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Thread: Rich Vogler

  1. #1

    Rich Vogler

    I was watching (and taping) his last race. The accident that took his life was not captured by the cameras. Some reports later said that there was another car involved, but it wasn't evident to me. Does anyone have the facts of the crash?

    I watched the race again reccently. There was a fire and damaged guard rail incident early in the race, and it was almost cancled from that point on. Certainly the future would have been much different had that happened. Also I had forgoten that it was Jeff Gordon who took the checkered flag, but Vogler was declared the winner.
    "I've never seen an openwheel race with the leaders running this close at the end"

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  2. #2
    Is Bat Boy KevMcNJ's Avatar
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    I was watching that night. He was leading by several seconds. His lead was so large in fact that camers werent even following him. They were following a fight for position further back with one or 2 laps left. It was assumed Vogler had it in the bag. They cut quickly to the final moments of a very bad crash. Announcers knew immediately something was very wrong, they saw live what TV watchers didnt see at all.
    Show was very ended quickly after that. Very surreal.
    Think I found out he didnt make it Sunday morning, this was pre-internet obviously.
    "I was thinking about retiring, but I think I'll stick around a few more years just to aggravate him" -Billy Pauch

  3. #3
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    Vogler was trying to lap a Florida veteran named Wayne. His last name escapes me at this time but he had earned the nicname "three lane Wayne" by some of the other competitors.

    The earlier crash you are talking about was caused by the same driver and destroyed Rick Howerton's new car.

    I was having a discussion about that very night yesterday with some old shrt track buddies of mine that were there.

    I piece of tubing ran up under Vogler's helmet when he got up in the fence.

    No offense to any Vogler fans here, but the only good part about that night was that Rich didn't kill anybody else.

    He was a hazzard to many, and so was his dad IMO.

    His mother however is a saint.
    "Living well is the best revenge"

    George Herbert

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    Might that Wayne from Florida have a last name of Reutimann? If so, he is still competing in sprinters in Fla. and has a nephew, David, that was just practicing in a Busch car at Atlanta, I believe.

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    Hate to debunk a new conspiracy theory
    but it was not Wayne Reutiman, or Buzzy
    Reutiman, or David Reutiman. His name is
    Wayne Hammond (didn't you say you watched
    the tape?) and the crash affected him very
    badly. His career never recovered and he now
    still races ocasionally in the Tampa area.
    As I got the story (and I admit I can't validate it, just passing it on) Steve
    Butler had made a dangerous and almost
    suicidal (?) move on Hammond the week before
    at another track (IRP?) Hammond was looking
    for it and with one lap to go dove deep in 4
    to block it, but drifted high and his right
    rear caught Volgers left front and launched
    him into the fence. I have the video and it's
    bad. I do know that Hammond said he never
    felt more than a small bump, and he did
    have the courage to talk to Eleanore Vogler
    in a tearful half hour phone call.

    In my opinion, we lost two great Drivers
    that day.

    Race on...

  6. #6
    Insider Truth Detector's Avatar
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    Rich Vogler was a great driver and would have certainly been in the IRL had he survived.

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  7. #7
    Insider Truth Detector's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Railbird:
    <STRONG>No offense to any Vogler fans here, but the only good part about that night was that Rich didn't kill anybody else.

    He was a hazzard to many, and so was his dad IMO.
    </STRONG>
    My opinion is greatly different, racefan.

    [ October 15, 2002: Message edited by: Truth Detector ]

  8. #8
    Insider Frank Capua's Avatar
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    I as watching that night, Thunder was always a tradition at our house... most I remember of the crash was not being shown or told much about it during the original broadcast...

    When I worked at Allison's plant three I worked with an old guy who followed dirt track racing forever and besides laying strain gauges and Thermocouples he also was the plant photographer... something he also practiced at the dirt tracks.

    When ever some new kid was hired in the Test department this guy would pull out some of the most horrific photos that you would never want to see... because he thought it was funny to gross people out. When he retired we threw a party, only we didn't invite him.

    BTW isn't it suppose to be WilsonPhillip???

