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Harry Hyde
Born January 17, 1925  -  Died May 13, 1996
Birthplace: Brownsville, Kentucky
 

Harry Hyde was a leading crew chief in NASCAR stock car racing in the 1960s through the 1980s, winning 56 races and 88 pole positions. He was the 1970 championship crew chief for Bobby Isaac. He inspired the Harry Hogge character in the movie Days of Thunder.

Early life

Born in Brownsville, Kentucky on January 17, 1925, he learned to be a mechanic in the Army during WW II. Upon returning home he worked as an auto mechanic and drove race cars for a couple years, then continued racing as a car builder for local competitions in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio.

Racing Career
In 1965 he was hired by Nord Krauskopf to be the crew chief of the K&K Insurance team. By 1969 the team began to see considerable success with driver Bobby Isaac, winning 17 races. In 1970 the team won the NASCAR championship and Hyde was named Mechanic of the Year.


Harry Hyde with Bobby Isaac

The K&K team was one of the leaders through most of the 1970s, but in 1977 Krauskopf sold the team to J. D. Stacy. The team continued to win some races, but in 1978 the relationship between Stacy and Hyde deteriorated and Hyde left the team in mid-June. Late in 1978 Hyde would sue Stacy, and eventually would win.

In 1979 Amelio Scott hired Harry Hyde to be the crew chief for his family team in 1979 with his son Tighe Scott as the driver. Their first race together was the 1979 Daytona 500. Scott finished sixth in the race. At the following race at Rockingham Speedway, Scott recorded his best NASCAR result when he finished fourth. They competed in 15 more events that season and ten more in 1980 before parting ways.

In 1980 Hyde opened his own racing engine shop and supplied engines to various teams. In 1984, he was hired by Rick Hendrick to be crew chief for a team he was partner in, All Star Racing. The partnership did not work out, and Hendrick bought the team out forming Hendrick Motorsports. The team won three races in 1984 with Geoff Bodine driving.

Hyde was then paired with new driver Tim Richmond, a young open-wheel racer from Ashland, Ohio, as Hendrick went to a two-car operation. The brashness of the new driver from outside the southern stock car circuit did not initially sit well with the notably irascible Hyde. However, after a few races they developed a relationship and began to win races. This season was the source of much of the story line for the motion picture Days of Thunder. Hyde's character was portrayed by Robert Duvall.

The team was very successful in 1986. Richmond won 7 races and finished third in points behind legends Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip.

Richmond, who was noted for womanizing, was diagnosed with AIDS during 1987 and missed most of the season with illness which he explained to the public as pneumonia. Veteran Benny Parsons and owner Rick Hendrick filled in for the #25 team. Richmond still managed to win 2 races in 8 starts but resigned from the team late that year. The combined performance of the three drivers would have been good enough for second in points in the driver standings.

Ken Schrader became the driver for the #25 team in 1988 but Hendrick had become a three car operation, and Hyde sometimes felt ignored. He left after the season to become crew chief for Stavola Brothers Racing where he worked through the first half of the 1991 season, before moving to Chad Little's #19 Bullseye BBQ/Tyson Foods Ford. <need research help 1992 to 1996>

Hyde's race shop is still part of the Hendrick Motorsports facility, and a road within the complex is known as Hyde's Way.

Hyde died in 1996 of a heart attack brought on by a blood clot, and was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2004.

 

Teams, Numbers and Drivers

·                    K&K Insurance, #71, Gordon Johncock (1965), Earl Balmer (1965–1966), Bobby Isaac (1967–      1972), Buddy Baker (1972–1974), Dave Marcis (1974–1976)

·                    Jim Stacy, #5: Neil Bonnett, #6: Ferrel Harris (1977–1978)

·                    Russ Togs #30, Tighe Scott (1979–1980)

·                    All Star Racing, #5, Geoff Bodine (1984)

·                    Hendrick Motorsports, #5 Geoff Bodine (1985), #25, Tim Richmond (1986–1987), 
     
Benny Parsons (1987), Rick Hendrick (1987), Ken Schrader (1988)

·                    Stavola Brothers, #8, Bobby Hillin, Jr. (1989_1991)

·                    Chad Little, #19 Chad Little (1991)

Days of Thunder Movie Notes

Lots of the stories Childress told involved Harry Hyde.  Hyde did argue with Benny Parsons regarding whether he really needed new tires, but the ice cream thing was pure Hollywood.  Hyde really did order Buddy Baker, in Nord Krauskopf’s Dodge, to hit the pacecar, because he’d hit everything else.  Nobody who knew Richmond ever mistook him for BeePee or old Marblemouth.

