Three-time Salem winner Andy Hampton still on the go
Three-time Salem winner Andy Hampton still on the go
(TOLEDO, Ohio – April 23, 2015) – Andy Hampton ranks 11th on the all time ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards win list with 20 career victories, three of which came at Salem Speedway.
Born in 1928, the 86-year-old Louisville, Kentucky stock car legend plans to be at Salem for Sunday’s ARCA race – the Federated Auto Parts 200. He is the fourth oldest living ARCA winner.
“I’d like to come to Salem,” Hampton said. “I don’t get around real well, but, with a little help, I’d like to be there.”
Hampton won at Salem for the first time on August 21, 1966 and again on June 8, 1969. His last win at Salem was on July 30, 1972, his final ARCA victory.
“Salem was a hard track to run. High-banked like it is, you had to run it as hard as the car would take it, as hard as you could go every lap. I never drove a car with power steering, and that’s what I remember about Salem…they way it’d wear you out. I always liked it. It was always pretty exciting.”
Over a victory road stretch that spanned eight seasons, Hampton also racked up two wins at Daytona, 300-milers in 1968 and 1972.
“Naturally, winning Daytona was the highlight of my career. Back then, they were 300 milers. Never would have won the first one there if John Marcum (ARCA founder) wouldn’t have helped me. John gave me $5,000 for that ’67 Charger with the No. 2 on it. It was a Nichels Engineering car…Don White drove it in USAC. We won the race…then I paid him (Marcum) back. He didn’t make me give it back all at once, but I paid him back over time. Old John Marcum was one of my best buddies. It wasn’t just me…he helped everybody. That’s the way it was done back then.
“A week later, Chrysler flew me up to Detroit and gave me a brand new Dodge Charger.”
Hampton also drove for the late Harry Ranier at Daytona.
“That was the 58 car that I drove for Harry. My kids put together a collector car (diecast car) out for me…the Ranier 58 car. It’s real nice...I'll bring it Friday night," added Hampton, who plans to attend Kimmel Racing's Fan Appreciation Party Friday afternoon (April 24) in Clarksville, Indiana.
Hampton started his career at Sportsdrome Speedway and on the quarter-mile Fairgrounds Speedway in Louisville.
“Me and Harry Hyde ran out at the Fairgrounds on the quarter-mile. We won a championship together out there. We raced together for years at the Fairgrounds. Actually started my career back in the late '40s, early ‘50s at the Sportsdrome…in the Figure-8s, and all that stuff. When they built the Fairgrounds, we went out there. We had Pontiacs at the time.”
Hampton and Hyde together proved to be a formidable pair, earning Late Model championships in five consecutive seasons.
Hampton earned his career-first ARCA win at his hometown track on April 11, 1965 at Fairgrounds Speedway. His final ARCA win also came close to home at Salem on July 30, 1972, wrapping up a relatively short, but brilliant ARCA career.
Hampton's best ARCA championship points finish was third, a feat he accomplished twice in his career in 1968 and 1970. He also finished fifth in ARCA points in '69.
Hampton also made four career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts earning career-best finishes of ninth and 10th in the Daytona 500 in 1968 and '69. Hampton's ninth place finish at Daytona netted him $2,525, a far reach from today's purse standards.
Hampton also won a pair of grueling 500-lap ARCA contests at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in August of 1967 and on the quarter-mile, high-banked Anderson Speedway in 1968.
Eight-time Cometic Crew Chief of the Year Bill Kimmel remembers well growing up watching Hampton race.
"Andy drove against my dad a lot over the years, so we had the chance to see him race. He (Hampton) could flat drive a racecar. He was the type of racer who could take a car not up to par and make it work. He was always one of my favorites. I remember somewhere in the late '60s Dad was promoting a couple of races so he had Andy drive his car. I remember working hard on the car in the pits all day. Whatever I did didn't seem to make a difference - I was only 16, 17 at the time. I finally told him I just didn't know what to do with it. Andy said, ‘Don't worry about it. We just need to be good in the race that pays.' He went out and drove the wheels off it. It didn't handle right for him, but he made it handle with his hands.
"Andy was extremely good with the public too. He always had a lot of fans around him all the time. He had the personality for it. People wanted to be around him all the time. Guess that's why he always had sponsors. He was extremely good with kids too, good with people in general.
(Image: the popular Andy Hampton in Victory Lane at Daytona...a young Ken Squier at far right is standing by to interview)
"And, he was a dang good racer. Man, he was good."
Hampton was born in Crestwood, Kentucky on December 1, 1928. He and his wife Ramona (deceased) lived in Louisville, Ky., and raised their seven children Andy Jr., Lynn, Jack, Robin, Ronnie, Rose Ann, and Mary Ann. He has 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Always having a love for cars, he began racing on the streets as a teen with his friends before he took it to the next level at Sportsdrome Speedway and Fairgrounds Speedway.
In addition to his ARCA accomplishments, he won the "International 500" in 1961 co-driving with Jack Purcell and again in 1967 co-driving with Bill Kimmel, Sr. In 1961, he was the first Figure-8 Division Champion at Fairgrounds Speedway, which he repeated in 1962 & '63.
Hampton supported his racing endeavors over the years in the car dealership business.
“Had the car business for about 55 years. Closed it up in July of 2009. Worked 37 years out of Jeffersonville (Ind.).”
Officially retired, he spends many of his days on his boat on the Ohio River and fishing off a nearby dock. Hampton is also a cancer survivor.
“I still feel pretty good. I can’t get around real good, but I feel good. Had a knee replaced, and a hip. Got diagnosed with colon cancer 20 years ago. I go for check-ups every year. The doctors tell me I’m one of the oldest ones living that long…it’s an honor for me.”
Hampton was inducted into the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2010.
By Don Radebaugh, email@example.com
|Andy Hampton Career ARCA Wins|
|4/11/1965||Fairgrounds Speedway (Louisville KY)||100|
|5/20/1966||Baer Field Raceway (Fort Wayne IN)||100|
|8/21/1966||Salem Speedway (Salem IN)||100|
|5/20/1967||Fairgrounds Speedway (Nashville TN)||500|
|8/5/1967||Fairgrounds Speedway (Nashville TN)||100|
|9/24/1967||Kentucky Int'l Speedway (Florence)||99|
|2/18/1968||Daytona Int'l Speedway||300 Miles|
|5/18/1968||Fairgrounds Speedway (Nashville TN)||200|
|5/29/1968||Berlin Raceway (Marne MI)||100|
|7/28/1968||Baer Field Raceway (Fort Wayne IN)||100|
|8/18/1968||Moorehead Speedway (Moorehead KY)||100|
|8/24/1968||Anderson Speedway (Anderson IN)||500|
|5/10/1969||Fairgrounds Speedway (Nashville TN)||200|
|6/8/1969||Salem Speedway (Salem IN)||100|
|5/30/1970||Lorain County Speedway (Lorain OH)||100|
|7/4/1970||Lorain County Speedway (Lorain OH)||100|
|8/29/1970||Flat Rock Speedway (Flat Rock MI)||100|
|2/13/1972||Daytona Int'l Speedway||300 Miles|
|7/30/1972||Salem Speedway (Salem IN)||100|