MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Modified racing legend Maynard Troyer has died at the age of 79.
Troyer, who was born in New York and raised in Ohio, won his first race after he bought a 1949 Ford for $50 and made it into a race car. After that first race in 1958, Troyer just kept on winning and became one of the best asphalt modified stock car drivers of his time.
He later opened Troyer Race Cars, designing and building revolutionary cars for both dirt and asphalt modified racing.
After starting his racing career running late models at New York’s Spencer Speedway, Troyer quickly transitioned to modifieds. His familiar No. 6 Falcons and Pintos were well known throughout the East.
Troyer was one of the big stars of the 1970s, racing against other modified legends such as Richie Evans, Jerry Cook, Geoffrey Bodine, Ray Hendrick, Ed Flemke Sr. and Bugsy Stevens. He won significant events, such as the 1976 Race of Champions at the 1.5-mile asphalt Trenton (N.J.) Speedway, as well as the event’s 1977 edition on the 2.5-mile asphalt triangle at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
Among his major short-track victories were three-straight (1977-’79) Spring Sizzler wins at the half-mile Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut.
Troyer also won the Atlantic Coast 300-mile NASCAR Modified race at the one-mile Dover (Del.) Int’l Speedway on Aug. 21, 1977, driving his No. 60 Nagle Ford Mustang. Then, on Sept. 19, 1977, he backed that victory up with a 150-lap triumph on the old half-mile Richmond (Va.) Int’l Raceway.
Troyer dabbled in NASCAR Cup Series racing, running 14 races between 1971 and ’73 and scoring a best finish of fourth. However, Troyer’s Cup Series career may be best remembered for the wild flip he endured on the 10th lap of the 1971 Daytona 500, which was his first Cup Series start.
He started Troyer Race Cars in 1977 and quickly began building modifieds for both dirt and asphalt competition. He retired from racing in 1982 and founded Troyer Machine, which built specialized racing parts.
Troyer is a member of the Eastern Motorsports Press Ass’n Hall of Fame.