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Open wheel racing at Daytona?


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#1 jeze

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 11:37

Has there ever been an open wheel race at Daytona International Speedway, and if it hasn't, have there been none due to lack of interest or because o safety and driver health concers (think Texas CART race in 2001?). Rumours about an IndyCar road course event existed a year ago or so, but it seems to have gone a little bit quiet?

Edited by jeze, 29 May 2009 - 11:37.


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#2 bigears

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 11:44

I recall MotorSport featured an article about it sometime earlier this year. I am sure it was about open-wheeler racing at Daytona.

Perhaps someone can correct me.

#3 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 12:24

There was an IRL test on the 24hour road course, but that is as far as things went at the time.

#4 Henri Greuter

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 12:25

I recall MotorSport featured an article about it sometime earlier this year. I am sure it was about open-wheeler racing at Daytona.

Perhaps someone can correct me.



1959 a two heat race. Won by Jim Rathman in the #16 Simoniz Special watson roadster
Forgot who drove it but one driver, somehow the name Marshall Teague comes up with me, was killed in the event, driving a Sumar Special.
cars were way too fast for the track so it was a one time only deal.

For US members; the latest Vintage Racing magazine has a feature on Rathman's car as it looks nowadays.
It looks great...

Henri

#5 962C

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 12:35

I recall MotorSport featured an article about it sometime earlier this year. I am sure it was about open-wheeler racing at Daytona.

Perhaps someone can correct me.

I remember (albeit not too precisely) this article; it was about the one Champcar (I hope that's the right word) race that took place on the oval in the late 50s. Again, I don't remember much, but I think two drivers got killed in the course of the event (one in practice, one in the race if I'm not mistaken) and most drivers felt that the cars were not suited to the track (too fast, too hard on the tyres) so Champcar never came back to Daytona.

I realise there's much more to this story so please feel free to correct and elaborate...

#6 Disco Stu

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 12:56

George Amick was the driver killed there, on the last lap of the first race. The cars and track really didn't fit well together, and there was no return after that.

#7 Stephen W

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 13:45

For US members; the latest Vintage Racing magazine has a feature on Rathman's car as it looks nowadays.
It looks great...

Henri


Just picked up a copy of the magazine in my local WH Smith newsagents, so it's available in the UK as well.

:wave:

#8 chdphd

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 13:52

IndyCar Series- Daytona Compatibility Test YouTube video.

#9 WGD706

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 14:38

Has there ever been an open wheel race at Daytona International Speedway, and if it hasn't, have there been none due to lack of interest or because o safety and driver health concers (think Texas CART race in 2001?). Rumours about an IndyCar road course event existed a year ago or so, but it seems to have gone a little bit quiet?

If you want to go back to the '60s, the SCCA used to hold their run-offs at Daytona until 1970 when it went to Road Atlanta. In those runoffs were many open-wheel classes from Formula A to Formula Vee.
As an example.........
http://www.oldracing...php?RaceID=Q69Z

Edited by WGD706, 29 May 2009 - 14:38.


#10 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 14:43

1959 a two heat race. Won by Jim Rathman in the #16 Simoniz Special watson roadster
Forgot who drove it but one driver, somehow the name Marshall Teague comes up with me, was killed in the event, driving a Sumar Special.
cars were way too fast for the track so it was a one time only deal.

For US members; the latest Vintage Racing magazine has a feature on Rathman's car as it looks nowadays.
It looks great...

Henri


Actually, it was not a "two heat race," but a 50-mile Libre event, which did not count for points, and then a 100-mile Championship event, both won by Rathmann. Teague was killed during a record attempt on the speedway.


#11 RA Historian

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 14:45

USAC ran a pair of races in 1959. As stated, there were two fatalities, Marshall Teague in practice and George Amick in the race. Jim Rathmann won both. USAC wisely (something that was rare for it!) realized that racing Indy Cars on the high banks was insane, and never came back.
Tom

Edit: Col Capps was quicker on the draw than me.

Edited by RA Historian, 29 May 2009 - 14:46.


#12 Flat Black 84

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 14:49

If modern Indy cars are up to the task I'd love to see them run at all the NASCAR superspeedways. I find this racing far more interesting than the road and street racing, and who knows, perhaps it would reinvigorate OW-racing's fan base in the South.

#13 TrackDog

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 15:39

If modern Indy cars are up to the task I'd love to see them run at all the NASCAR superspeedways. I find this racing far more interesting than the road and street racing, and who knows, perhaps it would reinvigorate OW-racing's fan base in the South.



It's been done at Richmond and Charlotte(Lowe's). At Lowe's, there was an accident and a car lost a wheel or something that went into the crowd, killed a young spectator, and the Indycars didn't go back there. IIRC, there were bomb threats at some Lowe's stores over the incisdent.


