Former Indy 500 Driver And Team Owner Dan Gurney has died at 86
INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indianapolis 500 driver and team owner Dan Gurney has died at the age of 86 from complications related to pneumonia.
Gurney had won major races in Formula 1, Le Mans, IndyCar and NASCAR. Gurney finished second in the Indy 500 in 1968 and 1969 and came in third place in 1970.
Gurney is the first of three drivers to have won races in Sports Cars (1958), Formula One (1962), NASCAR (1963), and Indy Car (1967) (the other two being Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya). At the 1968 German Grand Prix he became the first driver ever to use a full face helmet in Grand Prix racing.
His IndyCar career resulted in the creation of the Gurney flap aerodynamic device, while in NASCAR he won five races at Riverside in California.
According to Gurney's wishes, his funeral will be private. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Hoag Hospital Foundation in Newport Beach, CA.
Among American Formula One drivers, his 86 Grand Prix starts ranks third, and his total of four GP wins is second only to Mario Andretti. Perhaps the greatest tribute to Gurney's driving ability, however, was paid by the father of Scottish World Champion Jim Clark when the elder Clark took Gurney aside at his son's funeral in 1968 and confided that he was the only driver Clark had ever feared on the track.
The 2010 Monterey Motorsports Reunion (formerly the Monterey Historic Automobile Races) was held in honor of Gurney.
In 2016, in an academic paper that reported a mathematical modeling study that assessed the relative influence of driver and machine, Gurney was ranked the 14th best Formula One driver of all time.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Douglas Boles released a statement on Gurney's death:
"When we talk about legendary American drivers, owners, and car constructors on an international stage. Dan Gurney is one of the all-time greats. His skill in all three areas helped him make an indelible mark and serve as a huge influence in this sport. Dan was a giant in the racing world, in every sense. Our sincere condolences and prayers are with his wife, Evi, and the entire Gurney family. Godspeed, Dan Gurney."
(PHOTO: Indianapolis Motor Speedway)