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Darel Dieringer
Born: June 1, 1926      Died: October 28, 1989 (Age 63)
Home: Indianapolis, IN

Darel Dieringer is a former NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup driver. He made his debut in 1957 driving for John Zink and John Whitford but would see little success until 1963, when driving for Bill Stroppe, he won a race, logged 15 top tens, and finished 7th in points. A solid 1964 was followed up by an even better 1965 season when Dieringer collected 15 more top tens in addition to another win and finished 3rd in series points behind Ned Jarrett and Dick Hutcherson while driving for Bud Moore and a variety of other owners. However, he struggled with reliability in 1966 and despite capturing 3 wins, including his biggest win of his career, the Southern 500, only finished 12th in points. Dieringer ran a part time schedule in 1967 and 1968 with limited success and a single race in 1969. He was out of NASCAR until 1975 when he returned for the Charlotte and Superspeedway races and then retired.


 

DAREL DIERINGER

Darel Dieringer had a short Grand National career from 1961 to 1968. In 1961 and 1962 he raced in a total of 21 races; seven in ’61 and 14 in 1962. He had no wins in either season and was 35th and 33rd in the points standings. In 1963 Darel started in 27 races and finally found the checkered flag at Riverside, CA, the last race of the season. He took seventh in the points race with 21,148.

Darel got his second career win at the second to the last race of the season in 1964 at Augusta, GA. but only placed 11th in points after 27 starts.

Dieringer got his third win in the 1965 Dayton 500 qualifying race and won the pole for the Dayton 500. Although he couldn’t turn his pole into a victory, it seemed to be a step in the right direction for the season. He placed third in overall points behind drivers Ned Jarrett and Dick Hutcherson.

Darel Dieringer Gets Three Wins

1966 was a winning season for Darel. He had his first season with more than just one win. Career win number four came at Monroe, North Carolina, followed by win number five in Weaverville, NC. Dieringer also won at Darlington in ’66.

1967 seemed to be the “Year of the Pole” for Darel Dieringer. In 19 starts that season he won seven pole positions, including the Firecracker 400 at Daytona, the South Eastern 500 at Bristol. He reached the checkered flag for the seventh and last time in his career at Wilkesboro, North Carolina and finished the season 12th on the points list.

Darel had 18 starts in 1968, including a pole position at Weaverville, NC. With no wins he finished his final NASCAR season 21st with 1,525 points.

BIOGRAPHY

Darel Dieringer was born on the 1st June 1926 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He had a short Grand National career, making his debut in 1957 and at first he had little success. In 1961 and 1962 he had no wins although he took part in twenty one races. He finished the seasons at 35th and 33rd respectively. In 1963 he moved from John Zink and John Whitford to drive for Bill Stroppe and he won the last race of the season, the Golden State 400 at Riverside, California. He started in twenty seven races and ended the season at seventh in the point’s race. In 1964 he had to wait until the second from the last race for his second career win at Augusta, Georgia. This season he finished eleventh in the points race. 1965 was an even better year for Darel when he won his third career race in the Daytona 500 qualifying race and he won the pole for the Daytona 500 but unfortunately he was unable to turn this into a win leaving him placed third in the overall points race. The following year, 1966 was a very good season for Darel, giving him his fourth career win at Monroe, North Carolina and yet another win at Weaverville, North Carolina and a sixth and most treasured win driving Bud Moore’s Mercury to victory at Darlington when he beat Richard Petty. Starting nineteen races in 1967 he amasses an amazing seven pole positions including the Firecracker 400 at Daytona and the South Eastern 500 at Bristol. He had his seventh and final win of his career at Wilkesboro, North Carolina and finished twelfth in the point’s race. In 1968 he started eighteen races, gained no wins but had one pole position at Weaverville, North Carolina. He finished twenty first in what was to be his final full time NASCAR season. It seems that Darel ran a limited schedule from 1967 to 1969 with little success and he had just one race in 1969. He returned to NASCAR in 1975 for the National 500 at Charlotte and the Talladega Superspeedway before retiring. Throughout his career Darel raced in 181 races over a twelve year period, gaining seven wins, an incredible seventy nine top ten positions and nine poles.

