Donald Hoag

Donald Hoag

2/11/1926

Donald "Dutch" Hoag is an American racing driver who won the Langhorne National Open five times when it was the most prestigious event for Modified and Sportsman racers.

<font face="Tahoma" size="2">He was the only driver to win that race both when Langhorne Speedway's surface was dirt (1956, 1960, 1963) and when it was asphalt (1967, 1968). He won an estimated 400 feature events, and won numerous track championships. Hoag was selected for the DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame (one of thirteen charter members), the New York State Stock Car Association Hall of Fame, and the FOAR Score Hall of Fame.

Hoag first raced in 1949. A new racetrack was opened in Naples, New York, and Hoag wanted to try racing. He bought a car from Bob Ratcliffe for $175 and towed it to the track on a chain. Later that year, Hoag won his first feature, at the Civic Stadium in Corning, New York.

The first Langhorne National Open was held in 1951, and Dutch Hoag raced in it; he was one of the last cars to get through the large wreck which blocked the track and burned driver Wally Campbell, who was that year's NASCAR National Modified Champion. The National Open was the premiere event for weekly racers; track champions and other top racers from everywhere Modified and Sportsman cars were raced, gathered at a large, fast speedway where nobody had a home-track advantage. The race was renamed to the "Race of Champions" when it was moved to Trenton in 1972 after Langhorne Speedway was closed.

Dutch Hoag first won the National Open in 1956, in a car he didn't normally drive. This was Hal Kempeny's 1937 Ford coupe, which had been driven for its previous owner by Pete Corey. It had a Ford overhead-valve V-8 engine.

Hoag won the 1960 and 1963 Langhorne races with another team that wasn't his regular ride. These were with car owner Dave McCredy, as a teammate to Bill Wimble, two-time NASCAR national Sportsman champion.

In 1967, Hoag won the National Open driving for the Turner Brothers, his car owners in weekly racing at several tracks in New York State, along with traveling to special events elsewhere. Hoag and the Turners won one hundred features together.

Dutch Hoag's last Langhorne victory was in 1968, driving his own car. His team was sponsored by the road-construction company of Gene DeWitt, who later was nationally noted as car owner for Richie Evans' team when Evans won nine NASCAR national Modified championships. Hoag won the 1968 National Open by a full lap.

Dutch Hoag won season championships in the Stock Car, Sportsman, and Modified divisions at several weekly speedways. He won three consecutive Stock division titles at Bath Speedway (Bath, New York) in 1952 through 1954. He won six championships at Monroe County Fairgrounds (Rochester, New York): 1952 through 1955, 1964, and 1967. He was the 1953 Sportsman champion at Hemlock Fairgrounds (Hemlock, New York). He won the Sportsman championship in 1953 and 1954 at Canandaigua Speedway (Canandaigua, New York). He was the Modified division champion at Shangri-La Speedway (Owego, New York) in 1965, 1969, and 1970. In 1965 through 1967, Hoag won three consecutive track championships at Spencer Speedway (Williamson, New York). He also won the unofficial New York State Modified Championship held at the NYS Fairgrounds (Syracuse, New York) in 1967 and 1968, which were the first two years cars with overhead valve engines were allowed to compete in this race.

Hoag raced in four NASCAR Grand National (predecessor to NEXTEL Cup) races: one in 1952 (Monroe County Fairgrounds), two in 1955 (Palm Beach Speedway, Monroe County Fairgrounds), and one in 1957 (at Langhorne). His best finish was eighth, at Palm Beach in 1955.

In 1969, Hoag raced a 1965 Dodge, built by Ray Fox for Grand National racing, in the Permatex 300 for Late Model Sportsman cars (predecessor to the Busch Series) at Daytona International Speedway. Hoag finished second to Lee Roy Yarbrough.

Geoff Bodine's first taste of Modified driving came in Dutch Hoag's car at Shangri-La Speedway, when Hoag let him try it in a practice session. Bodine worked on Dutch Hoag's crew in 1968 and 1969. In the 1969 Race of Champions, Bodine handed the wrong tire over the wall during a pit stop. This was a time when Modifieds ran very different tire sizes among the four corners, so Hoag had to make an extra pit stop. Bodine went on to win the first Race of Champions after it was moved from Langhorne to Trenton Raceway in 1972.

Dutch's son Dean Hoag got his start by driving Dutch's backup Modified, an older car, at Shangri-La Speedway. Dean drove Modifieds for a few years in the 1970s. Dean won the 1978 Perry Raceway (now Wyoming County International Speedway) Modified title with his #7. When Oswego Speedway created a Limited Supermodified division, Dean Hoag was a top contender driving the #41, with 16 feature victories to lead that division's all-time win list. Dean claimed the 1996 and 1997 titles before retiring in 1999. He went on to own Black Rock Speedway (Dundee, New York).

Alex Hoag, Dutch Hoag's grandson and Dean Hoag's son, has won feature races in several divisions on dirt tracks, and was named Rookie of the Year in the DIRT organization's 358 Modified division in 2000. He has raced asphalt Modifieds as his grandfather did. He has raced in limited schedules on the Whelen Modified Tour and the Busch East Series.

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