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The most persistent, yet hapless, Indy 500 entrant of them all


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#51 Bob Riebe

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 00:27

Riley-Wing-2.jpg
Riley for 1974 with what they hoped was a better Idea for wing placement.

This was abandoned and was far as I know, never tried again.

photo: Pete Klain collection

That style of aero was killed by the same rules that killed Gurney's cars and a car made for Danny Ongais early eighties.

Had it been allowed, it might have returned in some form.


Edited by Bob Riebe, 09 January 2019 - 00:33.


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#52 Cynic2

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 02:31

Still one of my most memorable days ever in my motor racing history research years: being told you have found the missing Vuky car back.....

.

Henri –

 

What a great story and a great discovery!

 

About 2010, as far as I can tell, I made a list of the location of most of the Indy roadsters at that time, and two pages of replica roadsters existing or under construction.  (That list includes three Novi replicas.)

 

I don’t remember where I found the information to construct this list, but it shows the Hopkins Kurtis 500 C, listed as the Rathmann car from 1956 (#24), in the Netherlands Museum, so the list was made after your discovery.

 

To plug one gap (which I know you have) in 1957 the Hopkins car had apparently been sold to D. J. Caruthers, who entered the car at Indianapolis as #67 for Don Edmonds.  It was too slow to make the field.  Presumably Caruthers sold the car to Frank Arciero before 1959.

 

My list shows the second car in the museum as a rarity, the only Indy roadster ever built by Dennie Moore.  It was a laydown design, although I’m not sure it was a copy of the George Salih design.

 

The Moore/Offy was entered in the 1959 500 by John Zink, painted “Zink Pink,” as #74 for Bob Veith.  He finished 12th.  In 1960 it was again entered by Zink (as the Ellen Zink #41) for Ebb Rose, a Houston trucking company owner who was involved in sports car racing.  Apparently Rose bought the car from Zink.  Rose qualified 36th fastest and was bumped from the field.  The chief mechanic was another Houston resident, Tony Foyt (A.J.’s father).  The Moore/Offy was entered again in 1961 for Roger McCluskey as #22, the Racing Associates Special.  It was wrecked on the 51st lap and was credited with 27th place.  This was its last Indy 500 – I wonder how it made it to the Netherlands.

 

Like you, I’d love to know where the Hopkins/Arciero car is now, and how it was restored.  I rather hope it is the way it was entered in 1959, using a Maserati V8.  My own feeling is that the car in which Vuky was killed should be left to our memories.

 

David



#53 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 06:41

Apologies for brief drift but have been wondering something for 40 years now...

Is Jim Robbins the same person as former Corvette racer J. Marshall Robbins?

 

Apparently, J. Marshall Robbins was Jim Robbins' son, according to this forum.  Some other interesting stuff there:

 

http://www.trackforu...634-Jim-Robbins

 

Vince H.



#54 Henri Greuter

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 10:03

Riley for 1974 with what they hoped was a better Idea for wing placement.

This was abandoned and was far as I know, never tried again.

photo: Pete Klain collection

 
 

That style of aero was killed by the same rules that killed Gurney's cars and a car made for Danny Ongais early eighties.
Had it been allowed, it might have returned in some form.



@Jerry, Thanks for posting that picture! Nice shot of that car.

Should read the '74 Hungness another time but form what I recall, the Ruley was a late arrival that year and with practice time reduced that year (energy crisis effect) there was not enough time to sort the setup out properly, hence the wing was installed since that was known hon to work with

I forgot the year but I know that on at least one occasion Foyt ran a Riley-Coyote without a rear wing at one of the superspeedways of that erea. I have seen such a picture in one of the 75-76-77 Bungness yearbooks. I can't recall if he used other bodywork behind the car to make up for the loss of the wing.

@BobRiebe; the Ongais car you refer to, do you mean the the Batmobile he crashed in '82 and the remake of it he drove in '82? That car was a `conventional` wingcar according the Colin Chapman theories. To my knowledge, only the BLAT Eagles of 1980-1982 used the BLAT principle that was banned.

Mind you what alway fascinated me about the Riley was that just about everything of the rear suspension was located below the level of the drive shaft. The read deck between engine bay and rear wheels was virtually empty above the rear axle level. The car did not have anything of a ground effects tunnel or venturi ahead of the rear axle, only that streamline piece behind the rear axle had something of a venturi effect. The BLAT Eagles had way more impressive large venturis behind the rear axle.

