Collins started his racing career at the Thompson Speedway in 1948.
He showed up with a car he had built himself, intending to find
someone at the track to drive it for him. When he hadn’t found
anyone by warm-up time, he borrowed a helmet from “some guy from
Abington” and took the car out for warm-ups himself. On his
cool-down lap, an official flagged him down and told him that he had
been placed in the first heat, so he should pull over and get into
line with the racecars that were pulling onto the track. After that
race, he purchased the helmet from “the guy from Abington”, and Don
Collins became hooked on racing.
Collins spent much of his career at the Waterford
Speedway, where he won more than 100 feature races and five track
championships. 97 of those wins came in the highly competitive
modified division, where he competed against Hall of Famers
including Dave Humphrey, Ed Flemke, and Bill Slater. Collins
continued his winning ways through the 60’s, competing against
Waterford standouts like Dick Beauregard, Ray Delisle, and Sal
Dee. He also competed at Norwood, Seekonk, Plainville, and
Don was a car builder and mechanic, as well as a driver. He
prided himself on being “tire wise”. “Like today’s cars, if you
could make your tires last until the end of the race, and your tires
were in better shape than your competitor’s tires, you stood a
better chance of winning the race”, says Collins.
Collins remains third in the all time Waterford win list, with
only Bob Potter and Phil Rondeau having more victories at the tough
1/3 mile oval.