Godfather Of Modified Speed: Legendary Racer, Car Builder Maynard Troyer Passes

Ed Flemke Jr. (left) and Maynard Troyer in 1981 at the Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium in Wall, N.J. (Photo: Pete Lawlor)

When Ed Flemke Jr. and his father started building Modified race cars in 1978 under the name Race Works Chassis, they knew creating the mold for their business meant looking West to Spencerport, N.Y.

That’s where Maynard Troyer was changing the game of car building in Modified racing.

“He was the General Motors of Modified racing,” Flemke told RaceDayCT Thursday.

Troyer died Thursday. He was 79.

Troyer began a stellar career behind the wheel in 1958, which led to the formation of a chassis building business. Troyer Race Cars revolutionized the sport in making quality Modified chassis available for purchase.

“He’s the one that set the standard for how to build a race car in the Modifieds,” said Flemke, who like Troyer was an accomplished racer and car builder. “He was the first one to go sell cars on a big scale. When I heard he passed I just said, ‘Thanks for the memories’ because he was a tremendous race car driver too and quite a character too. But I also thank him for the inspiration because he set the standard for all of us building cars to try to meet, and some still are. He was quite an innovator and quite an entrepreneur. He changed the face of Modified racing, that’s for sure. He made it possible so you could buy a race car instead having to build it. He was the one that did that on a grand scale.”

Troyer started his career racing Late Models, but soon found a love for competing in Modifieds.

On the track Troyer is remembered for many big victories in Modifieds. In Southern New England he was most remembered for winning three consecutive Spring Sizzlers at Stafford Motor Speedway from 1977-79.

“The one thing I recall about Maynard when he came is he was one of the only drivers or teams that I remember coming [to Stafford] for the first time and running like super good,” Stafford Motor Speedway chief operating officer and general manager Mark Arute said. “He schooled everybody. I didn’t really know him too well, but that’s my recollection. He just unloaded and he just drove that track like he had been there for thirty years. I honestly think he had some technical things that were advanced to run that good.”

Troyer started his car building business in 1977 while still racing. He retired from competition in 1982.

Maynard Troyer in action at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in 1981 (Photo: Pete Lawlor)

“Personally what I liked about him was that he was an approachable, sincere person,” Flemke said. “When I started Race Works I bought parts from him. And when I took a hiatus after my father passed away I owed him a bunch of money. I called him and said ‘Look, I’m not going out of business, I’m just closing for a little while.’ He said don’t worry about it, pay me when you can. He never once called and said ‘Hey it’s been two months’ or anything like that. Never charged me a penny of interest. He was just a good guy.”

Troyer sold Troyer Race Cars in 1998. The Troyer Race Cars chassis still stand today as one of the most recognized Modified car builds in the sport.

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Comments

  1. Crazy in NY says:

    Thanks Shawn. Growing up in NY and getting hooked on Modifieds with Richie Evans in my close proximity the name Maynard Troyer was in my ear well be fore I ever saw him race. He set his mark in western NY and soon became one of the guys to beat wherever he raced. Maynard and probably Geoff Bodine were the two biggest innovators of their time but Maynards cars always looked like they were ready for a magazine shoot. All primed ,polished and fast as hell. The cars today that bear his name still reflect the quality and craftsmanship he put into every car he built. Rest well Mr Troyer your legacy lives on.

  2. Just to add to Crazy in NY comments, some of us older mod followers remember when the Sizzler had a “best appearing award” for the tour mods. It was often stated the award should be named the “Maynard Troyer Award, as he won it just about every year.
    Will never forget the greatest era for mod racing. Watching Bodine, Richie, Bugs, Maynard, etc. The best was Sizzler weekend. Qualify on Sat, rush to Riverside for their night show, and back to Stafford for the Sizzler, on Sunday. Best of times!
    R I P Maynard. and thanks!

  3. SAD, SAD DAY, Modified racing has lost one of it’s greatest innovators . RIP MAYNARD. Your legacy lives on.

  4. I was very young at the time. My uncle Nick bought one of Maynard’s cars. My dad worked on it SJ Evansion drove it. What I remember most was when Maynard showed up for the Sizzler with the black # 17 cavalier, that car was way ahead of the times. Anyway the routine was to run the L21 with SJ on Friday at Stafford. Then we went to Riverside to watch Kirby Montieth in Lemmes #34. Then Sunday we took the L21 to Thompson. Best finish we ever got was a 4th because the owner ran it with a big block, and most of the crew we’re there for the free beer, but it was fun. Maynard was

  5. Maynard was always willing to help with stuff at the track.

  6. The Ed Partridge 6 runs their paint scheme to honor the legacy of Troyer. The ROC logo also includes Troyer design queues. I’m wondering if the white became black on the 6 for Christopher.

  7. You may have a point about the black on the 6 car Doug, but in recent years TC’s car had been maroon or a shade of red so who knows. Could also be painted that way to distinguish between cars, as the 6 has more than 1 car and at allot of tracks if you have 2 cars in the paddock the officials need to be able to tell the difference. We had this happen at the Sizzler years ago, both cars were painted almost identical, but the sponsors on the rear quarter we’re done in different colors, otherwise we would have had to renumber one car.

  8. Race 413. says:

    Maynard Troyer is who we can thank for modern day, mass produced modifieds, and parts. Back in the day guys built their own cars. Some had success, most didn’t. When Maynard started building cars on a large scale, others followed. Names like Nu- Dyne, Spafco,RE, Chassis Dynamics, Raceworks and LFR might not exist if it hadn’t been for Maynard Troyer. When Billy Colton bought the business in 98, he expanded it to what is now an extensive network of Troyer dealers. Oddly enough other builders haven’t followed his business model, limiting the extent of their business. But it all goes back to Maynard Troyer, a driver ,builder and inovator in the sport of modified racing. May he rest in peace, and his legacy live on. RIP #6

  9. Preece made the reference to the 6’s paint scheme in a Speed51 article. I just was wondering about the black that I thought was kind of Halloween like. No insult intended. Had to be a reason. That white 6 with the Richie Evans like orange trim was radiant.

  10. Race 413. says:

    The white orange and silver #6 is very reminiscing of Maynard’s car.

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