New Class of Race Cars Highlights Americana Motorsports
“Look out, Junior,” might be the call in the paddock during the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion as a group of historic Stock Cars take the grid. For the first time in the event’s celebrated history, Stock Cars with drum brakes will be roaring through the corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca August 13-15.
Joining the Ferrari GTOs, Bugatti Type 35s and Cobra Daytona Coupes in the paddock is an impressive field of championship cars, such as the two-time Stock Car Champion Ned Jarrett’s 1966 Ford Fairlane, David Pearson’s 1969 Ford Talladega and 1968 Ford Torino Cobras, Dick Hutcherson’s Ford Galaxie, Junior Johnson’s 1963 yellow “banana” Ford Galaxie, Dan Gurney’s 1963 Ford Galaxie and Bill Champion’s 1971 Mercury Cyclone.
“The Stock Car feature race is a group of cars showcasing a uniquely American race history,” explained Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “To put these Stock Cars back on the race track where they belong will be a treat for our fans.”
Stock Car racing has American roots as it was born in the days of Prohibition and by the late 1940s was popular throughout the U.S. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) formed in 1948 to give congruency to the many leagues that had sprung up around the country.
The most visible Stock Car in the paddock will be the #29 Ford Galaxie with its unique white and gold color scheme. The car was an “eye catcher” on the race track and Dick Hutcherson finished second in points winning nine races with 37 top tens out of 52 races entered in 1965.
The 1972 #15 Bud Moore Ford Torino is one of three team cars. This was the Super Speedway car, one of the first team cars to use a small block engine (351 Cleveland) and the first car to utilize a Banjo Matthews chassis. It was raced by Bobby Isaac and an impressive array of Stock Car drivers including David Pearson, Donnie Allison and Dick Brooks.
The 1969 #17 Holman & Moody Ford Talladega helped three-time David Pearson win the Stock Car championship. Pearson is the second winningest driver in Stock Car with 105 wins and he was on the pole in one of every five races he ran. The car is the only confirmed surviving 1969 David Pearson Holman & Moody chassis.
The 1966 #26 Ford Galaxie was nicknamed the yellow “banana” due to its unique color scheme. The car was owned and built by Junior Johnson to counter Smokey Yunick’s 1966 Chevy Chevelle. In the 1966 Dixie 400 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway while Fred “Flying Freddy” Lorenzen was leading the race, the front wheel broke and ended up running into the wall. He was then told by Stock Car officials, “Don’t bring it back!”
This 1963 #28 Ford Galaxie was built by Holman & Moody and won the first Stock Car road race at Riverside, Calif. with Dan Gurney driving. Gurney won the six hour race with an average speed of 84.965 mph in front of 52,500 spectators.
The 1966 #11 Ford Fairlane was raced by two-time Stock Car Champion Ned “Gentleman” Jarrett with five top five finishes and eight top 10 finishes. What is unique about this car is it has adjustable weight jacks inside the cockpit, which later was outlawed by Stock Car officials.
The 1968 #17 Ford Torino Cobra, built by Holman & Moody and driven by David Pearsen made 48 of the 49 races that year with 12 poles, winning 16 events. Pearson won his second Stock Car Grand National championship that year.
Other Stock Cars with drum brakes include the 1972 #41 Ford Torino driven by Bobby Unser that was the last car built by Holman & Moody, and the 1973 #12 Chevrolet Chevelle built and raced by Bobby Allison, one of Stock Car’s 50 greatest drivers.
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is honoring one of the true legends of motorsports- Dan Gurney, the Cars he raced and the Cars he built, like the Eagle. Among the 19 race groups will be a dedicated grid of 40 Bugatti race cars in the Bugatti Grand Prix, and featured races for Trans-Am and Formula 1 that competed between 1966 and 1983.