Wednesday, April 28, 2021

1963 – Foyt First at Yankee 300

A.J. Foyt

Clermont, Ind. (April 28, 1963) – A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., won a thrilling first running of the Yankee 300 stock car race in a 1963 Plymouth before a crowd of 15,000 fans Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

The 28-year-old winner of the 1961 Indianapolis 500 averaged 75.751 miles per hour for the 120 laps around the tricky 2.5-mile road course with 15 turns.

Foyt finished 23 seconds ahead of Lloyd Ruby of Wichita Falls, Tex., driving a 1963 Pontiac. Curtis Turner, the 42-year-old former NASCAR hotshot from Charlotte, N.C., was third, 1 minute and 41 seconds behind Foyt.

The lead changed 11 times on the ideal, sunbaked day for racing.

Foyt got the lead for keeps on lap 109 after USAC road racing champion Roger Penske of Gladwyne, Penn., was eliminated by a locked differential.

There were six different leaders.

Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., Speedway record holder who started on the pole, led the first 27 circuit before the rear end went out on his 1963 Mercury.

Penske led laps 28 and 29 and then NASCAR ace Glenn “Fireball” Roberts of Daytona Beach, Fla., led lap 30 before making a pit stop.

He yielded to fellow Southerner Turner who kept it for laps 31 and 32. Dan Gurney of Costa Mesa, Calif., led lap 33 and 34 and then it was Roberts back in from on lap 35 through 44.

Penske then took command of thee chase and led from lap 45 through 79. Foyt passed him on the backstretch during the 80th circuit to lead for the first time.

When Foyt made a pit stop on lap 90, Penske was out front once again. Foyt experienced a badly handled pit stop which took almost 90 seconds.

Penske had things well in hand until lap 97 when Roberts passed him on lap 98 and led through 101.

Roberts, however, would spin out on the hairpin turn when his engine broke a rod and the car slid in its own oil on the 101st lap, yielding the lead back to Penske. Penske would hold it for only seven laps before breaking down himself.

Foyt would make a precautionary stop on lap 115, but this time it was a quick in and out and he maintained his lead.

Foyt waved a greeting to the crowd with his left hand as he took the checkers from starter Pat Vidan.

Total purse money for the event was $17,000, $2,000 more than the guaranteed sum. Lap prize money of $2,500 and an estimated $11,000 in accessory money put the total melon over $30,000. Foyt collected $6,650 for his victory.

Promoter Joe L. Quinn Jr. was extremely gratified at the crow response and announced the road race for late models would be made an annual fixture on Raceway Park’s schedule.

The only serious mishap was when Eddie Sachs of Fraser, Mich., slid off the course and smashed into the guardrail late in the race. He was not injured.

Results –

1. A.J. Foyt
2. Lloyd Ruby
3. Curtis Turner
4. Len Sutton
5. Norm Nelson
6. Don White
7. Andy Hampton
8. Sal Tovella
9. Bill Cheesbourg
10.Herb Shannon
11.Milt Curcio
12.Elmer Musgrave
13.Roger Penske
14.Gary Bettenhausen
15.Fireball Roberts
16.Roy Atkinson
17.Art Brady
18.Reb Wickersham
19.Arnie Gardner
20.Whitey Gerkin
21.Ken Finley
22.Dan Gurney
23.Eddie Sachs
24.Dave Lundman
25.Rodger Ward
26.Lee Drollinger
27.Parnelli Jones
28.Troy Ruttman
29.Bob Hurt
30.Paul Goldsmith

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