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  • 1966 radio broadcast

    I'm listening to the '66 race today and it certainly seems to me that for (at least) the second half of the race the radio crew was unsure who was leading. They didn't bring Hill home with very much confidence, did they? There was so much confusion that it's no surprise Clark's team protested thinking they had won.
    "The track will choose who's going to win."

    Tony Kanaan

  • #2
    Originally posted by jp View Post
    ....There was so much confusion that it's no surprise Clark's team protested thinking they had won.
    You are correct about some confusion but STP/Lotus did not protest the results after they were posted. Both Granatelli and Chapman went over the scoring sheets with USAC comparing them with their own after the race and were satisfied that Hill was the correct winner.

    You can bet that if there really was a mistake there would have been an official protest.

    Andy Granatelli brought back the controversy a couple of years later when he wrote his "They Call Me Mister 500" book. By that time he was certainly no fan of the United States Auto Club.

    There were so many "what ifs" in that race.

    Parnelli Jones was way ahead of eventual winner Hill when he went out with a left front wheel bearing failure. The left front is the least stressed corner on the car and no one could figure out why the bearing had failured. It turned out that a distracted/tired mechanic had installed the bearing without packing it with grease.

    Rodger Ward was also running ahead of Hill when he pulled in and literally retired from racing although the car was still running fine. He always claimed a handling issue but his Bryant Heating & Cooling sponsor wasn't happy when he realized they might have had a chance to win if he had kept running.

    Jackie Stewart might have won except for a incorrectly assembled oil line that caused his oil pressure to start dropping late in the race. Even then the engine didn't blow as he simply noticed the pressure problem and shut it off. It's possible the engine would have gone for quite a few more laps before blowing; maybe even to the finish. He ended up pushing the car down the track after it coasted to a stop. Notice that there was no yellow light as he pushed alongside the car.

    And, of course, there was Gordon Johncock who ended up actually running the 500 miles on the track faster than anyone else. However, since the rules at the time didn't allow any work during the initial red flag he was having his nose cone replaced in the pits when the green flag dropped and his crew could work again.

    Looking back it was a very interesting and somewhat unique race with a lot of twists and turns. It's no wonder that the broadcasters seemed a little confused at times.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by indyrjc View Post
      Rodger Ward was also running ahead of Hill when he pulled in and literally retired from racing although the car was still running fine.
      Though Rodger Ward unretired and raced stock cars regionally from 1974-1976. That seems to be overlooked primarily because most - if not all - of his racing was done on Southern California short tracks, though he did make a couple of NASCAR GN West races and the sportsman races at Riverside International Raceway and was at least entered for one Ontario sportsman race.
      "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JThur1 View Post
        Though Rodger Ward unretired and raced stock cars regionally from 1974-1976. That seems to be overlooked primarily because most - if not all - of his racing was done on Southern California short tracks, though he did make a couple of NASCAR GN West races and the sportsman races at Riverside International Raceway and was at least entered for one Ontario sportsman race.
        I always took it as they retired from Champ Cars/the Indianapolis 500, not racing pre se. Yes, Ward, Parnelli and a lot of others continued to race quite awhile after giving up champ cars. Ward ran stock cars all the way through '76,

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Larrymgs View Post
          I always took it as they retired from Champ Cars/the Indianapolis 500, not racing pre se. Yes, Ward, Parnelli and a lot of others continued to race quite awhile after giving up champ cars. Ward ran stock cars all the way through '76,
          You might be in the minority. Some here have posted that they took it literally to mean all of racing and seem surprised (or angry) when I mention otherwise. Not to further drift, but the three cases were quite different:

          Sam Hanks. Retired from Championship racing in victory lane at the Indianapolis 500. Fulfilled his contractual obligations with the factory Mercury stock car team on the USAC stock car circuit for the remainder of the 1957 season. Nearly unretired to race Monza and Indianapolis, but decided to stick to it.

          Rodger Ward did retire from racing as a whole after the 1966 '500'. He didn't race for the next seven years, until filling in for an injured driver who was a customer of his tire shop in Rosemead, California. That was in a claimer class at Speedway 605 in Irwindale. Filling in for a couple of weeks, Ward decided he enjoyed racing again, so he raced stock cars in the West from 1974-1976. He didn't race that often, concentrating on big short track events, a couple of NASCAR West series races and the late model sportsman events at Riverside and Ontario.

          Parnelli Jones. Never formally retired. Continued racing USAC stocks for a season after his last '500' start, then - with one exception - only made sporadic road course starts with NASCAR and in USAC stocks, did some SCCA Trans-Am racing and quite a bit of off-road racing.
          "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JThur1 View Post
            You might be in the minority. Some here have posted that they took it literally to mean all of racing and seem surprised (or angry) when I mention otherwise. Not to further drift, but the three cases were quite different:

            Sam Hanks. Retired from Championship racing in victory lane at the Indianapolis 500. Fulfilled his contractual obligations with the factory Mercury stock car team on the USAC stock car circuit for the remainder of the 1957 season. Nearly unretired to race Monza and Indianapolis, but decided to stick to it.

            Rodger Ward did retire from racing as a whole after the 1966 '500'. He didn't race for the next seven years, until filling in for an injured driver who was a customer of his tire shop in Rosemead, California. That was in a claimer class at Speedway 605 in Irwindale. Filling in for a couple of weeks, Ward decided he enjoyed racing again, so he raced stock cars in the West from 1974-1976. He didn't race that often, concentrating on big short track events, a couple of NASCAR West series races and the late model sportsman events at Riverside and Ontario.

