Newton “Buzz” Rose – Driver

Buzz Rose

Buzz Rose sits aboard Daryl Arend’s #1 at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Spencer, IA.

By Chad Meyer

Photo caption: Buzz Rose and car owner Daryl Arend pose before the IMCA sprint car races at the Clay County Fair in 1973. Rose and five others will be inducted into the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame August 6, 2011. (Buzz Rose Collection)

After watching Emory Collins battle with legendary driver Deb Collins for the win at the Colorado State Fair in 1947, Buzz Rose knew he wanted to be a sprint car driver. When his father passed away in 1950, his mother packed the family up and moved to southern California.

At the age of 16, Rose took the inheritance left by his father, and bought into a small race track called Micro Park in Torrance, without the knowledge of his mother. At the same time, he bought a micro midget to race there. The whole thing ended about the same time it started when the city closed the track down for not having the necessary permits in place.

Looking to earn back some of the lost inheritance, Rose took a job Ansen Automotive. Sitting in the back of the shop was the rail-frame sprint car that won the very first California Roadster Association (CRA) race. After a lot of elbow grease, the car was race ready and the high school student Rose entered his first CRA event at Gardena Stadium in 1956. His first foray in a sprinter ended after only five laps with a blown engine.

Buzz RoseNext, Rose co-owned a midget car and drove in the United Racing Association (URA). Though he lasted three years in the midget, his heart longed for a chance to wheel the bigger and faster sprint cars. That opportunity arrived in 1958 when Ken Stansberry put Rose in his car for several CRA shows. Stansberry had a great handling car, but the stock Olds motor with three carburetors had its work cut out on the bigger California tracks.

A stint in the United States Marine Corps relegated Rose to sporadic stints behind the wheel. Upon his release in late 1959, Rose landed the CRA ride of Lester Robertson’s Cadillac powered sprinter. He was seated in the legendary Ennis M. “Dizz” Wilson Offies for the 1961 season, with teammates Leroy Neumayer, Jim McElreath and Johnny Rutherford on the IMCA, MARC and CRA circuits.

Rose credits this period as his favorite behind the wheel. He and his teammates all lived at Wilson’s place in Indiana, working and traveling together. His most memorable race occurred during that season when McElreath and Rose ran one-two in the very first sprint car event held at the Eldora Speedway. Rose was also the winner of the August 13, 1961 IMCA sprint car race at the Austin Fairgrounds, in Austin, Minnesota.

Buzz Rose Rose claimed the 1962 Midwest Auto Racing Club sprint car title while driving for Wilson. After a short run in USAC in the fall of 1962 and a recall in the Marines, Rose returned to race in the IMCA and CRA circuits through 1974. In 1970, Rose accumulated an incredible nine feature wins at the Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids, Iowa driving the Cahill sprinter.

Near the conclusion of the 1972 season Rose was looking for a ride, when Algona’s Daryl Arend needed a driver. Rose and Arend paired up for race dates at the historic Knoxville Raceway and at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Spencer, Iowa.

Preparations for the ’73 run on the IMCA sprint car fair circuit began the prior Thanksgiving with a trip to California to pick up a beautiful front spring sprinter built by the legendary Don Edmunds. Rose, who at the time was a successful ground transportation business owner at the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids airports, helped secure sponsorship from Ozark Airlines on Arend’s No. 1.

The 1973 IMCA pursuit for the national title began during the Winter Nationals, held at the fairgrounds in Tampa, FL and Arend, with Rose as his driver, were present for the lid lifter. Tough luck followed the team south as they suffered several mechanical problems that left them with no points.

Rose and Arend made up ground the rest of the 1973 season though, as according to Rose they amassed more points than anyone in IMCA after the Florida swing. At season’s end, Rose finished the IMCA season fifth in final point standings. Had it not been for tough luck in Florida, and suffering a DNF while leading on the mile track at Sedalia, Missouri, Rose feels they had a real shot at the IMCA championship.

Buzz RoseDuring that magical ’73 season, Rose and Arend traveled the Midwest, racing across Iowa plus stops at big state fairs such as Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Sedalia, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska and many more in search of the crown.

Rose fondly recalls both racing at and staying in Algona. Rose says that his relationship with Arend was a great one and he cherished their time together. He stated in his book Show Biz Auto Racing, IMCA Big Cars 1916-1917, that no driver ever drove for a better owner. Their bond went far beyond just chasing races.

In late 1972, Arend tried to convince his driver to run the car at the Algona speedway. Rose resisted, stating that sprint cars were meant to run on half mile and mile length tracks and that’s where his preference was.

The next year was a different story however, as the owner convinced Rose to give the racy quarter mile track in Algona a try. Rose found the track to be fast and fun, scoring the coveted “Race Day’s” feature win. The team also notched a big win at Hawkeye Downs.

Even with the successful IMCA sprint season, Rose’s time behind the wheel of sprint car was waning. At the conclusion of the 1974 Western World Championships in Phoenix, Rose retired from the sport.

Buzz RoseDuring the next several years, he stayed busy in the wholesale motorcycle industry in the Southwest. He made a racing comeback from in 1986, competing in SCCA road racing until 1992. During that time he accumulated 10 regional championships and four division national championships.

While Rose was a terrific sprint car pilot, he is most well known as a racing historian and author. In 1997, frustrated by the lack of information available about IMCA, Rose began producing books on the history of sprint car racing. To date, he has published 11 books about the sport of sprint car and open wheel racing.

Rose was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in June 2006. He is also a member of four other racing halls’ of fame, including the Hawkeye Downs Wall of Fame in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His books have been awarded honors by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.

Today Rose resides in Glendale, Arizona.