Modified Racing Legend Billy Greco Passes 

Billy Greco in 2021 in front of Stafford Speedway’s 50 Greatest Drivers banner (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

Legendary Modified racer Billy Greco passed away Friday. 

Greco was 93 years old. 

“In the 1950’s he was just the king of the hill in Modified racing,” Northeast short track racing historian Pete Zanardi said. “He was the top of the heap. The man. A good battler. A smart race driver. He seldom crashed. Just a clean driver. We really lost a major part of New England racing history, there’s no question about that.” 

Greco, a native of West Haven, began his racing career in the late 1940’s at the old Savin Rock Speedway in West Haven. He was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1999. 

Over his career “Wild Bill” amassed more than 300 feature victories and multiple championships at numerous tracks. 

He dominated for a 15-year span at the old Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass., driving for his brother George and collecting 68 victories at the historic bullring.

“In New England, when you mentioned the number 43 in racing, you meant Greco,” Zanardi said. “The rest of the world it meant [Richard] Petty, but in New England it meant Greco.” 

Greco was the first Modified winner in the history of Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y. He drove regularly at Stafford Speedway in 1969 and 1970 and closed out his career as a regular at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl before retiring.

“He had a somewhat a unique record of winning at almost every Connecticut race track,” Zanardi said. “Late in his career he went to the old Danbury Arena and won. The joke always was that Danbury had this deal where you had to have a rookie designation on your car if you hadn’t raced there before. And even though he had been racing for about 30 years, he had to have this rookie designation on his car.

“He won at Danbury, West Haven, Cherry Park, Waterford, Stafford and Bridgeport. Nobody in a Modified had ever accomplished anything like that, that many wins at different Connecticut race tracks. That was something he was most proud of.” 


  1. Mike Joy says

    Oh no… a great driver and a lifelong friend. When I started my PA career at Riverside Park (1970) it was Bill Greco, Bob Stefanik, then everybody else. Sympathies to the Greco family and Billy’s many fans. Mike Joy

  2. I never saw anyone work his way through a crowed pack like “Wild Bill”.. The greatest short-tracker ever.. Rest in peace..

  3. The Reg says

    I grew up watching “Wild Bill” racing at the “Park” when I was 8 years old, that was 1973. He was always very outgoing and very friendly to everyone , espicialy kids. My uncle sponsered him during mid 70’s. Billy never forgot me (thru all the years). my uncle was diagnosised with terminal cancer, Billy was driver a 2 car slider for a dealer to Southern Auto auction in East Windsor. Billy would stop by and spend time with my Uncle Reggie before he ‘d take that long drive back to Strattford. I will never forget that. I loved Billy. Billy and Marilyn are back together again. Rest In Peace “Gramps” .

  4. Rocky DErrico says

    Wild Bill was my favorite driver at Savin Rock in West Haven Ct. When I was young my grandparents took me to races every Saturday Night. I was amazed how he always made it through the field to dominate the race. He always had good races against Erwin Fox and King Gambino. RIP Wild Bill, it was an honor watching you race.

  5. Smokin scott says

    Rest in peace my friend,Billy’s been in my prayers for praying for the rest of the Greco family ,bringing his car to Waterford opening day tomorrow, to continue his legacy,Godspeed wild bill

  6. Mike Greco says

    Thank-you Mike it means a lot to myself and my family. I will always remember you as the voice of Riverside Park.

  7. Mike Greco says

    Thank you for the kind words and memories of my Dad. I remember your Uncle Reggie and Aunt Cheryl very well they were family.

  8. Smokin Scott says

    Rest in peace my friend,Billy’s been in my prayers for praying for the rest of the Greco family ,bringing his car to Waterford opening day tomorrow, to continue his legacy,Godspeed wild bill

  9. The Reg says

    Hey Mike , Can remember hanging with you at” the park” when we were kids. Seems like yesterday.

  10. All the greats are gone, and it’s fitting that Wild Bill was the last, Rest in peace Bill.

  11. “Late in his career he went to the old Danbury Arena and won.”
    That is true and he’s officially on the list as having one Danbury RaceArena win. No small accomplishment for an invader in the highly competitive, closed club racing group.
    This site automatically rejects most comments with links. If links were allowed I’d post one showing a 1980 program with both Bill Greco and Bo Gunning on the cover. An older, wiser Greco by his 43 Pinto. A very young Bo Gunning by his 89 Gremlin Sportsman.

  12. My first race was at Riverside Park in 1960 Billy was the man very smooth driver hardly ever in a wreck, also winning the Riverside 500 team race with Bobby Stefanik 3 times. Thanks for the Memories Billy you will be missed by all. RIP

  13. Bob Monczka says

    I can remember Wild Bill and Bobby Stefanik running the 500 team races at the park when I was a kid.

    R.I.P Wild Bill

  14. Bob Parisi says

    watched Bill at Riverside for many years. Always thought he was one of the greatest. Lots of fond memories.

  15. Jim Verge says

    Billy was my racing hero. When the neighbors invited me to go to the races at the park on opening night 1972, my parents told to to look for Billy, Jocko and Buddy Krebs. Greco was the man. I saw him at the Sizzler last spring and reached down to shake his hand. I noticed he was a mason too. Very cool man away from driving. RIP Wild Bill! You are very missed.

  16. GARY garydavis50 says


  17. Louis chichisola says

    Truly a sad day in racing news , bill was such a great guy to me. we would frequenty be at ralph solhem’s race shop in Milford where I was a crew member or at the park. He would always help me and advise and say try it this way , even though I left Connecticut we would still talk about gramps my condolences to the Greco family from louie , statesville nc

  18. Wayne Sharp says

    Billy George has a new 43 car just waiting for you to give it a test run so the next time we hear it thunder we know you started it up you can race that baby for ever you are up there with a lot of good Racers you and George one of the best teams to ever race at Riverside Riverside Speed way so RIP my two friends

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