Circle Track Magazine

Circle Track Magazine
In the winter of 1967-1968, Smokey Yunick built the irregular of two Chevelle NASCAR broth cars, the first driven by Curtis Turner who put it on the pole for the 1967 Daytona 500 and crashed it at Atlanta, destroying it. The legend and folklore that surrounds this moment car is by far bigger than any cable car in the history of livestock car rush. It was not only aerodynamically advance, but as we immediately know, the plan of its suspension arrangement was advanced far beyond its years. numerous articles have been written over the years with varying descriptions about what went on with this car, discussion about if and how he did this and that, and even in Smokey ‘s book he leaves out some juicy details that were shared with me in 1997 in a free-and-easy conversation. Some of the minor details will never be fully known, but the come is what I know from talking with him about it.

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The substantial narrative starts with Smokey working all winter build this car. At that time, stock cars were basically highly modify street cars where you would strengthen the stock components, remove unnecessary parts and pieces, install a rollcage, build up the motor, throw on some fatten tires, and go race. That was all right, but not Smokey ‘s way of doing things. You see, he had been to Indy and had discussed chassis engineer with some of the best engineers in racing. He came away from that with a better understand of what a race car needed to be. He was going to change the way stock car race was done .The interior of the car was sparse compared to today’s stock cars. Missing are the cross braces alongside the driver. Installed is the industry standard Ford Econoline van seat with reinforcing for the ribs and hips. The fire suppression system consists of a single fire bottle, another standard of the day. And, the floor was lined with heat and sound suppression material. As we will see, this was to be a car that in many ways was like the NASCAR subspecies cars of today and in some ways, more advance. unfortunately, this car never raced, even once. As Smokey labored away, he got a cold that turned into, basically, walking pneumonia. several weeks before the 1968 Daytona 500 week, according to Smokey ‘s reserve and the consultation I had with him in 1997, he called Big Bill France and asked him if there were going to be any problems with this car getting through inspection. He was assured that everything would be OK. Up to that point, he and Bill were friends.

then when he arrived at the track, in inspection, he was handed a list of things he had to fix in regulate to be able to race the cable car. At the top of the tilt was to change the frame to a production Ford human body, like everyone else was using in those days because of the lastingness. Smokey had built an wholly custom frame, much like those in today ‘s Nascar Sprint Cup rush cars. The entire car was built around that frame of reference. His car was basically outlawed then and there. If you ‘ve ever read anything at all about Smokey, you will know that he had slightly of a temper. well, he lost it. The officials refused to give him fuel, thus, as he told me, he asked one of his crew to go outside the chase and get 5 gallons in a can. Knowing he would get fuel somehow, they relented and pumped some racing fuel into a can. He dumped that into the tank, fired it up, and drove over to the dawdler to load it up. somewhere along the way, Smokey changed his mind. rather, he drove out of the racetrack onto Volusia Ave. ( now known as International Speedway Blvd. ) and toward his shop at the far end of mainland Daytona. Some writers in the postdate years, disputed he did that. I grew up in Daytona and was standing on the corner of Volusia and Campbell St. ( now known as MLK Blvd. ) when he stopped at the crimson light. When I told him I had seen him stop at that faint, his answer was, “ Well, that ‘s the only one I stopped at. ” Smokey went on to tell me that when France arrived at his denounce soon after he had, he picked up a 4-pound malleus and threw it at him, missing by inches and striking France ‘s new Pontiac in the front fender leaving a large ol ‘ dent, at which time Big Bill left .At the rear we see where Smokey closed in the area under the fuel tank and extended the flat surface to the rear bumper. This eliminated the parachute effect of an exposed rear bumper. We also get a glimpse of the Watts link behind the rearend, an unheard of innovation not ever used on stock cars of the day. The follow workweek, again according to what Smokey told me, he got a letter from France apologizing and in the envelope was a check for, I think he said, $ 1,500 to cover his “ expenses. ” Smokey said he, “ took the check into the bathroom, soiled it, and sent it back. ” such was the nature of Smokey. The car ended up being “ sold ” to a crap racer in Georgia. About 1987, a racer whom I talk to a distribute these days, Richard Brashear, called Smokey and said he wanted to buy the car. Smokey told him that it had already been sold, but upon reflection realized it had not been paid for. so, he went about finding it, taking it back, and restoring it. Poor Brashear never heard from him again about it.

The refurbish car was finally sold for $ 100,000 and is now on the market again for $ 950,000 rest at Canepa Design in Scotts Valley, California, as of this write. I noticed the ad for the car had photos and contacted Robert Jordan who agreed to let us use the photograph to explain how the car was built and highlight some of the innovations. therefore, without further bustle. .. Before The Restore
When newsworthiness that Smokey ‘s fabled Chevelle had been restored to like-new discipline hit our office, we naturally jumped on the history. But we besides thought it would be fun to delve into the Circle Track archives and see if we could locate any menstruation pictures of the cable car. As Bob mentioned at the top of the floor, Smokey actually built more than one Chevelle. here are some pictures of those cars. And for the story of this car in Smokey ‘s own words pick up a imitate of Best Damn Garage in Town and turn to page 319 in “ All Right You Sons-a-Bitches, Let ‘s Have a rush. ” It ‘s available at We wish to thank Canepa Design for the function of the photos. We ‘re surely now that we know more about how technically advanced and advanced this car is that there will be more concern in it. I think if NASCAR would have allowed it to compete, it could have changed the face of stock car racing long earlier custom frames were allowed and invention was suppressed. Imagine for a moment if broth car racers were a loose to design and build creatively, similar to the Smokey car, like they do in Formula 1, where the sport would be today. One can only guess. Is it excessively late ? not in my opinion .Now we are getting to the suspension innovations. We already stated that the frame was completely custom made and here we see a unique three-link rear suspension setup. The square tubing trailing arms extend forward some 40 inches or so and transition into round tubing with large Heim joints at the ends. The rear portions of the arms are bolted to brackets welded to the rear axle tubes, which allow the rearend to move freely requiring a third link for rotational support, but where is it? This is not a truck arm design because a truck arm is bolted solidly to the axle tube and does not need a third link. And the truck arm is mounted closer together at the front ends verses the rear end and that causes rear steer as the rear end moves laterally when using a Panhard bar. Smokey’s rear end did not rear steer and we’re going to tell you why.

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Category : Car Brakes