for us, without a doubt,” Judkins explained. “I’m honoring my uncle and my cousin at Oxford. They were the greatest people; I enjoyed coming up to stay with them during the summers when I was a kid. 

“My cousin passed away far too early. He and I talked about bringing the No. 2X up to Oxford two years ago. I promised him I’d have it here this year. He passed away on my birthday, so I just felt like this was something I needed to do.” 

Also on hand at Oxford on Saturday was Dan Cyr, of Washburn. Cyr worked on Judkins’ race cars for 25 years, and has tons of great stories from his days working with the legendary car owner. He lived in Southington, Connecticut, at the time.

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“I have so many great memories, we don’t have time to hear half of them” Cyr said. “Bob Judkins was like a father, a teacher and a mentor to me. He treated me just like one of his kids. If I made a mistake, I got a good chewing out. 

“He trusted me on just about every aspect of the car. I guess I earned his respect, which was nice. He gave me a key to the shop so I could work on the car when he went on vacation. My best memory with his team was 1999, the year we won the Northeast Regional Championship and the title at Monadnock. I’ll never forget it. 

As the modern-day ground pounders of Modified racing rolled through the pit area, Judkins was all smiles. Several drivers from and fans of the Valenti series did a double-take when they saw the No. 2X roll through the pits. 

“It’s a car people used to talk about whenever it unloaded around the Northeast. We’re just thrilled to have it here and hope folks will enjoy seeing it out there,” Judkins said.” 

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