Michael Argetsinger, IMRRC Council Member, Award-winning Motorsports Author, Dies
Michael R. Argetsinger, a founder of the International Motor Racing Research Center and an award-winning motorsports author, died July 7 at his home in Chicago.
Argetsinger was a member of the steering committee that in 1997 began planning for the Racing Research Center, an archival and research library dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports. He was a member of the Center’s Governing Council at the time of his death from cancer.
Argetsinger is survived by his wife, Dr. Lee Green of Chicago. He was 70.
“Michael was the Center’s core. His enduring commitment was the foundation of our success,” said J.C. Argetsinger, IMRRC president and Michael’s brother.
“He was always developing ideas to enhance the Center’s standing in the motorsports community and to offer our users a better experience. Whether it was seeking out an historically significant car for display or inviting a prominent speaker for an afternoon talk, Michael knew just the right thing to do for the Center. We will all miss him: the staff, the Council, our supporters.”
Argetsinger’s dedication involved working tirelessly with race drivers, organizers, scholars and enthusiasts, as well as with community members and the international press, to help create a world-class facility. He also organized and implemented the popular speaking series Center Conversations, which brought a wide range of experts to the Center, drawing national and international audiences of motorsport aficionados.
“Michael was a wonderful man, friend and passionate supporter of all things motor racing and particularly, Watkins Glen,” Bobby Rahal, chairman of the Center’s Governing Council, said. “He gave his time and energy selflessly in order to advance the IMRRC and its place in the world of motorsports.”
Argetsinger was the son of motor racing icons Jean and the late Cameron Argetsinger, who brought Grand Prix racing to America at Watkins Glen.
His lifelong passion for the sport and its history was also evident in his talent as the author of five critically acclaimed books on motor racing.
His first book, “Walt Hansgen: His Life and the History of Post-War American Road Racing” (2006), received a Gold Medal for biography and was named Best of Books for 2006 at the International Automotive Media Awards (IAMA).
His biography “Mark Donohue: Technical Excellence at Speed” (2009) was also named Best of Books by the IAMA and won the overall competition as Best of 2009. He was also the author of “Mark Donohue: His Life in Photographs” (2010) and “Formula One at Watkins Glen: 20 Years of the United States Grand Prix, 1961-1980” (2011) which was a finalist for the 2011 Dean Batchelor Award presented by the Motor Press Guild.
All four books were published by David Bull Publishing. In addition, Argetsinger co-authored “Watkins Glen International” (2013), Arcadia Publishing.
Argetsinger was not only a vivid chronicler of the sport. He raced for nearly 45 years, competing in more than 400 races at 54 different circuits in seven countries, including nine circuits that have hosted World Championship Formula One Grands Prix.
A memorial mass for Michael Argetsinger will be held at St. Mary’s of the Lake Catholic Church, 905 N. Decatur St., Watkins Glen, at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 20, with a reception following at the Racing Research Center, 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen. The burial service will be private.
The family has announced that remembrances may be made in Argetsinger’s name to the Racing Research Center.
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