Today’s Americana Thursday blog remembers Jerry Grant the first man to be credited with a 200 mph closed circuit lap in an open wheel car at Ontario in September 1972.
Among the many cars Jerry drove was this 1965 Lola Ford T70 chassis #SL70/10 that was run by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers team in 1966.
Jerry qualified on pole first time out at the USRRC Stardust Grand Prix held in Las Vegas as he did on at least two other occasions for USRRC events at Riverside and Watkins Glen.
Known for always answering the phone “Merry Christmas this is Jerry Grant” what ever time of year, Jerry won the USRRC event at Bridgehampton with this car in May 1965.
After an accident during practice for the Can Am race at Mosport in September 1966 the car was given a new lighter Mark 2 T70 chassis which it carries to this day. Although the Ford V8 could pull higher revs than the Chevrolet motor used by everyone else in the 1966 Can Am season it lacked the torque of the Chevy and team owner Dan Gurney is the only man to have won a Can Am race with Ford Power in a similar Lola T70.
Allegedly on one occasion when his Ford failed Jerry pulled his car up to a stop along the pit wall jumped over the wall picked up a revolver and emptied it’s contents into the motor saying “Well you shoot injured horses, don’t you?”. Jerry conceded that leaving the AAR team at the end of the season was a mistake, AAR went on to become winners of the Indy 500 with Bobby Unser in 1968.
Despite many wins driving sports cars, a close call with Victory Lane at Indy in 1972 when a puncture forced him to pit from a comfortable lead in 1972 and another in the 1966 Sebring 12 Hours when the GT 40 he was sharing with Dan Gurney was pushed over the line for the for the win and subsequently disqualified, Jerry’s most notable achievement was his 200 mph lap at Ontario in 1972 driving an Eagle for Dan Gurney again. Jerry passed away on August 12th, 2012 aged 77.
RIP Mr Grant.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for today’s photographs taken at Carmel By The Sea Concours on the Avenue.
Thanks for joining me on this “Merry Christmas” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !