historicracing

Born on this day (23rd - April)

1851 - 1898


Wilhelm Werner

1874 - 1947


Bob Burman

1884 - 1916


1932


Dick Atkins

1936 - 1966


Larry Rice

1946 - 2009


Mike Smith

1955 - 2014


Mike Ciochetti

1959


Pierluigi Martini

1961


Chris Kneifel

1961


Paul Belmondo

1963


Parnelli Jones Jr

1969


Thiago Marques

1980



Died on this day (23rd - April)

1892 - 1948


1912 - 1950


Dempsey Wilson

1927 - 1971


Alfred Ethelbert Moss

1896 - 1972



Don Freeland
Don Freeland
UNITED STATES

Born
25 / 3 / 1925
Died
2 / 11 / 2007
Raced at the Indy 500 eight times from 1953 untill 1960. His best finish was 3rd in 1956.

Freeland served as a diesel mechanic with the US Navy in the South Pacific during World War II and started racing soon after his return from active duty racing track roadsters in Southern California.

Migrating to the Midwest with many of his colleagues in the early 1950s, he divided his time for a brief period between driving AAA sprint cars and serving as a self-proclaimed "stooge" on the Bob Estes Championship car that was under the joint care of Jud Phillips and A. J. Watson. Whenever Watson and Phillips needed a driver, they all joked, Freeland was ready to jump in, the Estes "ride" becoming his for five of the next six years.

Freeland competed in the Indy 500 eight times between 1953 to 1960. He was heading for a second place finish in 1955 when transmission failure put him out justd 22 laps from the finish. He was back in 1956 and posted his best result at Indy finishing third. He also finished 7th in 1954 and 1958.

A steady and reliable driver in AAA and USAC National Championship events who was almost invariably around at the finish, the laconic Freeland scored 36 top-10 finishes between 1952-60. He won four poles, led 134 laps of competition and had 10 finishes of either second or third. He ranked third in the 1956 USAC championship points standings.

For several years in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Freeland was one of several drivers who made quite an impact as a member of the Champion Spark Plug Company's Highway Safety program, in which "500" drivers would visit the nation's high schools to give safe-driving tips to students.

He died in San Diego after a period of declining health.





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