The Man Behind the Memorabilia

Speed - 26 years of Cat Racing

Meet the Man Behind the Memorabilia

Kory Russell’s Love for Caterpillar and Cat® Racing — Born at Age 10 — Still Burns Strong 21 Years Later

Kory Russell didn’t grow up in a construction business. No one in his family owned Cat® machines or any kind of heavy equipment. But back in 1997, he was a 10-year-old kid — like a lot of 10-year-old kids — fascinated by big, yellow earthmovers. So one day he and his stepfather drove about 30 minutes to the nearest Cat dealer, walked in the front doors and asked the receptionist if they could look around.

“She said we were free to roam the lot where all the machines were located,” Kory remembers. “After a few minutes, I built up enough courage to jump inside and sit in several of the operator’s seats. There was just something about the Cat logo and the yellow paint that drew me in.”

It started with a trip to Talladega

A year later, on April 26, 1998, Kory, his mom and his stepfather attended their first NASCAR race at Talladega. It was there that a lifelong passion for all things Caterpillar — and Cat Racing in particular — was born.

“It was just awesome to see that black-and-yellow Cat car going around the track in person instead of on TV,” Kory says. “To hear, feel and see a racecar in person is an experience unlike anything else.”

The next summer, Kory stayed with an aunt and uncle who lived on High Rock Lake in North Carolina, about 45 minutes from Bill Davis Racing — the Cat team owner at the time. He visited the shop and walked away with his first Cat Racing memento: a piece of sheet metal from the Cat racecar.

“One of the guys in the shop was tearing down the car and said we could buy some of the sheet metal,” Kory says. “I couldn’t go out and buy a Cat dozer at age 12 so this was the next best thing.”

Kory’s love for Caterpillar and Cat Racing started when he was just 10 years old. Kory’s love for Caterpillar and Cat Racing started when he was just 10 years old.
Kory’s love for Caterpillar and Cat Racing started when he was just 10 years old.

26 years of Cat Racing, 20 years of memorabilia

Fast forward 20 years, and Kory is no longer a wide-eyed kid experiencing Cat machines and the Cat racecar for the first time. Today, he’s a 31-year-old firefighter who lives and works in Prattville, Alabama. That’s his day job, anyway. His true profession? Collecting Cat Racing memorabilia.

Kory is known throughout the NASCAR collectors’ world for the quality, authenticity and expanse of his collection — and now he’s generously sharing his finds with the general public. More than 200 of the items he’s gathered over the past two decades are on display at the Caterpillar Visitors Center as part of “Speed: 26 Years of Cat Racing.”

“I love that Caterpillar has been supporting NASCAR for 26 years. The Cat car is one of the most iconic cars on the track today because they have been in the sport so long,” Kory says. “I also love the type of driver Caterpillar associates with — drivers who have worked their way up through the NASCAR ranks.”

Kory’s Cat Racing collection isn’t complete — read our Q&A to discover some of the items he’s still hoping to find — and his love for the Cat brand isn’t waning.

“I’m 31 years old, but I’ll still stop by a construction site and check out the tractors,” Kory says. “Knowing those machines helped build the road I’m riding on or cleared the land for the house I’m living in is really neat. I’ll always be a big kid at heart and what kid doesn’t like big machines?”

Don’t miss Kory’s Cat Racing memorabilia collection and the entire “Speed: 26 Years of Cat Racing” exhibit, on display at the Caterpillar Visitors Center now through January 2018!


Make a Date with “Speed”

Make a Date with “Speed”

You’ll find everything you need to plan your visit to the Cat® Racing exhibit (including maps, exhibit hours and admission prices) on the Caterpillar Visitors Center website. You can even buy your tickets in advance online. But hurry — “Speed: 26 Years of Cat Racing” is only on display through January 2019.

Plan Your Visit