Louis Jerome "Red" Vogt, the man who named the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, has long been recognized as NASCAR's first master mechanic. Red's racing career began in the 1920's and ended with his retirement in 1968.
Vogt was born in Washington, D.C. on September 22, 1904. At age 12 he got his first job with a local Cadillac dealership. In his early 20's he moved to Atlanta and opened the soon-to-be famous Red Vogt Garage on the corner of Spring Street and Linden Avenue. Red's recognition as a master mechanic began with his association with Raymond Parks.
Vogt Specials were well known on race tracks throughout the South and can be seen in every old racing film from the 40's and 50's. Although the cars bore several different numbers, the most famous were Nos. 14 and 22 owned by Parks. From 1946 to 1949 the team of Vogt and Parks won four consecutive beach races.
Vogt brought a group of Atlanta car owners and drivers to Daytona inDecember 1947 to meet with Bill France and discuss ways to protect the fledgling sport from unscrupulous promoters. Although he owned a Georgia charter for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Red suggested a joint effort. To ensure a beginning without controversy, Red gave up the Georgia charter and suggested that the new organization use the name NASCAR.
After the inaugural NASCAR race in February 1948, Red Byron said, "You can't win a horse race without a good horse, and you can't win a stock car race without a good car. What the trainer is to the horse, a mechanic is to the car, and I've got the best mech in the racing business. Red Vogt is the reason I win. He puts those motors together like a watch. When other mechanics learn his secret gear ratio, there won't be any stragglers in a race. They'll all travel."
Red operated a garage, maintained race cars for several owners, andbuilt racing engines for many other owners. His cars won untold races on tracks in many small towns on the circuit. Those fortunate drivers, who were the envy of all racers, included stock car drivers Johnny Allen, Red Byron, Bob Flock, Fonty Flock, Bill France, Roy Hall, Banjo Matthews, Glenn "Fireball" Roberts, Lloyd Seay, Jack Smith, Curtis Turner, and Jerry Wimbish and Indy car drivers Chet Gardner, Tony Gulatto, Floyd Roberts, and Tony Williams.
In the mid-50's Red closed the Atlanta garage, moved to Charlotte, and worked for the Ford team of Pete DePaolo. He later became crew chief for Carl Kiekhaefer and for Fish Carburetor.
Red receiving the 1st and possibly only lifetime membership presented by NASCAR and Bill France
Red was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame (Darlington) in 1980 and the TRW/NASCAR Mechanics Hall of Fame (inaugural ceremony) in 1987. He passed away on March 7, 1991 at his home in Daytona Beach at the age of 86.