~Fred DeCarr~
Article Published in Volume 43 #37, December 16, 2008 in the Gater Racing News
The Lord doesn’t always work in mysterious
ways. When the world needed a good fullback,
he chisled out Jim Brown, when it needed a
composer, he sent Mozart down and when
Stock Car Racing needed a good mechanic, he
tapped an unassuming fellow from Saquoit, NY.
Fred Decarr was born in Saquoit on Oct. 4th
1928 and even as a young boy, was drawn to
cars, especially race cars. As a youngster, he
and friend Alfred Avery used to play in a sprint
car, “that car was from Chadwick’s originally,
fellows name was Avery, I went to school with
his grandson. It sat outside that (Pierce’s, in
Deansboro, NY) garage from probably 1940
until I saw it over to Doug Rundell’s place.”
Fred’s future path may well have been secured
during those play sessions as in attending
high school in Chadwicks, NY he didn’t play
sports or participate in any other extra-
curricular activities. “Just cars, they were the
only thing I knew. I got a job on Saturdays and
Sundays at a local garage, cleaning parts,
sweeping floors, washing cars, things like that.
Anything to be around cars.” His first
introduction to racing came in 1941, “I went to
the first race they ever had in Vernon, it was
before the war when I was 13 or 14. It’s where
Vernon Downs is now, as I recall it was pretty
interesting and pretty dusty. I think the
promoters name was George White, I
remember after the races were done, he left.
Money and all, AAHAHAHA, had some upset
guys there. One time promotion.”
By 1950 Fred had started working for Charley
Pierce in his Deansboro, NY garage and really
became acclimated to the racing scene. Stock
Cars were the new rage in the area and
Charley had the bug, bad. His P-13’s were
some of the most powerful, and successful,
cars of the era. The responsibility of building
them, as well as the engines, was Fred’s. The
team’s first driver was Dave Gallup, “We didn’t
have as much success with Dave, he was too
aggressive. We used to cal him Dizzy Dean, he
was my brother in law and he bent up a lot of
stuff. If you were leading and he was second,
you weren’t going to be leading much longer,
there was no fair racing with him, it was bump
and go. Charley let him go, he was too rough.”
Gallup’s replacement in the 1939 Ford coupe
was the much smoother Tommy Wilson. Wilson
had much success in the ’39 and even more so
in the subsequently built 1934 Fords sporting
the P-13 banner. “We were racing at
Brookfield, Sharon Springs, Richfield Springs,
Afton, Oneonta, Vernon. We did real well with
the P-13, awful good.” Fred’s recollection is
humble even to this day, in fact, the P-13 was
so dominate during Wilson’s time behind the
tiller that he was often started in front of the
field at Vernon, and counted a full lap down to
try and even the playing field. No matter, he’d
catch the pack and win anyway. His success
was rewarded with two Eastern Mutual Racing
Points Championships in 1952 and 1953, as
well as a ‘Most Popular Driver’ award in 1953.
Fred recalls one of Tommy’s secret’s “Tommy
never liked much gear in a race car, 4:11’s was
about the lowest we’d go. But, he had a little
knack of slipping the clutch, you know, with it
wound right up he’d pop the clutch and away
he’d go again. We were putting in clutches
every other week and never knew why, he
finally told us. We were running big half miles
with those gears.” It’s no wonder they could
pull them with what Fred and Charley were
putting into the engines, “Our Flatheads
usually had the Mercury cranks in them (this
was in the early 1950’s remember and Mercury
had just come out with the 4” crank in 1949,
these were new cranks and not cheap at the
time), you see, Charley had been dreaming
you know, he wanted to build a big Flathead
engine. So, he bored the cylinders right out of
a block, put sleeves in and welded the sleeves
in the block. I forget the piston size, 3 & 7/16,
I don’t know, something like that. His son Ron
wanted me to put it together and I said ‘no
way’, there ain’t no way we’re going to put that
together. No place for studs (they had bored
beyond the cylinder head bolt holes, so it was
bigger than 3 & 7/16). I said, Whattya gonna
do, use a chain binder to hold them heads on
it? You wouldn’t even dare fire it up!”