    [ October 15, 2002: Message edited by: Whosyer-Sparkplug ]
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  9. #9
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    Rich Vogler was one of the most skilled racers I ever raced against. In response to railbird, you have a right to your opinion regardsless of how wrong it is. Rich would have been a star in the IRL if it had come a few years earlier. Steve Butler on the other hand is a different story.
    "The older I get, the faster I used to be!"

  10. #10
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    Never heard another driver say they did not like Vogler. If he went onto a track he was going to win, he was amazing to watch. Much like my early feelings for Dale Earnhardt, Vogler stirred that love/hate of fans because he won. Stories of his Chili Bowl win are enjoyable because he beat the hometown hero.

    My favorite Vogler story is that in the Indy 500, he said he was going to fininsh in the top 5 in a Jonathan Bird(IIRC) sposored car. He was running 8th when after a pit stop the wheel nut did not get properly put on the car and he ended up in the 4th turn wall.

    A great driver lost before his full greatness was realized by all race fans. I will never for get that night, his desire to pass any car in front of him cost him his life. He was awarded the win because he was over 2 laps ahead of everyone else wasn't he? Also wasn't he scheduled to make his Busch Series debut that weekend?
    "Remember, your kids can get student loans, but there's no such thing as a retirement loan."

  11. #11
    WOW. Some of the info given here about the crash and those involved is new to me. When the track worker, the first person to get to the car, just turned and walked away, it was evident that Rich was dead.

    Truely, Rich would have been great in the IRL and perhaps in NASCAR. His first WC start was scheduled for the next day, but this is discussed in another thread.

    Thanks for the info. I'm going to watch the tape again and look for those drivers mentioned in the thread.

    BTW. If I could sing, it might be Wilson Philip, but I can't.

  12. #12
    Always Causing Trouble mnkywrch's Avatar
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    Favorite Vogler story:

    One year, Rich was (as usual) trying to get into the field on Bump Day.

    So he hops in a new car for the first time and tears out of the pits.

    Comes back in without completing a lap and tells the crew to put the car in line.

    They look at him funny, but they go ahead & do it. Rich puts the car in the show.

    Afterwards, they ask him how he knew the car was ready.

    He said: "Well, I drove it hard through Turn 3...."
    http://motorsportsblog.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
    Is Bat Boy KevMcNJ's Avatar
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    Didnt his father die in a midget at the Speedrome? Also shown on live ESPN in its infancy?

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    I regard Rapid Rich as the best Sprint/Midget driver I have ever witnessed. I also credit the Vogler/Jeff Gordon short track tussles for what prepared Gordon for the success he has today That night at Salem the racing world lost one of its greatest drivers IMO. Simply put: Vogler was a charger, hammer down all the time.
    http://www.worthyofhonor.org/pages/vogl.htm

  15. #15
    Registered User Liz's Avatar
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    I'm not sure about this, but I think RV had qualified for & was going to race in the Cup race (Pocono?) the next day. Can someone help me out here? I do remember Nascar leaving his place in the lineup of cars open as a sign of respect.

    I remember that night very well & being very grateful that my then 5 year old son took himself off to bed just before that accident (which was totally out of character for him - I can't help but wonder if something/someone gave him a little push). It was difficult enough to watch the immediate aftermath much less have to explain it.
    "All things seem possible in May."
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  16. #16
    I can only imagine what the discussion would have been like that night had there been an internet then.

    His death was reported on ESPN about an hour after the accident.

    BTW, the two or three minute tribute put together and set to music by espn later was one of the most moving ever.

    [ October 15, 2002: Message edited by: philipwilson ]

  17. #17
    "h" is my middle name PHJIndy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Railbird:
    <STRONG>Vogler was trying to lap a Florida veteran named Wayne. His last name escapes me at this time but he had earned the nicname "three lane Wayne" by some of the other competitors.

    The earlier crash you are talking about was caused by the same driver and destroyed Rick Howerton's new car.

    I was having a discussion about that very night yesterday with some old shrt track buddies of mine that were there.

    I piece of tubing ran up under Vogler's helmet when he got up in the fence.

