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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Racing patriarch Edsol Sneva dies at 85

Doug Pace Correspondent

Edsol Sneva’s status in motorsports entered the phase of life in which memories and words of his great deeds may enter immortal status.

The patriarch of the Sneva racing family died on Monday evening at the age of 85.

It is a rare feat in motorsports to have a son win prestigious events such as the Indianapolis 500, but for Edsol he had that mark in son Tom, while his other boys forged their own roads over the years.

“He pioneered a lot things in racing,” said his son Blaine Sneva, a multiple Northwest Modified champion. “Many people know him for racing, but he was also ‘Crazy Legs Sneva’ the football player at Lewis and Clark High School back in the day. We had a lot of fun with Dad over all the years and it’s been a tough week to get through, that’s for sure.”

Known as the father who put in motion the efforts for a Spokane driver to win the famed Brickyard race, Sneva hatched the plan and put all the wheels in motion.

“Dad organized all the efforts to get Tom into those Indianapolis 500s and then to have his son win it is just unbelievable, but that was how he did things – always looking to do it right and be successful,” Blaine said.

One of the many achievements would be the legacy of doing a lot with just a small budget.

“He and I were in business together just to make a living to go race cars,” Blaine said. “I was lucky enough in recent years to have him come to all my races long after my brothers had moved onto other things in their lives. We had fun together.”

The 2015 racing season will have a date set aside to note the accomplishments of the elder Sneva.

“Our plan is to honor him with a memorial race at Stateline Speedway next season, because he didn’t want a funeral service or any of that stuff,” Blaine said.

Known as an open-wheel racer, Sneva also impacted drivers in the late-model ranks, including 2012 Inland Northwest Super Stock Association champion Erick Hargraves.

“Edsol will be missed by many,” Hargraves said. “I always looked forward to seeing him at Spokane County Raceway and Stateline Speedway. I’ll never forget our conversation after I passed Kevin Richards one time in a trophy dash at SCR.

“I started the race fast time, so I was in the back for the four-car dash and got by Kevin on the outside on the final lap. Edsol came over and said, ‘Son, now you can drive a car.’ He always said I was a diamond in the rough and a guy that if given the opportunity had the talent to go beyond the Northwest.

“I will never forget our conversations, how he always built me up and made me strive to be the best I could be. He is one of the legends that I will be able to tell my daughter (Ally) about.”

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