Race Car Designer, Sports Engineer Bob Cuneo To Receive President’s Award From CT Sports Media Alliance

(Press release from Connecticut Sports Media Alliance)

L-R John Morgan, Geoff Bodine, Phil Kurze and Bob Cuneo with The Night Train bobsled (Photo: Courtesy of Chassis Dynamics)

A collaboration between a former Daytona 500 champion and a Connecticut-based engineering and design company more than 30 years ago led to a drastic reversal of fortune for U.S. competitors in a popular Winter Olympics sport whose medal stand had been barren of Americans since the Eisenhower administration. This fall, Bob Cuneo, the founder of Chassis Dynamics in Oxford, will be recognized by the Connecticut Sports Media Alliance (CSMA) for his contributions to the country’s sporting landscape.

Cuneo will receive the President’s Award at the 82nd Gold Key Dinner, slated for Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Tickets are $75, and may be reserved by contacting CSMA president Tim Jensen at 860-394-5091 or [email protected]. Proceeds support the Bo Kolinsky Memorial Sports Media Scholarship, a $3,000 annual award named in memory of the noted high school sports editor of the Hartford Courant and past CSMA president, who passed away in 2003 at age 49.

After capturing the bronze medal in the four-man bobsled competition at the 1956 Winter Games in Cortina d’ Ampezzo, Italy, Team USA was absent from medal contention for the next nine Olympiads. In 1992, NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine learned the Americans were using second-hand sleds purchased from its rivals in Europe. He contacted Cuneo, and the task of designing and building a better vehicle resulted in formation of the Bo-Dyn Project (Bo for Bodine, Dyn for Chassis Dynamics).

The new sleds debuted at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway, but it wasn't until the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan that an impact was first felt. The American four-man team placed fifth, just 0.02 of a second from a bronze medal.That set the stage for the 2002 competition in Salt Lake City, where the U.S. won the gold medal in the inaugural two-woman event, and four-man teams took home silver and bronze medals.

The two-woman team earned a silver medal in the 2006 Olympiad in Turin, Italy, then the ultimate peak was conquered in 2010 in Vancouver, when an American four-man team knocked off perennial powerhouse Germany to win the country’s first men’s gold medal since 1948.

Cuneo, 77, a native of Trumbull who graduated from Fairfield Prep and Northeastern University, began his lengthy career with Bob Sharp Racing in Wilton as a car designer in 1972, and accumulated more than 30 championships in road racing competition with the International Motorsports Association and the Sports Car Club of America. He was involved with cars that won four Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona; a Whelen Modified Tour division title in 2002 with Ridgefield driver Todd Szagedy; and modified track titles in Lancaster, N.Y., at the Danbury Fairgrounds Racearena and Stafford Motor Speedway.

He was inducted into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame in 2021. He and his wife Karen reside in Bethany. Gold Key recipients for 2024 are former Daniel Hand High School and Yale University football coach Larry Ciotti, longtime Windham High School wrestling and football coach Brian Crudden, retired Pomperaug High School field hockey coach Linda Dirga, award-winning sportscaster George Grande and Wesleyan University women’s basketball coach Kate Mullen.

Other award winners will be announced in coming weeks, including the male and female Athletes of the Year, high school Coaches of the Year, Bob Casey Courage, Hal Levy High School Achievement, Art McGinley Media, Bo Kolinsky Special Recognition and John Wentworth Good Sports.

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