Thursday 6th February 1986
Willard “Bill” Cantrell (71), the “Silver Fox” because of his gray hair and the sly tricks he used to win races, died. Cantrell came to Southern California from Missouri before World War II. He started racing in jalopies in 1936, and raced midgets with the United Midget Association in 1939. In 1940 and ’41 he drove more than fifty different midgets looking for a car that would make him a winner. In 1942 he found that car and scored 15 wins and a 2nd in the UMA points. From 1945 thru 1964, Billy won more than 120 main events with the United Racing Association, AAA, and USAC. Included in this total is the 1962 “Turkey Night Grand Prix”. He won the URA Red Circuit Title in 1947 and was that association’s overall champion in 1951 and ’52. He also collected 18 sprint car wins with the California Racing Association in this period. After retiring from driving, he served for a time as the west coast supervisor for USAC and as starter for the USRC midget club.