Peter Dudley “P. D.” Plant

“Mr. Packard”

          P.D. Plant was born September 25, 1901 in the tiny hamlet of Tioga in Grayson County, Texas, the fifth of six children born to Thomas Anderson Nicholas Plant (1860-1928) and Ellen Ida (Rice) Plant (1868-1943).  He counted a young Gene Autry among his childhood friends.  He was married first on October 31, 1929 to Mildred Esther Quinn during a town fair at Palestine in Anderson County, Texas and they moved to the Highland Park district of Dallas, Texas where he found work at the Pedigo Brothers Garage as an auto mechanic specializing in repairing Packard automobiles.  People who owned Packards would drive from all over the Dallas area to have “Mr. Packard” work on their cars.

P.D. and Mildred had one daughter, Barbara Louise (Plant) Thompson (1933-2012).  It was around the time that Barbara was born that P.D. started driving racing cars in races in the Dallas area.  Following is the currently known but very incomplete driving record of P.D. Plant:

 

P.D. Plant

 

P.D. Plant with his first wife, Mildred (Quinn) Plant

Margie Murray collection

 

P.D. Plant at left with his first racing car, the #9 Chevrolet that he drove at Love Field in 1933 before being injured when he crash it there on September 10th of that year.

 

P.D. Plant’s #9 Chevrolet pitted beside the racetrack at Love Field in Dallas, Texas in 1933

 

P.D. Plant in his #9 Chevrolet pitted beside the racetrack at Love Field in Dallas, Texas in 1933

 

P.D. Plant in his #9 Chevrolet on the racetrack at Love Field in Dallas, Texas in 1933

 

P.D. Plant’s #9 Chevrolet in the pits at Love Field in Dallas, Texas in 1933

 

 Mildred Plant with #9 Chevrolet in 1933

 

Oscar Coleman is standing at left.  His father, Oscar C. “Topsy” Coleman is standing at right and Bill Miller is seated in the car

  

P.D. Plant with daughter, Barbara at Industrial Speedway in Dallas, Texas in December of 1934.  The “Circle 4” car (seen here) that Plant drove is believed to have been owned by Les Butler.

 

P.D. Plant standing in back of the #16 car being driven by Rex Edmonds.

 

P.D. Plant seated in Oscar Coleman’s #1 car in 1934.

 

P. D. Plant in white hat standing behind Oscar Coleman’s #1 car

 

The driver is Bill Miller.  The man in the white shirt to the right of the car is car owner Othello “Pappy” Lawrence.  The man whose head is just visible at the far right of the photo is Les Butler, Sr. 

 

P.D. Plant in his #10 car.  This is the car he took to Kansas in 1935.

 

One of P.D. Plant’s racing cars under construction.

 

P.D. Plant

 

P.D. Plant with daughter Barbara in a former Leonard Kerbs #K-1

 

P. D. Plant

May 28, 1933 – Love Field – Dallas, Texas

          1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Charles Cook and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

P.D. Plant drove his #9 Chevrolet to a third place finish in the “Class A” race behind Pete Lambert and Jim Branch.

 

July 12, 1933 – Love Field – Dallas, Texas

          1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Charles Cook and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

P.D. Plant drove his #9 Chevrolet but it is currently unknown how he finished on this night.

 

July 26, 1933 – Love Field – Dallas, Texas

          1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Charles Cook and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

P.D. Plant drove his #9 Chevrolet finishing third in the 10-lap consolation race behind Cotton Grable and Bill Miller.

 

August 23, 1933 – Love Field – Dallas, Texas

          1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Charles Cook and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

P.D. Plant drove his #9 Chevrolet finishing third in the six-lap consolation race behind Red Hodges and Bill Miller.

 

August 30, 1933 – Love Field – Dallas, Texas

          1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Charles Cook and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

P.D. Plant drove his #9 Chevrolet finishing third in the “Class B” race behind Ben Musick and Red Hodges.  Plant also finished third in the twenty-lap “Sweepstakes” race behind J.D. Mackey and Ben Musick.

 

September 3, 1933 – Love Field – Dallas, Texas

          1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Charles Cook and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

P.D. Plant drove his #9 Chevrolet a third-place finish in the “Class B” race.

 

September 6, 1933 – Love Field – Dallas, Texas

          1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Charles Cook and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

P.D. Plant drove his #9 Chevrolet a first-place finish in the second heat race behind Cotton Grable and Pete Lambert.

 

September 10, 1933 – Love Field – Dallas, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Charles Cook and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

“P.D. Plant crashed the board fence during the time trial and was severely injured.  Plant was going into the south turn with his #9 Chevrolet Special when he lost control of his car, crashed into the fence, and tore down 100 feet of board.  He went on through the wall and over an embankment turning completely over twice.  An ambulance waiting on the grounds rushed him to Parkland Hospital.  Here, he was reported to be doing well Sunday night.  He regained conciseness and it is not believed that his injuries would prove serious although he was badly cut over the nose and on the right side of his head and his whole side was badly scrapped and bruised.” – Dallas Morning News, September 11, 1933

What the newspaper did not say was that a wheel from Plant’s car went up into the grandstand slightly injuring one spectator and that Plant nearly lost his nose in this accident.

