Dan Sandiford: Finishing in the Top 10 on Three Wheels

Dan Sandiford: Finishing in the Top 10 on Three Wheels

Front wheel drive competitor Dan Sandiford raced from 16th to 10th last Friday. He did so without knowing he lost his left-rear wheel while on-track at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tennessee.

“I felt my car was getting loose, shimmying and shaking with five laps to go and thought I had a flat tire,” Sandiford, of Sevierville, Tennessee, said. “So, I drove harder.”

He finally realized he had lost a wheel when he tried to drive his car onto his trailer. Sandiford found the hub bolts broke but could not definitively determine the root cause of the issue.

“I drove back to my trailer and tried to get my car up the ramp — suddenly, it halted,” said Sandiford. “I got out and said to myself, ‘Oh my, I lost the left-rear tire and wheel.’ That’s when the Wyatt boys, Ray and Gregory, who were pitted next to me, said, ‘Boy, Dan, you sure can drive — even on three wheels.’ That was a great compliment for this old driver.”

Sandiford, originally of Cowden, Illinois, has raced for decades, winning a track championship at the Brownstown Bullring in Illinois. All that time he’s primarily raced as a one-man operation.

“All these years, I have raced out of pocket — no sponsors, no help — for more than 30 years,” Sandiford said. “Every car I’ve driven, I own and I do all the work on. Everything that can happen in racing has happened to me. I’ve been on my top, on my side, I’ve rolled and rolled and I’ve been on fire.

“My wife once saw me flip at a race and started screaming. The guy next to her said, ‘Calm down. He’s done that a few times before.’”

Despite all the years in the sport, Dan Sandiford still enjoys racing.

“I’m like Ken Schrader — who I have met — we just like to race,” said Sandiford. “I joke that I’m chasin’, not racin’ — but that is okay with me.”