Regardless, the ‘smaller’ engines weren’t all
that small either, by Flathead Standards
anyway as we found several oversized stroker
piston and rod assemblies when we purchased
the P-13 from Ron Pierce. And Charley didn’t
skimp in any other department either, Fred
recalls using Iskendarian Camshafts, a 404A
Track radius cam was in the lot as well as a
perfect Kong Champion dual point ignition, top
racing equipment out of California. “I broke a
cap on that Kong one day installing it and was
Charley ever torqued, had to buy a new one
and I never broke another.” The team nearly
won at the State Fair in Syracuse in 1952, “We
were leading with a lap to go and Tommy got a
flat and Don Hendenberg got by for the win.”
He remembers the track at Brookfield being
particularly gritty, not only because the best
talent of the time congregated there but also
due to the surface. “Brookfield had blacktop
corners, there were boulders in there like you
can’t believe in them turns. They tried digging
them out but some were so big they couldn’t,
so they put blacktop over them. There was
enough dirt over the blacktop so you slid
through them anyway and it did hold up a lot
better.” The P-13 years were Fred’s formative
time in racing and he was gaining a reputation
as an engine builder right from the start. “I was
building the Flathead engines for Dave
McCredy while at Charley’s, his first driver was
Racin’ Greyson Smith and they were running
6 cylinder Plymouth’s at first. Greyson finished
his career after a bad crash at Syracuse and
then Paul Korman and George Gallup drove for
Dave. Tommy was driving for us through about
1954 when I quit Charley’s place and went to
work for Dave, Tommy was done then.”
"By the time I got to McCredy’s Don
Hendenberg was driving the S33, and he was
great, great. Great guy, great driver. He was
like a bear. I remember one time over at
Brookfield, I went to put the car on the trailer
after the races, I couldn’t steer it. Both front
kingpins were bent. I asked Don, ‘Didn’t that
steer hard?’, ‘No’, he said, ‘I didn’t notice it.’
HAHAAHAHA. Of course he had arms like that
(holds his hands wide) and his waist tapered
down to like a 30 inch waist you know, God,
what brute he was in the shoulders. Great guy,
lotta fun. Loved his beer…loved to live, he lived
good.” His ‘living good’ is well illustrated in the
Fonda! book by Fusco, Boyd and Rigney where
it is told he once arrived at the track directly
from a wedding reception, in less than stellar
shape. His fellow competitors took notice and
requested that he make 5 laps by himself, if he
could do it then he could race, if not he
couldn’t. The track officials agreed and Don
made three laps, and then crashed through
the fence. As I repeated the story to Fred he
just smiled and nodded. 1955 was a good year
for the S33 team as Don captured 4 heat wins
and his first top 5 finish @ Fonda with the
team. And this was against the best in the
state, Steve Danish was in his prime, Pete
Corey was just hitting his stride as were Ken
Shoemaker, Jim Luke and Jeep Herbert, there
were no gimmes. But ’55 was just a taste of
what was to come. 1956 was even better with 7
heat wins and 12 top fives and Don’s
consistency won him the Fonda track
championship over Corey, without a single
feature win. 1957 was another banner year
with 6 heat wins and 8 top fives including Don’
s two Fonda feature wins back to back in June.
Pete Corey nipped Don and Jeep Herbert for
his first Fonda track championship that year,
but Don copped top points at Monroe County.
Unfortunately, he never claimed the
championship. On Oct. 5, 1957 Don was
rounding a sharp curve in Lee Center, NY in
his Volkswagon, and he didn’t make the curve,
slamming a tree. His death at age 30 robbed
the racing world of a great talent and
character, Pepper Eastman, second in points at
Monroe County, was awarded the track
championship. As any car owner or mechanic
can relate, a driver can be very demanding at
times, ‘change the seat, change the pedals,
change the handling,’ in the end, it’s easier to
change the driver. As Fred said, ‘Don never
complained about anything.” Surely a driver
that endeared himself to all around him. With
Don gone, the S33 team continued on and
hired Chuck Mahoney for the 1958 season.