He was a popular driver, both with his fans and his colleagues and this earned him the title of NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver in 1966. He was also a test driver who in 1965 helped Goodyear to develop the tire inner tube that was to become one of the most important tire safety innovations. Together with Richard Petty, the two gutsy drivers purposely drove over pieces of pipe, sharpened at one end and mounted onto a steel plate at speeds up to 170 mph to test how the car would react. They both found that after the tire failed the car was still controllable and they were able to bring in the cars smoothly and safely into the pits.

Sadly Darel died on 28th of October 1989 at the age of sixty three.

His son, Darel "the Demon" Dieringer. Jr. is continuing with the family tradition of racing by being part of local Indiana short track racing in the Super Truck Division of the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) now the Indy United Racing League (IURL), winning many top 5 points finishes and several top 5 Event finishes. He is a co-owner and drives for RMM.

 

DAREL DIERINGER:  BOOMER AND A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS 

10/01/2015    by David Fulton


“BOOM!!!”  
The sound reverberated off walls, guardrails and grandstands.

“BOOM!!!”  
The sound was heard over the roar of 40-odd NASCAR Grand National race cars.

“BOOM!!!”  
The sound was horrible and in the 1960s it was the last sound a number of Grand National drivers heard just before their death.

“BOOM!!!”  
Was the sound made by exploding Goodyear and Firestone right front tires on NASCAR’s superspeedways. The awful sound was heard just before a race car careened into or over a wall or guardrail or possibly began to barrel roll, taking other cars with it.

“BOOM!!!”  
Was sickening to hear. It nearly always signaled disaster.

“BOOM!!!”  
Is a sound today’s millionaire NASCAR drivers have never heard.
They have one of their own in particular to thank for the absence of the dreaded “BOOM!!!” at today’s NASCAR superspeedway races. That would be the late driver, Darel Dieringer, one of my all-time favorite personalities of many I met during a career in stock car racing.

I first saw Darel Dieringer in the September 1964 Capital City 300 at the half-mile dirt Richmond Fairgrounds bullring. He wheeled car owner, Bud Moore’s #16 Mercury to an 18th place finish that day after starting 6th, two rows behind his front row teammate, Billy Wade in Moore’s #1 twin black & red Mercury. Dieringer’s earnings the first time I saw him drive were $175.
Car owner, Moore had lost his primary driver, Joe Weatherly in a fatal crash at Riverside the same January and unknown to both Dieringer and Moore, Wade would be dead before the first race of 1965. It was a horrible period in auto racing, both in stock cars and on the Indy circuit. I won’t attempt to list the fatalities that took place between the 1964 season openers and 1965 season openers on the two major United States racing circuits. The losses were staggering and cast a real pall over auto racing.
It would be 17 years after that fall 1964 Richmond race before I met Darel Dieringer. That was in 1981 when I was managing the Wrangler Jeans / Dale Earnhardt NASCAR program. It was certainly my loss to have only known Darel for eight years before he succumbed to liver cancer.

Have you ever met someone who could light up a room with an infectious grin? Have you ever met someone your spouse said you should be more like?  Have you ever met someone who always knew the perfect compliment to bestow on a member of the opposite sex? Have you ever met someone who genuinely wanted to help other drivers?

Darel Dieringer was all of those things and a gentleman the whole way.

I never had a hospitality suite at any track when my wife didn’t ask me if I had invited Darel Dieringer. She thought he was really special and she was right. It didn’t hurt that both my wife and Darel’s wife were named Joyce, either.

Darel Dieringer could charm the meanest V.I.P. guest who at first had no desire to be attending a stock car race. Darel’s picture should be above any description of public relations in any training manual.

