In a sport where it’s becoming more and more common to see brace-faced high school kids rising through the ranks, Bud Frazier— at just 83 years young— shook up the status quo when he won a Sportmod feature Saturday night at Atomic Speedway (OH).
Frazier, who is considered a local legend at his home track in Chillicothe, Ohio, reached Internet stardom when a video of his victory lane celebration was viewed by over 95 thousand people on Facebook.
“It was great,” Frazier said. “You get to be my age and when you outrun a bunch of young guys, you feel pretty good.”
Frazier’s last-lap pass for the win enraptured everyone in the stands, too, who had just witnessed the 83-year-old driver school a field of 19 other drivers on the 3/8-mile dirt oval.
“I’ll tell you, the crowd was all down at the fence when I climbed out of the car,” Frazier said. “I never saw anything like it in my life. I’ve won a lot of races and they didn’t carry on like that, but then again I wasn’t 83 years old back then, either.”
Rewinding almost six decades, Frazier’s racing career started at 26 years old. Frazier only had to see a couple of races before he was hooked on the idea of jumping behind the wheel.
“I went to watch two or three races and I thought, well that looks like something I could do,” Frazier said. “So the next year my brother and brother-in-law, who are both deceased, we all went in together on a car and took turns driving.”
Another year later and Frazier would start his own legacy.
“The next year I had my own car,” Frazier recalled. “It was a Coupe with a GMC motor. From there I just started to learn racing.”
Frazier toured the country, racing at tracks like Winchester, Salem, Sandusky and Eldora, just to name a few. The crowning point of his career came at Anderson Indiana Speedway.
“One of the highlights of my career, I was on the pole of the Little 500 at Anderson,” Frazier said. “It was 1975 in a Sprint car.”
Frazier didn’t need to travel that far to be successful, however. The place where he would achieve a lifetime of accomplishments, including a 2010 induction into the Hall of Fame, sat just four miles down the road from his home.
“I’ve driven everything they’ve run at Atomic Speedway,” Frazier said. “I’ve been track champion at everything they’ve run, too, except for the Sports Mod class that I’m driving now.”
Frazier’s son Mark is also a multi-time champion at Atomic Speedway and cites his dad for being the reason he ever started racing.
“It’s kind of a funny story,” Frazier’s son said. “As a teenager I didn’t really have a dream of being a race car driver, I just wanted to work on my dad’s car. But I thought, my dad can’t race forever and I didn’t want to give up racing, so I started driving. Little did I know that he’d be racing into his 80’s.”
When he will officially retire remains a mystery, but for now Frazier has one more season to try and add a Sports Mod championship to his résumé.
“This could be my last year,” Frazier chuckled. “But then I think I said that last year, too.”
-By Melissa Strahley, Speed51.com Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo credit: Mark A. Frazier Racing Facebook Page