Mind you, and even that venturi of the Riley in '74 was nowhere near as big as the venturi that eventually found its way on he final versions of Jim Hurtibise's front engined Mallard Roadster!!!!

Edited by Henri Greuter, 09 January 2019 - 10:05.


#55 Charlieman

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 11:39

Riley-Wing-2.jpg
Riley for 1974 with what they hoped was a better Idea for wing placement.

This was abandoned and was far as I know, never tried again.

photo: Pete Klain collection

They were about four inches in height and an afternoon in a wind tunnel from discovering ground effect...



#56 Allen Brown

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 12:07

They were about four inches in height and an afternoon in a wind tunnel from discovering ground effect...

 

A whole afternoon?  



#57 Charlieman

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 12:30

A whole afternoon?  

Yeah, i'd give them a couple of hours to work out why the front wheels lifted off from the base plate.



#58 Jerry Entin

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 19:17

Riley-Wing-5.jpg
Looking at the tail configuration from the rear.


photo: Pete Klain collection

#59 racinggeek

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 17:34

Since we're spending a lot of time on the Riley, we also should note its successor, the 1976 Hopkins/Lightning (appears to have been called a Hopkins-Offy at the '76 Indy 500 before it became a Lightning-Offy sometime between then and the '77 season). Never saw any notable results that I can recall, but was often quick and did win the annual Louis Schwitzer Award for car/engineering design the year it was introduced. Slobodynskyj design, very clean aero, even tucked the turbo intake into the engine cover and out of the airstream, which other Offies weren't doing.

 

Other teams would run Lightnings over the next few years, but probably its best race came in the USAC season closer at Phoenix in 1977, when Bob Fletcher's Cobre Tire team wedged a Cosworth into the bay in place of the Offy, and Bobby Unser dominated qualifying and the race until a pit error dropped him and the car from contention. Can't think of any other Lightnings that tried the Cosworth until Hopkins built a new ground-effects Lightning in 1980.



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#60 racinggeek

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 17:42

That style of aero was killed by the same rules that killed Gurney's cars and a car made for Danny Ongais early eighties.

Had it been allowed, it might have returned in some form.

 

At the risk of hijacking the thread, Bob, I thought the deal with Ongais' car was that it was to carry a Porsche engine until a chunk of its boost was taken away by a rules change and Porsche withdrew from the project. And the Batmobile he did run in 1981-82 was that chassis design fitted for a Cosworth, according to the stories of the time, Was there a different chassis to which you're referring?



#61 Henri Greuter

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 17:55

Since we're spending a lot of time on the Riley, we also should note its successor, the 1976 Hopkins/Lightning (appears to have been called a Hopkins-Offy at the '76 Indy 500 before it became a Lightning-Offy sometime between then and the '77 season). Never saw any notable results that I can recall, but was often quick and did win the annual Louis Schwitzer Award for car/engineering design the year it was introduced. Slobodynskyj design, very clean aero, even tucked the turbo intake into the engine cover and out of the airstream, which other Offies weren't doing.

 

Other teams would run Lightnings over the next few years, but probably its best race came in the USAC season closer at Phoenix in 1977, when Bob Fletcher's Cobre Tire team wedged a Cosworth into the bay in place of the Offy, and Bobby Unser dominated qualifying and the race until a pit error dropped him and the car from contention. Can't think of any other Lightnings that tried the Cosworth until Hopkins built a new ground-effects Lightning in 1980.

 

 

There was also one Lighting which had its engine `tipped over` like in the `Laydown days` ....



#62 Bob Riebe

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 18:39

At the risk of hijacking the thread, Bob, I thought the deal with Ongais' car was that it was to carry a Porsche engine until a chunk of its boost was taken away by a rules change and Porsche withdrew from the project. And the Batmobile he did run in 1981-82 was that chassis design fitted for a Cosworth, according to the stories of the time, Was there a different chassis to which you're referring?

This is what would have been the Porsche car.

 

473c29a7-c02e-4b2a-abaf-4977320ed18c_zps

 

This is what was called the Batmobile:

1384432d1472778045-speedmerchant-roadkil

 

Here is the Rattlesnake BAT type car driven by Mike Chandler often forgotten about:

 

b0649232767d756bd08317680cbc9434.jpg



#63 Henri Greuter

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 18:56

This is what would have been the Porsche car.

 

473c29a7-c02e-4b2a-abaf-4977320ed18c_zps

 

This is what was called the Batmobile:

1384432d1472778045-speedmerchant-roadkil

 

Here is the Rattlesnake BAT type car driven by Mike Chandler often forgotten about:

 

b0649232767d756bd08317680cbc9434.jpg

 

 

Bob,

 

Great to see you bring up the Rattlesnake, one of my favs but of which so little to be found.

