Denny Zimmerman
Class of 2001

Denny Zimmerman began racing at the Riverside Park Speedway in 1957, driving in the Tuesday night Sportsman Division. While he was soon winning at “The Park”, it was a rollover in 1958 that really had a positive effect on his career. Ed Flemke, Sr. was at fault in the accident. After the crash, the two talked, and Flemke took a liking to the young driver. “Ed Flemke taught me more about racing than any other single person in my career”, says Denny. “He knew how to set up a race car, he taught me driving techniques, we worked out of his garage for awhile. He had a flatbed truck that he would haul his car with, and he would tow my trailer and car with that flatbed of his.”

From sportsman cars, Zimmerman moved on to sprint cars and then tried his hand running at Indianapolis. Through the years, Denny competed at dozens of tracks, including Riverside, Plainville, Waterford (although he was thrown out for being underage), and Norwood. He also ventured out to Albany-Saratoga and Utica-Rome.

Heading south, he competed at Marlboro, Maryland, Old Bridge, NJ, and Fredricksburg and Manassas, Virginia. At the old Fairgrounds in Richmond, Denny broke a track record time trialing, started on the pole, and finished second to Ray Hendrick in the last sportsman race before the track was torn up to build the Richmond International Speedway, which now stands on the site.

Denny owns NASCAR State Sportsman Championships in both Maryland and Virginia. He began running sprints in 1966 under the sanction of the United Racing Club, where he was named Rookie of the Year. Zimmerman later competed in USAC, and, in 1969, attempted to qualify for the Indy 500. The following year, he passed his driver’s test but again didn’t qualify. In 1971, he qualified, finishing eighth and winning the Indy 500 Rookie of the year honors. In 1972, Denny again made the field for the Indy 500, running as high as tenth before a blown engine took him out of competition.

Denny Zimmerman retired in 1974. His final race was at Islip, driving a Sportsman Division car owned by Ed Flemke, Jr.