2020 Yesterday’s Speedways Hall of Fame Inductee: Don Biederman

Hall of Fame 2020
Don Biederman

Don Biederman

Born February 20th, 1940
Passed Away May 31, 1999
Don Biederman built this car for Daytona back in 1966. Courtesy of James Conrad
Don Biederman built this car for Daytona back in 1966. Courtesy of James Conrad
Don Biederman won the Maple Leaf 250 in 1977. Courtesy of Bob Sumak
Don Biederman won the Maple Leaf 250 in 1977. Courtesy of Bob Sumak
Don Biederman in the John Thompson Car. Courtesy of Ron Nelson
Don Biederman in the John Thompson Car. Courtesy of Ron Nelson

Don Biederman was a racer in the purest sense of the word.

He was fiercely independent and became a force to reckon with at each track he competed at.  At times difficult, but a very proud and loyal individual. He had strong opinions about the state of the sport, the promotors and other competitors and wasn’t shy in expressing his views. 

His equipment at times was not as good as some of his competitor’s equipment but he more than made up for it by sheer talent and determination. He took great pleasure at being the underdog. Don was a master at driving through traffic, a hard charger with a burning desire to win that at times got him into trouble with competitors and officials.  

Sponsorships were few and far between until the 1980’s when he teamed up with John Thompson Movers and became the best sponsor of his career. 

Away from the track had a gentler side and would help anyone who needed help as long as you weren’t a source of one of his gripes.

 We will never see another the likes of Don Biederman again!

 Don Biederman’s racing career began in 1964 at Pinecrest Speedway and in 1965 at the CNE.

In 1966 he ventured south to compete in the NASCAR Grand National Series against the top competitors of the day: Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson etc.

1966 and 1967 were full time seasons in NASCAR for Don and in 1968 he returned home to race locally.

These are a some of the NASCAR tracks he competed on:

Daytona Hickory,

Riverside California,  Bristol,

North Wilkesboro, Charlotte,

Atlanta, Richmond,

Rockingham, Nashville,



Although under funded and without top notch equipment he did return to NASCAR for a hand full of races in the 1968 & 1969 seasons.  

He managed an 11th place finish at Winston-Salem-Speedway in 1966.

The 1967 season brought him a 7th place finish at Nashville and a 13th place finish at Darlington.

50 cars started the 1968 Daytona 500 and Don started 50th and finished 28th.  

In 1969 Don had a very respectable 17th finish in one of the qualifying races for the Daytona 500.

He qualified for the 500 but did not start the race.

From 1966 to 1969 Don competed in a total of 42 NASCAR Grand National events.

In 1968 Don’s focus was on local racing and at various tracks in Southern Ontario with some ventures to tracks in Michigan, New York State, and Quebec. By the end of the 1968 season he had become established as one of the best short track racers around but also the most colourful!

Racing was his passion and became his fulltime occupation and only source of income. 

Don always knew what each race paid, not only to the winner, but also how good the payout was farther back in the field. He was very astute knowing he could make more money at a lesser known race or track than at a high-profile race.

Over the next few years Don raced as many times a week as possible. It was not uncommon to race 4-5 time a week from Ontario to NY and Michigan. Don began to race more regularly at Pinecrest Speedway on Saturday nights where the prize money was good.

He also began his annual trips to the Maritimes that produced many wins for him. These annual trips became a highlight for the many fans he had in the East. 

Don won many big races at tracks all over New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. He was a three-time winner of the IWK 250 at Antigonish Nova Scotia. 

NOTE; While touring the East Coast in the early 70’s he met a local racer named Jr Hanley. At Don’s urging he convinced Jr to move to Ontario where there were more tracks and big money races. 

The rivalry began! ‘The Dual of The Decade’ at Delaware Speedway in 1979 became the benchmark of their on-track exploits.  

During the 1970’s Don continued his winning ways by taking many checkered flags at tracks not only close to home but also in the Carolinas, Florida, New England States.

He was a versatile racer as well. He ran at Mosport (Now Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) and did some dirt racing. He competed with his late model in Modified races at Cayuga Speedway, Lancaster NY and Martinsville VA.

Tracks he regularly raced at:

This is by no means all of the short tracks Don competed on. He raced at numerous tracks in New England, the southern states, Florida and in California. 

During his career he won hundreds of races and numerous big races including the maple leaf 250 at Cayuga Speedway, the IWK at Riverside Speedway in Nova Scotia and the McKerlie-Millen Classic at Delaware Speedway.

Won track championships at Pinecrest and Delaware Speedways. 

But the biggest win of his career came in the 1977 Oxford 250 at the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine.

This annual prestigious short track event attracts many of the top racers from all over North America.

Don showed up in a not so pretty 1970 blue Nova with green fenders & hood, a last-minute change due to a previous wreck. 

This was a NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Championship event that attracted the likes of Harry Gant, Morgan Shepherd, Ken Bouchard, Butch Lindley and Jean-Paul Cabana.

Don qualified 11th and certainly was not on anyone’s radar to be a contender for the win. 

The race began with 38 cars on the 3/8-mile oval with Don keeping pace with the leaders but about a half a lap behind them. Late race green flag pit stops for the leaders and a timely caution for Don’s pit stop for fuel put him in the lead which he held on to for the win. He had quietly and masterfully stayed in the hunt for the win without anyone really noticing what he had been doing until the Checkered flag. 

Protests were filed with NASCAR but in the end, it was confirmed that Don had won the biggest race of his career! 

That 1970 Nova propelled Don to many other big money race wins for quite a few years. 

Don was inducted into The Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2001.

This is only a snapshot of Don Biederman’s career until 1979. I have tried to cover some highlights but there are many more wins, accomplishments and stories that all of us have of Don.

Courtesy of Bob Sumak