For the 1958 Indianapolis 500 D.A.Lubricants sponsored an Offenhauser powered Kurtis KK500H that was to be driven by Johnny Thomson. Unlike previous Kurtis Indy cars this one did not lift it’s inside front wheel when going through the corners because it was the first Kurtis to be fitted with independent front suspension.
Johnny qualified the D.A.Lubricants Special 22nd and on the first lap got tangled up in the accident that killed Pat O’Conor damaging the suspension. Johnny continued for another 51 laps before the team called it a day, to be classified 23rd, with damaged steering. The race was won by Jim Bryan in the Salih Offy Belond Special.
In 1959 the D.A.Lubricants Special became the Smokey’s Reverse Torque Special driven by Duane Carter who qualified 12th and finished 7th to record the cars only Indy 500 finish in a race dominated by the Watson Offy’s driven by Roger Ward and Jim Rathman. Interestingly Smokey Yunnick had realised that by reversing the direction of the crankshaft and flywheel rotation the car should have had a better balance through the corners, hence the Smokey’s Reverse Torque name.
This cars final appearance in the 500 was in 1960 when Don Freeland drove the car now known as the Ross-Babcock Traveler qualifying 11th but being classified 22nd after withdrawing from the race with a magneto problem.
Ron Fournier restored the car to 1958 D.A.Lubricants configuration and to meet current vintage racing requirements in 2007.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photo’s of the car seen at last years Rolex Reunion at Lagunna Seca.
THanks for joining me on this “D.A. Lubricant Special” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me for Maserati Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !