Photo Courtesy of Tom & Matt Wolfe
Denny Zimmerman is best known as the 1971 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the year, but, Denny's racing career came to prominence in the early 60's as part of the Eastern Bandits after racing at local tracks including Riverside Park Speedway and Plainville Stadium. The Bandits included Denny's mentor, Ed Flemke, along with Red Foote and Rene Charland. At the time the group worked out of the same garage, traveled together and won at every track they went to up and down the east coast from the Carolinas to Maine.
Denny's real goal was to race at Indianapolis and moved to the URC Sprint Cars in the mid-60's, winning one of the few Sprint Car Races held at Stafford Speedway, the Joe Csiki Memorial Race in 1967. His first ride in an Indy car came at the Trenton Fairgrounds in 1968 and in 1971 followed his dream of racing in the Indy 500, finishing 8th and the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in an under-funded car. Denny left racing in 1973 after the competitive cars dried up and went on to a career as an Airline Pilot as Captain of a Boeing 727, a career he still enjoys.
Denny also holds the distinction of being the only Soap Box Derby Champion to compete in the Soap Box Derby Championships in Akron, Ohio and the Indianapolis 500. In 2001 Denny was honored again with his induction into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame. Denny still resides in his native Connecticut, with his wife who is also an airline pilot, and daughter. The racing fans lost out when Denny left racing in the prime of his career.
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