Archive for March, 2016

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INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, March 29, 2016 – As part of the celebration of the 100th running of one of the world’s most important and iconic events, ESPN‘s signature news and information program, SportsCenter, will have a major and significantly expanded presence at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the week of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May. 

The historic 100th edition of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will get the green flag live on ABC on Sunday, May 29, and ESPN will lead up to its sister network’s race telecast with four live SportsCenter on the Road programs originating from the Speedway, as well as reports airing within other editions of the program. This will be SportsCenter on the Road’s first visit to IMS since ESPN launched the initiative in 2015 and will mark the first live SportsCenter programs from the Indy 500 in more than a decade.

In addition to previewing the premier race of the Verizon IndyCar Series with drivers, team owners and others, SportsCenter programs also will pay tribute to the long history of the Indianapolis 500 with guest appearances by past champions and special features and elements. 

“We’re thrilled SportsCenter will be on hand to bring millions of viewers across the globe an up-close look at the monumental 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The buildup to the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ will make for compelling television, showcasing the world-class drivers, intense competition and innovative technology that propel the Verizon IndyCar Series forward.”  

“I can’t think of a better place to be than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as we approach Race Day for the 100th Running of the Indy 500,” said J. Douglas Boles, IMS President. “Our fans are going to love hosting the SportsCenter team on site and today’s good news will truly make the Month of May even more exciting and unforgettable for everyone.” 

The SportsCenter presence at the Indianapolis 500 will include two live one-hour programs on the morning of the race, with hosts Matt Barrie and Sara Walsh on a set in the Speedway’s busy Pagoda Plaza area. The first program will air from 8-9 a.m. ET on ESPN, while the second will air on ESPN from 10 a.m. until ABC’s telecast begins at 11 a.m. Barrie and Walsh will have live reports from the Speedway during the 9-10 a.m. hour while SportsCenter is airing on ESPN2.  

On Saturday, May 28, the day before the race, Barrie and Walsh will host a three-hour edition of SportsCenter on the Road from the Speedway beginning at 9 a.m. on ESPN, and the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter, hosted by Lindsay Czarniak, will air from the Speedway on Friday, May 27, on ESPN. 

In addition to the four live programs, other editions of SportsCenter will carry live reports from the Speedway, including segments with Czarniak in the 6 p.m. show on Wednesday and Thursday, May 25-26. After the race, the winner will have a live interview with SportsCenter, and Czarniak will have a SportsCenter Sunday Conversation with the winner that will air in the evening editions of the program.

SportsCenter at 100th Indianapolis 500

Date Time Description Host(s)
Wednesday, May 25 6 p.m. Live segments in SportsCenter Lindsay Czarniak
Thursday, May 26 6 p.m. Live segments in SportsCenter Lindsay Czarniak
Friday, May 27 6 p.m. SportsCenter on the Road from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Lindsay Czarniak
Saturday, May 28 9 a.m. SportsCenter on the Road from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Matt Barrie, Sara Walsh
Sunday, May 29 8 a.m. SportsCenter on the Road from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Matt Barrie, Sara Walsh
  9 a.m. Live segments in SportsCenter Matt Barrie, Sara Walsh
  10 a.m. SportsCenter on the Road from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Matt Barrie, Sara Walsh
  Post-race Live interview with winner  
  Evening editions Sunday Conversation with winner Lindsay Czarniak

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Plainfield, Illinois (March 29, 2016) – Dale Coyne Racing makes a long-awaited racing return to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) this week for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix on Saturday, April 2, an event that presents a whole new challenge to rookie driver Conor Daly and Italian Luca Filippi.

The second round of the Verizon IndyCar Series season will mark the eighth race for the Illinois-based team at PIR, but the first for its drivers. The last time Dale Coyne Racing competed at the 1.022-mile oval was over 20 years ago, in 1995, when racing in CART with drivers Eric Bachelart and Alessandro Zampedri.

Daly, who pilots the #18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality & Restaurant Group car, will be making his first IndyCar Series start on a short-oval and only his second on any type of oval track.

