May 12th, 2016
Dutch Hoag, Long Time Local Legend Passes by Gary Spaid

  One of the true legends of local auto racing has passed, Donald “Dutch”” Hoag. Hoag became a local legend in the 50’s and 60’s. Dutch passed away at home with his faithful dog in his lap.

  He entered the national racing scene on a number of occasions, racing in NASCAR Grand National and Late Model events. But he is best known for his local racing activities in and around New York State. He was the 1965, 1966 and 1967 modified track champion at Spencer Speedway. These are just one of his many local track titles.

  In 1992 he was inducted into the DIRT Modified Racing Hall of Fame. He was one of 12 drivers in the original Hall of Fame Class. The following is his auto racing biography written at that time:


  In the small Southern Tier village of Cohocton , a local milkman nicknamed a small tongue-tied boy "Dutch." It would be a name that burned into New York State auto racing annals for years to come.

  Donald Carl Hoag grew up in the peace and serenity of this small town never taking much of an interest in his father's trucking business. Dutch just wasn't interested in any kind of automobile or mechanics for that matter. However in 1944, Dutch joined the Army to serve out World War II in a motor pool, repairing vehicles.

  Upon returning from the Army he married Doris Jackson in a St. Patrick's Day service. His Army "career" would pay off just a few years later when the dusty half mile, Naples Speedway opened. It was 1949, and Hoag put together his own 1937 Ford V-8 coupe. He didn't win that year, but worked on skills that would later make him famous in racing circles throughout the northeast United States .

  His first victory came in 1950 at Corning , New York 's Memorial Stadium. A year later he took his skills to the fledgling Monroe County Fairgrounds just south of Rochester , New York . It was that same year, 1951, that he drove the number 96 Lord Brothers's stocker at Langhorne.

  The following season found his first track titles at Monroe County and Bath Speedways. He became the New York State NASCAR titlist in 1953 and 1954 driving the dirt at Monroe in the now infamous red and white number 96, "Penn Yan Express." At the end of the 1954 season he took his family south to race at Palm Beach Speedway in Florida . He returned north to run the central and southern New York circuit.

  Nineteen fifty-six was marked by Dutch's first victory at the Race of Champion's, driving for Bobby Burns. As he took his bows in victory lane he announced his retirement from racing. This retirement was short lived as he could not stay away from the sport. In 1960 he would again return to Langhorne's victory lane driving for Dave McCredy. In 1963 he took his third Langhorne win driving Bill Wimble's backup car. It was the 13th annual Race of Champions, run on October 13, and Dutch's car was number 13.

  In 1964 he started driving Ray Turner's orange number 18 modified. A year later this team moved it's emphasis towards asphalt races. Dutch took what he learned on dirt and won the 1967 Langhorne Race of Champions, now at the paved Langhorne mile. He was followed across the finish line that day by stock car great Al Tasnady.

  He also proved that year he could handle the dirt, winning the New York State Fair Labor Day Classic at Syracuse . He returned to asphalt on Labor Day evening running in Fulton Speedway's 100-lap championship race. During that event Billy Blum's car caught fire. Dutch and fellow driver Garry Reddick, proceeded to save Blum's life.

  Nineteen sixty-eight saw Dutch driving for his own team made up of Clay Ovenshire, Don French and Gene DeWitt. His car, now blue and gold, sported the number 7. He would make Spencer Speedway, Shangri-La Speedway and Fulton his home. His greatest accomplishment came with his fifth Race of Champions victory at Langhorne.

  In 1969, he took his turn at Daytona's Permatex 300 sportsman event. He and Gene DeWitt purchased a Ray Fox Dodge Grand National car. He qualified fourth fastest and raced to an impressive second place finish, behind LeRoy Yarbrough. He vowed he would never return to Daytona as a car owner, as the costs of competition were just too great.

  He would end his racing career, just as it started on the dirt. In the seventies he returned to run regularly at Weedsport Speedway. His final retirement from competitive driving found him tending store at Dutch's in his hometown of Bath , New York . He also found himself working with his son Dean, who was now driving a supermodified at Oswego Speedway. Although no tally has ever been done on his feature win total, it must well surpass the 400 mark.

  Dutch passed away on May 11, 2016. Calling hours are 5-8 p.m. Friday at Fagan's Funeral Home, 31 West Morris St, Bath. Services will be held at Kanona United Methodist Church, 7631 NY-53, Kanona, Saturday around 11 am. Burial will be at Valley View Cemetery, Avoca. Donations should be directed to the Motor Racing Outreach Center, Smith Tower, Suite 405, 5555 Concord Parkway, Concord, NC 28027.

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