Fred relates, “After Don, Chuck Mahoney drove
for us for one year, he was a wild man, couldn’t
trust him with nothing.” His point is well
illustrated in a story my friend Otto Graham
once told me, which also was reported in the
Fonda! book. As Otto recalled, “Chuck was
always revving that engine, take it out of gear
VROOOOM, pull ahead, VROOOM, shift into
reverse VAROOOM, back up, stop, VROOOM
VAROOOM. I could tell he was driving Freddy
nuts. So Fred comes up the the car and says
‘Chuck, I wish you wouldn’t race the engine
like that.’ And Chuck says ‘It’s a racing engine
ain’t it Fred?’ VAROOM VAROOOM! Fred
continues, “One night at Fonda he come down
pit road, wide open, you know. He come down
by the Cow Palace, he stopped in for
something, I don’t know but I said ‘Chuck, if
you drove as fast on the track as you do pit
road, we’d win some races!’ Boy, did he get
pissed. He got out of the car, ‘You drive it’ and I
said ‘I will!’. We didn’t always see eye to eye.”
“One time out to Rochester, he didn’t have a
ride, so there’s this guy there with a late
model, wanted him to drive it. Of course, he
didn’t have a helmet so he borrowed a helmet
from somebody but it didn’t fit. Just sat up on
top of his head. And he went out, made four or
five laps and rolled it over, and when he come
in the helmet was on. All the way on and he
couldn’t get it off. AHAHAHAHA! I just about
died laughing. ‘It ain’t funny’ he was saying,
but I thought it was. Sometimes, he was a lot of
fun, he could be when he was in the right
mood, tough guy.”
The Mahoney Experiment wasn’t really clicking
with the S33 team, in 1958 at Fonda they won
5 heats  and had 5 top 5 finishes but no
feature wins which wasn’t bad considering the
competition, but not to their standard. A
young, up and coming driver named Bill
Wimble had caught both Fred’s and Dave’s eye,
amongst others. As reported in the Fonda!
book, Wimble was so wild when he got to
Fonda he caught the ire of Veteran Champion
Steve Danish who didn’t dare pass the young
lion in a heat race and afterward scolded Bill
with ‘Wimble, you just drove that whole race
spun out!’ By 1958 though, Bill had landed a
good ride, the Hal Kempany owned #113 and
rode it to victory on May 31. Two weeks later,
Kempany abruptly quit leaving Bill looking for
rides once again. Fred and Bill became friends
during the year and with tension mounting
within the team, they started to consider Bill
for the S33 seat. Otto once related the story to
me that it was actually Chuck Mahoney that
suggested Wimble for the ride relating ‘He’s so
wild after a few weeks of that they’ll come back
begging me to drive for them.’ Unfortunately
for Chuck, it didn’t work out that way. As Fred
recalls, “Bill was driving the 113 of Hal
Kempany, Dave approached him to drive and
he jumped at the chance to have a regular
ride. He wanted to go for the National
Championship.” Upon Bill’s hire Dave
McCredy’s wife Margaret looked upon the
bespectled Wimble and exclaimed, ‘He’s not a
race driver, he’s an English teacher!’ 1959
though was a tough year for the team as they
struggled with engine woes, “When Bill first
started driving for us in ’58 we had a Ford.
Fords were boat anchors at the time (292’s and
312’s), the machine work you had to do to
keep them together, brother! We run full
floating bearings in them. Probably the
Flathead is a better engine. Frankie Schneider
put us on to that (the Flatheads had full
floating bearings, the Y-Block 292 and 312 did
not), never had any bearing trouble afterward.
Only way you’re going to keep them together is
with the full floating bearings. We didn’t break
them after that but just didn’t have any power.
You see, I quit at one time. I said ‘If we’re gong
to keep running these Fords there ain’t no
sense in me going to the racetrack, I’m not
going to waste my time on them.” 1959 netted
10 top five finishes for the team at Fonda,
including three 2nd places, but no wins. 1960
and 1961 were to be better.
1960 started with a huge ‘Bang!’ at Daytona
where the team traveled with their ’36 Chevy
coupe for the 250 mile modified-sportsman
race. The ‘bang’ happened on the first lap as
Bill was involved in the 37 car pileup that
claimed nearly half of the 68 starters, he
recovered to finish 12th in the event gaining
valuable experience at the track and the team
headed north to the more conventional ½ mile
dirt.
