Darel Dieringer

Darel Dieringer

1/6/1926 - 28/10/1989

Darel Dieringer was from Indianapolis and had a relatively 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 the Riverside 400, CA, the last race of the season driving a Mercury Marauder for the Mercury team of Bill Stroppe and Associates. He took seventh in the points race with 21,148.

In 1964 in the next to last race of the season at Augusta, Georgia, Darel picked up his second career win.  He started twenty-seven races and finished 11th in the points race with 19,972 points.

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. Dieringer was also a test driver and along with Richard Petty in 1965 helped develop the tire inner tube, that became one of the most important tire safety innovations. Six drivers died in Grand National races, mostly due to tire failures caused by the increased tire loadings on the high banks in the early '60's.

The tire engineers took a piece pipe and cut it to what they hoped was the right length, sharpened the one end and mounted it on a steel plate. Darel was first out, he calmly aimed his Bud Moore Mercury at the piece of pipe at about 150 miles per hour and missed! Undaunted, Darel came storming around the tri-oval again, at about 165 mph this time, and this time ran over the pipe. Darel said the car sorta wiggled a little and there was a slight thump, but he controlled the car easily went on around and brought it into the pits with no problem.

The engineers placed some more pieces of pipe on the track. As Richard climbed into the Petty Plymouth he said to Darel, "Ain't this a heck of a way to make a living". Then he went out and upped the ante to about 170, the results were the same. This time going into the third turn, the loud bang, a slight bobble and Richard brought the Plymouth smoothly into the pits.

In 1966, Dieringer, then 40, was chosen Most Popular, he won three of the 25 races he ran, winning at Monroe, North Carolina; Weaverville, North Carolina and Darlington, South Carolina.  He finished 12th in the points race.

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 also picked up his last career win (7th) at Wilkesboro, North Carolina and finished the season 12th on the points list.

In 1968 Darel started 18 races had no wins and finished 21st in the points race with 1,525 points.

Dieringer finished his 181-race career with the seven victories, nine poles, and 79 top ten finishes to his credit over twelve seasons on NASCAR’s top circuit. Darel Dieringer passed away in 1989 at the age of sixty-three.

Leave a comment

Comments