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Racing legend Dan Gurney passes away

Dan Gurney behind the wheel for one of his races with Wood Brothers Racing at Riverside International Raceway (photo courtesy of ISC Archives/Getty Images)

Dan Gurney behind the wheel for one of his races with Wood Brothers Racing at Riverside International Raceway (photo courtesy of ISC Archives/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Racing legend Dan Gurney passed away at the age of 86 on Sunday as the result of complications from pneumonia.

“With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan drove off into the unknown just before noon today, January 14, 2018,” read a statement from the Gurney family and All-American Racers. “In deepest sorrow, with gratitude in our hearts for the love and joy you have given us during your time on earth, we say ‘Godspeed.’”

Gurney was the first driver to win races in NASCAR, Formula 1 and IndyCar. To date, Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya are the only other two drivers to accomplish such a feat.

Gurney made 16 starts in NASCAR’s premier series, now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, between 1962 and 1980, winning five times. All five wins came at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway in the 1960s, four of them coming in consecutive seasons between 1963 and 1966. He also competed in three Daytona 500s, posting a best finish of fifth in 1963.

“Dan was one of the best road racers I’ve ever seen,” NASCAR Hall of Famer and team owner Leonard Wood said, as quoted in a Ford Performance press release. “If I was sitting up in the stands by the esses at Riverside and you put 10 different drivers in the car, I could tell you which one was Dan.  He would always take the right approach to the turn, and I can’t say enough about how good he was. We had so much fun with him.  If you got the car equal to anybody else, you were just home free. Everybody told him he looked like he was on a Sunday evening drive out there, but he said, ‘You don’t know how hard it is to make it look like that. You’ve got to discipline yourself to back off at the right places.’”

As a driver, Gurney also won four of 86 F1 races and seven of 28 IndyCar races.

Gurney also made his mark on racing as a car builder and owner. Safety and aerodynamic innovations with which he is credited include the “Gurney Flap” rear-wing extension that improved downforce. He also is credited with being the first driver to wear a full-face helmet. He also is credited with starting the celebratory tradition of spraying champagne instead of driving it.

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Posted by on January 15, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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