Bob Hogle passed away peacefully on October 2, 2020, with family at his side. The two-time CRA Champion (1963 and 1968), was born Robert Hogle in Anaheim, California on November 24, 1932.
Raised in Fullerton, Hogle was a rebel through his teen years. He was a natural-born mechanic and spent time building “cruisers” when most other teens were riding bicycles or scooters. He even built a ’40s Willys sedan that was powered by an airplane engine that had the driver’s seat moved to the rear seat area.
Well-liked, funny, and something of a chick-magnet, he was given the nickname “Lover Boy” by Ascot Promoter Harry Schooler for the crowd of young girls that were always nearby.
Hogle’s gift of gab came in handy when he convinced a jalopy owner that he was a race driver – although he had never raced – and then raced for the first time at the track in Huntington Beach.
Despite a humble beginning in auto racing, Hogle rose through the ranks. From Jalopies he went to Sportsman Modifieds, managing to find decent rides by his skill on the track and conversing with car owners.
Peat Brother’s Modified
His popularity at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, where he drove the legendary Peat Brother’s Model T Modified. He moved into Mel Allen’s ’32 Ford Roadster where he finished the season in Sixth place in the standings. Not really a points racer, he looked for another challenge. He got behind the wheel of Lloyd Woolever’s Sprint Car in the CRA Sprint Car series.
Parlaying his success in Modifieds, Hogle earned a shot in NASCAR’s Grand National series, starting at Ascot Stadium in May of 1959. Finishing mid-pack, he attempted the next NASCAR start in September at the Sacramento mile where he finished in 23rd.
His final NASCAR start came early in 1960 at Marchbanks Speedway in Hanford. Finishing 33rd on the paved oval, he decided to give open-wheel another shot. Showing a fearless skill and the ability to take care of the car, he was soon offered a career-changing ride by the Morales Brothers.
Becoming “The Man To Beat”
With this offer, his path was chosen and he became the “man to beat” in the Morales Brother’s Tamale Wagon Offy. This highly competitive combination lasted throughout his racing career.
“Lover Boy” became “Hollywood” Hogle but the humble driver was never a points racer. Hogle was quoted as saying: “Race driving never meant that much to me. It was just something to do. I never really cared about it.” However, those around him knew that he took it seriously.
Hogle became the CRA Series Champion in 1963 and again in1968. Not bad for someone that was just looking for something to do! When he retired from competition in 1973, Bob Hogle ranked third in CRA career feature wins with 63. He earned 21 fast time awards and 38 trophy dash wins. He may have tried to get people to believe he was not a racer, but he was a great racer – and sought out for help by younger racers.
Becoming a mentor was more satisfying to Hogle than racing for points, so he took on the task of helping younger drivers. Mike Mosely and Billy Vukovich Jr., were a couple of the drivers that Hogle helped refine. The oddest pairing of teacher/student came from one of Hogle’s sponsors, Tony Oskie. Tony asked Bob to take his young son Jimmy under his wing, show him the ropes and develop his racing talent. When the teaching was done, the younger Oskie was a five-time CRA Champion (1969, ’74, ’76, ’77, and ’79) and National Sprint Car Hall of Famer.
Bob Hogle was enshrined in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2001. He was a heavy equipment operator in the oil refinery industry in Southern California and retired to Phelan, California with his wife, Sally Hogle. “Just looking for something to do,” Hogle designed and built the quarter-mile Route 66 Raceway at the San Bernardino Fairgrounds in Victorville, California.
Bob passed away peacefully Friday evening, surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife, his children and step-children, and his grandchildren. Hogle will be remembered and honored, not only as a racing legend, but as a man who lived a full, and exciting life.