 

 

As for the Porsches, The first tests with the Flat-6 were indeed done with the Parnelli chassis of which you posted the picture.

 

But I can't provide a link to the approval of it somewhere at the internet. But: about what you called the batmobile. In 1980 there were announcements of the upcoming Porsche Indy projects accompanied by drawings of the upcoming car and that one looked very much like the Interscoep Batmobile we saw in black one year later. The Porsche engined car was to be white. Again, I can't find an image of this drawing but I have seen them in print.

 

The Interscope as we eventually saw it was very much a redesigned version, pwered by a DFX  of what was once intended to be a Porsche Powered car.

 

Edit:

 

I have found a review of "Porsche Excellence was expected" on the web of which I provide the link. If you scroll through that page you'll run ino a drawing of the projected 1980 Interscope-Porsche

 

Disclaimer: I have no interest in providing this link other than that it contains a drawing of the planned car we were talking about.

 

http://www.bentleypu...PEX.v2.ch34.htm

 

EndEdit


Edited by Henri Greuter, 10 January 2019 - 19:04.


#64 Michael Ferner

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 19:13

Other teams would run Lightnings over the next few years, but probably its best race came in the USAC season closer at Phoenix in 1977, when Bob Fletcher's Cobre Tire team wedged a Cosworth into the bay in place of the Offy, and Bobby Unser dominated qualifying and the race until a pit error dropped him and the car from contention. Can't think of any other Lightnings that tried the Cosworth until Hopkins built a new ground-effects Lightning in 1980.


Dan Gurney, of all people, ran a Cosworth-engined Lightning for Uncle Bobby the very next year, and Hopkins themselves as well as O'Connell, Morales and a second Fletcher car had Cossie power. Second-hand cars were run by Hoffman, Kraco and Patrick!


And yes, the 'Batmobile' was the original Porsche design.

Edited by Michael Ferner, 10 January 2019 - 19:14.


#65 Henri Greuter

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 19:35

Dan Gurney, of all people, ran a Cosworth-engined Lightning for Uncle Bobby the very next year, and Hopkins themselves as well as O'Connell, Morales and a second Fletcher car had Cossie power. Second-hand cars were run by Hoffman, Kraco and Patrick!


And yes, the 'Batmobile' was the original Porsche design.

 

Michael I've sent the PM about the 30s cars I saw at Raamsdonksveer in the Summer of '97



#66 racinggeek

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 22:50

Dan Gurney, of all people, ran a Cosworth-engined Lightning for Uncle Bobby the very next year, and Hopkins themselves as well as O'Connell, Morales and a second Fletcher car had Cossie power. Second-hand cars were run by Hoffman, Kraco and Patrick!


And yes, the 'Batmobile' was the original Porsche design.

 

Ah yes, forgot about the Lightning Gurney briefly ran for Bobby that year.

 

Pretty sure, though, that O'Connell ran the Lightning just the one year, in '77, with an Offy; the team switched to a used McLaren/Cosworth in '78. Pancho Carter drove Fletcher's Lightning-Cosworth in 1978, then switched to Morales in '79 but it looks like Morales stuck with the Lightning/Offy through 1979, then got the used Penske PC7 ground effects car in '80. 

 

Hopkins themselves having a Cossie before its 1980 ground-effects car, also called a Lightning, is a new one on me, although the old-style Lightning ran the turbo Chevy with Hurley Haywood at Indy. Did the old Lightning also try out the V-8 Drake?

 

Also, since we got to talking about copies of the Riley Hopkins earlier, might be worth noting that the Lightning/Offy appears to have been copied by at least two different teams/builders: Rolla Vollstedt and AJ Watson. Anyone know if the Vollstedt was a flat-out copy or a Lightning that was modified and renamed?


Edited by racinggeek, 10 January 2019 - 22:51.


#67 pete366

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 18:35

I don't want to hijack the thread but there are a few things about the Riley, which hopefully will show up at Indy this year, as it is almost done.  The car was supposed to have an engine cover as designed by Bob Riley also USAC apparently said it needed a pushbar which screwed up the airflow on the tail. The engine cover was deleted because Dick Jones, who built the Turbo Offy engine said it would overheat the engine and Lindsay listened to him rather than Bob. Also lack of time for development killed the concept and the going with a proven rear wing was easier once the season started.  The engine cover was used in 76 and can be seen even though it DNQ with the late Mike Hiss trying to qualify it. One last thing, there was a rudimentary try at skirts as the you may see there were sheet metal pcs riveted on the sides that were about 1" lower than the floor. 



