SPENCERPORT, NY – Maynard Troyer, the man who put Spencerport, N.Y. on the map with scores of high – Asphalt Modified Driving Super Star, Chassis Builder Dead At Age 79 –
Hall Of Fame Driver, Race Car Innovator Maynard Troyer Passesprofile asphalt Modified victories and track championships; and who adroitly transitioned from one of the sport’s most accomplished drivers to its most innovative car car designer and producer of pavement and dirt Modifieds, died on May 10 at age 79.
Born in 1938 in the western New York town of Spencerport, Troyer parlayed a career of supreme achievement in regional asphalt Modified racing into a shot at the big time with NASCAR.
Maynard Troyer was raised in rural Ohio. His trade as a carpenter took him to Florida for a period of time before returning north to Spencerport.
Until he moved back up north, it was said that Maynard never even considered racing until he discovered nearby the Spencer Speedway in Williamson in his midst.
He began racing there and was immediately successful, all the while making the red-orange No. 6 his trademark in race cars. He started in the track Late Model division; then moved into the Modifieds. His immaculate race cars were sponsored by the local Nagle Ford dealership, where he was employed as its new car preparation manager.
While moderately successful in limited starts with the NASCAR Cup Series, Troyer is most often remembered for a dramatic crash in the 1971 Daytona 500 that saw his car careen out of control, flipping side for side at least ten times.
He competed in 14 NASCAR Cup level events between 1971 and 73. He was runner-up for the Rookie of the Year award in 1971, the season in which he scored a fourth place finish in the Winston Cup Yankee 300 at Michigan International Speedway. Overall, he had three top-ten finishes in Cup level races in that era before returning to Modified competition.
Indeed, it was in the Asphalt Modifieds where Troyer’s racing roots were planted. During the 1970s, he experienced his greatest and sustaining successes in that division.
Troyer had back to back wins in the Modified Race of Champions… at Trenton, N.J., in 1976; and then on the two-and-a-half-mile Pocono Raceway triangle in 1977. Also in New Jersey, he was the first winner of the Tom Grbac Memorial 200 at then-paved New Egypt Speedway in 1976.
Among Troyer’s other major short-track victories were three-straight (1977-1979) Spring Sizzlers at the half-mile Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut.
Troyer won the August 21, 1977, Atlantic Coast 300-mile NASCAR Modified race at the one-mile Dover 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 Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
Through the 1970s, Troyer also had many victories in “weekly” short track competition in his signature No. 6.
Troyer’s meticulous race car preparation served him well in the next phase of his motorsports career. That came in 1977, when he left his full-time job at Nagle Ford to focus on race car building for a growing customer base.
That year he founded Troyer Engineering, one of the leading asphalt and dirt Modified chassis builders in the Northeastern United States.He also founded Troyer Machine, which produced race car components.
On the dirt circuit, Troyer “Mud Buss” Modifieds also rapidly became established in the 1980s as a winning car of choice at tracks throughout the Northeast. Soon, Maynard Troyer’s influence in that dirt market grew to be as strong as it had with the pavement Modified circuit.
To this day, Troyer Engineering singularly is the only firm that is a major player in both the asphalt and dirt Modified markets.
Troyer retired from driving after the 1982 Race of Champions at Pocono; and from the company that bore his name in 1990. He sold his remaining interests in the business in 1998 to his partner Billy Colton.
In 1985, Maynard Troyer was inducted into the Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EM-PA) Hall of Fame.
This summer, Troyer will be honored by the Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame, based in Weedsport, N.Y., as recipient of its prestigious Mechanic-Engineering Award.
A comprehensive story on the life and racing career of Maynard Troyer will be featured in the June 19, 2018 edition of Area Auto Racing News.
It will be written by Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame chairperson and noted racing journalist Buffy Swanson.
“I spoke to Maynard back in January, when he was in the hospital ICU (Intensive Care Unit). He was well-aware that that Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame planned to recognize his accomplishments this year, and was very honored,” reflected Swanson. “When we announced his selection as this year’s Hall of Fame Mechanic-Engineer award recipient in March, everyone was still hopeful that he would be able to participate.”
Troyer legacies to the sport include the presence of numerous restorations or replicas of the No. 6 Modifieds he drove and retro paint schemes on contemporary cars. That included the Troyer Race Cars Ed Partridge owned No. 6, driven to victory in this past April’s Stafford Spring Sizzler by Ryan Preece.
Fittingly, last Saturday Peter Britten won the DIRTcar Modified feature at Land Of Legends Speedway (Canandaigua, N.Y.) in the Troyer House Car. Britten also won on Friday in Andy Romano’s Troyer car. Britten, a long-time Troyer loyalist and employee, often has Colten helping him at the speedway. On Saturday at Lancaster, N.Y., Patrick Emerling drove a Troyer asphalt Modified to victory in the Race of Champions main.
During Saturday night’s national broadcast of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race from Kansas on FOX TV, Troyer was recognized and honored with a segment voiced by announcer Mike Joy. While the tribute began with footage of Troyer’s incredible flip at Daytona in 1971, it then featured historic photos and background information of his victories in the innovative, beautiful Modifieds that were his signature.
A person who lived life to the fullest, after his auto racing career Maynard Troyer still remained extremely active. He owned off-shore power boats, flew ultra light planes and enjoyed radio controlled vehicles.
There will a celebration of his life, with the date and location to be announced at a later date.
Maynard Troyer is survived by his life partner, Rita Jones; and her daughters, Sonya Boatman and Krista Keller; children Ken (Theresa) Troyer and Vickie (Daniel) Troyer-DeRooy; grandchildren Alissa (Jake) Eisenhauer, Kristopher Troyer, Brianna, Jacob, Andrew and Valerie DeRooy; great-grandchildren Macyn, Brinn and Logan Eisenhauer; siblings Sam (Karen) Troyer, Andrew (Loretta) Miller, John Miller, Harvey (Miriam) Miller, Verna Chupp and Esther (Dan) Kelley.
Mr. Troyer was predeceased by his parents Sue and Jonas Miller; and brothers Herman Troyer, and Toby Miller and Vernon “Tex” Miller.
Contributions in memory of Maynard Troyer may be made to The Spalding Foundation for Injured Drivers Inc., 1074 Sulphur Springs Rd., Owego, NY 13827.