            Parnelli Jones. Never formally retired. Continued racing USAC stocks for a season after his last '500' start, then - with one exception - only made sporadic road course starts with NASCAR and in USAC stocks, did some SCCA Trans-Am racing and quite a bit of off-road racing.
            Parnelli did more than "some" Trans-Am racing-he won the 1970 championship in a Bud Moore Boss 302 Mustang.
            "Only a fool fights in a burning house."-Kang

            "If you listen to fools....The Maaahhhhb Ruuuules....."-Ronnie James Dio

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sea Fury View Post
              Parnelli did more than "some" Trans-Am racing-he won the 1970 championship in a Bud Moore Boss 302 Mustang.
              I am well aware of Parnelli's great success in Bud Moore's Boss Mustang. "Some" was my quick way of writing that I didn't have the time to search for all the details at the time I posted (hey, I don't do this all by recall, though a lot of it still works that way). I recalled him being full-time in 1970, which was still a manufacturers rather than drivers championship, but I wasn't sure about the other years off the top of my head.

              Parnelli ran the 1969 and 1970 seasons of Trans-Am for Moore, plus the first round of 1971. The 1969 and 1970 Trans-Am seasons were Jones last full series of racing. He had run the 1968 USAC Stock Car season as well. After the sole Trans-Am appearance in 1971, I'm only aware of three other circuit races, scattered across two different decades.
              "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by JThur1 View Post
                Y
                Rodger Ward did retire from racing as a whole after the 1966 '500'. He didn't race for the next seven years, until filling in for an injured driver who was a customer of his tire shop in Rosemead, California. ......
                Thanks for the info, Jim.

                BTW, I'm trying to remember what the group was called but didn't Ward promote a city to city type road racing series in the late '90s/early 2000s? It seems like they somehow managed to get some vintage sports cars to race one way on actual public roads that were closed down for the event.

                i'm short on details but I think one of his sons may have been involved as well.

                Do you have any recollection of Ward running this kind of event?

                Thanks!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by indyrjc View Post
                  You are correct about some confusion but STP/Lotus did not protest the results after they were posted. Both Granatelli and Chapman went over the scoring sheets with USAC comparing them with their own after the race and were satisfied that Hill was the correct winner.

                  You can bet that if there really was a mistake there would have been an official protest.

                  Andy Granatelli brought back the controversy a couple of years later when he wrote his "They Call Me Mister 500" book. By that time he was certainly no fan of the United States Auto Club.

                  There were so many "what ifs" in that race.

                  Parnelli Jones was way ahead of eventual winner Hill when he went out with a left front wheel bearing failure. The left front is the least stressed corner on the car and no one could figure out why the bearing had failured. It turned out that a distracted/tired mechanic had installed the bearing without packing it with grease.

                  Rodger Ward was also running ahead of Hill when he pulled in and literally retired from racing although the car was still running fine. He always claimed a handling issue but his Bryant Heating & Cooling sponsor wasn't happy when he realized they might have had a chance to win if he had kept running.

                  Jackie Stewart might have won except for a incorrectly assembled oil line that caused his oil pressure to start dropping late in the race. Even then the engine didn't blow as he simply noticed the pressure problem and shut it off. It's possible the engine would have gone for quite a few more laps before blowing; maybe even to the finish. He ended up pushing the car down the track after it coasted to a stop. Notice that there was no yellow light as he pushed alongside the car.

                  And, of course, there was Gordon Johncock who ended up actually running the 500 miles on the track faster than anyone else. However, since the rules at the time didn't allow any work during the initial red flag he was having his nose cone replaced in the pits when the green flag dropped and his crew could work again.

                  Looking back it was a very interesting and somewhat unique race with a lot of twists and turns. It's no wonder that the broadcasters seemed a little confused at times.
                  Heard that Bignotti was not pleased about Stewart shutting it off; maybe there was a difference in outlooks between GP circuit and Indy racing, in that Stewart didn't want the thing to blow and Bignotti at that point was "I don't care if you bring it back in a wheelbarrow, win."

                  The thing that enlightened me on this race was reading Andrew Ferguson's Lotus at Indy book. Grantatelli's book ... which was a wonderful read but was much BS ... had it like Clark was cruising along and all of a sudden Hill goes to the top of the board, but according to Ferguson Clark's car both engine-wise and handling wise just went to crap the longer the race went on. Jimmy was by no means dominating the field.

                  Hill just happened to be there at the end, but he's a good guy to have on the Borg-Warner, so ...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Big G 94 View Post

                    Hill just happened to be there at the end, but he's a good guy to have on the Borg-Warner, so ...
                    I agree. As far as lucky winners go, Hill's mug on the Borg-Warner does not cheapen the hardware.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by indyrjc View Post
                      Thanks for the info, Jim.

                      BTW, I'm trying to remember what the group was called but didn't Ward promote a city to city type road racing series in the late '90s/early 2000s? It seems like they somehow managed to get some vintage sports cars to race one way on actual public roads that were closed down for the event.

                      i'm short on details but I think one of his sons may have been involved as well.

                      Do you have any recollection of Ward running this kind of event?

                      Thanks!
                      You're welcome Randall. Yes, Rodger Ward did all sorts of promoting as well (even semi truck drag races at Ontario!), including being involved with a few open road racing events (a couple in Nevada and one in Texas). I recalled the events, but had to resort to Google to find them listed as CARS - Classic Auto Racing Series.
                      "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JThur1 View Post
                        ..... listed as CARS - Classic Auto Racing Series.
                        That's it. Thank you, sir!

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