“We went to the Chevy and the first race out
with it was in Rochester at the Monroe County
Fairgrounds. Never been on the track, it was a
four springer, and, we won. First time we had
won in a long time. Bill was very pleased.” It
was just the start of a great season that saw a
lot of traveling, and a lot of late nights for Fred
and the crew. “We used to run Montreal,
Plattsburgh, Malta, Victoria, Fonda, Stafford,
Strawberry Hill (Richmond). We went there
(Richmond) to race track champion Ray
Hendrick. We got down there and took almost
a full second off the track record. Oh GOD, he
didn’t think too much of that. He wasn’t the
most pleasantest guy, wasn’t too thrilled to
have us down there.  We ran Monroe County
then too, Fulton, Lebanon Valley and Shangri-
La were later. In ’60 and ’61 though Bill was
running for the NASCAR Championship and
racing at Montreal twice a week, so was Dick
Nephew. But up there they had track cars they
could drive. We couldn’t make the trip during
the middle of the week, we’d run Plattsburgh
though and that’s a pretty good haul
(especially, before the Interstate Highways). We
wouldn’t get home until 6 or 7 o’clock in the
morning from Friday night and have to get
ready for Fonda Speedway Saturday night.
Didn’t get much sleep then.” “My job wasn’t
too full then, those years we ran for the
championship I didn’t get a lot of time in the
garage. Oh yeah, I got a lot of time on the car.
We hired Fred Rosner to help us build an
asphalt car, he used to build the cars for Rene
Charland. That was when Utica-Rome opened
up about 1960. That worked out great, really
handled, had the Flemke front end on it, (this
was the car that won the teams first Open at
Langhorne). I built all the engines, didn’t do
anything special. I used to have Crane do the
heads for us, that’s all. We’d send them back
every year and they’d re-do them for us,
freshen them up. Steel heads, used Crane
Roller cams, always balanced them, bored
them 0.040 over and used Holley 4- barrels.”
With the dependable Chevy engines under him
Wimble went on a tear in 1960 and 1961. In
1960 he won 12 heats and with 13 top 5
finishes in features at Fonda, including 3
feature wins. 1961 was even better with 10
heat wins and 12 top 5’s, including 8 feature
wins and copped the Track Championship both
years. He also won the NASCAR Sportsman
Championship both years (tied in 1961 with
Dick Nephew), The NYS Sportsman
Championship as well as the Monroe County
Track Championship in 1961. Fred was always
impressed with Bill’s driving, recalling “Bill was
aggressive, in a way. He never bumped or
anything like that. I remember one time at
Fonda, last lap, coming off the 4th turn.
Shoemaker was inside, Corey was here
(middle) and you know how narrow that 4th
turn is? Bill was outside, right up against the
wall, and we won. I stood right there between
the 3rd and 4th turns and saw it. He had a lot
of guts, especially when they had the board
fences there.”
1960 was also the year that provided Fred with
what he described as one of his favorite
memories in racing. “Winning Langhorne the
first time with Dutch was pretty good.” Was
Wimble ever upset about the wins? “No, he had
his choice of cars, Bill always chose the big
block and Dutch got the small block, Bill just
didn’t have any luck there. That one year when
they had the controversy about who won
(1964) it was Shoemaker, Bill and Freddy
Adams. Bill finished 3rd.”
Of the infamous ‘Tie’ of 1961 in the NASCAR
Sportsman Championship with Dick Nephew,
Fred had this to say. “Bill says never was no
tie, Bill kept track of every race, how many
points he got, every time. He could tell you
week to week how many points but NASCAR
wouldn’t go for it. He didn’t win by very many,
20 or 30 points. See Dick Nephew was doing
the same thing Bill was. He was running
Montreal, all those tracks, he’d come down
once in a while but Bill, a couple of times we’d
gone south where there was double pointers
like that and Nephew didn’t show up. Bill said
there was no controversy; he won, fair and
square. Somehow NASCAR didn’t have those
points so they ended up calling it a draw, even
points. Had to be nearly impossible (5,578
points each). We didn’t do it the next year, too
hectic, travel, travel, travel….”
