The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Joshua Shaw, Jan 17, 2008.
Yes, it is.
When Elmer George sold off his stable, Foyt bought the Chevy powered car and Don Shepard bought the Offy car. I don't know if he got it less engine or sold off the Offy, but he dropped in his own SBC.
By 1962, both cars were Chevy-powered, and he kept the newer car ("Tony's Special") one year longer (summer of '63). Easiest way to tell'em apart is the roll-over bar, as you can see in Rootie's last picture - integral on the Tony/Foyt car, added-on for the HOW/KEY. The cars were changed about a bit over the years though, and the Tony/Foyt car initially had an Offy and added-on roll-over bar, too!
The Foyt/Traco #2 was, originally, built by "Lugie" and the K.E.Y. #6 was the one and only sprint car built by, Elmer George buddy and all around smart fellow, Bob DeBisschop.
DeBisschop, among his many racing business accomplishments, was one of the main development
engineers on the original turbo OFFY engines.
mac miller in INDY
Rootie...The correct spelling is Pat O'Connor
Going waay back to Indy 1937. Future stovebolt speed equipment mfg. and Agajanian head wrench, Frank McGurk has a major qual. crash killing his riding mechanic and putting some serious kinks in the Belanger Spl.
Longtime east coast racer Bert Brooks in the Frank Curtis built Hall-Mar Spl. 1961.
Leon Clum in the Dayton Steel Spl. 1961.
Chick Barbo- Cole 14, Johnny Mantz-Aggie's 98 jr. Carrell Speedway.
Bud Rose- Carrell Speedway.
Hal Cole Oakland Speedway.
The Pipe Fitters Spl. 1952. A rather obscure car that was originally the Motor Trends Spl. in 1951 with a 12 port GMC for power but was swapped out for a Offy in 52.
Rootie: Chuck Weyant was the assigned driver in his first Indianapolis attempt. And the chassis is listed as a Koehnle whom I've never heard of. It makes you wonder who Koehnle was because the car looks like a pretty well laid out piece.
Some records show that the car never showed up at all in 1952 but your photo was taken on a Qualification weekend so it obviously must have at least gotten to run in Practice.
BTW, Weyant is now the oldest living 500 driver at age 92.
Quite sometime back I posted some info on the car when it was the Motor Trend Spl. with the Jimmy 6 but I didn't come up with much.
Duane Carter's 1st 500, 1948. Though he lost a wheel on lap 59, he gained 'front row' seating.
Back to the HOW sprint cars, in 1960 there were 2 HOW sprint cars. a number 12 and a number 21. The 21 was the standard HOW livery, the 12 was the opposite being white with black trim. I saw them at Langhorne with Roger McCluskey in the 12 and Wayne Weiler in the 21. Both offies. Elmer was still under suspension for hitting Tommy Nicolson (USAC Eastern official).
The next year the 12 was a chevy with Cotton Farmer driving. Elmer in the 21.
I think this was hashed out earlier in this thread. The 12 disappeared and the lesovsky showed up.
thats my recollection. the 21 offie becoming the key car down the road.
Notice how the axle is still attached to the wheel in this photo. Oldtimers have told me that the car used a modified stock closed tube Chrysler rear end at the request of Belanger who was a Chrysler dealer at the time. I guess it wasn't quite up to the task for 500 miles.
The #21 was originally built by Frank Kurtis and Herb Porter in 1953, and carrying #55 that year, with Jerry Hoyt driving. It was #18 for Eddie Sachs in '54, then #2 or #21 for Sachs, Tony Bettenhausen, Bobby Grim and Elmer George in '55. It was redone by Bob de Bisschop in '56, and #21 for George (and Don Branson, occasionally) until his ban in '59, then driven by Wayne Weiler, Shorty Templeman and George again in '60. George and Roger McCluskey switched cars midseason, and this one was #4 for a while in '61 for McCluskey, then #5 with a Chevy in '62 before being sold to Jack Colvin, who ran it, still as a #5 for Bobby Marshman. It was #8 in '63 for Marshman and Gordon Woolley, mostly, then #6 for Johnny Rutherford and Bobby Unser in '64, #11 for Unser, Mickey Rupp and Bob Wente in '65, and #3 for Unser in '66. Sold to E. T. Morse in '67, and #91 for Bill Puterbaugh and Charlie Masters until '68. Sold to Mel Moffett, and run as #81 for Masters again, but also Butch Smith and Joe Saldana. Seems it was a Paul Leffler backup car for Greg Leffler as late as 1974.