Dan


#14 ZOOOM

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 15:45

If I recall correctly, it was Big Bill France who deceided that he would never have open wheel racing again at the Daytona Speedway. Opening a new track and getting two people killed on the same weekend was too much for Mr. France.

The world closed course record was held, at that time, by Tony Bettenhausen in the Novi during qualies for "The Race Of Two Worlds" held at Monza back in '57.
In '55 the Sumar racing team built a special (wern't they all?) streamliner for Indy. The car was never really any good at the track and it was actually qualified and run with all the streamlined panels off the car. The sumar Streamliner was brought to Daytona in '59 to try to set the worlds closed course record again.
Yes, it was Marshal Teague (a pretty good stock car shoe) who made the attempt. Many thought the car was not stable enough. They were proved right. Teague flipped the car several times and was killed.

Big Bill France had had enough and vowed never to have Indy type cars back to Daytona. There was another attempt for the closed course record later, by some fellow in a winged roadster. He survived but the record was not broken (I think I'm correct)
ZOOOM

#15 David McKinney

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 15:46

If you want to go back to the '60s, the SCCA used to hold their run-offs at Daytona until 1970 when it went to Road Atlanta

Not quite - Daytona and Riverside alternated for the first few years


#16 TrackDog

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 16:00

If I recall correctly, it was Big Bill France who deceided that he would never have open wheel racing again at the Daytona Speedway. Opening a new track and getting two people killed on the same weekend was too much for Mr. France.

The world closed course record was held, at that time, by Tony Bettenhausen in the Novi during qualies for "The Race Of Two Worlds" held at Monza back in '57.
In '55 the Sumar racing team built a special (wern't they all?) streamliner for Indy. The car was never really any good at the track and it was actually qualified and run with all the streamlined panels off the car. The sumar Streamliner was brought to Daytona in '59 to try to set the worlds closed course record again.
Yes, it was Marshal Teague (a pretty good stock car shoe) who made the attempt. Many thought the car was not stable enough. They were proved right. Teague flipped the car several times and was killed.

Big Bill France had had enough and vowed never to have Indy type cars back to Daytona. There was another attempt for the closed course record later, by some fellow in a winged roadster. He survived but the record was not broken (I think I'm correct)
ZOOOM

The other winged car was owned by Bob Osiecki, had a blown Hemi and did break the record, IIRC. The Amick accident was particularly grisly...and the Firecracker 250, later 400 grew out of the Indy car races as a substitution. Bill France and Marshall Teague were close friends; Teague owned a huge gas station in Daytona.


Dan



#17 Jim Thurman

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 16:28

People, we're getting a couple of things mixed up here.

Teague's accident was indeed in a "record attempt", but came leading up to the inaugural Daytona 500 in February 1959, while George Amick died in the USAC Champ Car race at Daytona, which was in April 1959. This is a common error. I can't count the number of times I've read of Teague's fatality being in "Indy Car race at Daytona".

Teague was a founding member of NASCAR, at the meeting at the Streamline Hotel, and served as NASCAR treasurer . He and Bill France had a falling out before Teague left for the AAA to get to Indy.

Motor Sport magazine March 2009 featured an article on the Daytona Indy races. It was a very good article, written by Robin Miller. He talked to the three men still around who drove that day - Foyt, Jim Rathmann and Bob Christie. Foyt said he was never scared like he was at Daytona. There were Indy style roadsters, but several of the cars were upright style "dirt" cars (!).

The second race was shortened to a 50 mile non-points race after Amick's accident on the final lap of the first race.

The article by Miller is well worth checking out.

#18 TrackDog

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 16:31

Here are some links for the Osiecki record car and Marshall Teague/George Amick:

http://www.conceptca...mad-dog-IV.aspx

http://vault.sportsi...73075/index.htm

http://www.sports.ya...l...o&type=lghs


Dan

#19 ensign14

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 16:42

Teague was an old school NASCAR driver who had been banned when he went to Indy. He was trying to get back into Bill France's good books. A successful closed-circuit record would have set the seal on it.

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#20 Bob Riebe

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 17:58

It's been done at Richmond and Charlotte(Lowe's). At Lowe's, there was an accident and a car lost a wheel or something that went into the crowd, killed a young spectator, and the Indycars didn't go back there. IIRC, there were bomb threats at some Lowe's stores over the incisdent.


Dan

They raced at Atlanta not that many years ago, as did CART, at one point.

IMCA sprint cars had what was probably the fastest sprint car race ever at Atlanta also.


#21 Jerry Entin

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 20:25

In fact, on April 4, 1959, the 100-miler for USAC Championship points came first, at 2 PM. A 100-mile Formula Libre race was scheduled for 3:30 PM and was advertised as "featuring top drivers in international competition", probably meaning some of the sporty car drivers who were to take the start of the 1000 KM the next day. It would have been an interesting show but none of the road racers showed up, and after Amick's fatal crash [which took place after Rathmann had taken the checkered already], the Formula Libre race was shortened.

