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The 1962 Daytona Continental: A Photographic Retrospective

Bradley Brownell January 17, 2012 In General 5 Comments

Eventual winner Dan Gurney waits for the checkers to fall with a failed engine

The year was 1962, and the Daytona International Speedway was barely three years old. NASCAR and DIS president Mr. William France Sr. was oddly intrigued by diminutive sports racers and wished to have his newly built track brought into the limelight on the world stage.  As such, he requested that Daytona be the first round of that year’s World Sportscar Championship.

With the upcoming 50th anniversary of this race being celebrated at this years Rolex 24 at Daytona, it seems apropos that we go back in time to show you the event that started it all.

A.J. Foyt and his Pontiac Tempest lead the first lap... And retired on the second...

NASCAR legend Fireball Roberts and his Ferrari

A young David Hobbs beside his Jag E-type. The car would not last the race.

Before the "busstop chicane" was added, the sportscar course ran 3.81 miles

At the time, they were just racing drivers, though today, many of them number among the legends of the sport.  Here is a partial drivers list of the event.

  • Jim Clark
  • Stirling Moss
  • A. J. Foyt
  • Dan Gurney 
  • Phil Hill
  • Fireball Roberts
  • Joe Weatherly 
  • Rodger Ward 
  • Olivier Gendebien
  • Pedro Rodriguez 
  • Ricardo Rodriguez
  • Marvin Panch
  • Jo Bonnier
  • Innes Ireland
  • Dick Rathmann 
  • Bob Holbert 
  • Peter Ryan
  • Walt Hansgen 
  • Roger Penske 
  • David Hobbs 
  • Paul Goldsmith
  • Jim Hall
As always, pictures only take you so far, so here is a bit of period video to provide the sounds and sights in more vivid detail.  It’s worth watching the ten minute clip, if only for the visual image of Dave Despain with hair.  (Why doesn’t SPEED show stuff like this anymore?)

A hearty hat tip is due to Mr. Scrogzilla, and a deserved thank you to Sportscar Digest and Louis Galanos for providing the full story as well as MORE PICTURES!

  • FЯeeMan

    No one would ever be allowed to win like that again. The yellow flag would have been out and the marshals would have had the car off the track. That's a shame, because that was some very clever thinking. And without a radio to communicate with the pits!

  • $kaycog

    I've never heard of a race ending like that. That's really something. Yay, Dan Gurney!


  • jeepjunkie

    WOW…imagine having the opportunity to witness this first of what would become a classic race. Imagine what it will be like this year if the powers to be can pull off getting a majority of these cars back together for a lap or two. I can't wait to see it happen.

  • Van_Sarockin

    First race win by a hybrid?

    • BradleyBrownell

      Actually, according to Gurney, he didn't use the starter. He "turned left, and it kinda just went".

      What a badass.