 

October 8, 1933 – Love Field – Dallas, Texas

          1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Charles Cook and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

P.D. Plant was hospitalized with scraps all over his body and cuts on his nose and head after losing control of his car in the south turn.  The car left the track, crashed into a fence, ripped out 10 feet of boards, continued through the fence and over an embankment turning over twice.  None of his injuries proved to be serious though.

 

April 15, 1934 – Love Field – Dallas, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Charles Cook and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

P.D. Plant finished fourth in the consolation race behind Rex Edmonds, Art Challender, and Eddie Edwards.

 

April 29, 1934 – Love Field – Dallas, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Charles Cook and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this night.

 

June 6, 1934 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by Henry Mehlman and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this night.

 

June 20, 1934 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by Henry Mehlman and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this night.

 

June 27, 1934 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by Henry Mehlman and sanctioned by the Southern Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this night.

 

July 22, 1934 – Central Texas Speedway – Waco, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval at the Waco Fairgrounds promoted by L. A. Coleman - Races sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

3,000 spectators watched as P.D. Plant finished third in a heat race behind Gene Frederick and Tex West.  He then finished third in the “Class B” feature behind Rex Edmonds and Hugo Mac.  Plant won the consolation race before finishing third in the “sweepstakes” race behind Gene Frederick and Tex West.  There were twelve cars entered in these races.

 

August 5, 1934 – Central Texas Speedway – Waco, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval at the Waco Fairgrounds promoted by L. A. Coleman

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

September 16, 1934 – Central Texas Speedway – Waco, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval at the Waco Fairgrounds promoted by L. A. Coleman

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

October 21, 1934 – Central Texas Speedway – Waco, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval at the Waco Fairgrounds promoted by L. A. Coleman

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

October 28, 1934 – Central Texas Speedway – Waco, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval at the Waco Fairgrounds promoted by L. A. Coleman

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

November 4, 1934 – Central Texas Speedway – Waco, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval at the Waco Fairgrounds promoted by L. A. Coleman

P. D. Plant won the “Class B” event.  He was running in third place in the ”Grand Sweepstakes” race when he spun out in the “upper turn”.  That race was won by Tex West.

  

December 9, 1934 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by W.J. Hartman sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

P.D. Plant drove car number “Circle 4” in these races but it is currently unknown how he finished on this afternoon.

 

December 16, 1934 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by W.J. Hartman and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

December 23, 1934 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by W.J. Hartman

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

January 13, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by W.J. Hartman and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

P.D. Plant won the “Class A” race, the handicap race, and was leading the “Sweepstakes” race when he dropped out with engine trouble.  Ben Musick went on to win that race.

 

January 27, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by Rip Bailes and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

February 3, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by Rip Bailes

P.D. Plant won the “Class B” race and finished second behind Ben Musick in the handicap race.

 

February 17, 1935 – Southwest Motor Speedway – San Antonio, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval located “4 miles out Seguin Highway” and promoted by Jack Cotton and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

                                    P.D. Plant drove a Riley special to victory in the 10-lap “Class B” race.  He then finished second to Bob Sledge in a 5-lap, 4-car special match race for the 4 fastest cars in time trials.

 

March 3, 1935 – Southwest Motor Speedway – San Antonio, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval located “4 miles out Seguin Highway” and promoted by Jack Cotton

Plant ran the 7th fastest time in time trials of 27.0 seconds which was slower than quick-timer Herschel Buchanan, Cotton Grable, Red Hodges, Ted Parker, Ben Musick and John Holland.  Plant then did a “tail spin” and three a wheel in a turn during the 10-lap Class B race won by Ben Musick.

 

March 17, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by Rip Bailes and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

P.D. Plant drove a Riley special owned by Jack Keys

P.D. Plant finished third in the “Class B” race behind Red Hodges and John Holland.  Plant then finished third in the “Sweepstakes” race behind John Holland and Ted Parker.

 

March 31, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by Rip Bailes and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

P.D. Plant drove a Riley special owned by Jack Keys

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

April 7, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by Rip Bailes and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

July 24, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by Joe Ziobro

            P.D. Plant drove a Riley special owned by Jack Keys

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this night.

 

July 27, 1935 – Cowley County Fairgrounds – Winfield, Kansas

1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Joe Ziobro

P.D. Plant drove his car #10 but it is currently unknown how he finished on this afternoon.

 

July 28, 1935 – Anthony Downs – Anthony, Kansas

1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Joe Ziobro

P.D. Plant drove his car #10 and finished fourth in the main event on this afternoon behind Tex West, Pat Cunningham and Dutch Dorris.