Fred related many fond memories of Fonda at
the time, “Everyone always seemed awful
friendly. We parked next to Steve Danish, loved
him, great guy, nice to be around. There was a
lot of respect there, they raced clean. I
remember at one time, it was the last lap and
Pete got into Bill, spun him. Bill was leading,
Corey was 2nd, Corey went on to win but he
wouldn’t accept it. Bill said ‘No, it was an
accident.’ He ended up with the win, but he
was decent to offer it. There was a lot of respect
amongst the top drivers. We had good
competition at Fonda, Shoemaker, Pete Corey,
Lazzaro, some good mechanics, Bob Whitbeck,
Cliff Wright. Bill liked a little gear there, we’d
run a 5:72 but others were using 6:18, 6:28,
Frank Trinkaus was lower than that, week after
week he’d blow an engine..”
Daytona and the Grand National circuit
continued to be a draw for Wimble and the
team through these years. In 1961 the team
built a sleek Studebaker “It was allright,
Studebaker body, Lincoln frame, Lincoln
suspension. I used ’36 Ford headlights and
reversed them like a bullet on the front of that
car. We didn’t have the right springs, it didn’t
have enough travel in it and we broke a shock,
finished 11th.” The Stude ended up being
campaigned at Midstate Speedway by Johnny
Allen. From there the team built a ’55 Chevy in
two weeks to make the next 500 mile race at
Atlanta where they ran second to Buck Baker.
And they were looking for big success in 1962
when they purchased a  1961 Pontiac from GN
driver Jack Smith. Upon picking the car up
though, they found their new super speedway
car to be Jack’s well used dirt car. Fred
refurbished the car and the team headed for
Daytona in 1962 for the 500. He related
“Everyone had changed engines (for the race).
We only had the one that was in the car and it
had been rebuilt probably 30 times, it came
with the car. It was a dirt car, so we took the
engine apart, rebuilt it and took it to Daytona.
We ran all the practices, every time Bill could
get out there he was on the track and so we
put a lot of laps on ours. So, we got up to 4th
with 20 laps to go and the oil gauge starts
flicking, so we put two quarts in it and ended
up 11th. It used that much oil. Still, we felt
pretty good about it, first time down for the
500 and we were competitive.”
1962 turned out to be what Bill later called a
‘down’ year in that there were no
championships won by the team. It was to the
last year that was to occur. Steve Danish
claimed the Fonda track championship while
the McCredy team copped 3 feature wins and
10 top five finishes, a very good year for most
teams but below standard for this one.
In 1963 they were back on track and
dominated at Fonda in taking 10 feature wins,
9 heat wins and an additional 4 top fives in
winning their third track championship at the
oval. They also won the track championship at
Victoria (with 11 feature wins) and the
NASCAR NYS Championship. The topping on
the cake for the team was their 2nd National
Open win at Langhorne, again with Dutch
Hoag. Fred recalls “Both times he won with
smallblocks, in ’63 he asked for a 4:11 gear
which was less than anyone else was using.
Dutch is a great, great guy, I think the world of
him.”
We’re looking over a picture of the fire at
Syracuse in 1964. It was the Salt City 100 race
in which Bill started on the pole. “I’m trying to
think, if we had the Ford in at that time..427
Low rise, gawd that thing had power. This was
the third lap and he was lapping cars already, I
mean it was just awesome, out of sight. He was
lapping the guy and he hit the wall and come
right down into Bill.” Team mechanic Doug
Rundell remembered that engine as well “It
was a 427 Holmon and Moody with sodium
filled valves. Best running engine, ungodly
power, we had others but not like this one, 3
laps is all we got.” Wimble was able to get out
of the crash unscathed and the team claimed
the NASCAR Connecticut State
Championships as well as Stafford Speedway
(11 feature wins in ‘64) Championships in both
1964 and ’65.
Through all the travel to new tracks, the
championships and long hours in the shop,
Fred continued to build cars, engines and try
new things. He had to in order to keep up with
the competition, which was keen. “Our best
competition was Shoemaker, Corey and
Lazzaro but it really depended on where we
ran. Nazareth for instance was Schneider and
Tasnady and we were outdated, well maybe not
outdated but we didn’t have the engines they
had. We were running a 327 and they’re
running big blocks with injection. We did try
an injector on a 327 once, after 3 weeks we
had to pull it out. Racing on dirt, couldn’t keep
a filter on it. Schneider and some of those guys
made up filters that worked. It was interesting,
very interesting to work on. One thing to get a
plug reading and it looked like you just put
them in so you thought it was running way to
lean so you put more fuel to it. You still can’t
get it to go, can’t get any heat in the engine so
you’re going to a smaller radiator, smaller
radiator, I think you could have run a heater
core and kept the engine cool. Just kept
getting richer and richer with the jetting, it
was noticeably stronger than a carb, go down
the straight like it was shot out of a cannon.
