Born: April 13, 1931
Home: Riverside, California
Daniel Sexton Gurney, the son of an opera singer, was born on April 13, 1931 in Port Jefferson, NY but moved to Riverside, California when he was a teenager. Gurney become one of America’s most proficient and successful racing stars. His natural talent behind the wheel produced trophy cases full of awards and an amazingly loyal fan following. Not content with just one form of racing, Gurney’s vast talent was put on display in Indy Car, NASCAR, Formula One, Can-Am and the Trans-Am Series. Gurney was the first driver to win races in Sports Cars (1958), Formula One (1962), NASCAR (1963) and Indy Car (1967).
Gurney was known as a “fluid” driver, with a style that maximized his talent and the abilities of his car while taking care of his equipment. Gurney was a star wherever he went, but nowhere was he more “The Man” than at his home track, Riverside International Raceway. In 1963, Gurney teamed up with the powerhouse Holman Moody race organization, driving the #28 Ford to victory lane at the Riverside 500. This drew the attention of the famed Wood Brothers race team who asked Gurney to strap into their #121 NASCAR Grand National car at Riverside the following year. The combination of Gurney and the Wood Brothers proved to be nearly unbeatable with Gurney capturing victories in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1968 at Riverside.
Following his retirement from Formula One and NASCAR, Gurney assumed a full-time role as carmaker and team owner. His race team, All American Racers, won 78 races (including the Indy 500, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Daytona) and eight championships. Gurney’s Eagle racecar also won three Indy 500 races and three championships in Indy Cars and Formula A.
Gurney has been a pioneer of racing innovations. In 1971 he developed the Gurney Flap, an invention that has been adopted by the automobile racing and aviation industry throughout the world. He was the first racecar driver to introduce a full-face helmet to Indy Car and Grand Prix racing. He was instrumental in launching the rear-engine revolution to Indy racing. Gurney’s exuberant gesture of spraying champagne into the crowd from the victory podium in Le Mans years ago has been emulated worldwide by winners.
Personal Career Summary:
312 starts; 51 victories; 42 pole positions
Dan Gurney individual racing wins include:
- 4 Formula 1 World Championship races
- 3 Formula 1 Non World Championship races
- 5 NASCAR 500 mile stock car races (Riverside 500)
- 7 Indy Car races (2 Indy 500 second place finishes)
- 5 overall victories Sports Car World Championship races
- 5 class victories Sports Car World Championship races
- 1958 USAC National Road Racing champion