Shorty Templeman

Shorty Templeman

12/8/1919 - 24/8/1962

Clark "Shorty" Templeman was an American racing driver who died in Marion, Ohio as a result of injuries sustained in a midget car crash at the Marion County Fairgrounds track.

Clark "Shorty" Templeman was born in Pueblo, California. He began his racing career in 1945. He met "Wild" Bud Martin when he visisted the garage where Shorty was working with his midget racecar. Shorty bet Martin that he could beat him, so Martin located a suitable car and Shorty bought it.

His first race was at Athletic Park in Tacoma. It was a tough race with a number of crashes but Templeman not only won the bet, but finished 3rd in the main event. Shorty also raced at Bremerton that year.

He sold the car at the end of the season and for 1949 drove for George Pinkham. Seth Reining was impressed with Shorty's driving and lured him away mid-season to drive his V-8 60 rail car, winning two championships with the car.

In 1950 he drove Jack Whalen's Kurtis V-8 60 again winning championships. Jack Whalen then installed an Offy engine and with it Shorty won many more championships in the Northwest.

When Homer Norman sold the Norman #1 Kurtis Offy, Shorty was in town, during the winter, and got wind of the sale. He had been running well in USAC, and offered to "set up" the car, as the new owner was going to run USAC. He went over the car, twisted a lot of bolts, made measurements, spent a couple hours on the car, collected $100.00, and left. The new owner hurried and called Homer, telling of the work Shorty did. Homer then immediately called Shorty, asked what the heck he did to the car, as Homer was an ace race mechanic. Shorty’s reply: Not a Damn thing, I needed the money"!

Shorty won the Washington State Midget Championship five times from 1949 to 1953, the Oregon title three times and he became the first USAC National champion in 1956 and winning it again in 1957 amd 1958.

He famously won three main events the night before the Indy 500, at 16th. Street in 1956 with over a hundred of the nation’s best midget drivers present.

He drove in the AAA and USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1954-1962 seasons with 42 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 races in 1955, 1958, and 1960-1962. He finished in the top ten 16 times, with his best finish in 2nd position, in 1961 at both DuQuoin and Syracuse. His best Indy finish was 4th in 1961.

On the 23 August 1962 on the opening lap at the Marion Fairgrounds, Shorty lost control and his car rolled end-over-end several times. Another six cars got caught up in the crash. Jim Hemmings was thrown from his car and was killed instantly when he was it by another car. Shorty passed away later that evening at Marion General Hospital in Marion, OH, United States.

Templeman was from Seattle, WA, United States. He was married and had four children - Clark Jr., David, Laurie and Bonnie.

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