Bill didn’t really like it, didn’t like that feel of
the throttle, not a real smooth feel to it. If you’
re used to a carburetor, it’s hard to get used to
injection.”
The team never shied away from any
competition, in fact they looked for it and
relished the thought of winning against the
best. “I remember the open competition shows
at Lebanon Valley (the team won back to back
100 lapper in Sept ’63 and July ’64), Frankie
Schneider was there, big block, fuel injection.
Billy Rafter was there, a lot of them. We went
past Frankie down the backstretch –
SCHWOOOP! – just like that, Frankie couldn’t
believe it. He drove it for us once in warmups
at Middletown when Bill was late one night. He
got out and said ‘That ain’t no stock car, that’s
a sprint car.’ It was light, the engine sat way
back in it. Frankies cars, the engines all sat up
on the nose. All of our cars were pretty light,
pretty good, nothing extra on them that didn’t
need to be there, keep ‘em light, make them
handle.” Fred related more on his philosophy
as it related to engines, “I never went real wild
on camshafts, just old school stuff, a good head
job, good intakes, we had to finish and Bill was
a good finisher, stayed out of trouble. You
know about their limit when you’re working
with them that much, you know what the
bearings are going to look like before you even
take them out.” And therein lies much of Fred’
s ‘secret’ to the teams success, knowing when
it was time to refurbish.
In 1966 the team added asphalt track titles to
their resume’ in claiming a track
championship at Utica-Rome as well as Fonda
and the NASCAR NYS title, all with small block
power. Fonda had since gone to a
Sportsman/Modified format in which the
Modifieds were allowed big block power, but in ’
66 Fred’s small blocks tied Corey’s big block
with 5 wins each. Of the asphalt venues Fed
related “Originally Bill didn’t like the asphalt
until we built the asphalt car. Then for the ’67
season we built an offset car with a  big block,
Bill never like the offset car.” Regardless, he
did well with it claiming track championships
at Fonda, Utica-Rome, Albany-Saratoga as well
as the NASCAR NYS championship as well. At
the end of the ’67 season however, Bill turned
in his NASCAR license relating he didn’t agree
with their emphasis on blacktop racing – and
headed to the high banks of Lebanon Valley.
The winter on 1967 brought a big blow to the
team as owner Dave McCredy passed from a
brain tumor, his wife Marge kept the team alive
however and it paid off with the teams last
championship at the Valley in ’68. Fred related
“Bill liked Lebanon Valley, quite a knack to get
around the track, he drove it into the corner
right to the limit, went up to the top and then
shot down, I liked Lebanon too.” By August 24
Bill had a healthy lead in the points but
misfortune struck, “He got hit right in the door
off the corner, that pretty much ended it.” Bill
suffered a fractured skull in the wreck and
when his wife Nancy related she couldn’t
watch him race anymore, he retired. “Dutch
drove it for us one more time at Lebanon, but
that was it and the team was done at that
time.” Marge sold off the cars and the familiar
red and black #33 racers were gone from the
landscape. But the heart of the team was still
ticking and Fred soon found other racers
knocking at his door for help.
“When we were done my wife bought me a
WoodCraft garage to keep me going, they
poured the floor one day and it was up the
next. Then I added on here and there and over
there…Then I built a car for Art Kiser that he
took to Fonda. Harold Montayne, I built a car
and engine for him, maintained it here, he’d
race at Morris, leave it, go to Weedsport and
leave it. (I remember that #80 Sedan being
lightning fast at Midstate). Lydell Smith and
Moose Carey bought the last old asphalt car we
had, I worked on that for them too.” Fred’s
ability to build equipment that not only was
fast but dependable was what drew racers to
him and is illustrated in his memory of one of
the teams trips to Langhorne; “One year down
there we had the 33 & 13 cars (1967 I believe).
