Dan Gurney, one of the first American international motorsports stars, died Sunday. He was 86.
Gurney’s illustrious career included wins in both the Cup Series and in Formula 1. He was the first driver to win in the Cup Series, Formula 1 and what’s now known as the IndyCar Series.
Gurney won his first NASCAR race in 1963. He never raced a full season in the Cup Series but had five wins and 10 top-10 finishes in 16 starts from 1962-80. He raced at Riverside — where he won all five of those races — Daytona and had one race at Atlanta. Four of his five Cup Series wins came while driving the famed Wood Brothers No. 21. His first Cup win came in 1963 while driving for Holman-Moody.
In 1964, Gurney won at Riverside while also running a full schedule in Formula 1. He won two races that season and scored two pole positions on the way to finishing sixth in the points standings. He had five top-six points finishes in his F1 career and won races at Rouen (2), Mexico City and at Spa, the site of his final victory in 1967. Mario Andretti is the only American to win more Formula 1 races and Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya are the only other drivers to win races in F1, Cup and IndyCar.
Gurney won seven IndyCar races, including two at Riverside. All seven of the wins came between 1967-70. He competed in the Indianapolis 500 every year form 1962-70 but never won the race. He finished his 500 career with finishes of second, second and third in his final three starts at the 2.5-mile oval.
– – – – – – –