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First Wing at Indy 500

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  • First Wing at Indy 500

    Does anybody know when a wing (front or rear) first appeared on a race car that made a qualification attempt at the Indy 500?

  • #2
    This is probably the wrong answer but did the #96 Harrison Special Eisert Ford ever attempt a qualification attempt with the Batmobile wing in 1966? Ronnie Duman drove it on Memorial Day w/out the wing but Al Unser had raced earlier in the season with the wing installed.

    Here's a picture from later in the year with a young Peter Revson on the left.



    I'd love to see a picture with the wing.

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    • #3
      My guess would be the 1971 McLaren M16. From what I remember the wing was considered part of the body due to the engine cover connecting the wing to the rest of the body. In my IMHO one of the most beautiful Indy Cars. The other would be the Chapparal. Both cars advanced the aerodynamic influence on car designs in their day.

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      • #4
        I was going to say Jim Rathmann's Simoniz Roadster, the one that Carousel 1 made a diecast of, but I think they gave up on the wing before quals.
        Last edited by GoodStone1969; 10-13-2010, 06:10 PM. Reason: Too much cowbell.
        So long, and thanks for all the fish!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GoodStone1969 View Post
          ... but I think they gave up on the wing before quals.
          Wish they would have done that in 1972.

          IMHO.
          "You just don't know what Indy Means", Al Unser Jr.

          "That's why to me it does feel more precious when an American wins it...", Michael Andretti

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kevin99 View Post
            Wish they would have done that in 1972.

            IMHO.
            And, as many are wont to say, they should have put the engine back in front.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by NoviVespa View Post
              And, as many are wont to say, they should have put the engine back in front.
              They should have never eliminated the riding mechanic.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jag-lover View Post
                They should have never eliminated the riding mechanic.
                Two man cars were still legal for the Indianapolis 500 until around 1960 (maybe 1961 or '62). The rules on the entry blank weren't changed to specify single seaters until then. Riding mechanics were still listed as "optional" all of those years after 1937.

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                • #9
                  Probably they were around earlier (I remember the Simoniz car) but I know the cars in 1969 were positively festooned with wings. Andretti's and Foyt's were only two examples.
                  You've worked so hard on the kidney. Very special -- the kidney has a very special place in the heart. It's an incredible thing. Donald John Trump

                  Brian's Wish * Jason Foundation

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TC in Indy View Post
                    Does anybody know when a wing (front or rear) first appeared on a race car that made a qualification attempt at the Indy 500?
                    Norm Hall ran a aero flap mounted on the rear of his #92 Kurtis roadster in 1961. The flap was attached just behind the left rear wheel. Hall qualified the car on the First Day of Time Trials but was later bumped. Howard Moore (nephew of Lou Moore of Blue Crown fame) was the mechanic on the car and came up with the aero spoiler idea. Since the car got bumped I guess they never tried it again. I also seem to remember Jack Turner practicing in another car with a left side spoiler at about the same time but I don't think that car ever made a qualification attempt in that configuration.

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                    • #11
                      I recall Dan Gurney having a small aero device, not really a wing per se, attached to the exhaust pipes of his car. 60's I think.
                      A book fell on my head, and I only have my shelf to blame.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jamski View Post
                        Probably they were around earlier (I remember the Simoniz car) but I know the cars in 1969 were positively festooned with wings. Andretti's and Foyt's were only two examples.
                        Aero devices were allowed up to a certain height and could extend only so far behind the rear wheels, that's why the "wings" on Foyt's and Andretti's cars were not exactly wings. The real wings were allowed in ridiculous fashion in 1972, causing speeds to raise about 25 mph all at once. Check out pictures of the cars in '70 and '71, most of them had aero help, but nothing to the ridiculous extreme they had in 1972-73. Thankfully, in 1974, USAC reduced the wing size, lowered the boost, reduced speeds about 8-10 mph, made vast safty improvements at the track, and made the racing more competetive and better.
                        Now go ahead 38 years, cars are still smashed to the track, I guess that's "progress".
                        "In America, the winner goes to Victory Lane, everybody else goes to the garage and should soak their tears in their beer and figure out how to be faster next week."
                        Eddie Gossage

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                        • #13
                          Smokey Yunick had a super-modifed style wing mounted above engine on his 1962 Watson-Offy Vista Spl. but I don't think it tried to qualify with it. The 1970 McLaren M15 did race with a wing mounted over the engine.

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                          • #14
                            I think Jack Turner would be the answer.
                            Now, Gurney ran with a "stiffner" between the exhaust pipes on his cars because wings were not yet popular.
                            The Turner roadster actually had a modern airfoil mounted vertically on the left side of the roadster. Originally it was movable by the driver to change the angle of attack when going through the corners. Because it was mounted midway between the front and back wheels, it was subject to the turbulance of the wheel. It didn't work and was removed.
                            ZOOOM
                            "Doc, just set them fingers sose I can hold the wheel"
                            James Hurtubise, June, 1964

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                            • #15
                              Wing being a device with air flowing over and under the surfaces creating the downforce/lift... some of the devices noted above are better described as spoilers or air dams.
                              The 69 Indy winning McNamara had wings on the nose and on the cowl.
                              I see pics of cars in 68 running with wings.. but not at Indy. Excess drag was already an issue maybe.
                              Jim hall put a wing on his chaparral in 65 or 66?... the next day EVERYBODY was looking for ways to nail one on their racer .. if rules allowed.
                              Look at some pics of oil tanks on the roadsters in 63 and later... me thinks some guys had "little wingy thingy" in mind when they fashioned those tanks.
                              Some People Race For A Living
                              I Live To Race
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