I was working the car Bill was driving and Jim
(Kelly) and Doug (Rundell) were working on
the car Jack Murphy was driving. I told them
what gear to put in, they put it in the wrong
way (gear ratios change greatly depending on
which gear is oriented on top) so we were
pulling 5:12’s at Langhorne (a large mile
circular track). It stayed together and Jack
wound up 6th.” A true testament to Fred’s
ability to build an engine that would finish.
“Jack’s a good guy. He did my engine
balancing early on. He got away from racing for
a long time, I was up there one day picking up
an assembly and he asked if I’d put an engine
together for him. ‘427, gonna run it at
Syracuse’ He said. So I said sure and brought
it home, put it together for him. I went to
Syracuse that year (1970) and he won it with
that old green #6 coupe that hadn’t been on a
racetrack in forever, he wasn’t supposed to
win.” I’ll add that Fred built the engine for
nothing, just a favor to a friend, turned out to
be a really nice favor and Jack had a NYS Fair
win to show for it.
Looking back through Fred’s career as a
mechanic, there is one constant in that all of
his cars were fast and highly competitive. Most
of the cars he built won championships or were
in the running to starting with the Pierce P13
which won two EMRC titles. Then on to
McCredy Motors S33 with Don Hendenberg
which netted track championships at Fonda
and Monroe County. When New Berlin’s ‘Pop’
Wilcox decided to get into racing in the early
1960’s, he came to Fred to build him a car, the
first #32 out of the 5 Corners Shop which was
driven by Jim Luke and very successful. “Pop
was so proud of that car, whenever someone
would show up at the garage he’d fire it up and
rev the engine until the cans shook off the
shelves in the garage. Come racing season and
the thing is starting to smoke…HAHAHA!”
After the McCredy team was finished he also
built engines for such notable racers as Dick
Clark, Randy Hedger, Tommy Williams (those
1X Camaro’s were fast stuff), Mitch Gibbs and
Doug Rundell’s son Bob’s limited super at
Oswego. All ran extremely well with Decarr
power under the hood.
Obviously though, the real measure of Fred’s
success as a builder and mechanic were the
years spent with driver Bill Wimble. The
Wimble-McCredy-Decarr team was  very good
in part due to the fact that they all shared one
thing in common, the desire to win. My friend
Roy Kotary and I discussed this once and he
related, “My father (Cliff) and I have discussed
this many times and we always felt that the
best overall driver was Bill Wimble. On asphalt
it was Richie hands down. On dirt there was
Pete Corey and of course Dutch but overall,
any surface, any size track, it was Bill. He was
always going to be at the front when the
checkers flew.” Quite a compliment coming
from those who know. Fred related of car
owner Dave McCredy, “Dave really wanted to
win badly, good guy to work for, he gave us
what we needed. Only a few things he
complained about, we broke a motor mount
once and he said ‘Jesus Christ I just bought
two of them and they were $15 each..’ He was
a businessman and had to make something on
everything he did. 50% of the winnings went
back into the car, Bill got a percentage, Doug a
little, Dave took a little and I got 10%, I worked
hard for it believe me. One year, I forget which
(my money would be on 1963, that year the
team had 28 feature wins) we came out
$26,000.00 ahead – good money.”
On the occasion of Fred’s 80th birthday this
past October 4th, his daughter Debbie
Brunschmid threw a surprise birthday party
for Fred at the North Norwich Fire Department.
It was a splendid affair and one which we were
most pleased to be invited too. All of the
surviving #33 crew was there, Doug Rundell,
Jim Kelley, and Bill Wimble. P13 driver Tommy
Wilson made the event as well as many other
well wishers. Once we had settled down Bill
Wimble addressed the crowd to make a
presentation to Fred and related, “For all the
success I had over the years I have to say it’s
mostly due to Fred’s work. I started with the
team in late ’58 and drove through 1968 when
I fractured my skull at Lebanon Valley, and we
won a championship nearly every year we were
together. In 10 years we won 14
championships and it’s all because Fred kept a
very competitive and dependable car under me.
There were a lot of people who helped of course
but Fred was the main reason we won those
championships. And I’d like to present him
with a plaque I had made up for this occasion,
they call the chief mechanic a crew chief now
so I had this one say ‘Best Crew Chief’ and list
all the championships we won together. Thank
you Fred.” And with that Bill presents Fred
this beautiful plaque. In football, the
quarterback gets the credit when a team wins,
in baseball it’s the pitcher and in racing it’s
the driver. But, without the rest of the team
behind them, there would be no wins. Fred’s
wrench’s put Bill in that position and it was
nice to see him receive the credit so richly
deserved.