As for his teammate Filippi in the #19 Boy Scouts of America Indy car, he is taking part in his first ever oval race, in what will be his 20th series start.

Nonetheless, the Dale Coyne Racing drivers are no strangers to PIR, having participated in what was a successful two-day test at the facility last month.

With their limited experience at this demanding track, Daly and Filippi agree that the 250-lap race will likely be one of their biggest challenges this season, but one they are ready and excited to take on.

The team will be on track Friday, April 1 for practice and qualifying, with the Phoenix Grand Prix going green on Saturday, April 2 at 9:15pm ET.

Both qualifying and the race will be broadcast live on NBCSN with qualifying airing at 2:00pm ET on Friday and the race airing from 8:30pm ET on Saturday.

Live timing and scoring will be available at racecontrol.indycar.com

Conor Daly – #18 Jonathan Byrds Hospitality & Restaurant Group

b533121f-25fc-45b1-92a1-dd2dbd055872“I think it’s going to be quite a challenge in Phoenix. Probably the biggest challenge we’ve faced so far. Especially for me as a driver. There’s a lot to learn, a different style of racing to get used to. I’m excited for it. It was nice to be able to test there in the Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality car, so we have a little bit of experience going into it, but still, I definitely think of this track as probably one of the biggest challenges we’ll face all year.

“Racing on a road and street course, that’s sort of what I was bred doing. You know what happens on a road and street course, everything is obviously new every race but the style and goals are all the same and you can sort of anticipate, but racing at Phoenix and racing on a short oval is a different style, there’s a different kind of technique and there’s a different strategy. The cars are super on the limit in Phoenix and it’ll be tough for everyone. It’s a whole new physical set of challenges, obviously the track is very difficult physically and I think patience is quite important in Phoenix as well and just staying in the fight will be the major key for us.

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“I don’t have much to compare the track to in Phoenix but it’s pretty cool driving on it. With Turns 1 & 2 being so different from Turns 3 & 4 and having the dogleg, that creates, again, another challenge for racing there. When all the corners are different that presents another one, where is the best place to overtake, one place is obviously going to be a lot harder than the other and no one is going to be giving an inch. It’s going to be new, it’s going to be different but I like the track and I think it’s going to be a cool place to have a race.”

Luca Filippi – #19 Boy Scouts of America

8bda0661-6252-48b9-b7a1-d1e0db0aaba6“I’m very, very excited going into my first oval race, especially since it’s my first oval race in an Indy car which is something very special to me. Not many drivers have the opportunity to race on ovals so I also feel lucky and honored to accomplish this. I know it’s going to be a real challenge. It’s going to be something very different from everything else that I’ve experienced in racing, so I expect an exciting weekend but at the same time a tough weekend. It’s hard for me to have specific expectations, but being in IndyCar is what I like the most and where I want to be and I have to go through this learning process and take it step by step.

“My preparation for this race is going to be mentally slightly different because there’s still a lot to learn and we don’t have a lot of time to practice and work with our engineers to make the right changes before the race to get the Boy Scouts of America car where we want it. I’ll have to remind myself not to overdrive the car, because on ovals you don’t have room for that. I think the key will be to be patient. I obviously want to take the best out of it and we have to take it one step at a time to get the job done properly.

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“Phoenix International Raceway is an interesting place to race because it’s so different to any other track that we race at. It’s what makes IndyCar racing the most versatile series in the world, at least in open-wheel. You have three types of tracks between street and road courses and ovals, and then the ovals are so different from one another, and Phoenix is unique compared to the other places we go to. It’s very challenging, very demanding physically and mentally. One of the big challenges will be to get used to the train of cars and the traffic that we will have in the race, and at such high speeds. I think in terms of a short oval, it’s probably one of the toughest because going through the traffic and staying with the traffic is going to be, from my point of view, much more difficult than any other place we will go to this year. It’s a huge challenge and with little experience in this type of racing it’s probably an even bigger one! But it’s very exciting, it’s something very new to me and I can’t wait to be there.”

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You are cordially invited to the 2nd Annual Indiana Racing Memorial Association (IRMA) Fundraiser, an evening at the historical Stutz Building in downtown Indianapolis.

