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Richard Frank Vogler (July 26, 1950 – July 21, 1990) was a 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.

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

Racing careerEdit

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 summaryEdit

 
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.

DeathEdit

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 Monster Energy 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.

MemorialsEdit

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 awardsEdit

Motorsports career resultsEdit

Complete USAC Mini-Indy Series resultsEdit

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

NASCAREdit

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

Winston Cup SeriesEdit

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 SeriesEdit

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

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit