Monday, August 10, 2015

Gurney Star Attraction during latest visit to IMS Hall of Fame museum

IMS Hall of Fame museum Dan Gurney Brochure. (The Tomaso Collection)
Once again with A  lotso help from my Friend', happily I found myself back again at one of my most favourite museums,  nee thee IndyCar Shrine, aka Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Hall of Fame museo...

As apparently I hadn't visited IMS on my last journey to Indianapolis a year and a half ago, which I loosely chronicled in;

Thus I can only ARSE-sume its been two years since my last visit, which naturally I don't remember now, albeit that's when I saw the famous "Stinger" IndyCar "Gentleman John" (Andretti) got A-L-L of the past drivers "John Hancock's" on and will be auctioned off next year.

While the visit to the Dallara factory  where CARPETS' personally escorted me on the tour, which I believe sadly isn't available anymore? Stands out more to Mwah, as it was fun getting to hold actual DW12 Dallara IndyCar bits.

Gurney's Creations
  • #31 Jochen Rindt Eagle
  • #6 Joe Lenard(?) Owned by Ray Evernham
  • 1973 #20 Gordon Johncock Indy 500 winner - Owned by Craig & Susan McCaw
  • 1967 #36 F1 Winner - Driven by Dan Gurney
  • 1975 #48 Bobby Unser Indy 500 winner
  • '99 AAR Eagle/Toyota IndyCar
  • Mike Mosley's "Pepsi Challenger*"
  • IMSA GTP Car

Along with Arch Nemesis and past Co-driver A.J. Foyt running his third  Indy 500 entry piloted by 'TAG (Alex Tagliani) in the No. 48 and painted a deep shade 'O black; in total tribute  to Dan Gurney, albeit Gurney's #48 "Mystery Eagle" was actually dark blue.

The last American made & driven Formula 1 racecar to win a Grand Prix, which is exactly what Dan Gurney did aboard his AAR Eagle in 1967 sits proudly on display at IMS's Hall of Fame museum! (The Tomaso Collection)
IMS and the museum were honouring Gurney with an excellent gathering of All American Racers (AR) creations, primarily focusing upon various IndyCar generations naturally! As these ranged from the early 1960's thru the final incarnation, of the late 1990's Eagle which were chauffeured by such drivers as Juan Manuel Fangio II and P.J. Jones who come to mind.

And ironically, a la another 'Mega racing name; Can Y'all say Rahal? And NO I'm not talking 'bout Graham; Hya! As think of father Bobby's involvement with Honda, nee Judd engines...

It was Gurney who got Toyota to go IndyCar racing after obliterating the IMSA GTP field with his 'Uber Dominant blown Toy-Yoter' 4-banger!

Yet if only Dan could have been granted more time to wring his magic upon the Eagle chassis, after beginning in 1996, before  eventually Cheep' (Ganassi) would score victories with some Dude named Montoya at the Keyboard, along with "Shorty," aka Cristiano da Matta giving the Japanese Auto Giant its lone CART (IndyCar) championship in '02.

Then Toyota jumped ship - along with many others to the IRL where Scott Dixon would score their final Open Wheel Racing title to date in '03 before Toyota surrendered  and ran off to the rosier; Err more prolific confines of 'RASSCAR instead, where it's still chasing its first premiere Sprint Cup title.

Yet it took nearly three years before a Toyota powered chassis led laps in an IndyCar race, with Alex Barron leading twelve circuits at Vancouver, BC's Molson Indy on Labour Day weekend. Then Scott Pruett gave Toyota its first Pole at the '99 season finale at Fontana, for which I've heard "Scooter" marvel over doing 246 FREAKIN' MPH there! With Juan Pablo Montoya getting the debutant victory at Milwaukee the following year.

As recall it was Arciero/Wells running "Tail-gunner Charlie" with the promising Jeff Krosnoff, who sadly lost his life at Toronto in the then under-performing Toyota powered racecar.

As arguably my favourite Formula 1 car, the last American chassis to win a Grand Prix 38-years ago was on display! When Dan Gurney was victorious at the mighty Spa Francorchamps a Fortnight after his biggest victory ever, winning the 24 Heurs du Mans with A.J. Foyt aboard the Ford GT 40 Mk IV.

While I'd never seen the Mike Mosley driven "Pepsi Challenger," which I believe was the Eagle chassis last winner.

Yet the other car I most admired on hand was that Oh So Wicked IMSA GTP car! Which I'd seen racing live at Portland International Raceway during the end of the  IMSA GTP era. When Gurney's Eagle's blew away the then dominant Nissan's which in turn had ended Porsche's 962 reign.

My list above is by NO means complete, just what I was able to recollect upon my return from this year's thrilling Indy 500 race - before I-T all slipped away.

(Brochure & Photo Courtesy of No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS)

Kudos to Dave CARPETS' O'Brien as always for taking me to Indianapolis Motor Speedway!