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||Dave Boertman

Dave Boertman

Dave has said he is loved racing since he was four years old when his dad would take him to the local oval track races. However, his career in drag racing didn’t begin until he was 22 years old and attended a local track with some of his buddies. As the owner of a 1957 Ford with the police interceptor engine in it; Dave was constantly working to improve its performance and then tested it out at a local street race.

In 1962 Dave took home his first winner’s trophy and was totally hooked. Unlike a lot of racers at that time, Dave didn’t approach racing in a haphazard manner. He began looking at it as a business; working not only to improve on the car’s performance and his driving skills but putting together a solid business plan to follow. In reflecting back to that time, Dave says it was very unusual for him to leave the track without winning something.

For the 1968 NHRA World Finals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dave partnered up with Tom Elk who had a really strong engine. The pair won their first national event in Stock Eliminator, in a 1959 Chevrolet. From that point on Dave’s success record soared. In 1969 and 1970 Don won many races including divisional championships and two national events; the 1970 Summer Nationals at York, Pennsylvania, and the US Nationals, in Indianapolis, in Stock Eliminator driving a 1969 Chevrolet.

In the fall of 1970 Gil Kirk, owner of The Road Shop in Columbus, Ohio, was attempting to work a deal with Chrysler Corporation for sponsorship of a team using all Dodge drag racing cars for 1971 and beyond. Chrysler’s officials were impressed with Dave Boertman’s win record and wanted Dave on the team; letting Gil know if he could get Dave to sign on it would sweeten the deal. Gil contacted Dave, and they worked things out and the rest is history. Because all this happened so fast, when it came time to go to the Winternationals at Pomona, California, Dave had the only car ready to go. A new 1971 Dodge Coronet wagon for Stock Eliminator prepared in only two weeks. Dave started out for Pomona with an untried and untested race car. It was tested at Irwindale, California, and to make a long story short, in Dave Boertman fashion, won his first Stock Eliminator race for The Rod Shop and Dodge at Pomona.

1971 would turn out to be the best year ever for Dave, as he won more races than he lost that year including seven divisional points races out of eight. Losing one race in final run due to a broken rear end. Dave ended that year with more sportsman points than anyone had ever won before, the icing on the cake was winning his second world championship in Stock Eliminator at the final race.

Because Dave dominated the stock class so well, NHRA changed the rules for Stock Eliminator four 1972 racing for trophies only, and no prize or contingency money. This role forced Dave to change in 1972 to Super Stock so that he could afford to continue racing. It was a struggle at first but, in Dave Boertman style, he ended the year with many more wins, and his third world championship, this time in Super Stock.

In 1972 Dave started racing IHRA along with NHRA and raced five national events; winning for them and was runner-up in the fifth. He won the IHRA World Championship in Stock Eliminator for 1972. Was named Driver of the Year. In 1977 Dave won his fourth world championship at the NHRA World Finals in Ontario, California. In 1978 the Chrysler Corporation dropped out of racing and The Rod Shop lost its major sponsor and had to disband the team. Dave then retire to pursue other interests.

In 1984 Dave received a call from Gil Kirk at The Rod Shop in Columbus, Ohio, asking if he would be interested in being part of their new Pontiac racing program. Dave accepted the offer, came out of retirement, and raced for Pontiac for the next three years, winning his fifth world championship in 1985.

Dave enjoyed racing, building engines, and the camaraderie of longtime friends and fellow racers.

In the course of his career, Dave won 17 NHRA national event titles and 15 IHRA national event titles. Was named Car Craft Magazines Driver of the Year four times and won the IHRA Driver of the Year Award. Dave is also a five-time NHRA World Champion; doing so in Stock category in 1968 and 1971 and the Super Stock category in 1972, 1977, and 1985. Dave was inducted into Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990 and became a member of West Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

By | 2019-04-13T16:30:22+00:00 April 13th, 2019|2013 Inductees|