We’re sitting in Fred’s shop, talking, looking
over photographs, country music is playing
softly on a transistor radio and he reminisces
about his time in racing. Unassuming about
his accomplishments, I do believe he is
completely satisfied with everything he did. “I
had a good time, I enjoyed it. I’d do it all over
the same way if I could, if I had the choice.”
Looking back over the success he enjoyed, who
could blame him for wanting to do it all over,
exactly the same. For his contributions to
racing Fred was inducted into the NYSSCA
HOF in 1996, only fitting that the fellows in
the trenches get some recognition as well,
there’s a lot of them and nothing goes if they
didn’t do their jobs well.
It was truly a pleasure to interview Fred, as
always, I learned some things to tuck away for
another time when needed and I got to meet
many wonderful people who share a common
affliction for the graceful modifieds of our
racing history. I must also give credit for this
material to: Debbie Brunschmid; Doug
Rundell; Otto Graham; Fusco, Boyd and
Rigney’s wonderful book ‘FONDA!’; ‘An
Illustrated History of Modified and Sportsman
racing at Fonda Speedway 1953-1985’ by
Compani/Williams; and Joan Secor’s ‘The Bill
Wimble Story’ as appearing in Stock Car
Racing Magazine in August, 1969. The rest was
all Fred and I’m grateful for the opportunity to
get to meet him and learn more about what
made the team tick. Thanks Fred.
Here’s wishing you and yours a joyful
Christmas and a Happy (safe) New Year from
me and the boys -  Jeff Ackerman, 6256 State
Route 17C, Endicott, NY 13760
Fred played in the this car as a child, perhaps sparking his later interest.
The pits at Vernon.
Tommy Wilson takes the flag at Vernon.
Dave Gallup.
Outside the Pierce garage in Deansboro.
Tommy Wilson with another trophy.
Frank Trinkaus congratualtes Tommy Wilson at Brookfield.
1953 EMRC most popular driver award to Tommy Wilson.
State of the Art in 1952.
Don Hendenberg.
Don Hendenberg at Brookfield, May 31, 1954.
Don Hendenberg with a Fonda flag.
Mahoney clobbers Delong.
The script says Wimble, the date and style say Mahoney.
Dave McCredy.
Fred DeCarr in his office.
Syracuse Salt City 100, 1964.
A win at Lebanon Valley, July 1968.
Jack Murphy at Langhorne in 1964.
Irish Jack at Langhorne in 1970.
The Crew, Jim Kelly, Doug Rundell, Fred and Bill Wimble on Fred's birthday.
Bill Wimbles' present to Fred on his 80th birthday.
Jim Luke with the Wilcox 32.
Harold Montanye at 5MP in the early 1970's.
Fred troques the head of another smallblock.
bolting up another smallblock.
Fred and Dutch Hoag at Langhorne in 1963.
Daytona with the Stude, 1961.
The 55 chevy in 1961.
Bill Wimble at Monroe County in 1960.
Bill Wimble aside the Hal Kempany coupe at Fonda, 1958.
Injectors at Fonda, John Grady Photo.
Frankie Schneider leads Bill at Nazareth.
Dick Nephew later in 1970.
Pete Corey and Bill Wimble.
Jim Luke, Bill Wimble, Lou Lazzaro and Steve Danish.
Fonda 1963.
McCredy Caddy logged many a mile..
Fred, Jim Kelly and Doug Rundell work on a chassis.
Fred, Bill and Dave McCredy, Fonda 1963.
Fred DeCarr, 1963.
Langhorne 1964.
Many thnaks to Doug Rundell, here at his shop with his hotrod.
Ready to go, 1963.
Bill Wimble's last race in the 33 came at Lebanon Valley in 1968.
The last 33 was as pretty as any.
Doug and Fred in the shop..
Another repair job for Fred.
Fred and Doug Rundell.
Daytona 1962.
The S33 Chevy, August 15, 1959.
Langhorne 1963.
Fred DeCarr at his Sherburne, NY shop alongside the Daytona Pitboard.