The event will include an IRMA Marker dedication, honoring Stutz, at 6pm, followed by the fundraiser at approximately 6:30pm.

Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Location: Stutz Business And Arts Center
11th and Capital Ave. Indianapolis

Admission to the event will provide access to the exclusive Stutz Car Room, housing the stunning car collection of Turner Woodard that will include a replica of Frank Lockhart’s 1928 Land Speed Record car, and other historic Stutz automobiles.

Also provided will be:

  • A New Orleans style dinner and dessert, compliments of Yats.
  • Complimentary beer wine and soft drinks.
  • The opportunity to mingle and socialize with Indianapolis 500 drivers of the past and present, and with many USAC champions.
  • Auctions and drawings for specialty items and cash prizes, including autographed helmets and a “Kiss The Bricks” tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

Dress is business casual. Ticket Price is $45.

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Tickets can be purchased online here or at:

Three Sisters
1434 Main Street
Speedway, Indiana

or by check from:

Mr. Bob Gates
2181 Dockside Drive
Greenwood, Indiana 46143

For further Ticket information contact — www.indianaracing.org

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Questions? — Contact by Phone at (317) 492-6563 or email jsmith@brickyard.com

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(SPEEDWAY, Ind.) March 22, 2016 – Preferred Freezer Services (PFS), a global leader in advanced design and engineered temperature-controlled warehouses, announced today an expansion of their partnership with Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR). JR Hildebrand will return to the team for the Month of May, joining Josef Newgarden in carrying the blue and white Preferred Freezer Services colors at the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Additionally, PFS will be the primary partner on Newgarden’s No. 21 at the Grand Prix of Boston and the Honda Indy Toronto, site of his second win in 2015. PFS will also be an associate on the No. 21 car for all of the remaining events, while team owner Ed Carpenter will carry the famous PFS polar bear on his firesuit the entire Verizon IndyCar Series season.

The trio of Carpenter, Hildebrand and Newgarden earned the nicknamed “Team America” in 2015 when ECR was the only multi-car team with an all-American line up in the Indianapolis 500. Hildebrand hails from Sausalito, Calif.; Newgarden is a native of Hendersonville, Tenn.; Carpenter, from Indianapolis, is a hometown favorite.

“I’m really glad we were able to put everything together at ECR to continue our program with Preferred Freezer,” commented Hildebrand. “Especially going into this year’s 100th Running of the 500, you know everyone is bringing their absolute best to the fight. After the experience I’ve had over the last two years with this team, I know that we’re going to be bringing a race-winning effort ourselves. I’m looking forward to working with Ed and Josef again and putting the PFS entries up front throughout May!”

Hildebrand, 28, will be making his sixth Indianapolis 500 start and his second in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. He was named the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after finishing second to Dan Wheldon and won the 2009 Indy Lights Championship. In his five previous Indianapolis 500 appearances, Hildebrand has three Top 10 starts and three Top 10 finishes. He finished 8th in last year’s 500-mile race, the best finish of the three ECR drivers.

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As part of the unique arena of motorsports, ECR provides a platform for global companies to showcase their products while building relationships with their own customers. Preferred Freezer Services first joined ECR in 2014, backing the entry of Hildebrand in the Indianapolis 500. They increased their relationship with the team in 2015, supporting Hildebrand in both May races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After enjoying substantial gains in brand awareness both on and off track over the past two years, PFS will have a presence at all IndyCar races in 2016.

Carpenter’s business acumen has allowed him to garner a multitude of corporate partnerships throughout his career, assisting him with the formation of his own team in 2012. Entering his 14th year of Indy car competition as a driver, Carpenter has spent five of those years at the helm of ECR. The 35-year-old has led ECR to six race wins since it’s inception, including five in the past two years. He also won back-to-back pole positions himself at the Indianapolis 500 in 2013 and 2014.

“It is great to have Preferred Freezer back for another Month of May and to carry them on the cars all year long,” Carpenter stated. “It is always ‘cool’ to have the giant polar bear around.  This is a partnership that has grown each year and we are proud to see it grow again this year.  We all have high hopes for all of our team cars at Indianapolis and I can’t wait to get started.”

