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European drivers involved in NASCAR racing?


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#1 jarama

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 07:50

Hi, all,

off the top of my head, I remember Jim Clark, Vic Elford, Jo Schlesser and Claude Ballot-Léna, all of them had brief appearances.

But, there were more European drivers with a taste of NASCAR racing? :confused:

And, finally, anyone can post the results achieved by all of these chaps while fighting with the Pettys, Yarboroughs, Allisons and co.? :up:

Thans in advance,

Carles.

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#2 Pete Stowe

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 08:19

I also recall Martin Birrane and Jack Oliver.

#3 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 08:30

And Frank Gardner.

#4 Buford

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 08:39

Lucien Bianchi, David Hobbs, Dick Johnson (Australia).

#5 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 13:17

For the sake of this question are we considsering 'NASCAR' to be its highest level Winston Cup(or equivalent throughout history) because NASCAR is really a sanctioning body and has multiple series.

#6 ensign14

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 13:42

Birrane was a team owner, he withdrew after his engine builder put in some dodguy engines and NASCAR fined him.

Jackie Oliver got a 4th once, which is the highest finish for a European.

Brian Naylor was in the Daytona 500 one year (1961?), also Christine Beckers and Lella Lombardi raced once or twice, Jochen Rindt had a qualifying attempt at least. And Pedro Rodriguez got a 5th place in the 60s (there have been some other South Americans, such as Nestor Peles from Peru).

Hobbo is the only Brit to have raced in both the Indy and Daytona 500s; Geoff Brabham raced in the Brickyard 400.

#7 racer69

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 14:22

Originally posted by Milan Fistonic
And Frank Gardner.



Gardner was Australian :), and as Buford and ensign14 have said other Aussie's Dick Johnson (1989) and Geoff Brabham (1994)

Also Aussie Allan Grice qualified for the Coca Cola World 600 at Charlotte in 1987 and 1989, while another Aussie Terry Byers raced at Charlotte in 1989 as well. New Zealander Graeme Crosby tried but failed to qualify for the Coke 600 at Charlotte in 1987.

#8 Pikachu Racing

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 17:56

There was the late Pedro Rodriguez who total of 6 races with a surprising 5th place finish at Charlotte in 1959.

Innes Ireland drove twice in 1967.

#9 jarama

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 20:08

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
For the sake of this question are we considsering 'NASCAR' to be its highest level Winston Cup(or equivalent throughout history) because NASCAR is really a sanctioning body and has multiple series.


Ross,

yes, my question was about the highest level as the Winston Cup or equivalent.


to all,

then, it seems that the highest placed non american driver is Jackie Oliver with a creditable 4th, isn't it?

#10 Jim Thurman

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 22:13

Rolf Stommelen drove a second Wood Brothers car at Talladega one year ('71?).

He qualified quite well for his first time out (something like 17th). Retired with mechanical trouble.

When I get the chance, I'll look it up.


Jim Thurman

#11 Dironey

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 22:48

It's not Winston Cup, but Olivier Beretta drove one (?) race in the Truck series a few years ago.

#12 ensign14

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 11:25

Pedro's best drive came in 1969, not 1959.

Top result for non-American driver: 1st, by Canadian Earl Ross, in about 1974 (at Martinsville, I think).

Jaguar has a NASCAR win to its credit...Al Keller in an early road race, when non-American cars were allowed on courses with right turns.

#13 Pedro 917

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 19:29

I have only 3 NASCAR races for Pedro Rodriguez so any additional information is most welcome :

17/05/1959 - Trenton - Ford 1957 - 6th place
14/02/1971 - Daytona 500 miles - Plymouth Road runner 1970 - 13 th place
28/02/1971 - Ontario 500 miles - Ford ? - DNF

Also : Vic Elford was invited to drive in the Daytone 500 miles of 1971 by Bill France but could not get to the circuit in time for official qualifying and his car was driven by another driver too slowly to make the grid and although Vic later lapped at a speed which would have got him in quite easily, it didn't count and he did not race ( Autosport 18/02/71 ).

#14 ensign14

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 21:01

My mistake, Pedro's best drive was in 1965.

The other results for Pedro:

25th at the Firecracker 400 at Daytona on 4 July 1963, DNF through his Ray Fox Pontiac's engine giving up. He had qualified 9th.

