Don MacTavish
Class of 2001

Don MacTavish attended his first race at the age of 13, while visiting the Westboro Speedway. He bought his first car two years later, but at age 15 he wasn’t allowed in the Norwood pits, so “Mac” had John Warton drive for him.

Don began competing in the Norwood “ramp races”, where he would run three laps on the track, and drive over a set of ramps every fourth lap. When Don turned 17, he and his friends built a 6 cylinder “bomber”, and MacTavish’s career started to take off.

Don rose to fame driving demo derby cars, appearing on ABC-TV’s Wide World of Sports. He also had a guest spot on To Tell the Truth, due to his demolition derby antics. By the early 1960s, Mac was running sportsman cars up and down the east coast. In ’63, he began competing in NASCAR’s Sportsman Division. In 1966, MacTavish won the National Sportsman Championship, competing in a mind boggling 122 races, and earning 8,968 championship points. His closest competitors were “Wild” Bill Slater with 5,768, and Rene Charland with 5,490.

Over the winter of 1968, MacTavish had his sights set on a Grand National (now Winston Cup) ride. He moved south, where Humpy Wheeler encouraged Don to enroll in Humpy’s physical fitness program. Although, Don never learned the particulars, he was rumored to have nailed down a lucrative “factory ride”.

On February 22, 1969, MacTavish entered the 1969 Permatex 300 at Daytona excited about the upcoming year. During the race, however, MacTavish’s car suddenly slid up into the wall. It rolled and was hit by another car, in one of the most horrible wrecks in the history of the superspeedway. MacTavish was killed instantly, ending the dream of the popular young champion from Dover, Mass.