Rich Vogler

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Rich Vogler
RichVoglerPortRoyal1986.jpg
Vogler works on his sprint car in 1986
BornRichard Frank Vogler
July 26, 1950
Chicago, Illinois
DiedJuly 21, 1990(1990-07-21) (aged 39)
Salem, Indiana
Cause of deathRacing accident
AchievementsMost combined wins in USAC history (171)
1987 Chili Bowl Nationals Champion
1985 Pepsi Nationals Winner
1980, 1989 USAC National Sprint Car Series Champion
1978, 1980, 1983, 1986, 1988 USAC National Midget Series Champion
Awards2010 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Inductee
1992 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Inductee
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
1 race run over 1 year
Best finish76th (1988)
First race1988 Goodwrench 200 (Rockingham)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0

Richard Frank Vogler (July 26, 1950 – July 21, 1990) was an American champion sprint car and midget car driver. He was nicknamed "Rapid Rich".[1] He competed in the Indianapolis 500 five times, and his best finish was eighth in 1989.

Racing career[edit]

Vogler was the National Alliance of Midget Auto Racing (NAMAR) midget champion in 1973. He won the midget car track championships at the Indianapolis Speedrome in 1984 and 1985. He won the Fireman Nationals midget car race at Angell Park Speedway in 1985. Vogler became the first driver to win the USAC Sprint Car and Midget championships in the same year (1980).[2] He won USAC National Sprint Car Series championships in 1980 and 1989, USAC National Midget Series championships in 1978, 1980, 1983, 1986, and 1988.

He won numerous major national events: the Hut Hundred eight times, the 4-Crown Nationals midget car event four times, the Copper Classic twice, the Hoosierdome Invitational twice, the WWRA Florida Winter Nationals in 1983, and the Night Before the 500 once.[1] In 1987 he won the inaugural Chili Bowl Midget Nationals race.[3]

Vogler finished seventeenth in his only NASCAR Busch Series start at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham in 1988.[4]

Career summary[edit]

Vogler in 1986

His 134 wins (95 Midget, 35 Sprint, and four Silver Crown wins) in national events is second only to A. J. Foyt's 169.[1][3] Vogler had 170 total USAC wins, and won over 200 "outlaw" (non-USAC) midget races.

Indianapolis 500 Participation[edit]

Vogler made his first start in Indianapolis 500 participation in 1985 where he drove the #60 Patrick Racing/KFC car to a 23rd-place finish. He would made consecutive starts at Indy from then on, up until 1990. During most of his IndyCar tenure he was sponsored by KFC, whom he had a longtime professional relationship with.

In 1988, Vogler was running 20+ laps down in the race when he waived his position to former Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi. USAC, however, did not see Vogler waive Fittipaldi by, and, as a result, they penalized Fittipaldi two laps. When Vogler got word of Fittipaldi's penalty, he went up to USAC to testify for him, calling the penalty "unjust." The following morning, in part because of Vogler's testimony, the penalty was overturned and Fittipaldi was credited with the runner-up position.

Death[edit]

Days before his 40th birthday, Vogler was competing in a nationally broadcast ESPN Thunder Joe James / Pat O'Connor Memorial sprint car event at Salem Speedway. He was leading the race at the time, when his car crashed with just over a lap to go. Vogler's helmet flew off of his head and he suffered severe head injuries that proved to be fatal.[5]

Because of USAC rules on a red flag reverting to the previous completed lap, he was declared the winner of the event following his death, which was his 170th win. He was scheduled to make his NASCAR Winston Cup (now NASCAR Cup Series) series debut at Pocono Raceway the day after his fatal crash. He was awarded a 40th-place finish (as a "Did Not Start").[6]

The Pocono race was not his first attempted NASCAR Winston Cup start: two weeks before, he entered the Michigan race but failed to qualify.

Memorials[edit]

His mother Eleanor started a college scholarship fund for aspiring Indiana students as part of Rich's concern over his sons, and the fund was started by USAC officials and sponsor Valvoline.

