I get accused of residing prior to now and I’m responsible as charged, if for no different cause than the Nineteen Sixties. When it comes to innovation, star energy and variety there was no different decade prefer it. Rear-engined automobiles took cost and one thing referred to as aerodynamics got here into play. And it was additionally the deadliest decade, as race drivers in USAC, Components 1 and NASCAR turned endangered species.
When it comes to capturing most people’s consideration with pace, hazard and nice characters, there was no different period to match it. Can-Am and Trans Am shared the highlight, and the heroes of the day raced virtually each weekend, all around the map. A.J. Foyt, Rodger Ward, Parnelli Jones, Jimmy Clark, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Richard Petty and David Pearson dominated the headlines, whereas Mario Andretti, Jackie Stewart, Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren and the Unser brothers drove into that rarified air.
However whereas F1 and NASCAR had been nonetheless preventing for recognition, Indy automobiles stood on the prime of the motorsports mountain and the Indianapolis 500 attracted a number of the better of these two disciplines. The declare of getting the 33 greatest drivers on the planet wasn’t too far off.
So sit again, and luxuriate in 10 years that modified the sport and formed the long run.
* Foyt captured the primary of his seven nationwide championships with 4 wins (all on one-mile filth tracks) in 12 races as Ward completed 280 factors behind, however solely competed in 10 races. He missed Langhorne on objective and Jimmy Bryan got here out of retirement to drive his automobile, however was killed on the opening lap.
* At Indy, a courageous rookie named Jim Hurtubise got here inside an eyelash of breaking the 150 mph barrier and certified virtually three mph faster than pole-sitter Eddie Sachs by dirt-tracking his roadster at 149.601 mph. The veterans warned USAC officers “Herk” was going to crash, however as an alternative he shattered the IMS observe report. Within the race, Jim Rathmann and Ward staged a terrific duel for a lot of the 200 laps earlier than Rathmann prevailed.
* Bobby Grim earned his first and solely Champ Automotive win at Syracuse, N.Y. whereas Jim Packard captured Springfield, Unwell. solely to lose his life two weeks later in a USAC midget race at Fairfield, Unwell.
* Jack Brabham gained the second of his three world championships within the ultimate 12 months a front-engined F1 automobile would ever go to victory lane. Stirling Moss gave Lotus’ Colin Chapman his preliminary F1 triumph earlier than breaking each legs at Spa in a race that noticed Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey lose their lives in separate accidents.
* Rex White gained the NASCAR title, and 22-year-old Petty scored his first win on a dust observe in Charlotte and earned $800. Junior Johnson gained the Daytona 500, and Herman Beam was black-flagged in one of many 100-miler qualifiers for not carrying a helmet.
* Veteran Tony Bettenhausen, who had been the quickest throughout Indy follow, was killed the day earlier than qualifying started whereas testing the automobile of buddy Paul Russo. The 2-time nationwide driving champion by no means gained Indianapolis in 14 tries.
* Foyt outlasted Sachs (they each made late pit stops) by eight seconds to take his first Indy 500 in a race contested by a rear-engined Cooper Climax pushed by two-time world champ Brabham. He completed ninth on the lead lap however some individuals predicted that automobile would mark the tip of the roadster. A rookie named Parnelli led 27 laps earlier than being hit within the face with a chunk of metallic and wound up twelfth however lots of people predicted he would win Indy many instances.
* Jones received his first victory within the season finale at Phoenix, whereas Lloyd Ruby additionally received his first at Milwaukee. Al Keller was on the pole at Phoenix, however was killed within the race.
* Foyt gained the championship once more with George Bignotti, scoring 4 wins, whereas runner-up Sachs by no means completed decrease than sixth however had 5 DNQs or DNS.
* Phil Hill turned the primary American to win the F1 title by beating Ferrari teammate Wolfgang von Journeys, who was fatally injured at Monza. The U.S. Grand Prix was held at Watkins Glen, N.Y. for the primary time.
* NASCAR staged 52 races, 20 on filth, 31 on paved ovals and one street course, as Ned Jarrett racked up 27,222 factors to take the title over seven-time winner White. Marvin Panch gained Daytona for Smokey Yunick – his lone victory in inventory automobile’s grandest stage. And Curtis Turner was banned from competitors by Invoice France for attempting to start out a driver’s union.
* Parnelli gained the pole at Indy by breaking the 150 mph barrier and led 120 laps within the race earlier than shedding his brakes and ending seventh. Ward led the ultimate 30 laps to place his face on the Borg-Warner Trophy a second time, and teammate Len Sutton completed second to offer A.J. Watson’s Chief Card workforce a uncommon 1-2.
* Ward beat Foyt for the championship (they every had 4 wins) on the energy of his Indy win (AJ completed twenty third) because the Chief Card workforce excelled on filth and pavement. Bobby Marshman (Phoenix) and Don Branson (Langhorne) notched their first massive automobile wins, and Hugh Randall was killed on the ‘Horne.
* Hill gained 4 of the 9 races to turn out to be F1 king whereas Gurney scored his first win for Porsche and Ricardo Rodriguez misplaced his life within the Mexican Grand Prix.
* Joe Weatherly gained the NASCAR title, and Fireball Roberts captured Daytona.