Newgarden, 25, is coming off a wildly successful season in 2015. Last year alone, he captured two race wins, his first career pole position, two additional podium finishes and led the most laps of all drivers.

“I’m thrilled to have Preferred Freezer Services on the car, they are such a great partner of ECR and very supportive of our efforts. It’s going to be a fun Month of May trying to get them a couple of wins at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” declared Newgarden. “I’m even more excited to have JR back on the team, he’s a phenomenal teammate and fantastic driver. I’m excited to work with him and Ed as ‘Team America’ again!”

Tim Broyles, ECR’s General Manager, oversees all day-to-day operations for the entire race team and serves as the race strategist for Carpenter. “I’m really excited to have JR back on board for the 100th, we consider him part of the ECR family,” said Broyles. “I really have to thank all of our partners that have stepped up to make this happen: Fuzzy’s Vodka, Stuart Reed, Gary Edwards, Trut Edwards, John Galiher and Preferred Freezer.”

The blue and white Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolets will make their debut on Thursday, May 12 as Newgarden and Hildebrand begin practice for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. ECR’s next race will be April 2 at Phoenix International Raceway, where Carpenter will join Newgarden in the team’s first two-car effort of 2016.

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. (March 22, 2016) – Team Penske announced today that Menards, the industry-leading home improvement store company with locations throughout the Midwest, will sponsor the No. 22 car and driver Simon Pagenaud for three races during the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series, including this year’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29th.  Menards will adorn the side of the No. 22 Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet at the Indy 500, at the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14, as well as the series’ return to Road America in June. The company will also be an associate sponsor on the No. 22 Team Penske car for the balance of the 2016 season.

Today’s announcement marks a return for Menards to the Verizon IndyCar Series. The Wisconsin-based company raced as a sponsor in INDYCAR from 1996-2003 but the return to action this season represents Menards first taste of series competition in 13 years. A Menards-sponsored car captured the Indy Racing League title in both 1997 with driver Tony Stewart and in 1999 with driver Greg Ray. With its track record of success in INDYCAR, Menards returns this season with a clear goal of winning its first Indianapolis 500. The company’s cars earned two Indy 500 pole positions in the past – with the late Scott Brayton in 1995 and Stewart in 1996. The top finish by a Menards-sponsored car in the Indy 500 came with Stewart during his championship season of 1997, when he finished fifth. Joining forces in 2016 with Team Penske, winners of a record 16 Indianapolis 500-Mile races, Menards hopes to produce its first win at Indy in the historic 100th running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Menards has a long and successful history in motorsports and we are excited to welcome them to Team Penske in 2016,” said Roger Penske. “John Menard and the entire Menards company have been long-time supporters of INDYCAR racing and it is special to have them on board as we celebrate the 50th season of Team Penske and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. We will be working hard to bring them their first Indy 500 victory with Simon this May and add to our team’s overall success at Indianapolis.”

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John Menard, Roger Penske and Simon Pagenaud today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum for the unveiling of the Menard-sponsored entry in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500

In addition to its history in INDYCAR competition, Menards has been a long-time supporter in other forms of motorsports, including NASCAR.

“INDYCAR and the Indianapolis 500 have been a huge part of Menards for as long as I can remember,” said John Menard.  “We’ve enjoyed a great amount of success, but the one thing missing is winning the Indy 500 in the month of May. What better team to return to the series with than Team Penske. Roger and his team have proven that they know how to win the big races. I think Simon will do a great job and I look forward to Menards becoming a part of the history of Team Penske.”

A family-owned company started in 1958, Menards is headquartered in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and has 297 home improvement stores located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Today, Menards is known throughout the home improvement industry as the low price leader; it’s famous slogan Save BIG Money!® is widely known and easy to remember.

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“I think we all remember watching the Menards Indy car competing with all of its success on track, so it’s amazing to become a part of that history,” said Pagenaud, who finished 10th at the Indianapolis 500 last season, leading 35 laps in his first start in the legendary race for Team Penske. “I’m excited to welcome Menards to the No. 22 Team Penske Chevy, not only at Indianapolis, but also at Road America, just down the road from their company headquarters. I am really looking forward to representing them this year and the opportunity to go out and win races wearing the Menards colors.”