The first major fund-raiser for the fund has been a Daytona 500 viewing party in Indianapolis, today well-attended with a silent auction and notable names in auto racing in the state as guests. Usually, his mother and his sons appear at the annual fund-raiser. In 2008, the viewing party was moved to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where 1996 scholarship recipient Ryan Newman won the aforementioned race.

In April 1991, Winchester Speedway began the annual season-opening Rich Vogler Classic sprint car race, usually the first race at the track each year.

There is also a Team Vogler Classic at the Indianapolis Speedrome. His father Donald Vogler died in a midget car accident at the Indianapolis Speedrome on May 1, 1981.

Career awards[edit]

Motorsports career results[edit]

Complete USAC Mini-Indy (Formula Super Vee) Results[edit]

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pos Points
1978 United States
PIR1
United States
TRE1
Canada
MOS
United States
MIL1
United States
TEX
United States
MIL2
United States
OMS1
22
United States
OMS2
United States
TRE2
10
United States
PIR2
39th 33
1979 United States
TEX1
2
United States
IRP
6
United States
MIL1
United States
POC
26
United States
TEX2
United States
MIL2
United States
MIN1
United States
MIN2
13th 242

Complete USAC Championship Car results[edit]

Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pos Points
1980 ONT INDY
DNQ
MIL POC
DNQ
MDO - 0
1981-82 INDY
DNQ
POC
ILL
11
DUQ
1
ISF
2
INDY
DNQ
8th 760
1982–83 ISF
20
DSF
19
NAZ
3
INDY
DNQ
13th 296
1983-84 DUQ
11
INDY
DNP
16th 40

Complete PPG Indy Car Series results[edit]

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Pos. Pts
1980 BFM Enterprises ONT
INDY
DNQ
MIL
POC
MDO
MCH
WGL
MIL
ONT
MCH
MEX
PHX
- 0
1982 PHX
ATL
MIL
DNP
CLE
MCH
MIL
POC
RIV
ROA
MCH
PHX
DNS
- 0
1983 ATL
INDY
DNQ
MIL
CLE
MCH
ROA
POC
RIV
MDO
MCH
CPL
LAG
PHX
- 0
1984 Morales Racing LBH
PHX
INDY
DNQ
MIL
POR
MEA
CLE
MCH
ROA
POC
MDO
SAN
MCH
PHX
LAG
CPL
- 0
1985 Patrick Racing LBH
INDY
23
MIL
POR
MEA
CLE
MCH
ROA POC
MDO SAN
MCH
LAG PHX
MIA
54th 0
1986 Alex Morales Racing PHX
LBH INDY
26
MIL
POR MEA CLE TOR MCH
27
POC
MDO SAN MCH
ROA LAG PHX
MIA
47th 0
1987 Hemelgarn Racing LBH PHX INDY
20
MIL
POR MEA CLE TOR MCH
POC
ROA
MDO
NAZ
LAG
MIA
43rd 0
1988 Machinists Union Racing PHX LBH INDY
17
MIL POR CLE TOR MEA MCH
15
POC
11
MDO ROA NAZ LAG MIA 32nd 2
1989 A. J. Foyt Enterprises PHX
LBH
INDY
8
MIL
DET
POR
CLE
MEA
TOR
25th 5
Arciero Racing MCH
28
POC
MDO
ROA
NAZ
LAG
1990 Arciero Racing PHX LBH INDY
DNQ
MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH DEN VAN MDO ROA NAZ LAG - 0

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Winston Cup Series[edit]

NASCAR Winston Cup Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 NWCC Pts
1990 Ray DeWitt 50 Chevy DAY RCH CAR ATL DAR BRI NWS MAR TAL CLT DOV SON POC MCH
DNQ
DAY POC
40
TAL GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT CAR PHO ATL NA -

Busch Series[edit]

NASCAR Busch Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 NBSC Pts
1988 Bruce Lawmaster 31 Ford DAY HCY CAR
17
MAR DAR BRI LNG NZH SBO NSV CLT DOV ROU LAN LVL MYB OXF SBO HCY LNG IRP ROU BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR CLT CAR MAR 76th 112

References[edit]

External links[edit]