AUBURN — Former Sun Journal writer and longtime auto racing journalist/publicist Robert S. ‘Bob’ Morris, of Auburn, passed away in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, on Wednesday due to complications from surgery. He was 69.

Morris got his start in journalism in June of 1976 writing for the now-defunct New England Speedway Scene trade paper. One year later, he started producing the weekly souvenir program for Oxford Plains Speedway and continued to do so for 15 years.

During that time, he also worked with the late Bob Walker to present the race show at the Auburn Mall. 

In 1984, Morris started writing for the Sun Journal covering auto racing around Maine. He contributed to the paper’s coverage of the sport for 17 years. He also put together the quarterly newsletters for the Maine Vintage Race Car Association from its inception right up until his passing. Morris also played an integral role in organizing and presenting the Northeast Motorsports Expo and Trade Show for founder Tim Attaya.

Morris was co-founder of the MVRCA, the group which works to preserve Maine’s rich auto racing history and runs the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame. Morris, along with his friend and longtime racing photographer Alan Brann, co-founded the MVRCA in 2002.

Although Morris had stepped down from his position of the MVRCA due to health issues last year, he remained involved with his favorite entity until he could no longer do so. His passion for preserving racing history was unmatched.

Reaction to Morris’ passing was building throughout Wednesday afternoon and evening. Members of the MVRCA, people who worked with him during his tenure at Oxford and longtime racers alike all had good things to say about the man who lived for racing.

 “Bob was the editor of the Oxford Plains Speedway weekly program back in the day when it was absolutely awesome and a must-have,” former Sun Journal sports editor, writer and lifelong race fan Kalle Oakes said. “As a kid, I could not wait to get my hands on that thing and read it from cover to cover about 30 times during the week.

“His work for the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame in later years made it a great organization, as well,” Oakes continued. “I know that time marches on and that people get ‘replaced,’ but there is no regaining institutional memory, and our circle has lost a ton with Bob’s passing.”

Don Turner is the current president of the Maine Vintage Race Car Association. Like the rest of his fellow officers and directors, the news of Morris’ passing hit especially hard on Wednesday.

“Bob lived for racing and took great satisfaction in the growth of the MVRCA,” Turner said. “I just came along five years ago, but I know Bob got the ball rolling years before and I always respected his work.

“Bob enjoyed seeing all of the old race cars being restored, he loved our annual Summerfest at Beech Ridge and he enjoyed seeing the families of Hall of Fame inductees enjoy the attention. His passing is a big loss for our association, but we will continue to work in his memory.”

Mike Rowe was the undisputed “King of Oxford” during Morris’ tenure at Oxford, and he was also moved by the news of his passing.

“This is a terrible loss for racing here in Maine,” the three-time Oxford 250 winner and Hall of Fame member (here in Maine and NEAR, as well) said. “He was a great guy who did a lot for racing. I know he was instrumental in not only the creation of the MVRCA, but the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame, as well.

“It meant a lot to me when I was inducted, and I was very pleased when Bob was inducted in 2012. Without his efforts, all of Maine’s great racing pioneers would have gone unnoticed.”

[email protected]

Auburn native Robert S. ‘Bob’ Morris, left, accepts his induction into the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame from George Brockman during the Class of 2012 ceremony in Augusta. Morris, a former writer for the Sun Journal and respected racing historian, passed away on Wednesday, May 3. 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.