Louis Jerome "Red" Vogt
September 22, 1904 -
March 7, 1991
Jerome "Red" Vogt, the man
who named the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, has long
been recognized as NASCAR's first master mechanic. Red's racing career
began in the 1920's and ended with his retirement in 1968.
Vogt was born in Washington, D.C. on September 22, 1904. At age 12 he
got his first job with a local Cadillac dealership. In his early 20's he
moved to Atlanta and opened the soon-to-be famous
Red Vogt Garage on the
corner of Spring Street and Linden Avenue.
Red's recognition as a master mechanic began with his association
with Raymond Parks.
Vogt Specials were well known on race tracks throughout the South and
can be seen in every old racing film from the 40's and 50's. Although
the cars bore several different numbers, the most famous were Nos. 14
and 22 owned by Parks. From 1946 to 1949 the team of Vogt and Parks won
four consecutive beach races.
Vogt brought a group of
Atlanta car owners and drivers to Daytona in December 1947 to meet with
Bill France and discuss ways to protect the fledgling sport from
unscrupulous promoters. Although he owned a Georgia charter for the
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Red suggested a joint
effort. To ensure a beginning without controversy, Red gave up the
Georgia charter and suggested that the new organization use the name
the inaugural NASCAR race in February 1948, Red
Byron said, "You can't win a horse race without a good horse,
and you can't win a stock car race without a good car. What the trainer
is to the horse, a mechanic is to the car, and I've got the best
mechanic in the racing business. Red Vogt is the reason I win. He puts
those motors together like a watch. When other mechanics learn his
secret gear ratio, there won't be any stragglers in a race. They'll all
Red operated a garage,
maintained race cars for several owners, and built racing engines for
many other owners. His cars won untold races on tracks in many small
towns on the modified circuit. Those fortunate drivers, who were the
envy of all racers, included stock car drivers Johnny Allen, Red
Byron, Bob Flock, Fonty Flock, Bill France, Roy Hall, Banjo Matthews,
Glenn "Fireball" Roberts, Lloyd Seay, Jack Smith, Curtis Turner, and
Jerry Wimbish and Indy car drivers Chet Gardner, Tony Gulatto,
Floyd Roberts, and Tony Williams.
In the mid-50's Red closed the Atlanta garage, moved to Charlotte, and
worked for the Ford team of Pete DePaolo. He later became crew
chief for Carl Kiekhaefer and for Fish Carburetor.
Red was inducted into the:
- National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame
(Darlington) in 1980
- TRW/NASCAR Mechanics Hall of Fame (inaugural ceremony) in
Red lived for many years
to the south of the back stretch at Daytona International Speedway.
He passed away on March 7, 1991 at his home in Daytona Beach at the age
Matthews scampers down the two-lane backstretch en route to victory in
the 1958 Modified-Sportsman race on Daytona's colorful Beach-Road
course. Matthews was wheeling one of the famous Fish Carburetor cars,
owned by the inventive Bob Fish and wrenched by crew chief Red Vogt and
his side-kick Ray Fox. Matthews' steed was a 1955 Ford powered by a 430
cubic inch Lincoln engine with three M-2 Fish carburetors.
Hall was a tripper who ran shine from the hills of North Georgia
to Atlanta. By age 19 he had a reputation for a reckless disregard
of the rules, both on and off the road. One Atlanta newspaper
reported that the police chased him for two years for running
illegal liquor, speeding, and reckless driving. "He was a genius at
the wheel," said one officer.
Raymond Parks and Roy Hall were cousins, and
Raymond agreed to sponsor Hall on the race track. He hired
Louis Jerome "Red" Vogt to prepare
In March 1940 Hall entered his first Daytona beach race. In true
daredevil style he arrived with the proud boast that he drove from
Atlanta in seven hours and averaged 62 mph, an impressive feat
before the days of interstate highways. A few days later he thrilled
race fans by running his car on two wheels through the North and
won that race in the pits when the race leader, Joe Littlejohn, had
a two-minute pit stop on lap 29. Hall pitted on the 36th lap, and
Vogt got him out in 40 seconds. (Remember this was 1940 when
two-minute pit stops were the norm.) Roy won by half a lap and
established a new race record of 76.53 mph. After the race, he
declared, "I was getting about 95 mph out of my car and I was
getting it all the time. I kept it wide open down both straightaways
and never eased up on the pace, even when I was way ahead."
Hall won the March 2, 1941 beach race by nearly half a
lap over Smokey Purser. In the March 30th race that year, he finished
second behind Purser. He came in eighth in the July race, but finished
outside the top ten in August. When racing resumed in 1946, he competed
in the April race and dueled Red Byron until he threw a wheel in the
When racing resumed after World War II, Roy arrived in Daytona three
days before the June race. He was immediately arrested for speeding and
cutting donuts on Main Street. He explained that he wanted to go to the
local jail because the Daytona hotel rates were too high.
Hall was competing at Tri-City Speedway
in September 1949 when his car went out of control on the first lap. He
sustained critical head injuries that ended his racing career at the age
of 28. He died in 1992.
Raymond Parks, Red Byron, and the naming of NASCAR
Story 1: Georgia
played a big part in NASCAR's success, right from the
start. Dawson County native Raymond Parks and
Atlanta garage owner Louis
"Red" Vogt had prominent roles in the
formation of Bill France's new sanctioning body.
Parks, who owned cars driven by France in the '40s, provided financial
assistance -- and was the owner for the 1949 Strictly Stock championship
won by Red Byron. Vogt, who was Parks' chief mechanic and car designer,
reportedly came up with the phrase "National Association for Stock Car
Automobile Racing" during that famous 1947 meeting in France's Daytona
Story 2: Big Bill
began driving in, and then organizing and promoting, primitive stock car
races on this beach. And in December of 1947, France called a meeting of
racing moguls to organize what he wanted to call the National Stock Car
Racing Association. But at the meeting, Atlanta race car builder Red
Vogt suggested an alternative: the National Association for Stock Car
Auto Racing -- NASCAR.
In December 1947, France, Bill Tuthill and 18 racing men
gathered in the Streamline Hotel (now a Youth
Hostel) at 14 0 South Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach
to form the National Association for Stock Car Auto
Racing (NASCAR) with France as its President. The
name was coined by legendary Atlanta racing mechanic,
who operated a garage on Bellevue Avenue behind the
Daytona Beach Airport. Tuthill was the national
secretary and Erwin G. "Cannonball" Baker was
Commissioner. The first office was in the Selden
Building located at 800 Main Street (now Froggy’s
Saloon.) Later the NASCAR office was moved to 42 N.
Peninsula Drive. Although they promoted races all
over the South, their main event was at Daytona Beach.
France moved the original 1936 beach road course
farther south toward Ponce Inlet. The area was
growing and more space was needed for the course.
France's new beach track opened in 1948. It featured
two tracks, one for motorcycles and one for cars. The
names of competing drivers include Lee Petty, Cotton
Owens, Curtis Turner, Tim Flock, Sammy Packard, Joe
Weatherly, “Banjo” Matthews, Marvin Panch and many