Tag Archives: NASCAR

’69 NASCAR Triple Crown – Ford Torino

In January 1969 Ford’s Atlanta Assembly plant in Georgia built a run of 500 special fast back Torino’s, featuring a slightly more aerodynamic nose said to have been developed by Holman Moody, known as the Torino Talladega named in honour of a new super speedway circuit that was to open located just down the road in Alabama.

The reason for building these cars all of which were thought to have lost Ford money in the show room was so that Ford would have a more competitive package for the 1969 NASCAR Grand National Season.

Junior Johnson ran a Ford Torino sponsored by Jim Robbins known as the Jim Robbins Special for LeeRoy Yarbrough who also drove for Robbins open wheel USAC team at Indy.

Ford Torino, Sonoma Historics

LeeRoy started the 1969 Daytona 500 from 19th place in his earlier Torino Cobra model but came through to beat Charlie Glotzbach driving a Dodge to win the richest race of the year and the US$38,950 prize money that went with it.

Mid season Junior Johnson’s cars were badged as Mercury Cyclone’s for six races and during that spell LeeRoy won The Rebel 400 at Darlington, and the longest race of the year The World 600 at Charlotte.

For the 1969 Medal of Honor Firecracker 400 at Daytona LeeRoy’s car was back to being badged a Ford Torino but with the more aerodynamic Talladega nose, starting ninth and leading 96 laps including the all important last one, LeeRoy won another US$22,175.

Ford Torino, Sonoma Historics

Starting the Dixie 500 at Atlanta from the outside of the front row LeeRoy led 142 laps to beat David Pearson Holman Moody Ford for his fifth victory of the season.

LeeRoy made it a clean sweep at Darlington by winning the oldest race of the circuit the Southern 500 and became the first driver to win NASCAR’s triple crown of the season’s richest, longest and oldest races on the schedule in a single season.

As at Atlanta and Darlington LeeRoy beat David Pearson again to win The American 500 at Rockingham and to claim his seventh win of the season which saw him finish only 16th in the end of season point’s standings thanks to only starting 30 of the scheduled 54 races, David Pearson won the 1969 Grand National Championship with 11 race victories.

Ford Torino, Sonoma Historics

Ironically the 44th race of the season saw Richard Petty lead fellow members of the Professional Drivers Association including LeeRoy to boycott the inaugural Talladega 500 due to a lack of grip on the steeply banked circuit.

The Talladega 500 went ahead without many of NASCAR’s star drivers and was won by Richard Brickhouse driving the debuting Dodge Charger Daytona model, Charger Daytona’s finished the race in the top four spots.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photo’s of the #98 Ford Torino Talladega, taken at Sonoma Historics last year, which I believe was driven by Ron Myska.

Thanks for joining me on this “’69 NASCAR Triple Crown” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for the last Ferrari Friday for the next couple of months. Don’t forget to come back now !


Drawin To It – Little Hotrod

In 1947 a two year old Charlie Lindmar was taken by his Dad to the races at New Jersey bullrings that included Hinchcliffe and Dover. He claims not to remember anything about these events as around that time he fell out of a 2nd story window and landed on his head !

The flowing year his Dad built a race car up around a red ’37 Ford with yellow wheels on to which Charlie’s Mom painted the #69, it was around this time Charlie got into drawing race cars an activity he has continued to this day.

Charles Lindmar, Limited Sportsman '37 Ford

While the car was being prepared Charlie would sit in the seat making car noises and it was not long before the crew working on the car gave Charlie the “Little Hotrod” nick name.

Limited Sportsman '37 Ford

Charlie’s Dad, who worked at an oil terminal near Linden airport only raced the #69 once and after starting and finishing last he decided to enter the #69 for better drivers most often at Rupert Stadium where he once earned $140 after a particularly good meeting.

'37 Limited Sportsman Ford

After moving the #69 had to take a back seat while Charlie’s dad was busy making a living, but even then Lindmars kept going to see the races. In 1953 Charlie’s Dad registered to enter his ’37 Ford as the #56 to race on the new 1 mile Old Bridge dirt oval, but he never did get around to taking the #56 car to the track, although the family regularly spectated at events there.