5th at the World 600 at Charlotte on 23 May 1965, in a Holman-Moody Ford (qualified 12th).

30th in the Daytona qualifying race, 11 Feb 1971 (DNF, engine problem) in a Chevy owned by Bill Ellis - which counted as a separate points scoring race. Jabe Thomas drove the pace lap in the 500 and Pedro took over for the rest of the way, which gave Jabe the points. Someone must have sweet-talked Jabe's owner (Don Robertson) into the deal becase Pedro had not qualified for the 500; he started the qualifying race 32nd out of 33, which suggests some sort of problem in qualifying, or maybe he did not put in a run?

At Ontario Pedro was classed 47th out of 51 in a 1970 Ford (electrical problems).

Stommelen qualified 6th at 'Dega in 1971 but a frame problem (WTF?) put him out on lap 54, he was classed 39th.

Earl Ross' win was at the second Martinsville race in 1974.

#15 ray b

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 22:08

How to class Mario born euro raced at first in USA in stocks on dirt but was a WC and a winner in nasty cars big race
did Dan G run any ovals or just roadrace at riverside [5 wins] in nastycars??? not a euro but a F-1 star

#16 masterhit

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Posted 09 September 2002 - 00:56

Are we including Race of Champions? In which case, Martin Brundle started from pole one year (late 80's I guess)

#17 Buford

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Posted 09 September 2002 - 01:51

Originally posted by ray b
How to class Mario born euro raced at first in USA in stocks on dirt but was a WC and a winner in nasty cars big race
did Dan G run any ovals or just roadrace at riverside [5 wins] in nastycars??? not a euro but a F-1 star


Well Mario was certainly a European but was an American citizen at the time he raced (and won) in NASCAR so I guess you could classify him however you want.

#18 John Fransson

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Posted 10 September 2002 - 23:24

Ronnie Peterson tested a few Nascars as well, dunno when or where. Anyone have more information on that?

Gunnar Nilsson drove a few IROC races in 1977 as well I think (does that count?)

- John :wave:

#19 jarama

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Posted 10 September 2002 - 23:33

Buford,

I would classify Mario as North American.


masterhit & John Fransson,

the IROC don't counts to me. In any case, during the first years of IROC there were various European drivers as Fittipaldi or Stewart - I remember them in Porsches (the 1st year?) and IIRC Chevrolets Monzas or so.

Carles.

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#20 Soapbox

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Posted 10 September 2002 - 23:56

Didn't Jacky Ickx tested and crashed a Nascar in the early '70s or late '60s?
I think have a picture of it in a Nascar Book. Don't know if he ever made it into
a Nascar race.

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 September 2002 - 01:08

Originally posted by racer69
Gardner was Australian :), and as Buford and ensign14 have said other Aussie's Dick Johnson (1989) and Geoff Brabham (1994)

Also Aussie Allan Grice qualified for the Coca Cola World 600 at Charlotte in 1987 and 1989, while another Aussie Terry Byers raced at Charlotte in 1989 as well. New Zealander Graeme Crosby tried but failed to qualify for the Coke 600 at Charlotte in 1987.


Didn't Terry Allan also have a drive somewhere? Or was it Colin Hyams?

Of course I might be totally wrong...

#22 A9X

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Posted 11 September 2002 - 05:12

Didn't Dick Johnson call Nascar ledgend Richard Petty a S.O.B seconds after he was "helped"
off the track,all picked up by the incar camera/mic.Wouldn't have gone down well with die hard Petty fans. :blush:

#23 A9X

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Posted 11 September 2002 - 05:15

Didn't Dick Johnson call Nascar ledgend Richard Petty a S.O.B seconds after he was "helped"
off the track,all picked up by the incar camera/mic.Wouldn't have gone down well with die hard Petty fans. :blush:
But then again ,Dick always had a way with words.

#24 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 11 September 2002 - 07:08

Originally posted by jarama

I would classify Mario as North American.



Why North American and not just 'American' (as in referring to the United States) since to my knoweldge he has no link to Canada or Mexico

#25 Joe Fan

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Posted 11 September 2002 - 07:52

Here are the European drivers I know competed in a NASCAR Winston Cup (or Grand National as it was once called) race:

Vic Elford
Jackie Oliver
Jim Clark
Rolf Stommelen
Jo Schlesser

I do think I recall Brian Naylor too. I also think that there a few more and I will check later.

