- Series News Release
USAC Car Owner Rich Hart Passes Away
Hart was best known for victories with driver Robby Flock.
The following is a news release from the United States Auto Club:
Rich Hart, the Glendale, Calif. car owner who counted victories in USAC Silver Crown, National Midgets and Western States Midgets among his greatest triumphs during the 1990s, passed away on December 30, 2021. He was 86 years old.
The majority of Hart’s successes came with Robby Flock at the wheel of his red number 24 midget, co-owned by Rich’s wife, Carol. Together, Flock and Hart captured the 1993 USAC Western States Midget driver and entrant championships.
The tandem of driver and team won a total of 11 USAC Western States Midget features, 10 with Flock between 1992 and 1997, and the final one with Bryan Stanfill in 2000.
Hart’s success translated to the USAC National series as well where Flock and the team won on three occasions. The first came in the season closer of 1992 with a score in the co-sanctioned USAC National and Western States A-Main at Imperial Valley Raceway in El Centro, Calif.
Their biggest triumph together came during the 1996 running of the Belleville (Kan.) Midget Nationals, the first under USAC sanction. They’d win once more on the USAC National Midget trail, traveling all the way to the Hoosier State to win on the baseball diamond converted paved racetrack of New Castle, Indiana’s Mount Lawn Speedway in 1997.
Hart’s car was also a regular on the USAC Silver Crown tour, making 47 starts between 1994 and 1999 with drivers Flock, Brad Noffsinger, Brian Tyler and Wally Pankratz. Flock found success early with the team, winning a pair of pole awards in 1996 at Indianapolis (Ind.) Raceway Park and at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
The team’s greatest USAC Silver Crown season came in 1998 when newly-hired gun Brian Tyler earned a last-lap victory in the season opener at Orlando, Florida’s Walt Disney World Speedway. The team led the points entering the final race at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., but suffered a myriad of mechanical issues that relegated them back to second in the points in the final tally, just 16 behind champion Jason Leffler.
Hart notched three consecutive seasons of top-ten USAC Silver Crown points finishes in the late-1990s, taking 6th in 1996, 9th in 1997 and a best of 2nd in 1998.