Born in Spencerport, New York, but raised in rural Plains City, Ohio, Maynard Troyer (November 22, 1938-May 10, 2018) bought a 1949 Ford for $50 in 1958 and made it into a race car. And then, as unlikely as it may seem, he not only won his first-ever race with that very simple machine but he went on to become one of the top Asphalt Modified Stock-Car racers of all time and to design and build some of the most cutting-edge Asphalt and Dirt Modifieds.
Troyer’s winning purse on that first night of racing was equal to the cost of his race car, so right away he broke even in the sport, which cannot be said by very many. At that time a carpenter by trade, he ran in a few more races before relocating to Florida and then returned north to Rochester, New York, in 1963 for employment reasons without a thought about racing.
But with the half-mile-asphalt Spencer Speedway being close-by in Williamstown, New York, Troyer got himself a Late Model and by the end of the 1960s he was winning plenty of races in the red-orange No. 6 Modified Falcons and Pintos sponsored by Nagle Ford where he was in charge of the dealership’s new-car preparations.
Now fully into Asphalt Modified racing, Troyer was one of the big stars of the 1970s that also saw such luminaries as fellow EMPA Hall of Fame members Richie Evans, Jerry Cook, Geoffrey Bodine, Ray Hendrick, Ed Flemke Sr. and Bugsy Stevens headlining the roster for every major race. But Troyer was more than able to hold his own against such stiff competition as he won such major events as the 1976 Race of Champions at the 1.5-mile-asphalt Trenton (N.J.) Speedway and the event’s 1977 edition on the 2.5-mile asphalt triangle at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. And among his major short-track victories were three-straight (1977-1979) Spring Sizzlers at the half-mile-asphalt Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut.
Troyer also won the August 21, 1977, Atlantic Coast 300-mile NASCAR Modified race at the one-mile-asphalt Dover (Delaware) International Speedway in his No. 60 Nagle Ford Mustang. And then on September 19, 1977, he backed that victory up with a 150-lap triumph on the old half-mile-asphalt Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
In 1971 and 1973, Troyer ran in 14 NASCAR Cup Series races with his best finish a fourth in the Yankee 400 at the 2-mile-asphalt Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 1971, in the No. 60 Nagle 1969 Mercury. And he was eighth in the 1981 Late Model Sportsman 300 in the No. 38 Pontiac at the 2.5-mile-asphalt Daytona International Speedway.
But the part of Troyer’s major NASCAR career that might best be remembered is the spectacular flip that he took on the 10th lap of the 1971 Daytona 500 – his first Cup Series race – when he lost control of his bright red-orange No. 60 1969 Ford in the second turn and it hit the flat part of the track sideways at full speed. With that, Troyer was just along for the ride as his car barrel-rolled at least a dozen times – with some counts making it 18! But, amazingly, he only suffered a concussion in the wreck and was soon racing again.
In 1977, Troyer quit his job at Nagel Ford and began building race cars for others as a result of this request being so frequently made to him. This was the start of Troyer Engineering and it soon began building Troyer Race Cars which quickly became some of the most sought-after and thought-provoking Asphalt- and Dirt-Track (“Mud Buss”) Modifieds in competition.
But even though Troyer was building race-cars for others, he continued racing until he retired from driving after the 1982 Race of Champions at Pocono. And it was also around this time that he founded Troyer Machine, which made high-quality specialized racing parts.
After several more years of working at his Troyer Race Cars shop, Maynard Troyer finally began to slow down and in 1989 former Asphalt Modified driver Billy Colton became a co-owner and managing partner. Then, in 200, Colton became the sole owner of the company.