Daytona Countdown: 30 - Iggy Katona

Daytona Countdown: 30 - Iggy Katona

There are certain drivers in racing that are known just by their first name. Mario. Dale. Darrell. Cale.

Some are known by their nickname. Buddy. A.J. Tiny.

There is no driver that is known by the name "Elzie". But we all know Elzie Wylie Baker, better known as 1980 Daytona 500 winner Buddy Baker.

Similarly, not everyone knows the driver born with the name Egnatius. But those of us that follow the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards surely know "Iggy".

Iggy Katona made that name on the dusty dirt tracks of the midwest in the 1950s, 1960s, and into the 1970s. A six-time ARCA champion (1955, 1956, 1957, 1962, 1966, and 1967), Iggy holds the record for the most ARCA Racing Series starts at 630. And until the final race of the 2013 season, when he was surpassed by Frank Kimmel, he held the record for most series wins with 79.

Iggy, born in ARCA's home town of Toledo, Ohio in 1916, still holds a slew of ARCA records, including oldest superspeedway race winner set back in 1974 when he won at Daytona at 57 years of age. He also holds the record with most consecutive years with a series victory, 19, from 1953 through 1971 and the most consecutive years in the top ten in the series standings, 21, from 1953 to 1973.

While he had opportunities to move south and race with NASCAR, Iggy prefered to stay in the Midwest and made ARCA his racing home.

Like many of his generation, Iggy started racing later in life. He didn't run his first stock car race until he was 34 years old. He spent time in the United States Army, and upon his return to the states, he started racing self-built and maintained midgets throughout the Ohio and Michigan area. He once won an incredible 14 consecutive midget races at the famed Motor City Speedway.

Racing was a family affair for Iggy. While Iggy himself built and maintained the chassis and engines, his sons Ron and Jim served as his pit crew. Iggy drove the truck to and from the races, and once he joined the ARCA tour, his wife Eleanor kept track of lap times and served as his scorer.

One of the toughest competitors of his day, Iggy was also one of the most beloved. Iggy always said "I hope they never forget us."

As his son Ron told the Toledo Blade in 2013, "they haven't, by far. They've always remembered."

Iggy Katona passed away in 2003 at the age of 87.

The 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season starts with the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 9. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race live, with the green flag waving over the expected 40-car field at 4:45 pm ET. ARCARacing.com will have complete event coverage, including live timing & scoring and track updates, free for registered users.

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