The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Sunday, May 29th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to Road America for the first time in nine years this summer as the Road America Grand Prix will be run on Sunday, June 26th at the four-mile road course located in the hills of central Wisconsin.

Photos courtesy of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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On March 11th, the following statement was posted on the website of the Illiana Motor Speedway … owned and operated by Mr. Mike Mikuly.

“It is with a heavy heart that we make this announcement, Illiana Speedway will not be opening for the 2016 season. The sale listing has ended but the property is not sold, it is still for sale. We do have some interested parties looking at the facility in hopes it will re-open as a race track. If we hear any news, we will post it on our web site.

It is up to all of you to save racing. With all the negative posts it is hard to get people to make the choice to come enjoy a night at a race track. If something isn’t done to make people want to come to the races, short tracks in America will be a past memory and a remember when ….

It’s hard to put on a race and all it takes to make it all work when all you hear is the negatives. There is so much more than opening the gates on race night then you will ever know. It has finally taken the drive out of me and the dedication it takes to keep going.

We will miss you all and wish you all success in your travels and ventures to come.”

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Photo by Brandon Zeman

Illiana Aerial Early 50s

Illiana Motor Speedway in the early 1950s. This photo hangs in the pit office at Illiana. Notice the two distinct track layouts, the pit area off of turn three, the airplane hangars just behind the grove of trees in the left-center of the photo. Along the bottom of the photo is a two-lane Highway US 30 (formerly known as the Lincoln Highway)

History

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Editors Note: The 1950s photo is part of the most extensive documented history of the Illiana Motor Speedway that this editor has reviewed. It can be found at by clicking here.

The history of the Illiana Motor Speedway is just a small sampling of the terrific work authored and presented by Chicagoland Racing Historian Stan Kalwasinski. His work, in its entirety can be found by clicking here.

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying is typically a hard-fought battle, but for one name, it was a record-breaking effort that landed him the Verizon P1 Award for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

In 2015, Will Power set the St. Pete track record with a pole-winning lap of 1 minute, 0.6509 of a second. Today, it took his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet all of five laps in Segment 1 to best that. The 2014 series champion led all in Segment 1 with a lap of 1:00.5678 in the second group, beating his track record by over a tenth of a second. One segment later, Power went a full half-second quicker, topping Segment 2 at 1:00.0658 heading into the Firestone Fast Six.

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All six of the drivers advancing to the Firestone Fast Six beat Power’s Segment 1 time, and all three of Power’s Team Penske teammates (Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud) joined him in the final segment. Also advancing were series champions Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda), setting up a juggernaut lineup for the final round.

Most drivers waited several minutes into the Fast Six before taking to the track, but when they did, the four-minute flurry ended with four teammates at the top of the charts. For the sixth time in his career, Will Power will sit on pole for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with a Firestone Fast Six lap of 1:00.2450. Following him were the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet of Simon Pagenaud, the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet of Helio Castroneves and the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet of Juan Pablo Montoya, setting up a 1-2-3-4 start from Team Penske for the second straight year at St. Petersburg. Scott Dixon rounded out the top 5, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay on the outside of row 3.

The opening race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season gets underway Sunday afternoon on the streets of St. Petersburg. Coverage of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, as the 22-car field tackles the 1.8-mile street circuit in anger for the first time in 2016.

St Pete Qual Results

By: Steve Lehto — An excerpt from Mr. Lehto’s new book — Dodge Daytona & Plymouth Superbird: Design, Development, Production and Competition

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In 1968, Chrysler shipped two brand new 1969 Charger 500s to Hot Rod magazine for a press preview. One was a B-5 Blue 500 equipped with a Hemi and a 4-speed. The magazine took the two 500s to a drag strip where the B-5 knocked off a quarter mile in 13.48 seconds.

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Shortly after Hot Rod brought the cars back from the drag strip, the B-5 was stolen. Later, it was found in a bad neighborhood missing its Hemi, its interior and driveline. The write up in Hot Rod was nice but Chrysler could not repair and sell the B-5 car. They decided to turn it into an engineering test car. The shell was shipped as essentially a body in white to Nichels Engineering in Griffith, Indiana.