While a Senior at High school, where Charlie was especially good at art, he started drag racing a ’53 Mercury and working at a Sunoco gas station before taking a course in auto mechanics which got him a job at the Linden GM plant. By 1964 the 19 year old Charlie started building a race car up from a rough ’37 Chevy Coupé and like his Dad picked the #69 to go on the doors.

'51 Ford Pickup, '39 Chevy Limited Sportman.

With a ’52 Ford, Bonus Built F1, Pick Up that ran on only seven cylinders to tow the car Charlie’s first couple of meetings were steep learning curve experiences. He broke a drive shaft first time at Wall Stadium and forgot to check the transmission fluid the second time at Weissglass Stadium on Staten Island in New York.

At Ft Dix Charlie finally made the races and eventually had a career best 2nd place finish in a semi feature there. One time Charlie arrived early at Ft Dix and his truck overheated while waiting for the pit boss to show up, when he did eventually show Charlie had to push the truck, which refused to start, into the garage area with his race car !

In 1965 Charlie took his #69 Chevy to the Garden State Classic at Wall Stadium where he started his heat from the front row, but was punted off when his motor would not pull cleanly on the green flag. Later in the summer Charlie had the most fun when he raced at East Windsor.

Last time out at East Windsor Charlie qualified for the 100 lap final, even though he had not taken any account of the centrifugal forces acting on a new fuel tank in the turns which resulted in the tank slipping through it’s longitudinal securing straps and on to the track. He retired from the race because he ran out of time to secure the fresh race battery properly.

Joe Racz Headstone By Charles Lindmar

When Uncle Sam called on Charlie he joined the US Marines and the #69 Chevy was sold after Charlie’s Dad insisted he would not look after it. Charlie became a tractor trailer instructor before his enlistment ended in 1969.

Charlie never got back behind the wheel of a racing car, but instead got into making a living driving tanker trucks, getting married and starting a family. Eventually Charlie took his son to Wall Stadium.

After retiring from long haul driving Charlie returned to drawing old race cars, after cleaning his truck while waiting for lab tests and paperwork during loading or unloading for short hauls.

One day he was at Racz’s Garage which had been home to Joe Racz’s yellow #41 cars that Charlie had seen as a kid. A friendship between Joe’s nephew, Tom Rhodes and Charlie ensued which led Tom to commission Charlie to make a drawing for the headstone of his Uncle Joe’s grave many years later.

Charlie now has a web site for his art and his interest in drawing scenes from early stock car racing has led to him being invited to see the France, as in NASCAR dynasty, family archive.

Charles Lindmar, '39 Limited Sportsman Chevy

In 2010 Charlie was reunited with his old #69 Chevy, which in his dreams he had never sold or stopped racing, at an Old Bridge reunion after it had been sold for a $1,000 to the good home of the Allen family, some of whom Charlie had met long before the sale.

My thanks to Ray Miles at the Limited Sportsman Racers site and Chalie Lindmar, who’s erudite and unexpurgated story can be found in the “Articles” section of the lsracers site.

Thanks for joining me on this “Drawin To It” edition of “Getting’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


King Kevin 4 The Happy Nation !

Without the wonders of the internet I’d probably have no idea who Kevin Harvick was, around the time he was pulled into NASCAR’s top echelon of Cup racing by Richard Childress, RCR, the mainstream press in the UK had barely registered RCR and NASCAR’s star driver Dale Earnhardt’s passing and showed no interest in the guy Richard would turn to in his hour of need.

Thanks to the likes of Jerry Bonkowski over at Yahoo! Sport I managed to keep in touch with what was going on in Cup competition at the turn of the Millennium.

Chevrolet Impala SS, Harvick, Nurburgring,

In 2008 Jay Busbee at the same august internet enterprise ran a competition in which his readers were asked to fantasise about the future of NASCAR to be in with a chance of winning a number of NASCAR goodies.

My entry above imagined a 24 hour Cup race at the Nurburgring, which won me a “Americans For A Gunk Free Nation” cap signed by none other than Happy Kevin Harvick.