#68 B Squared

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 15:06

Good to see you here Pete, as well as last month in Milwaukee. Welcome.

#69 Jerry Entin

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 18:42

Pete has just undergone Heart surgery and it is good to see him anywhere.

He also loaned the site his Riley pictures that I have posted.

Welcome to the Forum Pete and I hope you enjoy it.

#70 Henri Greuter

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 19:07

I don't want to hijack the thread but there are a few things about the Riley, which hopefully will show up at Indy this year, as it is almost done.  The car was supposed to have an engine cover as designed by Bob Riley also USAC apparently said it needed a pushbar which screwed up the airflow on the tail. The engine cover was deleted because Dick Jones, who built the Turbo Offy engine said it would overheat the engine and Lindsay listened to him rather than Bob. Also lack of time for development killed the concept and the going with a proven rear wing was easier once the season started.  The engine cover was used in 76 and can be seen even though it DNQ with the late Mike Hiss trying to qualify it. One last thing, there was a rudimentary try at skirts as the you may see there were sheet metal pcs riveted on the sides that were about 1" lower than the floor. 

 

 

@Pete366

 

as someone who also has been guilty of posts that could be seen as hijacking the thread, I have the feeling that if you are able to post more about the Riley chassis, I firmly believe that a number of posters with interest if Lindsey Hopkins and his exploits and Indy will be more than happy to read and look to anything you can post within this thread.

As far as I'm concerned: `encore, encore, encore `



#71 E1pix

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 20:18

Agreed!

#72 Cynic2

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 03:33

I believe this list includes all the drivers who actually raced in the Indy 500 for Lindsey Hopkins Jr.  It omits those who only practiced or who tried and failed to qualify (or were bumped).  It’s an impressive list of talented Indy drivers.

 

FRONT-ENGINED CARS

 

Henry Banks

Tony Bettenhausen

Don Branson

Duane Carter

Cliff Griffith

Bobby Marshman

Pat O’Connor

Jim Rathmann

Lloyd Ruby

Bill Vukovich

Wayne Weiler

 

REAR ENGINED CARS

 

Gary Bettenhausen

Wally Dallenbach

Bob Harkey

Hurley Haywood

Jerry Karl

Mel Kenyon

Lee Kunzman

Bobby Marshman

Roger McCluskey

Johnny Parsons, Jr.

Lloyd Ruby

Bud Tinglestad

 

 

I also have George Amick in my file as having raced at Indy for Hopkins, but Willem and Jerry  have proved that he didn't so including his name on my list was an error.\

 

 

David


Edited by Cynic2, 14 January 2019 - 02:54.


#73 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 22:11

Lindsey-60.jpg

Lindsey Hopkins warms up the seat of his Watson/Offy, entered for the 1960 Indy 500. His driver, the great Tony Bettenhausen leans against he car. Tony qualified 18th and dropped out after 125 laps with connecting rod problems.

Photo credit: IMS Collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 14 January 2019 - 22:16.


#74 Jerry Entin

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 15:38

Li-ndsey-and-roger.jpg

Roger McClusky and Lindsey Hopkins in the garage in 1974


photo: Pete Klain collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 15 January 2019 - 15:42.


#75 Jerry Entin

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 15:40

Photos-from-74-3.jpg

Roger McClusky, Bob Riley, Chuck Looper(who built the car) and Wayne Leary of AAR
This was back when teams weren’t banned from other peoples garages to try to help each other


all research: Pete Klain

photo: Pete Klain collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 15 January 2019 - 15:46.


#76 E1pix

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 19:04

This was back when teams weren’t banned from other peoples garages to try to help each other.


A sobering and sad thought in its truth.

#77 Jerry Entin

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 02:00

marshman.jpg
Indianapolis 500 1963. Bobby Marshman in the Lindsey Hopkins-entered Econo-Car Rental Special, an Epperly/Offy.

Marshman qualified 7th fastest, but dropped out four laps from the finish with rear end problems. He was still awarded 16th overall.


Photo: Bob Tronolone [Willem Oosthoek Collection]

Edited by Jerry Entin, 19 January 2019 - 02:03.


#78 Henri Greuter

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 09:23

We already mentioned the Riley and the Lightnings, primarily the Offy powered late 70's cars.

