Hassler by his car
|Born||June 29, 1935|
Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
|Died||February 17, 1972 (aged 36)|
Daytona Beach, Florida, United States
|Cause of death||Racing accident|
|Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career|
|135 races run over 10 years|
|Best finish||16th (1971)|
|First race||1960 National 400 (Charlotte)|
|Last race||1972 Winston Western 500 (Riverside)|
Hassler made his debut in 1960 but only drove a handful of races per year until 1967 when he drove 21 of the 49 races for Red Sharp and finished 32nd in points. He improved to 27th for Sharp the next year and drove his own car in 1969 to a 28th-place finish. In a late model car at the end of the year, he scored a win in the second annual Snowball Derby, now regarded as one of short track racing's most prestigious races. In 1970 he drove for James Hanley and finished 20th in points. His best season was 1971, when he drove his own car to 13 top ten finishes and a 16th place points result.
At the 1971 Volunteer 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Hassler was a relief driver for race winner Charlie Glotzbach. It was not an official win for Hassler, and it is one of only three instances when two drivers drove the winning car in a NASCAR premier series race.
Hassler died in a 13 car-pileup during the first qualifying race for the 1972 Daytona 500 at the age of 36 and at the peak of his career. It happened on lap 19 when No.57 Dodge of David Ray Boggs blew a right rear tire. With drivers still piling into the crash scene, Hassler, blinded by smoke and debris, spun his No.39 Chevy into the infield grass before it slid back into the track, slammed the outside wall and got struck by No.54 Dodge of Jimmy Crawford, knocking it back into the wall. Hassler was killed instantly from massive head and neck injuries.
Hassler is prominently featured in the 1975 book The World's Number One, Flat-Out, All-Time Great Stock Car Racing Book by Jerry Bledsoe. His son Jay lives in the Hixson, Tennessee area, owning an equipment rental firm. He has run an occasional super late model race at Five Flags Speedway where his father won the Snowball.
- "Racing information for Friday Hassler". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
- "Glotzbach wins 500 at Bristol". Google News. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
- "Isaac, Allison capture wins in 125-mile races". Google News. Retrieved 2012-04-23.