For many years the husband-wife team of Pete and Linda Cosco were inseparable. From family life, to their business, race team and ultimately as the owners of Humberstone International Speedway, the pair worked together daily to help ensure success in all that they did, especially their very strong marriage.
Then on August 27, 2014, it all changed and the two were separated by tragedy when Pete suddenly died from a brain aneurysm at age 61. In the time that has followed since Pete's death, Linda has been busy coping with the tremendous loss and also working tirelessly to keep the legacy and dreams of her late husband alive. She is succeeding with much help from her family and friends.
Today, Linda, of St. Catharines, Ont., continues to run the family business, Cosco Haulage as well as own Humberstone, a small dirt oval located in nearby Port Colborne, Ont.
When it comes to Humberstone she is succeeding thanks also to a supporting cast of track officials who share and are devoted to carrying on Pete's dreams. Linda also is the only local female race track owner in the Western New York, Southern Ontario region.
"We were a team," Linda said. "In our marriage, businesses, family, Pete and I were together 7 days by 24 hours every day during our many years of marriage.
"My love of racing came through Pete," Linda said. "I first went to racing with him many years ago. The first time was the dragstrip at Cayuga (Ont). Pete drag raced for a couple years before going dirt stock car racing. Pete started his racing career probably when he was about 30."
Pete owned and drove dirt track stock cars for many years.
In October 2004, the Cosco's racing endeavors took on a whole new role when they purchased Humberstone, which was known at the time as Gasport Speedway from another husband-wife tandem, Al and Edith Wagner. After the purchase the Coscos changed the speedway name back to what it had previously been known as before the Wagner era, Humberstone International Speedway.
"A friend of Pete's, Dennis Giancola, approached Pete and asked him if he'd like to buy the speedway together as Gasport was for sale so that's when we got involved. But after awhile Dennis was suppose to sell some other property and that fell through so he could no longer be in this venture with us so that's when I ended up being Pete's partner.
"All these years later I'm still running Humberstone to keep Pete's dreams alive. Humberstone was extremely important to Pete. Pete and I made some early mistakes but we corrected them and that's why Humberstone is still around today."
Linda and Pete have two children, Joe Cosco and Tanya Davidson. Tanya is the wife of Humberstone general manager Bob Davidson. Linda also enjoys her four grandchildren including Joe's son's Jordan and Jacob Cosco and Tanya and Bob's sons, Dylan and Tyler Davidson. Both Jordan and Dylan currently race at Humberstone in the DIRT.car Sportsman division.
Linda is extremely grateful to her staff at Humberstone, who she says are instrumental in keeping the dream alive. They include Bob Davidson, Tom Beales, Glen Hills, Lou Caetano, Bonnie and Brandon Robison, Marilyn Irvine, Colleen Curvin, Steve Petty, Fran Bushardt, Kim Ashton, Don Simpson, John Veach, Dawn Veach, Jamie and Mike Journeaux, Donna Timmerman, Dave Stevens, Wayne Wright, Bobby Duyn, Al Wagner and other staff.
"I don't think about the future too much but I want to keep Humberstone going for as long as I can," Linda said. "Keeping Humberstone open and running for me is not about making financial sense but rather all about making everybody happy who enjoys racing. I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for helping keep Pete's dreams and legacy alive."
Chiddy is giddy at Little Valley
Mark Chiddy scored a very emotional and important victory Monday evening when he captured the Bellinger Electric Lightning Sportsman Series main event at Little Valley Speedway. Chiddy overcame a nearly race-long challenge with Canadian Chad Chevalier to score the triumph. Chiddy, of Boston, earned his first race win since last emerging triumphant four years ago at Humberstone. Monday's event was the first ever Sportsman event hosted at the track located on the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds.
"You know, I can catch my breath now," Chiddy said in Victory Lane. "That was an awesome race. My dad and I were talking over if we should change anything from the heat race and you know what, it was good in the heat so let's just leave it and put some fuel in it and see what it will do in the feature.
"This is just awesome. I've got to thank my parents, wife and kids. My dad and I used to help out Ron Smoker when he raced here and he got a win or two back in the day so that's pretty cool that I got a win here now too. Now I'm going to relax and go camping and have a few beers and let this win sink in."
The now retired Smoker drove Modified specials at Little Valley years ago. The BEI series produced an outstanding 44 cars for Little Valley's Monday event.
In other racing at Little Valley Monday, Erick Rudolph dominated the BRP Modified Tour 28 car, 30-lapper to claim his fourth BRP series race in a row. Rudolph got the lead early and motored out to a comfortable advantage over eventual second place runner Mat Williamson.
"This win feels really great coming to a new track for me here," Rudolph said. "I have all the confidence in my team with all the momentum we've had and we all put our heads together and we were able to come up with something and turn some good laps around here."
Max Blair (Super Late Models), John Waters (Crate Late Models), and Jeremy Wonderling (Street Stocks) also were Monday Little Valley victors.
After suffering some down times in recent years with lower car counts and lower grandstand attendance, mixed with bad weather on many race nights, Monday's program at Little Valley was a huge success with over 100 cars in the pits, a nearly full grandstand crowd of about 2,400 and bright sun-splashed skies.
Little Valley officials can now enjoy a surge of some much needed positive momentum heading into their special events-only 358 Modified/Super Late Model season finale Sept. 16.