Chevrolet Impala SS, Kevin Harvick, Aaron's 499, Talladega,

The following year I got even luckier thanks to a much missed website called rowdy.com and won a trip to see Kevin race in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega.

The race was best remembered for the wipe out between winner Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards at the finish line, my man Kevin had a torrid time after his own early wipe out dented every panel on his car and his 2009 season was his worst since his semaphore slump in 2002.

On the plus side Kevin did win the 2009 Bud Shootout and in the post race interview uttered the phrase that I would eventually purloin and tweek for the title of this blog in 2010.

Chevrolet Impala SS

Photo Courtesy Kevin Harvicks Twitter feed.

The following season there were rumours that Kevin would switch to Haas Stewart Racing but these came to nought and Kevin bounced back to place 3rd in the Cup standings 3 times over the next four seasons.

At the end of 2011, to show how serious the matter of winning the Cup was, Kevin shut down his championship winning Kevin Harvick Inc Nationwide and Camping World Series Truck teams in his quest to focus on a Cup winning competitive edge.

Chevrolet Impala SS, Kansas, Kevin Harvick

Photo courtesy Kevin Harvick’s Twitter feed.

However despite finishing third in the final Cup standings last year Kevin decided that the switch to Stewart Haas Racing was due and amazingly after scoring 20 top ten finishes Kevin was crowned Sprint Cup Champion after winning his fifth race of the season at Homestead Miami to beat Ryan Newman by just one point.

The following day Kevin tweeted “All I can (do) is thank you to everyone for the support through all the years!! What a year this has been!!! WE WIN!!!”

Having been a Happy fan with a signed hat since 2008, I would like to congratulate Kevin and his SHR crew on their Championship success, thank him for keeping me entertained through thick and thin and wish him and his delightful wife Delana, who allegedly wears the fire suit, along with their son Keelan a relaxing festive break and best wishes for the 2015 season which kicks of on Valentines day with the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona.

Thanks for joining me on this “King Kevin 4 The Happy Nation !” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Seven Laps Led – Plymouth Savoy

“There’s no such thing as a ‘Plain Jane’ in the Plymouth line-up for 1959!” Plymouth dealers were informed and the base Savoy model proved the point with similar levels of chrome to the top Belvedere and Fury models with standard two-tone instrument panel, foam front seat cushion, dual sun visors, dual horns, and dual front door armrests.

Plymouth Savoy, Sonoma Historics,

After making 9 starts driving Petty Enterprises Oldsmobiles in the second half of the 51 race 1958 NASCAR Grand National series and winning $760, Richard Petty, later The King, continued with a 22 race schedule in the 44 race 1959 season.

Plymouth Savoy, Sonoma Historics,

Like his Dad Lee Petty the 22 year old Richard swapped over from Oldsmobiles to running Petty Enterprises entered Plymouth’s mid season. Turns out the same Petty Enterprises Plymouth’s would run in 2 door hard top Savoy form for some races and with the roof unbolted and removed in Convertible Belvedere form for others.

Plymouth Savoy, Sonoma Historics,

Lee Petty won his third and final NASCAR Grand National title with 11 race wins in the 1959 season, while Richard finished 15th in points with 9 top ten finishes and the NASCAR Rookie of the year award with his winnings for the year at $8110.21.

In his fourth drive in the Plymouth Richard recorded his first seven Grand National lead laps in the Southern 500 at Darlington where he finished 4th.

Today’s featured ’59 Plymouth Savoy is painted and stickered up in tribute to Richard Petty’s Rookie of The Year winning ’59 season.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs of the Plymouth taken at Sonoma Historics earlier this year.

Thanks for joining me on this “Seven Laps Led” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


NASCAR’s Oldest Survivor – #87 Oldsmobile Rocket 88

As another NASCAR season winds up I thought it would be fun to look at some survivors from the series glorious past.

Oldsmobile Rocket 88, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Today’s featured #87 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 is believed to be the oldest existing ‘original’ NASCAR racing vehicle,
the 1949 model is distinguishable by it’s split front screen.