Daytona bills itself as the “Birthplace of Speed.”Darel, however, was born in Indianapolis in 1926, but made his everlasting contribution to auto racing safety at the Daytona tri-oval.

In a NASCAR career that stretched from 1956 – 1975, Darel made 181 Grand National starts and 21 times drove the NASCAR ragtops.  The record book shows he visited victory lane 7 times in his Grand National career.

Darel had first come to prominence driving for noted west coast Ford and Mercury race car builder, Bill Stroppe.
His biggest win came in the 1966 Southern 500 at Darlington driving Bud Moore’s #16 Mercury Comet. I was there that day, with my buddy, Frank from Richmond. It was our first Darlington adventure. Ironically, Darel would beat Richard Petty, who suffered a catastrophic tire failure in his iconic #43 Plymouth while leading.

Following his 1966 Southern 500 winning season, Darel was voted “Most Popular Driver” by the NASCAR membership.
Although many would point to the Southern 500 win as Darel’s greatest accomplishment, I’d maintain that his contributions at Daytona during January 1965 are the real claim to fame for the member of the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame.

At the time, Darel was chief tire tester for Goodyear. A Goodyear engineer had the idea to see if the manufacturer could mimic Goodyear’s special safety feature “Tire Within a Tire” road tire.
After Christmas 1964 and before the 1965 Daytona 500, Darel and Bud Moore headed to Daytona with the #16 Mercury Comet.
Goodyear engineers affixed a sharpened steel spike to a metal plate and placed it at the entrance to Daytona’s turn 3. Darel’s job was to come down the Daytona back stretch at 140mph and run over the metal spike going into turn 3 and see what happened. Can you imagine the intestinal fortitude it took to make that first run?

Well, the first time by, Darel missed the spike!

Later Dieringer made runs of 150, 160 and 165mph running over that metal spike in the name of saving the lives of yet unborn NASCAR driving stars of the future. The test was deemed a success and Goodyear introduced its new safety inner liner tire at the 1965 Daytona 500. In a nod toward the safety of all drivers, Goodyear shared the technology tested by Darel Dieringer with arch rival, Firestone and was given the NASCAR Award of Excellence.

The story of the test session, unfortunately, had a black side. During one run, Darel blew out both the outer and inner tire and hit the concrete wall at speed, fracturing ribs, collarbone and shoulder and destroying Bud Moore’s #16.

Unable to complete the test for Goodyear after the inner liner test of a standard racing tire, Bud Moore called Spartanburg and had his team dispatch his other driver, Billy Wade and the #1 Mercury to Daytona to complete testing for Goodyear.

On January 5, 1965, Wade had a blowout and crash resulting in his death. It was found that he had slid under his seatbelt on impact with Daytona’s not all soft walls.

Wade’s crash resulted in the introduction of the“submarine” belt, an integral part of the 5-point safety harness that went between drivers’ legs and kept them from sliding under the lap safety belt.
Dieringer later was offered a ride in Junior Johnson’s #26 factory Ford, before being fired by Johnson for what the moonshiner explained as “not pushing the button.”

Recognizing Dieringer’s public relations talent and his ability to work with young drivers, Goodyear named him as their Assistant Field Director. Darel held the position for 5 ˝ years before being offered the position of Field Director for Goodyear racing tires.  He declined that offer because it required a move from Charlotte to Akron, Ohio.

When I met Darel in 1981, he hadn’t driven a race car in 6 years and had only raced a couple of times the last several years. At the time, Darel was a great champion of driver, Lake Speed.

When Lake was running his own Oldsmobile team in 1988, I was ghostwriting all of Oldsmobile’s factory NASCAR news releases. When crew chief Darrell Bryant and engine builder, J.E. Beard put a winning combination under Speed for the 1988 TranSouth 500 at Darlington, I was in victory lane. Speed was quick to thank Darel Dieringer for being his mentor and sticking with him. It was only fitting that Lake Speed’s only career win would come at the same track where his mentor, Dieringer scored his biggest victory
I once had a public relations and marketing office on Old Pineville Road in Charlotte and in 1989 I was representing several NASCAR car owners, drivers and sponsors.

