The man in my avatar - the Western 500 at Riverside seems like a thousand years ago. He won it five times, four driving for the Wood Brothers.
He was famous for his bad luck with cars breaking down but still found ways to win.
He was so good on American tracks that word got all the way to Europe, they came over and checked him out and he got a Grand Prix ride. Jimmy Clark said he was the only driver he feared.
Wear a full helmet? Gurney was first.
Spray champagne from the winners podium? Gurney was first.
“In 1967 he had what might have very well been the greatest three-week span for any man to ever hold a steering wheel, when he started second in the Indianapolis 500; won the 24 Hours of Le Mans while co-driving with A.J. Foyt, the man who'd just beaten him at Indy; and then traveled north to win the F1 Belgian Grand Prix in a car of his own construction, still the only American to do so....
...In 1971, one year after he'd retired from formal competition to focus on life as a team owner, he was coaxed off the bench by racing writer Brock Yates to participate in the still-new Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. They won the highly illegal secret event's second running, using a Ferrari Daytona to cover 2,863 miles in just under 36 hours, receiving only one speeding ticket. "At no time did we exceed 175 mph” deadpanned Gurney.”