 

July 31, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by W.J. Hartman and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

P.D. Plant finished third in the “Sweepstakes” race behind Red Hodges and Pat Cunningham.

 

August 7, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by W.J. Hartman and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this night.

 

August 14, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by W.J. Hartman

P.D. Plant finished second in the “Class B” race behind Dutch Doris and fourth in the “Sweepstakes” race behind Dutch Doris, John Holland, and Herschel Buchanan.

 

September 4, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by W.J. Hartman

P.D. Plant won the “Class A” race, finished in a dead-heat for first with Dutch Doris in a match race, and finished third in the “Sweepstakes” race behind Dutch Doris and Bill Miller.

 

September 15, 1935 – Sportsman’s Park – Ft. Worth, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval

P.D. Plant was involved in a crash when his car locked wheels with one driven by Louis Nance and both spun off the racetrack into the infield during the “fourth race”.  The front of Nance’s car suffered heavy damage while Plant’s car was able to be shoved off and continue.  Plant finished that race in third place behind John Holland and Gene Frederick.  Plant then finished third in the “Sweepstakes” behind Herschel Buchanan and John Holland.

 

October 9, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by W.J. Hartman and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this night.

 

October 16, 1935 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval promoted by W.J. Hartman and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

P.D. Plant finished first in the “B Class” race

 

February 23, 1936 – Southwest Auto Speedway – San Antonio, Texas

          1/2 mile dirt oval located “4 miles out Seguin Highway” and promoted by Hoyt Jopling

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

August 1, 1937 – Sportsman’s Park* – Ft. Worth, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Winfield Morton - Races sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

P.D. Plant finished third in the “second ten-lap preliminary” race behind Tex West and John Holland.  He then finished third in the 30-lap “Sweepstakes” race behind Buddy Rusch and Red Hodges. 

 

August 8, 1937 – Sportsman’s Park* – Ft. Worth, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by Winfield Morton – Races sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

P. D. Pant finished second in the “second ten-lap preliminary” race behind Tex West.  He then finished fifth in the 30-lap “Sweepstakes” race behind Oscar Coleman, Red Hodges, Tex West, and Gene Frederick.

 

August 15, 1937 – Sportsman’s Park* – Ft. Worth, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by O. A. Worford – Races sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

August 22, 1937 – Sportsman’s Park* – Ft. Worth, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by O. A. Worford – Races sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

September 5, 1937 – Sportsman’s Park* – Ft. Worth, Texas

1/2 mile dirt oval promoted by O. A. Worford – Races sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

P.D. Plant finished third in the second heat race behind Joe Termin and Rex Newbill.

 

September 19, 1937 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval – Races promoted by Winfield Morton and sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

P.D. Plant finished third in the 10-lap consolation race behind Johnny Holland and Gene Frederick.

P.D. Plant finished third in the sweepstakes race behind Herschel Buchanan and Johnny Holland.

 

October 3, 1937 – Industrial Speedway – Dallas, Texas

5/8 mile dirt oval – Races sanctioned by the Southwest Racing Association

It is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this afternoon.

 

September 21, 1938 – Sportsman’s Park – Ft. Worth, Texas

1/5 mile dirt oval promoted by Joe Ziobro

This was a midget race but it is currently unknown how P.D. Plant finished on this night.

         

         After his wife’s death from cancer in 1940, P.D. took a job with Brown & Root of Houston working on the Panama Cannel during World War II.  After the war, he worked heavy construction in Alaska and Guam.

          In 1949, P.D. married Alma Sinclair in San Francisco and they moved to a small farm near Heber Springs, Arkansas.  From there, they moved to Flint, Michigan where he took a job with Fisher Body assembling Buick automobiles for General Motors.

          While living in Michigan, P.D. was diagnosed with colon cancer so he moved back home to Texas where he purchased a small farm near Mesquite.  In his retirement, he collected and restored Packards from the 1930s and ‘40s although his illness made it difficult for him to work on them.  P.D. had a life-long fondness for Packards but he is not known that any of his racing cars ever used a Packard engine.

With the pain from his cancer continuing to get worse, P.D. passed away at his home near Mesquite on August 22, 1963 from a self-inflected gunshot wound and he is buried in the Plant family burial plot in the Tioga Cemetery west of Tioga, Texas.

 

 

 

*A section of seating known as “guaranteed thrill seats” was placed right next to the racetrack on the outside of the south turn (turn four) at Sportsman’s Park in the summer of 1937.  For the price of regular admission and after signing a waver, spectators who chose to sit there were guaranteed a “thrill” from the passing race cars at some point during the program or they would be refunded the price of their admission.

 

 

If you know anything more about P. D. Plant or his racing career, please contact Bob Lawrence at: sprintguy @ cox.net

 

  

Unless otherwise noted, all of the photographs on this web page are from the collection of Barbara (Plant) Thompson.  Without her generous assistance, this web page would not have been possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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