The only driver to be ranked by a panel of veteran motorsports writers on the “Area Auto Racing News” list of the “Greatest Dirt Modified Drivers” and “Greatest Asphalt Modified Drivers,” Donald “Dutch” Hoag of Bath, New York, won the Langhorne National Open five times when it was the most prestigious event for Modified and Sportsman racers.
He not only won the National Open more than anyone, he was the only driver to do so on the famed one-mile Pennsylvania speedway’s original dirt-circle (1956, 1960 & 1963) and then on its later “D-shaped” asphalt layout (1967 & 1968).
Years after his Langhorne victories, Hoag noted that his success there came from constantly adapting to track conditions, especially on the old dirt surface where holes would especially develop in Turns 1 and 2. But the crew-cut racer said the Langhorne asphalt was also tough because he had to drive the “D-shaped” track as though it had five corners.
Hoag first began racing in 1949 at a new track in Naples, New York. His car was one that he bought for $175 and later that year he won his first feature race at the Civic Stadium in Corning, New York.
In 1952, Hoag won his first Modified championships at New York’s Monroe County and Bath Speedways and he was NASCAR’s New York State Champion in 1953 and 1954.
In 1956, Hoag won his first Langhorne National Open in Hal Kempeny’s red and white No. 96 “Penn Yan Express” 1937 Ford coupe which was powered by a Ford overhead-valve V-8 engine. But shortly after that he retired from racing to concentrate on his many business interests. However, he soon got back into a Modified and won at Langhorne four more times.
Hoag’s 1960 & 1963 National Open victories came in red, white and black No. 13 Chevy coupes owned by Dave McCredy; his 1967 win came while driving the orange Chevy-powered No. 18 Turner Brothers 1936 Chevrolet coupe with which he won 100 races; and his last win in 1968 – which he posted by a full lap – came in his own blue and gold No. 7 Chevy coupe that was sponsored by Gene DeWitt’s highway construction company.
In 1967 & 1968, Hoag won the New York State Fair Labor Day Championship on the one-mile dirt track in Syracuse. But he then concentrated more on asphalt racing because he felt that he could no longer run the same car competitively on both types of racing surfaces.
Hoag also competed in several Modified races on the old 4.1-mile Beach-Road Course at Daytona Beach, Florida, and he raced in four NASCAR Grand National (Sprint Cup) events in the 1950s with his best finish an eighth in a 1955 event at Palm Beach, Florida.
One of his major asphalt achievements was his second-place finish to Lee Roy Yarbrough in the 1969 Permatex 300 Late Model Sportsman race while driving DeWitt’s No. 7 1965 Dodge on the 2.5-mile high banks at Daytona International Speedway.
In all, Hoag won over 400 feature races and several New York track championships: three consecutive Stock division titles (1952-1954) at Bath Speedway; six Stock championships (1952-1955, 1964 & 1967) at Monroe County Fairgrounds in Rochester; the 1953 Sportsman championship at Hemlock Fairgrounds; the 1953-1954 Sportsman championship at Canandaigua Speedway; three Modified championships (1965, 1969 & 1970) at the Shangri-La Speedway in Owego where he won an all-time 49 main events; and, three consecutive Modified titles (1965-1967) at Spencer Speedway in Williamson.
A 30-year veteran of dirt and asphalt Modified stock-car racing, Donald “Dutch” Hoag ended his long and successful career in the late 1970s on the dirt of Weedsport Speedway at the Cayuga County (N.Y.) Fairgrounds where he competed there in weekly Modified action.