Wednesday, February 23, 2011

1968 - Master Mechanic Honore Retires

Chicago, Ill. (February 24, 1968) – Hector Honore, the master mechanic from Pana, Ill., whose sprint car, “The Black Deuce”, is the winningest sprint car in International Motor Contest Association history, has retired from racing and sold the infamous machine. Chuck Weyant of Springfield, Ill., is the new owner.

Honore’s famous Black Deuce Bardahl Special won 434 feature events and 704 heat races since being introduced in 1953.

Bobby Grim of Indianapolis drove it to four consecutive IMCA national sprint car titles from 1955 to 1958 and then Pete Folse of Tampa, Fla., took over the helm and earned three more titles from 1959 to 1961.

“Pappy”, as he was called, reports the car took in more than one million dollars in that span, but has Honore said, “It took twice that to keep it running.”

“It will be tough to quit,” Honore said. “My whole life has been auto racing. My bad habit, if I had one, was that I’ve never had time for anything else.”

His racing career spanned 32 years. He started with a Crager in 1935 and in 1937 he acquired a single-head HAL. He came out with a double overhead HAL in 1946 before switching to an Offenhauser engine for good in 1950.

In 1953, the Black Deuce was built. It’s magnificent record, which included three national championships in another racing association, 10 runner-up finishes and three third place showings. In 1955, Honore’s car, with Bobby Grim behind the wheel, won 27 of 32 feature races it entered.

In summing up his career, Hector mentioned he had one regret - he switched to a Chevrolet engine after the 1963 season after Gordon Woolley won the title in the Weinberger Chevrolet and the stock-blocks dominated the circuit. “I think we should've stayed with the Offy,” Honore said. “We would have found ways to make them competitive.”

Honore said the traveling became too much last summer. “I drove four nights without any sleep during one week,” he said.

Mrs. Honore, who made the circuit tour for many years, bowed out the last half of the 1967 season. That was a factor in Honore retiring this season.

The white-clad figure with the red baseball cap will still be around tracks this season, but he will be sorely missed as a contributor.

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