National Dirt
Friday, 29 March 2024



Speedway, Indiana (March 29, 2024)………The newest installment of Legends of Racing, a series of documentaries highlighting the sagas of auto racing’s greatest drivers and personalities, will premiere in April of 2024.

The FloSports Studios original, in association with the United States Auto Club (USAC), spotlights the life and times of Mel Kenyon and Rich Vogler, who rank first and second all-time in USAC National Midget career victories.

The film documents the depths of each drivers’ impact on motorsports, their rise to becoming legends of the sport, the triumph and tragedy they’ve endured, as well as their lasting legacies that have had a positive impact on so many individuals over the decades.

A screening of the film will take place on Tuesday, April 23, at the Kan-Kan Cinema, located at 1258 Windsor St, Indianapolis, IN 46201.  The film’s full release will be made available exclusively on FloRacing on Wednesday, April 24.

Mel Kenyon’s record in the sport is unmatched and incomparable.  His 111 career USAC National Midget feature wins remain as one of the most untouchable highwater marks in the sport.  Originally hailing from Davenport, Iowa, but later making his home in Lebanon, Ind., Kenyon captured seven career USAC National Midget driving championships, spanning an incredible 21 years in 1964-67-68-74-77-81-85.  Teamed for the high majority of his career with his brother, fellow USAC Hall of Famer Don Kenyon, serving as his car owner and crew chief, “Miraculous Mel” won at least one USAC National Midget event for 21 consecutive seasons between 1962-82.

Most notably, Kenyon achieved the majority of his accomplishments after a fiery crash USAC National Championship crash at Pennsylvania’s Langhorne Speedway in 1965, which burned off the fingers on his left hand.  Undaunted, the Kenyons designed a one-of-a-kind glove with a rubber gromet sewn into the palm, which fit over a stud on the steering wheel and allowed Mel to steer with the palm of his left hand.

Kenyon was also successful in the USAC champ cars, making eight Indianapolis 500 starts, and finished inside the top-five in half of them with a best result of third in 1968.  He hung up the helmet for the last time in 2009 after more than a half-century of midget racing, accumulating an astonishing 925 USAC National Midget starts, 419 of which he finished inside the top-five.  He and Don Kenyon constructed several midget chassis, and from 2004-09, their Kenyon Car Midget Series was sanctioned by USAC.

Rich Vogler was the winner of an all-time record 171 USAC feature events during his meteoric 20-year racing career with the United States Auto Club between 1971-1990.  The son of two-time USAC National Midget winner Don Vogler, Rich’s run of five USAC National Midget series titles began in 1978 with car owner Doug Caruthers.  During a late May/early June stretch that same season, Vogler reeled off a series record five consecutive feature wins.  Subsequent USAC National Midget crowns arrived in 1980 and again in 1983 with Jim Streicher.  He captured his final two series championship in 1986 and 1988 for car owner Jonathan Byrd.  Furthermore, he was dominant in USAC Regional Midget competition at the Indianapolis Speedrome, taking the brass ring in 1985 for Bob Lowe.

Vogler’s extensive USAC accomplishments include championships in the National Sprint Car Series with car owner Don Siebert in 1980 and again in 1989 with the Hoffman Auto Racing/Dynamics, Inc. team.  In all, the Glen Ellyn, Illinois native scored 134 National feature wins (4 in Silver Crown, 35 in Sprints and 95 in Midgets).

In five career Indianapolis 500 starts, his best finish was an eight in 1989.  Fittingly, Vogler won the last race he ever started, scoring the Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial at Salem (Ind.) Speedway on July 21, 1990, just five days prior to his 40th birthday.  He was leading while on his way to taking the white flag when he was fatally injured during a turn four accident.  The race reverted to the last completed lap in which Vogler was declared the winner.  Vogler is also a member of the National Sprint Car and Midget Halls of Fame and is also an inductee of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.