Friday, February 16, 2018

RETRO: When Stock Cars were truly Stock...

The late Alan Kulwicki's No. 7 Hooters ford. Photo by Getty Images. (Image source:
As those Salad Days 'O "Body-in-White" manufacturer supplied chassis are long gone...

Yeah, Y'all know the Drill, Righto? Another story festerin' aways; Err smashed upon thou rocks on thee Isle 'O Nofendersville... Hmm, All of my Seafaring stories I've listened to lately are definitely Warshing' off on Mwah; but I digress...

Since originally I'd hoped to post Somme-thun' riveting 'bout the DayToner' 500 last year, when Super Mario', nee Mario Andretti was celebrating the 50th anniversary of his Stock Car victory at Daytona International Speedway. Becoming the first Open Wheel Racing Driver to win this prestigious Stock Car race.

Although' I was totally unawares' until starting this No Fenders yarn that Kurty' F-Bombs R Us! Busch had won last year's DayToner 500, apparently on a last lap pass, especially since I didn't watch Duh race... 

Past Winners
(Year/Driver/Team/Car model)
1967: Mario Andretti, Homan & Moody; Ford Fairlane 500
1968: Cale Yarborogh Wood Brothers Racing; Mercury Cyclone
1969: Lee Roy Yarborogh, Junior Johnson & Associates; Ford Torino Talladega
1970: Pete Hamilton, Petty Enterprises; Plymouth Superbird
1971: Richard Petty, Petty Enterprises; Plymouth Road Runner
1972 A.J. Foyt, Wood Brothers Racing; Mercury Montego

Sadly, I suppose due to it being winter, and we're in the Doldrums 'O six, or is it seven months slumber 'O thou dreaded IndyCar Off-season... Along with Dan Gurney's passing, I found Thyself ponderin' if he'd ever raced in the Daytona 500, which surely he did?

Since knowing about his utter Domination at his Hometrack 'O Riverside in truly :Bone-Stock Stocker's," where he won all five of his NASCAR victories between 1963-68. Having now discerned that four of those five wins were with the legendous' Wood Brothers Racing squad. In which he paid homage to by racing with the number 121.

As indeed, Gurney is credited with at least finishing fifth in the '63 Daytona 500 for Holman & Moody in a Ford, presumably a Galaxie, reportedly FoMoCos' final stock Bomber' racing chassis

  Reputedly, the slippery slope of full-blown automobile manufacturers showroom stock  Cars racing in NASCAR, nee the National Association for Stock Car Racing - began its long slide towards fully specialized, tube frame silhouette racing cars with the dawning of what's now called the "Gen-2" era, ironically when Mario Andretti's Holman & Moody Ford Fairlane was winning the DayToner 500 just over a half century ago.

NASCAR Stock Car Generations
  • Gen 1: 1948-66
  • Gen 2: 1967-80
  • Gen 3: 1981-91
  • Gen 4: 1992-2006
  • Gen 5: 2007-12
  • Gen 6: 2013-Present

Yet as I've painfully reminded Y'all, I've only been bitten by the racing bug, notably on the Open Wheel Racing side of the ladder, i.e.; Formula 1 and Indy Cars since mid-1986, obviously I missed out on what's considered by one notable motor racing Scribe' named Ed Hinton, heard of him, Eh? As the best generation of Roundy-round Racin' being the Gen-2 era, i.e.; 1967-80.

As I'm always mildly intrigued by this era, especially those ultra Slippy' "Winged" Fastback chassis, when the Ford Motor Company and Chrysler were locked in a Mano e Mano Duel for supremacy upon the Super Speedway's, i.e.; Daytona and Talladega. In what became known as the Factory Aero Wars of the late 1960's.

As I've always been smitten with the Plymouth Superbird, and it's Kissin' cousin the Dodge Charger Daytona, which is probably why I gravitated to one of the latter in Slot Car versions as a Wee' lad, Eh?