Cole Trickle (from Days of Thunder) is presented as not understanding what makes a car work, and Richmond wasn’t a crack mechanic.  But, he could explain what adjustments were needed, although, at first, he had communication difficulties with Hyde.  By all accounts, that changed when the two called each other out.  The sixty-two-year-old Hyde stepped outside to put a whoopin’ on the snot-nosed youngster, while Richmond stayed inside, explaining that he’d look pretty damn stupid getting his ass kicked by a guy twice his age.  Incidentally, David Pearson had already decked Richmond with one punch.

More Hyde

Harry Hyde was born in Brownsville, KY on 17 January 1925, which made him prime cannon fodder for the invasion of Okinawa.  Like so many others, he didn’t care to talk about his wartime experiences.  In addition to learning demolition, Hyde spent a lot of time around the motor pool and picked up some knowledge of engines and suspensions. 

After the war, Hyde opened an automatic transmission shop and a junkyard, then, built himself a racecar.  Hyde’s driving record is uncertain, but his car building business expanded to Ohio and Indiana.  In 1964, Hyde teamed with Georgia driver Sam McQuagg, entering Sportsman and Grand National events.  The team was headquartered in Hyde’s little shop in Louisville KY and was sponsored by K&K Insurance tycoon Nord Krauskopf. 

In 1968, Hyde hooked up with North Carolina driver Bobby Isaac.  Hyde recognized Isaac’s natural talents, and understood his shyness.  Isaac had little formal education, and was uncomfortable in most simple conversations.  Hyde quickly established common ground, and the Krauskopf team won eleven races and the Grand National Championship in 1970.  That team moved to Charlotte and included Hyde’s son Harry Lee Hyde, Hyde’s nephew Tommy Johnson, fabricator Robert Gee, Ray Fox Jr, and Buddy Parrott.  Hyde’s greatest skill was his ability to manage and care for all the team members, not just the drivers.  The 1970 Championship was worth $30,000, but each crew member received a diamond ring to remember their season.

Isaac left K&K to drive for Bud Moore, and Buddy Baker, Bobby Unser, Dave Marcis, and Neil Bonnett all had a turn behind the Krauskopf wheel.  All experienced success. Johnson recalled how everything was hand-made.  “Harry was a perfectionist, and we took great care to seal up the front end of the automobile and the grill area.  Instead of leaving the front end wide open, we would adjust the amount of air that could come in from behind, allowing only what we needed to run cool.  That contributed to our success… especially on the speedways. Plus we had good engines.  We were miles per hour faster than other people.”

They also had Harry’s little black book.  He recorded every lap time of every driver at every track, as well as the spring and gears used.  Hyde’s database allowed him to tailor each ride to each driver’s style.

When Krauskopf sold the race team to J.D. Stacy, things turned sour.  Stacy’s primary business was speculation in coal leases for property in Virginia and West Virginia.  It’s been said that the best way to make a small fortune in racing is to start out with a big one.  Stacy had a different business model.  He had a reputation for not paying his bills.  When he suffered the inevitable financial difficulties, he listed Hyde’s shop and equipment as his personal assets.  The sheriff arrived, and padlocked the doors to seize Hyde’s property.  Hyde spent five years and $235,000 in legal fees to recover the shop and some five-year-old racecars. 

            Hyde rented Gee’s shop, and the team built cars for modifieds driver Tighe Scott.  Although most of his income was going to legal battles, Hyde hired young mechanic Jimmy Makar. After Scott’s family decided he wouldn’t make it in Winston Cup racing, Hyde ran a team for Warren Fabricating with driver John Anderson, who was later replaced by Donnie Allison. 

Hyde had great success communicating with Bobby Isaac, who wouldn’t talk to anybody.  When Dave Marcis, who’d run his own race team, joined up, insiders predicted friction between two roosters in the barnyard.  Hyde learned what setups worked for the ex-farmboy, and the two got along famously.  Marcis left because of an argument with Stacy. 

Buddy Baker was a bundle of nerves.  Hyde kept Baker on an even keel by distracting him with any activity except racing.

Allison was a pretty fair mechanic himself, and had learned racing setups from his brother Eddie.  Hyde accepted Allison’s recommendations as a starting point each weekend, but even the master mechanics couldn’t keep the aero-challenged Oldsmobile from going airborne at Charlotte’s World 600.

     Harry Hyde's two Pontiacs which were the top competitors at the Fairgrounds Motor Speedway in Louisville
in 1964 and 1965, before Harry moved up to NASCAR. The 14 was driven by Jesse Baird, and the 16 by Andy Hampton. The photos were taken outside of Harry's transmission shop on Crittenden Drive across from the state fairgrounds.


