The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Joshua Shaw, Jan 17, 2008.
Al Keller leads P.J.- DuQuion 61.
McElreath and J.R. bring the field down in front of a great crowd, Springfield 65.
Jim Packard, Williams Grove 58.
Tommy - check your PMs x2
NHIS Vintage Celebration 6-29-95
this was a watercolor done of Vic Yerardi, Tommy Caruso and Larry Pfitzenmaier at Louden, N.H.
a bust of the great Leon Duray
Foyt's champ car
To this day Jim Packard is something of a legend to those that knew him and still remember him.
They still admire his grit and single minded determination as well as his skill in driving a race car. And most of his rides weren't top notch but he always seemed to make them go faster than anyone else had done.
Packard was from North Carolina and apparently didn't have any serious interest in racing until he got drafted into the Army and ended up serving his time in Germany. Somehow he started reading publications like Speed Age and National Speed Sport News while in the Army and at some point he decided he wanted to become a race driver. And through his reading he determined that Pop Dreyer was the person he needed to get to know to start his career.
After his discharge he went home long enough to say goodbye and then got on a bus to Indianapolis. The bus took him to downtown Indy after which he walked the 5 miles to Dreyer's race shop and motorcycle business carrying nothing but his Army duffle bag.
Walking in unannounced he introduced himself to Pop and told him his plan. Pop was unfazed and asked him if he could weld. Packard could and started off welding immediately asking for nothing in return. Soon after he was an employee and by the end of that summer Dreyer had given him his first ride. And the Dreyer family basically adopted him.
I believe at one point he had a midget which he maintained at the Dreyer shop. And I don't know if it's true or not but the story goes that there wasn't room for his car inside so it was chained to a tree outside at night in front of the shop.
Packard spent several seasons learning and was just starting to come into his own by 1960 in Championship cars with a 2nd at Langhorne and a win at Springfield. But it all came to an end when a mechanical failure caused his midget to crash at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in southern Illinois.
Packard was a talented and very personable race driver. Everyone apparently liked the guy and thought he would go far in racing. Maybe it's because of his unfulfilled promise that many veteran racers still remember him fondly today.
Jim Packard Indy 1960.
McGrath leads Sweikert Indy 53.
Bobby Marshman checks out Bobby Unser in his first oval track champ car ride, Sacto 62.
Jimmy Packard was breaking through. He won the USAC Allentown sprint race that claimed Johnny Thomson.
His langhorne 2nd place was something else. He was hit in the jaw with a rock, and ran out of neck muscles. His head laid over hard right from the centrifugal forces of the big left turn. He pretty much drove looking at the fence pole tops and trees. A gutty drive!
Jim's widow, Betty, is a good friend. Remarried and living in California now.
Vuky II at Du Quoin 68.
Al Unser Pikes Peak circa 61.
Ted Horn Phoenix circa 1937.
Funny you should mention that...the two largest crowds ever at the Canterbury horse racing track here were for the snowmobile races and the motorcycle races.
Bring on the USAC sprinters.
If my memory serves me correctly, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, and Louis Unser were all driving Stock Cars up the hill in 1961. I was there as a DNQ in my Corvette and only got in one practice session and it was with the stock cars.
Having never been on the hill I was listening to the shifting as they left for the first turn...two up shifts...must be a fast corner...off I went...ooops...never realized that those stock cars had 4 speed transmissions.
Looks like all of the Unsers ran in the Championship Division in 1961. Maybe they also ran in the Stock Car Division?
With the similarity in names it gets confusing. In 61 Bobby, Al and their uncle Louis ran the Champ division while Bobby and Al's brother Louie ran and won the Stock Car div.
Ed Elisian Indy 1956.
Gene Hartley Winchester 51.
Bobby Unser DuQuion 66.
Knepper, Unser, Dickson and Mario mix it up at Terra Haute 1966.
Rodger Ward, Indy 1954.
Jim Packard, Terra Haute 1959.
Elmer George, Tommy H. circa 1960.
Johnnie Parsons, San Jose 1951.
Separate names with a comma.