Nichels rebuilt the car to NASCAR standards, including all of the knowledge Chrysler racing had developed for the Charger. They raked the body nose-down. They installed the bars inside the engine compartment from the firewall to the radiator support to stiffen the front end. They put in a roll cage, a race Hemi and matching drivetrain. Nichels then shipped DC-93 back to Chrysler. Incidentally, it was Nichels that designated the car “DC-93.” Indiana required cars to bear some sort of identification number and many of the cars in Nichels’ shop did not have VIN tags. Nichels simply numbered them sequentially with the letters designating the manufacturer and sometimes the model. “DC” stood for Dodge Charger.

As the 1969 Daytona 500 approached, Chrysler racing engineers were certain DC-93 was state of the art. They painted the car blue and put #99 on it. They offered to let Nichels Engineering field the car for the race. Paul Goldsmith drove it. It did not run on pole day but NASCAR had gone to its dual qualifying race format. Goldsmith ran it in the second qualifier where Bobby Isaac, Charlie Glotzbach and Goldsmith completed a 1-2-3 sweep in Charger 500s. Things looked promising. DC-93 ran the fastest laps that weekend but crashed out of the main race on lap 62.

It was at this point that Chrysler decided to go to the next level and install the ultimate aero package – the nose cone and the wing, making it a Charger Daytona.

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All through 1969, DC-93 was used for testing the aero package. Many configurations were first tested on a “low speed” DC-74 and then tested on DC-93. Much of the testing was performed by NASCAR drivers like Charlie Glotzbach and Buddy Baker (above).

The team of engineers working on the problem now included rocket scientists from Chrysler’s missile division, some of whom had moved over and were working full-time on the aero cars. John Pointer fabricated and experimented with shapes of the nose cone and the wing at Chelsea. Bill Wright installed instrumentation on the cars, much as he would a rocket. Wright drilled a hole in the dashboard for the buttons and switch to control the instruments.

The test results convinced Chrysler higher ups to make the winged cars and sell them to the public so they could be raced in NASCAR. While Chrysler worked out the logistics of building the 500 cars necessary for the public, Chrysler racing made the wings and nose cones available to teams racing the Charger 500s. None of the teams would race actual Charger Daytonas; they would merely add the modifications to the 500s they were already running. The newly configured cars would make their first track appearance at Talladega in September 1969.

Larry Rathgeb brought DC-93 to Talladega for testing. Rathgeb would eventually bring DC-93 to every major track where the winged cars raced so Chrysler racing could gather its own data on setups for the cars. Once optimal speeds were achieved, the information was passed along to the race teams. Rathgeb feared that his creations would be shut out of the first big chance they had to race because of a threatened driver boycott. To make sure there was at least one wing in the race, he talked Nichels into entering DC-93 with Glotzbach at the wheel. Technically, a Chrysler-owned car could not race in NASCAR. As he had at Daytona, Nichels entered the car at Talladega as if he owned it. The car was outfitted to look like a Nichels-owned racer and the number “88” was applied to it.

The first day of practice at the track led to the headline: “200 MPH Certain At Talladega Track.” Practice laps by Glotzbach and Isaac were faster than 195 MPH. Isaac was driving the K&K Daytona and Glotzbach was driving DC-93. The qualifying speeds were blistering. Glotzbach led the way in DC-93 at 199.466 MPH. He predicted he would be even faster on race day. He was slated to sit on the pole – and then the Professional Drivers Association walked out. After reshuffling the starting lineup to account for the 30 drivers who were missing, Bobby Isaac was on the pole on race day. His 196.386 speed seems impressive – NASCAR’s previous top speed had been set that July at 190.706 – except that it had been slow compared to drivers who were sitting out the race. His qualifying laps were only sixth fastest at 196.386 mph.

Richard Brickhouse won the race in another Nichels Engineering car – not DC-93 – leading a top-five sweep by Chrysler products. Only Brickhouse and Isaac were driving the new Daytonas, however. All of the other Daytonas at the track had been parked because of the boycott. DC-93 had sat the race out.

