RIP To One Of The Greatest, Dan Gurney

According to Bobby Rahal, the legendary Dan Gurney passed away Sunday, January 14th at the age of 86.

Gurney was one of the original American badasses behind the wheel. From Europe to America, F1 to NASCAR, Le Mans to Indianapolis, Dan Gurney drove it all.

Marshall Pruett or Robin Miller will do far better than me at telling you about the life of Dan Gurney. For now, you can see his career highlights and why he was beloved amongst race fans.

He was the first driver to win races in sports cars, F1, NASCAR, and IndyCar. He was a wheelman of epic proportions, a man who went to Le Mans with AJ Foyt and Ford in 1967 and won. He went to Formula One at a time when American’s were viewed as “capable” racers. He won in NASCAR, IndyCar and competed at the Indy 500.

In Formula One Gurney racked up 4 wins in his Formula One career. His first coming in 1962 in a Porsche at Grand Prix of France. Gurney started 6th and won, imagine an F1 race where a guy on the third row could win. He goes on to repeat in Frace during the 1964 season as well as a win in Mexico. He also won at the famed Spa Francorchamps circuit as well and ended his F1 career with McLaren in 1970 after the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch.

 

Gurney would go on to race in NASCAR for the famed Wood Brothers Racing Team. In 16 NASCAR starts Gurney would record 5 victories at Riverside. Gurney was the Dover Jimmie Johnson of Riverside. Driving the #121 for the Wood Brothers he won 4 Riverside races in a row.

 

He would also take his shot at the worlds most famous 500-mile race. Dan would never win the Indianapolis 500 but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Finishes of 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd capped off his Indy career in 1970. He would win 7 times in 28 starts in the domestic American open-wheel series.

It’s what Gurney did off the track as an owner may be what he is most remembered for. His All American Racers team racked up 78 wins from Indy to Sebring to Daytona. He helped split open-wheel racing away from USAC and helped to form CART and thus the heyday of American Open wheel racing. He’s the reason the Long Beach Grand Prix exists. Dan Gurney was the man.

Dan Gurney will be missed. A monster behind the wheel, a style of driving unmatched and a guy willing to drive anything he could get into. RIP Dan Gurney.

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