What is not well-known is that at the same time ticket sales were open for a 300-mile USAC Championship race to be held on July 4, 1959, which offered a $60,000 purse. It never happened and people got their money back: $20 for the Campbell Grandstand, $8 for the Oldfield, DePalma, Segrave and Keech Grandstands.

all research Willem Oosthoek

#22 Buford

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 21:42

I have always been fascinated by this Daytona race and the Monza ones. Never saw much in print about either except the Indy yearbook on Monza and never saw any movie footage from Daytona and only a tiny bit from Monza.

#23 HistoricMustang

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 22:54

Open Wheel?

What about the Super Vee's?

Henry

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#24 Jerry Entin

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 12:17


It is rather obvious that the thread was started with the Daytona tri-oval in mind as the competition playground, not the combination track that included the infield.

If the combination track is considered the first open-wheelers appeared in September 1960, when Lin Coleman and Howard Fowler ran their VW-powered Formula Juniors in the SCCA Regional.

All research Willem Oosthoek

#25 Jim Thurman

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 21:07

It's been done at Richmond and Charlotte(Lowe's). At Lowe's, there was an accident and a car lost a wheel or something that went into the crowd, killed a young spectator, and the Indycars didn't go back there.

Actually, the accident at the IRL race at Charlotte caused the death of three spectators.

#26 arttidesco

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Posted 18 May 2015 - 14:50

In fact, on April 4, 1959, the 100-miler for USAC Championship points came first, at 2 PM. A 100-mile Formula Libre race was scheduled for 3:30 PM and was advertised as "featuring top drivers in international competition", probably meaning some of the sporty car drivers who were to take the start of the 1000 KM the next day. It would have been an interesting show but none of the road racers showed up, and after Amick's fatal crash [which took place after Rathmann had taken the checkered already], the Formula Libre race was shortened.

What is not well-known is that at the same time ticket sales were open for a 300-mile USAC Championship race to be held on July 4, 1959, which offered a $60,000 purse. It never happened and people got their money back: $20 for the Campbell Grandstand, $8 for the Oldfield, DePalma, Segrave and Keech Grandstands.

all research Willem Oosthoek

 

thanks to Willem and Jerry for answering this weeks Indy 500 question :wave:



#27 D28

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Posted 18 May 2015 - 19:05

Another good account of the 2 races by Ted West, may be found in Vintage Motorsport May/Jun 2009. Cover story features the Watson Roadster, Simonize Special,  as driven by race winner Jim Rathman. Very attractive car for sure.



#28 RS2000

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Posted 18 May 2015 - 21:54

NASCAR Modifieds, which had their own race during Speedweek (70s/80s?) on the Tri-oval, were effectively open wheel, just not classified as such.



#29 Jim Thurman

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Posted 18 May 2015 - 22:06

NASCAR Modifieds, which had their own race during Speedweek (70s/80s?) on the Tri-oval, were effectively open wheel, just not classified as such.

 

Yes, they are open wheel cars, but like the SCCA Formula classes, they ran the infield road course and not the full oval.

 

EDIT: As pointed out, they did run the full oval.


Edited by Jim Thurman, 21 May 2015 - 15:36.


#30 Jerry Entin

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 00:37

USACDaytona_zpsdct6x2ik.jpg
Starting up the USAC roadsters at the Daytona Speedway on April 4, 1959.
 
On the outside is Jim Rathmann's Simoniz Special [a Watson/Offy], Closest to the camera is the Sumar Special [a Kurtis/Offy] of fastest qualifier Dick Rathmann. Jim can be seen next to his car wearing a white cap; he won both Saturday races, while Dick finished fifth and second overall.
 
Photo from Sports Car Racing in the South, Volume 2
all research: Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 19 May 2015 - 00:42.


#31 Rod95

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 01:46

I saw IMSA run a Formula Ford race on the oval at Talladega in 1969 or 1970.

 

-Rod



#32 RS2000

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 21:20

Modifieds ran the full tri-oval, not the infield course, when I was there.....



#33 Jerry Entin

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 22:00

bill%20rand_zps71bhrwrq.jpg
Bill Randall and his Safety Auto Glass Special getting a push at Daytona. Randall finished the 100-miler in 14th place.
 
 
Photo: Richard Macon Collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 19 May 2015 - 22:36.


#34 Jerry Entin

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 22:01

bob%20christi_zpszelmzoes.jpg
Bob Christie getting his Federal Engineering Special fired up. He finished 3rd overall in the 100-miler, one lap down behind Jim Rathmann and Rodger Ward.
 
