When Tufte realized that the economic benefit to the area was such that a permanent road course could be viable. He acted, and Road America was born, with the first races held on September 10-11, 1955. That event, won by Phil Hill in a Ferrari Monza by an eyelash over Sherwood Johnston in a D Jaguar, began a tradition that lasts to this day.
Sculptor Tom Holleran created the tribute to Tufte, which is based on several photos collected over the years from friends, family, and SCCA Chicago Region members. After months of collaboration, the contributors decided on a version that represented Tufte’s true presence, from his tipped hat – to the stance he regularly had when surveying his vast creation. The statue committee says the statue is meant to be a gathering point. Intended to inspire others to dream and believe. A bench nearby is inscribed with a quote from the 1955 edition of the SCCA Chicago Region’s publication Piston Patter which reads, “Let there be no mistake, when the record of Road America is written into the history of sports car racing, one name will stand alone. Although he sought and received help from any qualified source, he and he alone – had the vision, courage, and the ability to carry out the construction of a superb course. While the rest of us talked, he built. The man? Clif Tufte.”