Harry Hyde - Pick a Hemi....

 

 

 

K & M a wholesale company that produced racing cards during the 1990-1992 era.... this approximately 3 3/16 x 3 3/8" black and white acetate slide was used to produce card #HH22 in the Harry Hyde Sports Legends set....it shows Hyde and his crew in front of the #8 "Thundermug" car that they built in 1954...

 

 

 


Rick Wilson and Harry Hyde in the Snickers #8 Buick

 

 


           
                        Bobby Isaac (L) Harry Hyde after Wilkesboro 400 win
 


Harry Hyde with Neil Bonnet at Daytona


 

         Grand National & Winston Cup Statistics

Year Driver Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1966 Earl Balmer 7 0 1 1 0 1327 3 5,890 36 5.9 24.3
1966 Gordon Johncock 3 0 0 1 0 430 12 2,015   16.0 18.3
1967 Bobby Allison 2 0 0 0 0 597 0 2,375 4 16.0 12.0
1967 Charlie Glotzbach 9 0 3 5 0 1783 4 14,870 23 11.8 19.0
1967 Bobby Isaac 11 0 3 5 0 2549 65 22,385 14 11.6 13.8
1967 Sam McQuagg 1 0 0 0 0 57 1 535 36 6.0 18.0
1968 Bobby Isaac 49 3 27 36 3 12947 1384 44,730 2 5.7 8.1
1968 Sam McQuagg 3 0 0 2 0 750 5 4,165 54 15.3 13.7
1969 Bobby Isaac 50 17 29 33 19 12308 5053 82,110 6 3.6 10.0
1970 Bobby Isaac 47 11 32 38 13 12726 3188 124,545 1 3.8 6.8
1971 Bobby Isaac 25 4 16 17 4 6856 1753 106,025 23 4.1 10.8
1971 Dave Marcis 1 0 0 1 0 181 38 6,025 21 2.0 9.0
1972 Buddy Baker 7 1 5 5 1 2803 448 48,165 24 2.4 5.9
1972 Bobby Isaac 24 1 10 10 9 5326 1314 128,240 19 3.0 17.5
1973 Buddy Baker 27 2 16 20 5 8369 975 174,315 6 7.6 11.1
1974 Buddy Baker 3 0 2 2 0 780 45 14,775 7 15.7 13.0
1974 Ray Hendrick 1 0 0 0 0 179 0 620 128 10.0 18.0
1974 Bobby Isaac 1 0 0 0 0 81 0 1,372 33 27.0 32.0
1974 Dave Marcis 2 0 0 0 0 268 0 2,087 6 17.5 30.0
1975 Dave Marcis 30 1 16 18 4 8324 458 193,460 2 7.2 12.0
1976 Gordon Johncock 1 0 0 0 0 41 0 870   9.0 39.0
1976 Dave Marcis 30 3 9 16 8 8355 893 192,900 6 4.4 13.8
1977 Neil Bonnett 23 2 5 9 6 5993 493 115,630 18 6.7 16.2
1977 Tom Sneva 1 0 0 0 0 194 0 1,150   12.0 27.0
1978 Neil Bonnett 16 0 4 8 3 3507 38 86,115 12 10.6 18.9
1978 Ferrel Harris 2 0 0 2 0 380 0 17,250 35 14.0 8.0
1979 Tighe Scott 17 0 1 7 0 3834 0 87,300 27 18.6 17.9
1980 Tighe Scott 10 0 1 2 0 1066 4 21,925 39 16.1 28.4
1984 Geoffrey Bodine 30 3 7 14 3 8848 686 351,855 9 10.1 14.8
1986 Tim Richmond 29 7 13 17 8 8544 1006 657,670 3 4.7 9.9
1987 Tim Richmond 1 1 1 1 0 200 82 40,325 36 3.0 1.0
1989 Bobby Hillin, Jr. 28 0 1 7 0 8377 26 232,204 16 24.6 17.5
1990 Bobby Hillin, Jr. 29 0 1 4 0 8281 60 282,169 19 23.9 19.8
1991 Rick Wilson 29 0 0 0 0 7966 10 239,025 26 22.5 23.0
1993 P.J. Jones 6 0 0 1 0 710 0 50,070 42 29.3 26.8
1993 Chad Little 2 0 0 0 0 461 0 34,865 51 27.5 29.0
1993 Greg Sacks 1 0 0 0 0 320 0 10,305 35 40.0 23.0
22 years 558 56 203 282 86 145718 18044 3,400,332   9.9 14.1



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