Darel Dieringer got in the habit of dropping by my office every morning around 9:00 a.m. for a cup of coffee. I was the first stop as he “made his rounds”visiting various race folks and shops. It wasn’t until Darel started wearing one of those little sporty car caps to cover his hair loss from chemotherapy that I realized there was a problem.

Darel never stayed long. He knew folks had “work to do.” But, his visit was a wonderful way to start what might have been a rotten day with a smile. The morning visits eventually stopped in mid-summer 1989 as cancer took its terrible toll at age 63.
Darel Dieringer might not have been a“Renaissance Man,” but he was certainly a “Man for All Seasons.” And though Darel Dieringer was born 22 years before me, I think it fair to claim he was also a BOOMER, even though he earned the title not by his birth year, but by assuring that other drivers would live long beyond their own birth year.

NASCAR may have given their Award of Excellence to Goodyear, but every driver who straps in on every superspeedway owes a debt of gratitude to the late Darel Dieringer. I wonder… how many in the contrived “Chase” even know his name?

 


 

 

Model (and above print) by Bill Rankin

DieringerMercuty Maurader #16 and Billy Wade #1

Darel's Son - A driver in his own right

Allow us to introduce our Driver, Darel "the Demon" Dieringer - yes, the son of the late Darel Dieringer, Sr., 1988 inductee into the NASCAR Auto Racing Hall of Fame!

When the boys in the pits at a Circuit of Champions convertible race said "Here comes Darel and the Demon", they were not talking about some being from outer space, but a lean, lanky, hard-driving chauffeur from Deer Lodge, Montana and his three-year-old son.  Darel Jr. with Dad's Trophies

Racing has always been a big part of Darel's life, beginning as his father raced the local tracks around Indiana and worked his way to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, winning pole position in the 1965 Daytona 500 - finishing 2nd in that race.  With many other wins during his career, Darel's father topped them off by winning the 1966 Darlington Southern 500.

Darel has kept the dream alive.  Over the past several years Darel has been a part of local Indiana short track racing in the Super Truck Division of the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS), now the INDY UNITED RACING LEAGUE (IURL).

Darel's team earned the Most Improved Driver Award and finished fourth in points for the season at the end of his second year of racing.  Darel has won multiple top 5 Points finishes and several top 5 Event finishes.  And now, as co-owner and driver for RMM, Darel continues the family tradition.

Darel Dieringer also appears in an interesting story called
"Nascar's REAL Top 50" by Steve Smith            Click Here

Note: Page under construction. Please send stories or pictures for inclusion.

Darel Dieringer Grand National / Winston Cup DRIVER Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1957 31 9 of 53 0 0 3 0 1262 0 1,210 59 14.9 18.8
1958 32 2 of 51 0 0 0 0 125 0 110 131 32.5 27.0
1961 35 7 of 52 0 1 2 0 1008 0 3,150 35 18.1 17.9
1962 36 14 of 53 0 1 3 0 3179 17 5,000 33 16.9 19.4
1963 37 20 of 55 1 7 15 0 5513 84 29,725 7 10.2 9.1
1964 38 27 of 62 1 6 13 1 5662 238 20,684 11 8.3 13.4
1965 39 35 of 55 1 10 15 1 6845 737 52,214 3 12.9 12.9
1966 40 25 of 49 3 7 9 0 4818 515 52,529 12 10.4 15.8
1967 41 19 of 49 1 8 9 6 4537 765 34,709 12 6.1 14.7
1968 42 18 of 49 0 5 8 1 4409 159 28,215 21 8.9 16.6
1969 43 1 of 54 0 0 0 0 119 0 250   4.0 25.0
1975 49 4 of 30 0 0 2 0 923 2 10,530 54 19.5 16.5
12 years 181 7 45 79 9 38,400 2517 238,326   11.4 14.8


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