This week on Through the Lens, The Five-Year-Old visits the Pete Hamilton Race Car Rabbit by Dawn Evans Scaltreto. Local readers can find the rabbit on Route 1 in front of the Stop & Shop in Dedham.
Regular readers will recognize this bunny as the second bunny in the Dedham Public Art Project to be vandalized. Unfortunately, the vandalism occurred before The Five-Year-Old and I had time to do our photoshoot.
Luckily, Dedham Shines once again had our backs, and graciously agreed to let us use their photo, which was taken before the Race Car Rabbit’s Very Bad Night.
Scaltreto’s rabbit commemorates local race car driver, Pete Hamilton, who began his career racing in the street division at Norwood Arena in 1962. Although the Arena has been closed since 1972, apparently it was the fastest 1/4-mile NASCAR stock car racing track in the 1960s.
After dominating the New England racing scene for several years, Hamilton moved South to compete in NASCAR, earning the title Rookie of the Year in 1968. He went on to win 12 of 26 races in 1969, including the series championship. Despite suffering a neck injury in a 1969 Grand American race, Hamilton won the 1970 Daytona 500 and both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at the (then) new Talladega Superspeedway, while driving his trademark #40 Superbird. (Hamilton was driving Cotton Owens‘ car when he won the July Daytona race.) Hamilton also won his Twin 125 mile qualifying race for the 1971 Daytona 500, before his neck injury forced him into retirement later that year.
Fun fact for racing buffs: Hamilton’s #40 Superbird was one of only two Petty winged cars ever built. It was thought to be lost and gone forever until another racing car enthusiast found it disguised as a ’73 Charger, and restored it.
The Five-Year-Old, excitedly: “Mommyo, that looks like The King [from Cars].”
And with that, we proudly present the fifteenth and final rabbit, the Pete Hamilton Race Car Rabbit by Dawn Evans Scaltreto.
The Five-Year-Old: “But, Mommyo, the spoiler’s missing. We should wait until he’s fixed.”
Mommyo: “Just take one picture for me, hon.”
The Five-Year-Old, reluctantly, “OK.”
Mommyo: “Did you get it?”
The Five-Year-Old, racing off to the car: “Yes. Let’s go.”
Mommyo: “Can’t I see it?”
The Five-Year-Old: “Later. I want to go on a bike ride.”
And here it is. The Five-Year-Old’s one picture.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: The Five-Year-Old’s artistic vision cannot be forced.
Race Car Rabbit, I guess we’ll be seeing you once you’ve got your spoiler back.
Pete Hamilton Race Car Rabbit (c) 2012 Dawn Evans Scaltreto
Did you know that I’ve got a book out about the 2012 Dedham Public Art Project?
In addition to providing tips for viewing public art with kids ages 3-10, What’s That, Mom? offers much more detail on the 15 giant fiberglass rabbits included in the 2012 Dedham Public Art Project, including a complete set of (higher quality) photographs, influences on their various designs, and several interviews with the local artists who painted the bunnies.
- Meet the Artists and their Rabbits (Dedham Shines)
- Through the Lens of The Five-Year-Old: The Dedham Public Art Project (Caterpickles)
- NASCAR History: Car #40 and Pete Hamilton (On Pit Row)