    No offense to any Vogler fans here, but the only good part about that night was that Rich didn't kill anybody else.

    He was a hazzard to many, and so was his dad IMO.

    His mother however is a saint.</STRONG>
    I agree with this assessment!
    Have a very blessed day!

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    I found out about it while doing interviews in victory lane at Eldora that night (Kings Royal I believe). The press box found out before the start of the race but kept it quiet until after the race ended. We busted it back to our motel to see the replay on the 2 a.m. SportsCenter. I can still see the helmet rolling down the track and the guy going to pick it up. He looked so scared as he wondered if the helmet was going to be empty. I remember the year he ran the All Stars in the #4 car. He just wasn't the same in a winged car as he was in a wingless one. I still have the video of the USAC race at Santa Fe Speedway from ESPN in the 80s when he ran third with a flat right front for most of the race. Just one of those things that most drivers wouldn't/couldn't do, but he did.
    If a race car driver whines in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does a fan post about it on a message board?

  19. #19
    Registered User DavidM's Avatar
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    Rich was set to run at Pocono the next day. I remember watching that race and his loss being sad a topic.
    "If you don't do it this year, you'll be another year older when you do"

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  20. #20
    "h" is my middle name PHJIndy's Avatar
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    I was returning to Indy from the King's Royal that night and heard about Rich on KMOX St. Louis.

    My buddy was asleep in the car at the time and I told him about Rich and he just rolled over and continued sleeping. When we reached the next rest area he awoke and said he had this dream that Rich Vogler had been killed. He was shocked to find out it was true.

  21. #21
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    Originally posted by DW Blair:
    <STRONG>I found out about it while doing interviews in victory lane at Eldora that night (Kings Royal I believe). The press box found out before the start of the race but kept it quiet until after the race ended. We busted it back to our motel to see the replay on the 2 a.m. SportsCenter. I can still see the helmet rolling down the track and the guy going to pick it up. He looked so scared as he wondered if the helmet was going to be empty. I remember the year he ran the All Stars in the #4 car. He just wasn't the same in a winged car as he was in a wingless one. I still have the video of the USAC race at Santa Fe Speedway from ESPN in the 80s when he ran third with a flat right front for most of the race. Just one of those things that most drivers wouldn't/couldn't do, but he did.</STRONG>
    I always wondered about Rich's lack of big success in winged sprinters. I always felt the issue was that the wing allowed a lot of drivers to make up the difference between their ability and Vogler's. Without a wing, he was unparalleled, until Jeff Gordon came along.
    "It was actually fun, because you're back fully driving again in these trucks. Ninety percent of the tracks we go to in the IRL, you're flat-out. I was having to lift off the corners some here." - Buddy Rice

  22. #22
    A couple of my favorite stories:
    In the garages the morning of an Indy 500,
    myself and a couple of my sprint car photo buddies, ran into Rich and we stood outside his garage and shot the s***. When the conversation broke up, we all wished good luck for the day and Rich simply said to us, "See you guys in Victory Lane."

    At a NASCAR race in Michigan, Rich was entered, but qualifying was rained out and they were going to set the field by points.
    Rich didn't have enough points to be in the race. I was walking into the gagage area, and Rich was walking towards me with helmet bag and suitcase in hand. We chatted briefly, I expressed regrets on the lineup, and then Rich looked at his watch and said, "If I hurry, I can race tonight at IRP."

    He was always in a hurry.

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    I read alot of the forums on here, but rarely post. This one kinda sparked me. I have saw a lot of races at Winchester thru the years. Rich could drive that track like no one I have ever seen. In the late 70's or very early 80's he drove the old Miller spl. #65 in the snowball race. He ran 3rd in the main against supermodifieds. He had a lot of skill. As far as him and his dad being "dangerous". His dad put a wheel to a friend of mine one night and flipped him. His response was " you gotta watch Don, he will put a wheel to you". Gee that describes about 3/4 the racers that want to win.

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    You know, after reading the posts here,
    it occurs to me that one Rich Vogler is
    worth about 500 Thomas Sheckters.

