Dick Rathmann

Full Name:
James Merwin "Dick" Rathmann
Born:
6th January 1926
Los Angeles, California
Died:
1st February 2000 (Aged 74)
Melbourne, Florida
Nationality:
American
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

The older of the Rathmann brothers was a generous soul – giving his name so his younger sibling could race before legally old enough to do so. Like “Jim” five months before him, “Dick" Rathmann raced Indycars but it was stock car racing in which he enjoyed his greatest successes. He made his debut in the AAA National Championship (now Indycars) in 1949 before switching to NASCAR two years later.

NASCAR Grand National

Rathmann drove Walt Chapman’s Hudson Hornet in 1951 – finishing second in three successive appearances. On pole position at Oakland for his last race of the year, Rathmann developed into a race-winning driver during 1952. He won five times (including three in a row) and was fifth in the standings.

The following season was his best in the championship. Another five victories that year included a third in his last five outings at Langhorne. A top-three finisher on 18 occasions that season, Rathmann was a career-best third in the 1953 standings.

He missed practice at Oakland in 1954 but came from last position on the grid to win the race – the first driver to accomplish that feat in NASCAR history. Rathmann’s Hornet (now entered by John Ditz) won again a week later at North Wilkesboro but again this was not without drama. Securely in the lead with two laps to go, he suffered a puncture and Rathmann limped across the line on the rim to win by 20 seconds.

Indianapolis 500

He returned to Indycars in 1956 and qualified fourth for that year’s Indianapolis 500 behind his brother. Fifth that day, he qualified on pole position two years later but 1958 was a tragic edition of the race. Rathmann hit Ed Elisian’s spinning car on the opening lap in Turn 3 and that triggered a multi-car accident that cost Pat O’Connor his life.

Fourth on the grid for the next two Indy 500s, Rathmann retired from racing in 1964 and then worked at his brother’s Florida car dealerships.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1964 USAC National Championship
H Allen Chapman
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 300
1963 USAC National Championship
H Allen Chapman
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
23rd 150
1962 USAC National Championship
Harry Turner
Bruce Homeyer
H Allen Chapman
4 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1961 USAC National Championship
Lindsey Hopkins Racing
Bill Forbes Racing
Fred Gerhardt
H Allen Chapman
Jim Robbins
8 1 2 0
0% win rate
9th 750
1960 F1 World Championship
Jim Robbins
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1960 USAC National Championship
Jim Robbins
DA Caruthers
5 0 1 0
0% win rate
17th 370
1959 F1 World Championship
Lee Elkins
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1959 USAC National Championship
Kathryn Wright
Lee Elkins
Chapman S Root
6 1 0 0
0% win rate
16th 370
1958 F1 World Championship
Lee Elkins
1 1 0 0
0% win rate
0
1958 USAC National Championship
Lee Elkins
3 1 0 0
0% win rate
0
1957 F1 World Championship
Chapman S Root
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1957 USAC National Championship
H Allen Chapman
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
38th 10
1956 F1 World Championship
Lee Elkins
Lindsey Hopkins Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 2
1956 USAC National Championship
Racing Associates
Lee Elkins
John Zink
Pete Salemi
6 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 540
1954 NASCAR Grand National
John Ditz
Ray Erickson
3 0 3 3 0
1953 NASCAR Grand National
Walt Chapman
5 0 5 5 0
1952 NASCAR Grand National
Walt Chapman
5 0 5 5 0
1950 F1 World Championship
Leader Card Racers
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1950 AAA National Championship
Leader Card Racers
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
35th 80
1949 AAA National Championship
Weidell
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0