Car and Track with Bud Lindemann: An Essay
Updated: May 10, 2020
The earliest racing memories I have are of watching NASCAR races on Sunday afternoons with my dad, my head usually on his lap. Surprisingly, if you know me, I can’t remember the first race I watched. As a kid, all I knew was Dale Jarrett was my favorite driver and my dad’s lap was the most comfortable place to rest my head during a race. Until kindergarten, NASCAR was the only racing I knew. Sure, I was aware of other racing series like Formula One and IndyCar, but only vaguely from highlights or catching a bit of a grand prix while we readied for Sunday morning church. Kindergarten, and the years surrounding it, like most kids, was vital in the development of my interests and where I am at today. Luckily for me, I was in Mrs. Winters’ afternoon kindergarten class. Because of this chance assignment to the later class, I made friends for life, and found my calling, though maybe I didn’t fully know that until later. While my siblings left for school in the mornings for a full day in the classroom, I would stay home with my mom and wait for the bus to come. One of these mornings, however, I made a life changing discovery. THE life changing discovery. “Car and Track,” hosted by Bud Lindemann being rerun on Speedvision, which after many variations became what we now know as Fox Sports 1. “Car and Track” was a treasure trove of racing for a young fan. Bud Lindemann, who served as producer and host, brought us around to various events from the NASCAR circuit...from the 1960’s and 70’s. It was through these reruns I was introduced to Richard Petty, David Pearson, the Allisons, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Issac, and countless others of NASCAR years gone by. The old drivers were new to me, and the tracks were the same I watched on Sundays with my dad. Daytona, Talladega, Martinsville, Bristol, among others, were all fixtures of what soon became my must-see morning program. So must-see, in fact, I can vividly remember lying in bed, still awake, wondering what tomorrow’s edition of “Car and Track” had in store. Some mornings were a real treat, too. Like being introduced to midget cars (See video below, uploaded by Youtube user HODIUSDUDE), sprint cars, modifieds, and drag racing. All races from 30 years, or more, old at the time were all new to me. As with all shows, I would occasionally tune in to an episode I’d already seen. It didn’t matter, I still watched because it was a special thing for me. I can remember referring to races as “my race” to my dad.
Soon, kindergarten turned to first grade, and my half day of school became a full one. Almost simultaneously, Speedvision underwent its first makeover to Speed Channel. “Car and Track” was replaced by other programming around the time of the change, though I was at school now, so I couldn’t watch it anyway. A few years later, 2005 according to Wikipedia, footage from “Car and Track” was repackaged into a new show, “Back in the Day,” hosted by Dale Earnhardt Jr. While the new show was cool, and featured new pop-up facts, it wasn’t the same, though it helped me appreciate Dale and his love for the sport more, which only helped me love it more myself. All these years later, and I still feel the excitement I woke up with each morning for “Car and Track.” If only my excitement for the show was matched by information about Bud and his life’s work online.
“The Grand Rapids Press makes reference to the passing of Gordon "Bud" Lindemann in 1983 due to cancer.” That is all Bud’s Wikipedia has to say about his passing. Above that sentence are four paragraphs recapping his life in motorsports and early career, but not much else. A search on google for Bud brings up links to his obituary along with a smattering of articles (like this one from Hemmings.com). The “Car and Track” Wikipedia page is very much the same, listing notable events covered by the show, notable cars reviewed by Bud, and some info about the show’s production and headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. But there are no books, no documentaries, no films about Bud’s life. What there is, though, is his life’s work that lives on to this day in video packages put together for broadcasts, or even simply as an episode of “Car and Track” being uploaded to Youtube. What it was that made me turn on Speedvision one fateful kindergarten morning, I may never understand, but I'm glad I did. In the end, the only thing I need to know about Bud Lindemann is that he changed my life, 20 years after his passing. If that’s not a testament to his work, I’m not sure what is. Bud Lindemann was inducted into the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991. By Todd Rose If you enjoyed this piece, and think others you know might like it as well, feel free to share on Facebook or other various social media options below! For more of our work, check out our Feed Page for race reports, driver profiles, and more from the Rose Racing Report.