A few others may have competed in Busch Grand National too but info on BGN is hard to find.

#26 jarama

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Posted 11 September 2002 - 16:46

Joe,

IIRC Claude Ballot-Léna did compete in NASCAR Winston Cup... the Daytona 500 if I'm not wrong.


Rosss,

you're right with your input. I said "North American" as a literal translation from spanish. In spanish usually we say North-American when we're speaking of the USA.

Carles.

#27 Dironey

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Posted 11 September 2002 - 17:23

Originally posted by jarama
I said "North American" as a literal translation from spanish. In spanish usually we say North-American when we're speaking of the USA.

It is a bit weird that "American" is considered to be more specific than "North American"... Is there a linguist in the house?

#28 John B

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Posted 11 September 2002 - 18:19

Wasn't there an Italian in "Days of Thunder?" ;) (not that I watched it more than once....)

I'm trying to think of road course ringers, but can't come up with non-north Americans.

Not European, but didn't Geoff Brabham try to qualify for a Brickyard 400?

#29 Joe Fan

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Posted 11 September 2002 - 19:49

Originally posted by jarama
Joe,

IIRC Claude Ballot-Léna did compete in NASCAR Winston Cup... the Daytona 500 if I'm not wrong.



I show that Ballot-Lena competed in four races in 1978 and two in 1979. Unfortunately, the stock car encyclopedia only lists the top five finishers for each race and top ten finishes statistically. He never finished in the top ten in any of the races according to my reference book.

As far as Jackie Oliver, I show that he competed in 8 Winston Cup races and his highest finish as being fourth, 14 laps down, at Dover Downs on June 4th 1972 in a Junie Donlavey Ford. Here is the breakdown for that race:

1st Bobby Allison 72 Chev 500 laps
2nd Richard Petty 72 Dodge 499
3rd LeeRoy Yarborough 72 Merc. 486
4th Jackie Oliver 71 Ford 486
5th John Sears 70 Plym. 484

Brian Naylor did compete in two Winston Cup races in 1961, no top 5's or top 10's.

Jo Schlesser competed in two Winston Cup races in 1964, no top 5's or top 10's.

Vic Elford competed in four Winston Cup races. Two in 1969, and one each in 1971 and 72. His only top ten finish was at Daytona in 1972.

Rolf Stommelen competed in one Winston Cup race in 1971. I think he was involved in a crash and only completed 53 laps at Daytona or Talladega.

#30 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 11 September 2002 - 20:55

Kenny Bräck has expressed a strong desire to move to NASCAR at some point in his career, and it could be sooner rather than later... He has already tested a Chip Ganassi NASCAR earlier this year, and it was planned for him to run Daytona 500, but for some reason the plans were put on hold.

Kenny Bräck at Daytona earlier this year.

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#31 Gerr

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Posted 11 September 2002 - 22:08

Ballot-Lena wrote an article in the 1979/80 edition of "Automobile Year" titled "A European Stock Car Racer". No info on his finishes. He mentions driving a Dodge Magnum at Daytona, his first race. there is a picture of him with a #6 Oldsmobile Cutlass. The intro to the article has these items "Jean-Marc Smadja's JMS Racing team underwrote his attemps. Ballot-Lena competed in nine races in the NASCAR Grand National series in 1978 and 1979. A serious accident in the Atlanta 500 did nothing to dampen his enthusiasm."

Joe Fan, that 5th place finisher at Dover in '72 in the Plymouth........John Sears?.......any relation to Jack Sears (the Holman-Moody Galaxie driver)?

#32 Joe Fan

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 06:40

Originally posted by Gerr
Joe Fan, that 5th place finisher at Dover in '72 in the Plymouth........John Sears?.......any relation to Jack Sears (the Holman-Moody Galaxie driver)?


If you are referring to the British Jack Sears who drove saloon cars and sports cars, then no. John Sears was from North Carolina.

#33 ensign14

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 07:19

John Sears was a big boned privateer who drove a pink car. There is an article about him in an issue of 'American Racing Classics;, a short lived hardback magazine about NASCAR and well worth seeking out.

#34 John Fransson

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 16:32

Rainer, the plans were put on hold because Kenny didn't have enough cash needed.

- John :wave: