Our Blog 1/2023

Bob Osiecki was a NASCAR team owner who, in 1960, took up the challenge to set a new closed course record of 180 mph in Mad Dog IV.

Bob Osiecki was a NASCAR team owner during the mid to late Fifties, entering two 1957 Plymouths in the 1957 Daytona 500 on the beach course. That year he also started the Chester Drag strip and the Charlotte Custom Car Show.

However he makes these pages due to his attempts to set a new closed course record of over 180 mph.

05-Jan-23 historicracing.com

Bob Osiecki was a NASCAR team owner during the mid to late Fifties, entering two 1957 Plymouths in the 1957 Daytona 500 on the beach course. That year he also started the Chester Drag strip and the Charlotte Custom Car Show.

In 1960, took up the challenge to set a new closed course record of 180 mph in Mad Dog IV.

All Bob Osiecki's cars were called Mad Dog and when in 1960 Big Bill France offered $10,000.00 to anyone who could break the 180 mph barrier on the closed course at the recently opened Daytona Speedway, Bob set about securing the prize.

The outright record for a closed course was 177.38 mph set by Tony Bettenhausen in Monza, Italy. It looked like a tall order but in 1961 he purchased a 1958 Frank Kurtis Indy Roadster installed a supercharged Chrysler 413 motor and in February had the car ready for Speed-Week.

Brian Naylor was first to take the wheel of Mad Dog IV but could only manage 157mph.

Next up Larry Frank tried his luck but after a lap of 166 mph, he spun on the back straight leaving a skid mark a third of a mile long! Frank, no doubt thankful for his salvation, prudently declared that it was not possible and went home.

But Osiecki was not a man to be take things lying down and he went off to hire some engineers from Douglas Aviation. They came up with a pair of inverted wings similar to those that had been used in 1928 on Fritz von Opel’s RAK 2.


Malone's wife (not smiling), a spectator and Art Malone.

He then hired Art Malone a Top Fuel Dragster driver. Malone had a young family and needed the money, not a good combination.

Malone took the job on sensibly, spending a week testing, gradually gaining experience. Over the 7 days, they went through 14 sets of tires and got the car close to 170 without problems.


Bob Osiecki and Art Malone after setting the record.

His first attempt on the target was on August 5th 1961, he managed to set a mark of 177.479, a new outrght closed course record. By August 21st he had raised the record to 178.253. On August 23rd Malone spun at 178 mph but, like Larry Frank, Malone did not hit anything. However unlike Frank, Malone was made of sterner stuff and was prepared to get back into the machine and try again!

And so it came to pass on August 27th 1961 Art Malone drove Bob Osiecki's "Mad Dog IV" to a lap speed of 181.561 MPH.


Bill France handing over the cheque for $10,000

Bob Osiecki died of a heart attack in 1964, he was just 43. Malone was injured in an airboat accident in the early 2010s; failing to fully recover from his injuries, he died on March 29, 2013. He took the 1963 AHRA Top Fuel title and also raced in the USAC Championship Car series making ten startes between 1962 and 1965 seasons, including the 1963 and 1964 Indianapolis 500 races.

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