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Raymond "Friday" Hassler
Born July 29, 1935 - Died February 17, 1972 (Racing Crash at Daytona)
Birthplace: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Friday Hassler was a NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup Series driver and one of NASCAR's most competitive independent (non-factory) drivers. He 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 1970 he drove for James Hanley and finished 20th in points. 1971 was his best season when he drove his own car to 13 top tens and a 16th place points result.

Hassler was one of the few drivers running Chevrolets in the late 60's and early 70's, campaigning a Chevelle when Chevrolet was basically a non-entity. But, he had some great moments, especially the year before his death, winning two poles, one a short track, the other at the peanut shaped Trenton Speedway, and his high point, when he drove many laps at the caution free Volunteer 500 in relief of Charlie Glotzbach. They scored Chevrolet's first NASCAR win in years,  It was the fastest race ever run at Bristol with no caution flags.. Friday Hassler was killed at the age of 36 and the peak of his career in a thirteen car pile up caused by Dave Boggs flat tire on a restart during one of the 125 mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500. Friday Hassler was very well liked by his fellow drivers.
  

Hassler competed in 135 races from 1960 - 1972.  His best finish was second at Islip Speedway in 1971.  All told, Hassler scored twelve top fives, forty-eight top tens, and two poles in his career. 

Friday's Facts:

  • Legends are honored
    Atomic's Hall of Fame has inducted many of the area's top drivers, owners, and contributors to the sport both at Atomic and in the east Tennessee region. Each year, Atomic inducts several new members. Here is a members of Atomic's Hall of Fame: 1976 - Claude Donovan, Friday Hassler, Brownie King
     
  • 135 races run over 10 years.
    Best Cup Position: 16th - 1971 (Winston Cup)
    First Race: 1960 National 400 (Charlotte)
    Last Race: 1972 Winston Western 500 (Riverside)
    Top 10's: 48
    Poles: 2


Thirty-seven years ago Tuesday 2/17/09, Raymond 'Friday' Hassler lost his life during speed weeks in Daytona running the first twin 125 qualifier in this exact car.
Stunning model and scene by Rioux. See more at House of Hardtops.

  • 1971 -- In the caution-free Volunteer 500 at Bristol which is the fastest race ever run at Bristol, with no cautions. Charlie Glotzbach started the winning car and had relief help from Raymond "Friday" Hassler.
     

  • In NASCAR, John Utsman and Friday Hassler both drove winning cars in NASCAR races as relief drivers. But neither is recognized as a victor, because of the way that NASCAR considers the driver at the start of the race to be the only one that counts.
     

  • Jay “Friday” Hassler, Jr.
    Jay is the son of the late NASCAR Winston Cup Driver, Friday Hassler. Jay owns his own business, a rental store, and races in the NASCAR Weekly Series sponsored by Dodge. Jay and his wife, Angela, are active in their church where they also teach a 5 year old Sunday School class. Jay and Angela have two children. Current Southern All-Stars Series competitor and NASCAR Weekly Series Sponsored by Dodge.
                           
     

  • A win by Kevin Harvick's at New Hampshire International Speedway marked the 400th time a Chevy Monte Carlo crossed a NASCAR finish line at the front of the pack. Since the Chevrolet Monte Carlo's first year of NASCAR competition in 1971, the car has been one of GM's biggest successes in racing and the ball started rolling with a win (and a record set) by Charlie Glotzbach - with help from Friday Hassler  - at Bristol on July 11, 1971.

                
                                     Extraordinary 1968 Chevy Model by Rioux.
                                              See more at House of Hardtops.

    Chevy Story: One of the first teams to run a Monte Carlo (and the first to score a win for the car) was run by Richard Howard and NASCAR legend Junior Johnson. Johnson had made his name in racing in the previous decade driving the famous 'Mystery Motor' Chevy Impala and the new Monte Carlo was painted in the same white as his old Chevy. The team retained the services of one Robert Yates to build engines and the driving was done by former Dodge wheelman Charlie Glotzbach.


                       
    Proving the car was capable of competing, Glotzbach already had put the No. 3 Monte Carlo on the pole position at Charlotte Motor Speedway's World 600 in May of 1971 but it was at the Volunteer 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway where the beginning of Chevy's return to NASCAR prominence took place.

    Glotzbach started the race on the front row after qualifying second. After leading much of the first half of the race, he pitted and Friday Hassler took over (the hot conditions were too much for most drivers in the days before cool suits and helmet air-conditioners.) Hassler then fought Bobby Allison for the lead and ended up winning by three laps. Amazingly enough, there were no cautions during the 500-mile event – something that has not happened at Bristol since.

            
    "The years have robbed my memory of a lot of races, but I sure recall that one!" said Johnson in an August 21 interview from thatsracin.com. "I consider what happened at Bristol that day nothing short of a miracle. It just doesn't seem possible that 30 cars, the size of the field back then, could run 266 miles there without somebody hitting the wall or spinning out."

    "Another thing that continues to impress me about the race in 1971 is that Charlie, and then Friday Hassler, were able to run so fast all afternoon. Because there were no caution flags, they combined to average over 100 miles an hour."

    Their average was 101.074 mph, which also set a track record for a 500-lap event.


     


Wreck with Ed Negre

        Friday Hassler Grand National & Winston Cup Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn RAF Miles LLF
1960 25 2 of 44 0 0 0 0 251 0 425 87 26.5 32.0 1 376.5 0
1961 26 7 of 52 0 0 1 0 939 0 2,175 53 32.2 26.3 3 1512.8 0
1962 27 2 of 53 0 0 0 0 257 0 300 114 23.0 23.5 1 321.3 0
1966 31 9 of 49 0 1 3 0 2431 0 4,290 56 20.6 19.9 3 1797.4 0
1967 32 21 of 49 0 3 9 0 4309 12 10,270 32 15.1 18.6 8 3092.0 0
1968 33 20 of 49 0 3 8 0 5012 0 12,000 27 15.7 15.4 13 4244.6 0
1969 34 18 of 54 0 0 7 0 4607 3 18,000 28 15.9 15.3 9 4665.3 0
1970 35 26 of 48 0 1 6 0 5439 56 27,535 20 17.2 16.7 15 6517.9 0
1971 36 29 of 48 0 4 13 2 5650 68 37,305 16 11.7 18.0 17 7136.6 0
1972 37 1 of 31 0 0 1 0 137 0 2,020 93 7.0 9.0 1 358.9 0
10 years 135 0 12 48 2 29032 139 114,320   16.4 17.9 71 30023.2 0

 


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