wide world of racing owes a lot to racing legend Wayne McGuire. In
the 50's and 60's he stormed the world of Motorsports with his innovative
and daring ways. The blue and white #41 turned the heads of the crowd
and made other drivers scratch their heads, questioning how did he
do that? Throughout Wayne's short 15 years of racing he accomplished
more than most do in a lifetime.
A resident hailing from Gregoryville, KY, Wayne built
his first racecar in the winter of 1952, a '39 Chevy with a 6-cylincer
GMC. At this point Wayne knew he could defeat all odds and make a
living doing what he loved-racing. During his first season of racing
Wayne not only won many races, but also finished second in points
for the Kentucky State Championship for NASCAR. This prosperous rookie
year was just the beginning of his many accomplishments. In 1954 and
1955, the "Tiger on Wheels" no longer accepted second place
finishes, grasping consecutive wins of the Kentucky State Championship
for NASCAR. Between the years of 1953 to 1957, #41 won 24 track and
state championship races with his GMC 6 cylinder engine (one of the
two engines he made famous, the Pontiac V-8 being the other). In 1957,
alone, Wayne took the victory at 42 of the 72 races he ran while traveling
across the east coast stretching from New York to Florida. This winning
streak continued and from 1958 to 1967 he grasped 55 track and state
A threat at any large race, McGuire won no matter the
track size, surface, or level of competition. The crowd favorite,
#41, grasped three big victories at the International 500 (also known
as the US Open 500) while breaking the track record twice with times
of 14:46 in 1963 and 14:32 in 1965 (during this year he won by 13
laps). Wayne also had 4 top ten finishes at the Oswego Classic between
1962-1966 including a controversial win in 1964. At this race McGuire
was listed in second position due to a scoring error, although he
had actually lapped the field.
won races across the east coast in basically every state he traveled.
He traveled more than most in his day making him the "Original
Outlaw." Tracks that he won at in Ohio include Skyline, Atomic,
Eldora, Portsmouth, Powell, Sandusky, Southern Ohio, Midvale, Dayton,
and Columbus Motor Speedway. In Kentucky he claimed victories at Louisville
Fairgrounds, Corbin, Danville, Richmond, and Middlesboro (just to
name a few). The #41 car also was big in Indiana winning at tracks
such as Lawrenceburg, Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, and Indianapolis
Raceway Park (which was the first race ever ran there). In West Virginia,
Wayne won at West Virginia International Speedway in Ona, Huntington
International Speedway, Parkersburg, and Dunbar. The list of wins
continues into the Tennessee region including wins at Memphis Speedway,
Chattanooga Speedway, Cleveland Speedway, and 4-11 Speedway. In Pennsylvania
he took the checkered flag at Hershey Speedway, Langhorn Speedway,
and Heidelberg. Some of his longest ventures outside of his Kentucky
home include Oswego Speedway in New York and Gaffney Speedway, Anderson
Speedway, Greenwood Speedway all located in South Carolina. The traveling
Tiger on Wheels never quit with wins at over 40 tracks.
In 1960, McGuire built his most famous car, which he
made so successful for approximately 8 racing seasons. According to
Open Wheel Magazine, he built… "Undoubtedly the winningest
super modified in racing history with some 150 checkereds to its credit
(April, 1993)" The car was build out of a mixture of parts including
a frame of 2-1/4 inch chrome moly tubing which weighed 175 pounds,
a '36 Plymouth front axel with Ford spindles, and the steering was
supplied from a '56 Chevrolet truck. Many car designers including
Herman Wise copied this car that McGuire made famous. Wayne being
an innovator of his class and time also was the first to experiment
with tire stagger, which is still used today in dirt and asphalt racing.
The #41 machine created many first in innovative ideas and the wing
was no exception. After being developed by Jim Cushman, McGuire quickly
caught on to the idea and made it his own. From a black smith's son
to a master mechanic and great minded racing engineer Wayne McGuire
made a living at the sport he loved.
Sadly Wayne's short, yet successful career was ended
August 13, 1967 after a wreck during hot laps at Earl Baltes' New
Breaman Speedway. From the crash the #41 Tiger on Wheels suffered
severe head injuries, which unfortunately placed his racing career
on permanent hold. Although Wayne's racing days were over, his legend,
and his passion live on. Today Wayne is still admired and talked about
by fans and drivers across the nation. The 76 year old Grayson, KY
resident still recalls his days of racing clearly and although almost
blind still holds the spirit and knowledge of racing within him sharing
it with his family, friends, and admirers.
Other Great Stats and Accomplishments for Wayne McGuire:
-In 1961, Wayne won all the races he finished at Chattanooga Speedway,
Chattanooga, Tenn. (didn't finish twice).
-In 1961, #41 won all but one race at Cleveland Speedway, Cleveland,
Tenn. (finished 2nd).
-In 1961, won every race at Parkersburg Speedway, Parkersburg, WV.
-In 1967, won 6 out of 7 races at Southern Ohio Speedway at Portsmouth,
OH (finished 2nd in other).
-In 1967, won 5 out of 7 at Hershey Speedway, Hershey, Pennsylvania.