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On March 24, 1970, DC-93 ran its “transmission test” where here it broke 200 MPH with Buddy Baker at the wheel. The speed was a NASCAR record and world record for a closed course. After the Talladega record runs, the car was sent to Chelsea where Chrysler continued using it for tests.

For the rest of the 1970 season, Rathgeb continued bringing DC-93 to the major races where winged cars would run. A driver like Baker or Glotzbach would run practice laps with instrumentation in the trunk and engineers would crunch the numbers to find the best race setups for the cars at each particular track. DC-93 did not ever race again, however.

In May 1970, Bill France thought he might like to have DC-93 donated to the NASCAR Museum of Speed. He asked Chrysler if they were willing to donate it to his museum. It was an interesting question. Chrysler was still using the car but there were some people within the department who were less than happy with how France had treated Chrysler. France had never been all that welcoming to the winged cars and now he wanted one donated to his museum? There was already grumbling that France wanted to outlaw the winged cars altogether.

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Chrysler racing also still had DC-74, the “low-speed” car from Chelsea which had been raced at one point as a 1968 Charger by Isaac. It had been given the Daytona treatment but was not being taken to NASCAR tracks for testing. It had been put out to pasture. Rather than commit to giving DC-93 to NASCAR, Chrysler decided it was more expedient to pull a fast one and donate DC-74, pretending it was DC-93. An internal memo described the plan.

[W]e will take our old No. 71 car, DC-74, paint it to look like the Engineering car No. 88 which was used in breaking the 200 mph speed record, and present it to NASCAR. This No. 71 car has outlived its usefulness and would be scrapped in the event we weren’t to use it for this purpose.

The memo noted the limited cost to Chrysler: paint and shipping. The upside: promotional benefits. “The car will be of considerable interest in the future as a part of the overall speed museum.” No explanation was given as to why NASCAR was being tricked. There is no question that some of the men who made the decision did it because they were unhappy with how NASCAR had treated Chrysler in the recent past. Years later, one of the men involved in the decision told this writer that the move was indeed intended as a way to give France “the finger.”

DC-74 was painted blue. In February 1973, at Daytona, a ceremony was held on the infield of the track to note the donation of the first 200 MPH car to NASCAR’s Museum of Speed. Chrysler vice-president Bob McCurry posed with France next to the car, along with Richard Petty and Buddy Baker. The shiny blue paint job hid the red paint on the former 1968 Charger.

Press releases of the event were distributed, accompanied by a confusing montage of photos. Along with the picture of McCurry, France, Petty, Baker and the car, there was one of a mock-up of a street Charger Daytona, white with a red stripe. Below that was a picture of DC-74, when it still wore red paint. The press release described the 200 MPH car – which was not in any of the three pictures – and the K&K car which set records at Bonneville. It, too, was not in any of the pictures with the release.

But that left the question: What happened to DC-93?

Don White was a driver best known for his USAC presence – he was USAC champion in 1963 and 1967 and that circuit’s winningest driver with 53 victories – he also raced occasionally in NASCAR for Nichels Engineering. White was good friends with Chrysler racing’s Ronnie Householder and wondered what would happen to DC-93 after it had outlived its usefulness to Chrysler. Householder offered to give the car to White. White accepted and took delivery of the car in late 1970.

Because USAC allowed cars to be run for one more year than NASCAR, White could race DC-93 in its Daytona treatment through the 1971 season. White’s racing operation was not that big and he had to be a bit more economical. On a shorter track, he would remove the wing and the nose cone and run DC-93 as a Charger 500. A couple of times, he even raced the car on dirt. Then, when he went to a bigger track, he’d reinstall the nose cone and the wing.

When the 1971 season ended, DC-93 could no longer run as a 1969 model. For the 1972 season, White removed the wing and also the front fenders and nose cone, which were welded together. He dumped the front end sheet metal in the weeds behind his shop. He put a 1970 Charger front clip on the car and raced it, even though the back window was wrong. NASCAR might not have allowed that but USAC didn’t complain. He raced his “1970” Charger for a couple of years in USAC.