#12 was newly built in 1960, and an Offy for McCluskey and then George that year, a Chevy in '61 for George and #21 in '62 and '63. Sold to A. J. Foyt midseason, still as #21, then #2 in '64. Sold to Frank Wagner in '65, and #62 for Scratch Daniels and Jerry Richert, then #63 in '66 I believe. I think it was bought by Richert in the early seventies, but this is a bit hazy.
Neat cars (both outstanding for the era. Always liked the way Unser sat in the K.E.Y. car). Any idea where they are today? Either one would sure look good in MY shop
Michael; Thanks for the updated information on the H.O.W. cars. I appreciate the details that you provide!
I can't remember the story for sure but I've heard that Elmer himself raced #21 during his suspension. An old fan told me that he remembers being at (I believe) Dayton and seeing Mari and Elmer drive up towing their sprint car and Elmer racing that day in what was either an IMCA or AARC event.
BTW, Elmer gets something of a bum rap today largely because of to whom he was married. But the fact is that he was one of the best high bank pavement sprint car drivers of his era. There were times where he swept the program on the banks setting quick time, winning the fast heat, and then the feature.
Even his pace lap crash in the 1957 500 wasn't his entirely his fault. According to Don Edmunds both he and Elmer were caught completely by surprise when the command to start engines was given. In fact, Edmunds was standing alongside his car and didn't even have his helmet on. USAC didn't do a very good job of keeping everyone informed about just what the schedule was going to be that year and widespread two way radio communication for officials hadn't happened yet. At any rate the field took off for the parade lap with Edmunds and George still in the pits. Don says that they both misjudged their closing speed once they got going and came up on the rest of the cars going way too fast. Edmunds managed to slide into an opening with his brakes locked up but Elmer didn't and ended up running into the back of Eddie Russo.
And I've never understood just why Elmer was black flagged while leading Langhorne which ended with him losing his temper and smacking a USAC official. I don't think there was anything mechanically wrong since Eddie Sachs finished the race in the car. And there were likely plenty of drivers that would have taken Elmer's side against USAC in the dispute. Elmer was definitely a hot head but I've always wondered if he wasn't singled out just because of who he was.
Maybe someone here knows more about just what happened that day.
Seems Foyt's car is living in Minn. Don't know about the K-E-Y car.
Walt Ader in the Offy powered Sampson Spl. 1950.
Indyrjc, Elmer was black flagged for a smoking right rear tire. There was a history of right rears failing at Langhorne and having tragic ends. (Mike Nazruck,...)
Yes Elmer drove the 21 sprinter during suspension with IMCA/outlaws.
Randall, Elmer ran the #21 in several IMCA events in late '59. He got up to 19th in points despite doing only a fraction of the IMCA schedule. About Langhorne, I believe USAC got cold feet because he was the son-in-law of Toni Hulman. Reportedly, his driving became erratic, probably because of fatigue, and no one wanted stories in the papers about the son-in-law getting killed - it would have been a huge disaster so shortly after '55. No one wants to black flag a leader, but there are times when it's not to your advantage to date the boss's daughter...
Supposedly Elmer told Tony that when he died and left the Speedway to to him that the first thing that would be done was to put a foot of dirt on the place. Or am I mixing that up with the Supposed quote from Jud Larson that " there's nothing wrong with this place that a foot of dirt wouldn't cure " ?
Our local hero Bill Utz one picture is back in the 60s and the second is this summer paceing the feild at California mo double x speedway next to his grandson
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Elmer George going into the crowd, Phoenix 62.
The AAA Champ Car division went south in 1951.........to Darlington S.C. that is.
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