Dan Gurney: All American Racer

(Part 1)

Dan Gurney

American Sports Car Races

From his first professional race in 1955 until his retirement in 1970, Daniel Sexton Gurney was the consummate race car driver -- skilled, dedicated, versatile, hard-charging, always in control of his vehicle, and a winner.

Born on April 13, 1931, by the age of 19 he was drag racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats in a hot rod he had modified himself. But European-style road racing was always his passion. After a stint in the Army during the Korean War, Dan came back to California intent on getting back into racing.

In his first pro race, at Torrey Pines, California in October 1955, he drove a Triumph TR2. Dan didn't win that day, but his first victory came not long after -- in July 1956 driving a Porsche in a race at Santa Monica, California. He won again in September 1957, driving a Chevrolet Corvette at Riverside, California -- a track he truly "owned' throughout his career. By November 1957, he had started driving for the Arciero team and, in a race at Riverside, battled future business partner Carroll Shelby in the Arciero Ferrari. Shelby eventually won, with Gurney a close 2nd. In 1958, Dan took two wins and a 2nd, still driving the Arciero Ferrari.

He switched to the Arciero Lotus 19 late in 1959, and had at least five major victories in that car, including the annual races at Nassau, Bahamas in December 1960 and 1961, and races at Laguna Seca, California in October 1961 and 1962. Dan joined up with Carroll Shelby's team in 1963, driving the legendary Cobra 289 roadster to victory in the October 1963 U.S. Road Racing Championship 3-hour race at Riverside.

During 1955 to 1965, Dan Gurney started 66 American sports car races, winning 23 times and placing second 6 times.

[Almost all photos in this section are from Dan Gurney: The Ultimate Racer
by Karl Ludvigsen. Haynes Publishing. Somerset, England: 2000]

1959 - Arciero Ferrari
1959 - Arciero Ferrari

1960 - Arciero Lotus 19
1960 - Arciero Lotus 19

1963 - Shelby Cobra 289
1963 - Shelby Cobra 289

American Sports Car Race Record
(1955-1965 - Top 10 Finishes Only)
  66 Starts                                                                   
   5 Poles                                                                    
  23 Wins (14 Overall, 9 Class)                                               
   6 2nd Place                                                                
                                                                              
  Date             Place        Pos.         Car                Comments      
---------   ------------------ -----  -----------------  ---------------------
Oct. 1955   Torrey Pines, CA    ?     Truimph TR-2            (First pro race)
                                                                              
Jul. 1956   Santa Monica, CA    1     Porsche                  (First victory)
                                                                              
Sep. 1957   Riverside, CA       1     Corvette                                
Sep. 1957   Riverside, CA       6     Corvette                                
Nov. 1957   Riverside, CA       2     Arciero Ferrari     (Carroll Shelby 1st)
Dec. 1957   Paramount, CA       1     Arciero Ferrari                         
                                                                              
Mar. 1958   Phoenix, AZ         4     Ferrari 250GT                           
Apr. 1958   Palm Springs, CA    1     Arciero Ferrari                         
May  1958   Palm Springs, CA    1     Arciero Ferrari                         
Oct. 1958   Riverside, CA       2     Arciero Ferrari                         
                                                                              
Dec. 1960   Nassau, Bahamas     1     Arciero Lotus 19                        
                                                                              
Oct. 1961   Laguna Seca, CA     1     Arciero Lotus 19                        
Dec. 1961   Nassau, Bahamas     1     Arciero Lotus 19                        
                                                                              
Fall 1962   Kent. WA            1     Arciero Lotus 19                        
Oct. 1962   Laguna Seca, WA     1     Arciero Lotus 19                        
                                                                              
Oct. 1963   Riverside, CA       4     Cobra 289                    (1-Hr race)
Oct. 1963   Riverside, CA       1     Cobra 289                    (3-Hr race)
                                                                              
Oct. 1964   Laguna Seca, CA     2     Lotus 19B                               
                                                                              
(12 Other Wins - Info N/A)                                                    
( 3 Other 2nds - Info N/A)                                                    

| Dan Gurney - Part 2 > |


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Last Updated: January 1, 2003