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RACER2RACER DAN GURNEY
RACER2RACER BRYAN HERTA & DAN GURNEY
Main Images Lesley Ann Miller/LAT
was driving my kids to school this morning when I told my
I 9-year-old son, Colton, that I was coming to see Dan Gurney
today. He gave me a blank stare, so I explained that Mr.
Gurney has won races in almost every major series in the world,
from Formula 1 to NASCAR, Indy car, sports cars…. He even holds
the record for the fastest time cross-country when he won the
Cannonball Run in a Ferrari Daytona, which piqued his interest.
Then I tried to explain that he is the man who invented the
Gurney flap, but Colton wasn’t sure what that was. Finally I told
him, he’s the one who started the tradition of spraying
champagne, when he won Le Mans in 1967, and that was
something he did appreciate. My son wanted to know if the
people around got mad at him covering them in champagne!
This little exchange helped me realize just how diverse and
lasting Dan’s impact in the world of motorsports has been. His
résumé in any one area could easily stand on its own but,
combined, Dan Gurney is truly without peer. No less than Bobby
Rahal considers him a hero.
Dan was warm and accommodating as always during our time
together (he even set us up with In-N-Out Burgers for lunch!),
and danced across a truly diverse set of subjects during our
conversation, with ease. This entire publication could have been
filled with gems from our chat and we still would have only
scratched the surface of this great American’s accomplishments
and recollections. But for starters, did anyone get upset about
being soaked with champagne back in ’67?
DG: Well, that was a consideration, I admit! It was my 10th
attempt at Le Mans, and it was an extraordinarily special one to
win because it was the Ford GT40 Mk.IV, and my co-driver was
36 MARCH 2010
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MARCH 2010 37
038_RA0310 1/27/10 11:15 AM
RACER2RACER DAN GURNEY
The AAR Museum contains some of
the most desirable racecars of the
last five decades. (BELOW) Gurney’s
Eagle AAR103 heads for third behind
the dominant Brabhams in the 1967
Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport.
A.J. Foyt. After a decade of trying to win it
overall – Bob Bondurant and I won the GT
category in a Cobra in ’64 – I’d realized it was
an endurance contest much more than it
was a race. In those days, if the cars ran at