 

But one of the most impressive cars of the early eightties I recall was the Lightning ground effects car of 80-82.

Thought the car had a for me shocking feature I omly found out about when I saw one of them in real in May 2016.

 

The rear wing had no sopport that was connected with the fuselage of the car, a supporting standard or so. The endplates were connected with the rest of the car by, on each side, a fairly fragile supporting beam.

I never heard of a wing failure on the car so obviously it must have been rigid enough to prevent such nightmare-ish scenario. But I know that when I saw it, I could almost envising flexing to the left and right wings under high G-loads in cornering.

I never got the chance to see ow those wing supporting beams were attached onto the chassis and transferred its downforce onto the car.

 

Regrettably, the restored car failed to make a lap on its own powe, it came to a standstill on the backstretch. But it surely looked neat and impressive on first sight.

Untill you saw that support of the rear wing.....

 

One of those impressive cars of the very early eightties together with the BLAT Eagle and the Interscope that fought the tide of the incoming armada of Marches, regrettably to no avail....



#79 B Squared

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 12:02

A very popular driver in an equally popular car. I've never heard anything but praise for Bobby Marshman's qualities as a driver and as a man. His Hopkins-owned Lotus 29 Ford Pure Firebird Special remains an all-time favorite car for many who experienced this era.

gettyimages-163090757-612x612_zpsvbxir8x

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#80 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 12:47

Henri, I know I've seen wings similar to your description, I think on early '70s Marches...

 

They had a light-gauge large-ish diameter tube which mounted across the gearbox, from memory. Maybe 45-50mm diameter. Plates welded onto the end to screw the wing endplates onto.



#81 E.B.

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 15:41

His Hopkins-owned Lotus 29 Ford Pure Firebird Special remains an all-time favorite car for many who experienced this era.

 

And some who didn't.



#82 PayasYouRace

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 13:26

Riley-Wing-2.jpg
Riley for 1974 with what they hoped was a better Idea for wing placement.

This was abandoned and was far as I know, never tried again.

photo: Pete Klain collection


That’s really just what we in the trade call a “diffuser”.

#83 Jerry Entin

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 22:20

Bob-Harkey-74.jpg
Bob Harkey in 1974
Bob would finish 8th in the 1974 Indy 500
photo IMS collection

#84 Bob Riebe

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 23:07

I know one year when writers thought A.J. Foyt was getting old, and Bob Harkey was older than  A.J. , they asked A.J. if he thought about retiring and he said: "Hell,  Harkey's still here!"


Edited by Bob Riebe, 22 January 2019 - 16:34.


#85 Jerry Entin

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 16:08

Bob-Harkey-in-1973.jpg
Bob Harkey in 1973 at Indy he would finish 29th with a broken engine.
Bob finished 8th in 1964 and 1974 at Indy. He also raced in the first race at Daytona International Speedway in convertibles and finished 10th in that event.

Bob: AJ Foyt was right about Bob Harkey, Bob was born in 1930 and passed away in 2016. Bob also was a middle weight fighter and a movie stunt pilot. Bob Harkey also survived a private plane crash in 2004.
Bob Harkey also was a movie stunt driver in the films Winning and Speedway.


AJ Foyt was born on January 16, 1935.


photo: IMS collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 22 January 2019 - 16:26.


#86 Henri Greuter

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 17:56

I know one year when writers thought A.J. Foyt was getting old, and Bob Harkey was older than  A.J. , they asked A.J. if he thought about retiring and he said: "Hell,  Harkey's still here!"

 

 

 

I also recall Foyt fans asking Dick Simon to retire at last so that AJ could take the record of oldest driver in the field at last....



#87 Jerry Entin

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 20:42

w-1.jpg

Indy 500 1963. Another image of Bobby Marshman and Thurston with the Lindsey Hopkins-owned Epperly/Offy.

Photo credit: Bob Tronolone [Willem Oosthoek collection]

Edited by Jerry Entin, 25 January 2019 - 20:49.


#88 Henri Greuter

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 09:26

w-1.jpg

Indy 500 1963. Another image of Bobby Marshman and Thurston with the Lindsey Hopkins-owned Epperly/Offy.

Photo credit: Bob Tronolone [Willem Oosthoek collection]

 

A typical Tronolone pic, he took so many pics of cars at Indy from this angle.



#89 B Squared

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 13:14

And a nice angle it is; quite a few from this perspective are seen in the Clymer yearbook this particular year. A photographer finding a good formula and repeating it isn't really uncommon.