On the left is one of the sprint cars that braved the Daytona Speedway, most likely Don Branson in the Bob Estes Special. Jim Packard, Bill Cheesbourg, Jud Larson and Eddie Sachs ran sprint cars as well.
 
Photo: Richard Macon Collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 19 May 2015 - 22:40.


#35 Jim Thurman

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 15:47

Modifieds ran the full tri-oval, not the infield course, when I was there.....

 

Right you are  :up:  They ran the road course the first two years and then the full oval afterwards. That had completely slipped my mind, though I recalled many sporting full bodies by the end of their time at Daytona. Shows you how well I managed to keep up with (or recall) that :blush:



#36 Jerry Entin

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 22:16

triple%20w_zpspllp5lhg.jpg
Daytona 1959. The first appearance of the new Triple W team: driver Rodger Ward, chief mechanic A.J. Watson and car owner Bob Wilke.

Ward gets ready to take out his brand-new Watson/Offy, the Leader Card 500 Special. Wilke stands behind the car with white cap.


Photo: Richard Macon [from Sports Car Racing in the South]

Edited by Jerry Entin, 20 May 2015 - 22:24.


#37 Bob Riebe

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 01:43

Right you are  :up:  They ran the road course the first two years and then the full oval afterwards. That had completely slipped my mind, though I recalled many sporting full bodies by the end of their time at Daytona. Shows you how well I managed to keep up with (or recall) that :blush:

They ran the road course from 1974-1976



#38 Jim Thurman

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 15:39

They ran the road course from 1974-1976

 

Correct Bob. The first three years the modifieds ran the road course at Daytona, then moved to the oval from 1977 on. Like I wrote, I was a bit off on the whole thing :blush:  Obviously, I remember the earlier races more than the later ones. I do recall a lot more fendered cars by the later races.



#39 B Squared

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 15:57

Jerry - thanks for posting the photos, much appreciated.



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#40 Jim Thurman

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 16:04

Jerry - thanks for posting the photos, much appreciated.

 

I'll second that, thanks Jerry! Great photos.



#41 Bob Riebe

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 16:11

Correct Bob. The first three years the modifieds ran the road course at Daytona, then moved to the oval from 1977 on. Like I wrote, I was a bit off on the whole thing :blush:  Obviously, I remember the earlier races more than the later ones. I do recall a lot more fendered cars by the later races.

 

It is amazing how memories get fuzzy even about stuff that one once was fanatical about. I though they had run the road course earlier than that my self and longer.

 

Back when Daytona had ARCA, sportsman and modifieds, running cars that were mostly unique to the series, Speed Week was far, far, far more interesting.

 

Now that the new pony cars have been around for over five years, some one should start a short track stock car series where the cars have to be made out of productions cars instead of the tube frame crap that now runs at short tracks.

 

It might get so popular that some of the big tracks would want to get into the action.


Edited by Bob Riebe, 21 May 2015 - 16:14.


#42 RStock

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 00:43

Yes, they are open wheel cars,

I know what you mean, but I have to go all pedantic on you because this is a pet peeve of mine. They are stock cars. "Modified" is just the shortened version of "modified stock car".

 

There was also an open wheel race (USAC?) at Dover, '69 I think? I seem to recall some bad shunts, which made them decide to never return.


Edited by RStock, 22 May 2015 - 00:45.


#43 Jerry Entin

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 01:52

how%20geroge_zpscldql4hz.jpg
The HOW Special raced by Elmer George and owned by his wife Mari Hulman. George qualified 5th fastest and finished the 100-miler in 6th overall.


Photo: Richard Macon

Edited by Jerry Entin, 22 May 2015 - 01:56.


#44 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 18:10

Excuse my ignorance about these fascinating cars, but that little tank they had on the left side, what was that for? And why outside the car?


Edited by Tomas Karlsson, 22 May 2015 - 18:10.


#45 B Squared

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 18:34

Generally the oil tank; having the weight off-set to the left for ovals was the main reasoning for the location, while keeping the chassis as narrow as possible for the primitive aero of the time.

#46 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 20:01

Thanks! Logical but still a bit strange... It seems as if the car constructors more looked at the other cars instead of doing their own thinking.



#47 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 03:06

They used to have a huge Formula Vee race during the 24 Hours weekend. If I'm remembering correctly the entrants included Niki Lauda, Helmut Marko and Hanelore Werner.



#48 ZOOOM

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 17:04

The cars owned by Mari Hullman George were entered as HOWs....
Hullmans Old Wheels...
The How of Elmer George has an interesting "can o ham" oil tank on the left side... It has an opening through the tank to allow air to cool the oil.
Have never seen that anywhere else...

ZOOOM

#49 RStock

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 20:27

I noticed I never bother to thank Jerry Entin for posting those photos. My god but those were beautiful cars.