Oldsmobile Rocket 88, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The Rocket V8 303 cui engine makes the car a true ancestor of the light body/chassis big engine “muscle car’. This motor, produced in Lancing, Michigan, was the first post war overhead valve V8 from General Motors and remained in production in the 303 size until 1953, the 1949 version of this engine produced 135 horse power, against the contemporary flat head Ford V8 which produced just 100 hp.

Oldsmobile Rocket 88, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Oldsmobile Rocket 88’s won half of the first 60 NASCAR Late Model races between 1949 and 1950. Buck Baker first drove the #87 Oldsmobile at Darlington on Sept 4th, 1950 coming in 69th (of 75 !) after qualifying 28th.

Oldsmobile Rocket 88, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Elzie Wylie (Buck) Baker 1919 – 2002 took part in his first race at Greenville, SC blew a tyre and posted a DNF, he entered the first two NASCAR races in 1949 in the #87 Kaiser.
His first of 49 NASCAR wins came at Columbia on April 12th 1952 driving the #89 Hudson.

Oldsmobile Rocket 88, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Bucks greatest achievement was wining titles in 1956 driving Ford, Chrysler and Dodge models and again in 1957 driving the #87 Chevy, he did not run full (56 race) schedules in either year, but still became the first winner of consecutive NASCAR titles.

Oldsmobile Rocket 88, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

His last win was recorded at Darlington driving the #3 Dodge in 1964 Buck retired in 1976 on October 10th at Charlotte after he came in 24th from a 38th place start in the #59 Chevrolet.

In 1980 Buck founded the Buck Baker Racing school which list graduates, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart who between them have won seven Cup Titles.

Apart from Buck drivers of this particular Oldsmobile in the Sportsman / Modified division from 1951 to 1961 include, Gene Darragh, Paul Goldsmith, Darel Dieringer and Lee Petty who raced the vehicle at Daytona International Speedway, along way from its first race on dirt track at Charlotte.

Thanks for joining me on this “NASCAR’s Oldest Survivor” Edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


PVO Sports Utility – Dodge RAM SRT 10

For the 1996 Chicago Auto Show Dodge produced a Dodge RAM VTS concept sport utility truck powered by a 8 litre / 488 cui V10 motor form their revised Phase II Viper sports car.

Dodge RAM SRT 10, Kernow Mill,

The VTS never went into production but 8 years later DaimlerChrysler’s Performance Vehicle Operations PVO produced the RAM SRT 10 now powered by an 8.3 litre / 505 cui V10 producing 500 hp like the one seen in these photographs taken at Kernow Mill during the summer.

Dodge RAM SRT 10, Kernow Mill,

The 5,130 lb (2,330 kg) regular cab RAM SRT 10 will reach 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds, cover a 1/4 mile in 13.6 seconds to reach 106 mph and has a top speed of 154 mph. Until the arrival of the Australian HSV Maloo R8 the RAM SRT 10 was the quickest production pick up in the world after NASCAR driver Brendam Gaughan set a record of 154 mph in February 2004.

Dodge RAM SRT 10, Kernow Mill,

Production of the RAM SRT 10 ran from November 2004 to the end of the 2006 model year during which time 9,527 examples were built.

Thanks for joining me on this “PVO Sports Utility” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you’ll join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Sweet Seventeen – Ford Thunderbird

Last, but one, in this series of road vehicles painted in racing colours is today’s tenth generation Ford Thunderbird painted up to look like the #17 DeWalt Fords driven by Matt Kenseth from 2000 to 2011.

Ford Thunderbird, Talladega Superspeedway

Ironically the Thunderbird had been phased out of NASCAR competition by the time Matt joined NASCARS’s top tier circuit in favour of the Ford Taurus. This photo was taken in the car park at Talladega Superspeedway in April 2009.

This blog is dedicated to Sweet Seventeen, who kindly lent me her headphones so that I could follow the Aarrons 499, and her partner Chris who is currently recovering from major kidney surgery. Hang on in there and get well soon Chris.

Thanks for joining me on this “Sweet 17” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at one of my all time favourite Formula One cars. Don’t forget to come back now !