Art Rousseau
Class of 2001

Art Rousseau began racing an old Model A Ford on a frozen lake in Swansey, NH in 1937. When the ice melted in the spring, the sixteen-year-old Rousseau and his friends would take the chains off the tires and “run those mug buggies in a field at some guys farm.” It was during this time that Art began racing at the Cheshire Fairgrounds, next door to his hometown of Keene. Soon, Art was venturing out to New York tracks, and then to Langhorne, PA.

Rousseau was known as a hard charging driver who enjoyed the competition, and the friendships that grew from that competition. It wasn’t always fun, though. The sprint cars that Art raced were extremely dangerous. Art teamed with his brother, Harvey in those early years. Later on, he drove for several owners, including Frank Campanelli, Bill Boudreau, and Bob Oliver. It was Oliver’s flathead powered cutdown coupe, the #621, that Rousseau is probably most remembered for. He drove the car to victories in the Stafford ¼ mile paved track, and also the bigger dirt track surrounding it, and took the car North to Keene, where he also put the #621 into victory lane.

While in his early 70s, Rousseau was visiting the relatively new New Hampshire International Speedway, when a man approached him and asked if he was, in fact, Art Rousseau. When he admitted that he was, the stranger introduced himself as Vic Yarardi. He had an old AJ Foyt car, and wanted to know if Art would be interested in taking a few laps.