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He completely reskinned the car as a 1973 Charger when the “1970″ could no longer run. The later year Chargers were a bit wider than the 1969 Charger, so he had to finesse the sheet metal to make it fit. After a few more years of racing, he parked DC-93 by his shop and left it.

A Chrysler technician named Greg Kwiatkowski was fascinated by Chrysler’s racing legacy and often asked his coworkers about their knowledge of the company’s history. He spoke with Rathgeb and others who had been instrumental in the field. One day, Rathgeb mentioned to Kwiatkowski that the “88” car at the NASCAR museum was not the 200 MPH engineering car.

Where was the real DC-93? He eventually heard that Householder had given it to Don White. Kwiatkowski called White, introduced himself, and asked if he knew what happened to the car. Of course he did; it was sitting right outside his shop.

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White described the car to Kwiatkowski and told him how it was now configured as a 1973. It had been parked since 1976 but was not for sale. Kwiatkowski told him that was fine; he was happy to learn as much as he could about the car and that it survived. He stayed in touch with White and during one conversation, White asked Kwiatkowski what he thought the car was worth. Kwiatkowski said he had no idea but if White ever sold it, he’d be happy to buy it. How much did he think it was worth? White said – after noting that the car was still not for sale – $5,000. Kwiatkowski told him he thought it was a fair price and to keep him in mind. A few months later, White offered to sell him the car.

Kwiatkowski had no doubt the car was real but he realized he had no idea what the car looked like. He asked White if he would take some pictures of it for him. He sent down some disposable cameras and some money for postage so White could mail them back. Kwiatkowski told him to just take as many pictures as he could of it. A short while later White sent back the cameras, along with the change from the money Kwiatkowski had sent for postage. After developing the film it was clear: the car was in rough shape but it was the right car.

Rathgeb had given him photos from the 200 MPH run and Kwiatkowski scrutinized them alongside the pics he’d gotten from White. Key details matched. The main hoop of the roll bar had flaking paint, underneath was blue paint. Kwiatkowski called White back and said they had a deal. He offered to send him a deposit even though White said it wasn’t necessary. He sent a money order for $500 and began making arrangements to get the car.

When he got to White’s Iowa shop three weeks later, White told him that another person had come by shortly after they had struck their deal and offered him $10,000 for it. Don told the man the car was already sold. The car was in rough shape from sitting outside. It was 1998 and the car had been outside for more than twenty years.

Kwiatkowski asked White if he had any of the old parts for the car. White suggested checking the woods out back. There, he found the front clip. The fenders and nose cone were welded together and now plants were growing up around them. It took four men to haul it out. It was awkward and heavy, more so because animals had stuffed the nose cone full of nesting material.

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Kwiatkowski trailered the car back to Michigan and began the long task of dismantling and restoring the car. In 2001, the Aerowarriors held a reunion for winged car enthusiasts in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Kwiatkowski attended as did Rathgeb, Pointer, George Wallace and a few others who had worked on the program. He invited the men to his garage to see DC-93. There, they saw the car dismantled – the 1973 body panels were removed – but they recognized it. Wright recognized the hole he had cut in the dash for his instrumentation.

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George Wallace was kind enough to draft a letter of authenticity for Kwiatkowski. Although all of the men positively identified the car, Wallace was a good candidate for the letter. He had been at Talladega to see Glotzbach qualify the car and then at the track when Baker broke 200 MPH. He also spent time inside the car as a passenger, sitting on the floor and writing notes while clinging to the roll cage as the car ran at speed on various tracks.

Kwiatkowski is now in the process of a full restoration of the car to its configuration as it was on the day it broke the 200 MPH mark at Talladega. He has even located an engine which can be documented as having been used at one time in the car during its time with Chrysler. Meanwhile, NASCAR still has DC-74 in its collection. It is still painted blue.

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Steve Lehto wrote Dodge Daytona & Plymouth Superbird: Design, Development, Production and Competitionfrom which this was excerpted.

All photos courtesy of Greg Kwiatkowski except for the “Hot Rod” clip and the blue 88 in the museum (by the author).