"Mr. Wizard" as he was known in automotive and motorsports circles, Arthur Nelson Crozier III passed away on December 26, 2020 at age 76 after a long illness. A quiet inventor and loyal friend, soft spoken Nelson created an enduring legacy.
Born March 1, 1944 in Sanford, Fl, Nelson’s accomplishments as a young man include earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He served in the National Honor guard for the inauguration of both President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson. A young entrepreneur – he founded and operated numerous companies – the longest running being Nelson Specialties.
Nelson’s work with ignition and wiring systems can be viewed in numerous museums including The Henry Ford and The Smithsonian. And the multiple analytical programs he developed to predict and enhance automotive performance are still used today.
He was a fixture in all forms of motorsports – creating technology for race cars that helped auto racing teams and manufacturers find an on-track advantage. He worked closely with the legends of NASCAR like the Wood Brothers, Junior Johnson and Bud Moore. Nelson was also part of NASCAR’s media. He developed and engineered the use of "in car radio" for Motor Racing Network’s NASCAR radio broadcasts. He produced Benny Parsons’ Winston Cup Qualifying show on radio and worked with every NASCAR television network partner as a pit coordinator for over 40 years. During his tenure at ESPN, he along with Tim Brewer created the "ESPN Tech Garage". He leaves behind endless friends and racers he considered family.
Nelson’s favorite "vacation" was the annual Kyle Petty Charity ride that raises funds for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. He also enjoyed time spent in the classroom, helping future automotive engineers think outside the box at the Alan Kulwicki Motorsports Lab at UNC Charlotte.
In lieu of flowers, please direct all donations to either Victory Junction Gang camp at victoryjunction.org/the-gift-of-camp or The William States Lee College of Engineering, Department of Engineering fund at UNC Charlotte in honor of 1992 NASCAR champion Alan Kulwicki. You can contribute by going to www.giving.uncc.edu – enter Alan Kulwicki Motorsports Faculty Support in the search bar.
Nelson was preceded in death by his parents Arthur Nelson Crozier, Jr and Helen M. Crozier and sister Helen Drury. He leaves behind two brothers Charles B. Crozier and wife Libby of Jarvisburg, NC, James P. Crozier and wife Barbara of Locust Grove, VA along with 8 nieces and nephews and numerous great nieces and nephews.
Details of a celebration of Nelson’s life will be announced early spring.