Although I'll confess I don't have any knowledge regarding the mighty Ford Torino Talladega's or Mercury Cyclone Spoilers - with Thar mighty 427's or BOSS 429 Big Blocks' pushing 'em thru the Tri-Oval...

While I listed those six winners above, since 50yrs ago the Blue Oval was in the midst of a three-year winning streak at Daytona International Speedway, and won four of six events, only interrupted by those iconic Petty blue Ply Mouths', nee the Superbird'! Before engine displacement was radically reduced to just 305cid in '71.

Yet somehow, at the very edge of my becoming totally immersed in motor racing, I do recall being swept up in Elliot-mania, Y'all know "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville." As Ford's new look Aero Warrior, specifically Elliot's No. 9 Coor's "Silver Bullet" Thunderbird reunited the quest for modern day Slippy Aerodynamic racing chassis. With Bill's T-Bird recording a terminal velocity of 212.80mph at Talladega in '87, before restrictor plates were introduced as being mandatory for Daytona & Talladega.

As those smaller wheelbase, super-aero Gen-3 Bombers' were probably the last vestige towards any remaining "Rolling Stock" being utilized in Stock Cars, with just the hood, roof and Uhm, may be quarter panels? resembling their production car siblings.

Another great past flyer of Ford's was the late-Alan Kulwicki, along with Davey Allison, who both died in aviation accidents close together. As I recall being jubilant for Kulwicki's unexpected '92 Winston Cup championship, which ironically one of the five drivers he was battling for the title was Davey Allison.

Hey! How could Yuhs NOT like the Dude who popularized the "Polish Victory lap!"

Whilst I was a devout Mark Martin fan,, since he was the  lead Gunslinger for Jack Roush. Even if thee Cat in the Hat had slipped over to the Dark Side, nee RASSCAR', which I suppose was a natural progression for Roush Racing, then thoroughly dominating SCCA Pro Racing's Trans Am series, which just so utilized the same mandated size 305cid small block V-8's.

And I still recall Ned Jarrett going Ga-Ga over calling the Daytona 500 race for CBS in 1993 whilst urging his son to Bring 'er Home! In what's commonly known as "the Dale & Dale Show," when he held off 'Ol Ironhead, nee Dale Earnhardt, aka thou Intimidator for the first of his three Daytona 500 victories.

Although Jarrett's first DayToner win came aboard Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Also being Coach Gibbs first driver. Yet instead, I always associate the Interstate Batteries racecar with Bobby Labonte, who garnered JGR its inaugural Cup title in y2k, nee 2000.

But Jarrett was probably the last driver I rooted for, especially since he'd moved on to the Robert Yates Racing squad in '95, with Yates being a fully fledged Blue Oval runner. Where Dale would win twice more at Daytona in 1996 & 2000 aboard Ford's.

Another "C-change" in Taxicabs' racin' occurred with the Blue Oval in '98, when it discontinued the use of its Mega successful Thunderbirds, in favour of the newer Tauruses,.

It's first season competing in Winston Cup racing, becoming the first ever four door sedan approved for "RASSCAR competition... Albeit, these were purely Deckles laidn racin' carz'. With Jarrett winning his lone RASSCAR Cup championship the following year for Yeats (RYR) in the No. 88, way before some Cat named 'lil E stole that number.

Although I cannot really recall now exactly when I lost paying any slight semblance 'O Attenzione to the Taxiland Bomber series, other than now enjoying making fun of it, since four Lefts makes Ah Circle!

But I'd have to guess it probably came shortly after the late, great Intimidator's death at Roundy Rounds Cathedral 'O Speed in '01. As how couldn't Mikey "ah Shucks!" Waltrip winning the Daytona 500 not once, but twice simply not turn your stomach into Knots!

Since when I think of RASSCAR' today, a wry smile permeates thou face as I think of when Thy late Awntie' Harriet made me a framed picture that featured the Labonte Brothers, for which she cleverly made the Corn Flakes box just say the word FLAKES!