    Remember Vogler's business card? I
    have one. It is a white card and it
    says- "Rich Vogler, Race Car Driver"
    and a phone number. That's it.

    Yes, he was indeed, a Race Car Driver.

    Rich, wherever you are, I know you are leading...

    Race On...

  25. #25
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    You know, after reading the posts here,
    it occurs to me that one Rich Vogler is
    worth about 500 Thomas Sheckters.

    Remember Vogler's business card? I
    have one. It is a white card and it
    says- "Rich Vogler, Race Car Driver"
    and a phone number. That's it.

    Yes, he was indeed, a Race Car Driver.

    Rich, wherever you are, I know you are leading...

    Race On...

  26. #26
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    Originally posted by pawl:
    <STRONG>I read alot of the forums on here, but rarely post. This one kinda sparked me. I have saw a lot of races at Winchester thru the years. Rich could drive that track like no one I have ever seen. In the late 70's or very early 80's he drove the old Miller spl. #65 in the snowball race. He ran 3rd in the main against supermodifieds. He had a lot of skill. As far as him and his dad being "dangerous". His dad put a wheel to a friend of mine one night and flipped him. His response was " you gotta watch Don, he will put a wheel to you". Gee that describes about 3/4 the racers that want to win. </STRONG>
    Trivia fact Pawl, Vogler was the last person to win a Modified race in a Sprint Car.

  27. #27
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    I too was there that day at Salem Pawl.

  28. #28
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    Rich pulled off some moves that scared the bejeezus out of you, but he had the talent to back it up. Not so with Don.

    One particular Vogler story I remember was Don and Rich at Joliet Memorial Stadium one night. Don jumped the start of his heat so the starter thru the yellow for a restart. Don jumped the start again, and again the starter wasn't buying it. They tried the start a third time and Don jumped it yet again!!! By now the crowd, me included, was ready to tar and feather him because they'd run more laps trying to start the heat than it was scheduled to run if it ever got started!! The starter motioned for Don to go to the rear of the pack, and Don wouldn't go. After a couple of laps trying to get Don to the rear, the starter is getting ready to black flag him and sit him down, so Rich decides to try and get him to go to the rear before he gets black flagged. Rich stands at the starting line with his back to the field and bends over and starts to shake his butt at the oncoming cars while pointing to his rear end so Don will go to the REAR of the field. No matter what ya say, Rich was no Adonis so him standing there shaking his bootie was NOT a pretty sight. Don never did go to the rear and ended up getting black flagged. I think they wasted more time trying to start that one lousy heat than they took to run the feature. Half the crowd wanted tear Don limb from limb.

    I always thought Rich was a wonderfully talented racer and was a fan, but I had no use for Don at all.

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    Trackgodess, Good story. I remember a lot of the same.I live in Ohio close to the Indiana border. I remember Allen Barr stories too.But Rich always seemed to have talent. Shoot ;to racewriter,he did run good with a wing. When he ran wings in this area he was competing with Steve Kinser in Karls car and some of the best that aimed that way. Shoot nobody ever ran Eldora like Jack Hewitt (except maybe his dad Don). And his wing races dont show like his non wing. But I still always will go with Jacks statement..Nobody will out brave me at Eldora. As a fact the only person I ever even test that statement was Leland McSpadden.(sp) He (leland) was unreal at the big E from the first time he ever drove it. Another REAL race car driver. The past is alot of fun to talk about.

  30. #30
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    I remember that night like it was yesterday. We had gone over to a friends house and my brother and I were messing around with the other kids in the basement while the parents talked upstairs. They started flipping channels and came across Thunder, about 10 seconds before the wreck. All of a sudden my dad yelled "Randy and Bart get up here!" we ran up the stairs and were greeted with probably the most shocked expression I ever saw on my dad's face. He looked at us and simply said "Rich Vogler just got killed." We looked at the screen and saw the car sitting in the middle of the track and people standing around. Its was just obvious to my dad the second he saw it. Something I'll never forget.

    Like him or not, he was one of the best.

    "I'd like to quit thinking of the present, like right now, as some minor, insignificant preamble to somethin' else."

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