Daytona 500 Countdown: day minus 11

With just 11 days remaining until the 2013 Datyona 500, we review one of the most prolific car numbers in NASCAR history: the 11. 

 

With 1771 starts in NASCAR’s premier series (Grand National and successors) since 1949, the number 11 is second only to the 43, which has 1845 starts. However, the 11 actually leads the 43 in overall wins, 202 to 198. A few of the notable drivers who’ve raced the number 11:

 

+   Ned Jarrett, who raced both Chevrolets and Fords under the number 11, taking 50 career Grand National victories and winning the championship in 1961 and 1965.

+  Cale Yarborough, who won three straight WInston Cup titles in Junior Johnson’s number 11 cars in 1976, 1977, and 1978.

+   Darrell Waltrip, who won three more WInston Cup titles for Junior Johnson and the 11  in 1981, 1982, and 1985.

+   Mario Andretti, who ran the number in NASCAR only twice but won the Daytona 500 with it in 1967.

Of course, Denny Hamlin continues the winning tradition today with the number 11 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. You can find all these drivers and more in the gallery below.

 

Darrell Waltrip 11 Bud Monte Carlo
Darrell Waltrip 11 Buick Regal 1982
11 Darrell Waltrip Budweiser Chevrolet
Ned Jarrett 11 1962 Chevrolet Daytona
Ned Jarrett 11 1966 Ford Rockingham 500
Cale Yarborough 11 Chevy Laguna
Denny Hamlin JGR Camry testing crash 12-12 Charlotte
Bill Elliott 11 Atlanta 1992
Darrell Waltrip 11 Buick Mountain Dew MIS
Ned Jarrett 11 1965 Ford Martinsville, VA
Mario Andretti 11 Fairlane Daytona
11 Parnelli Jones Olds convertible c1957
Denny Hamlin 11 JGR Monte Carlo
Ned Jarrett 11 1964 Ford
Ned Jarrett 1965 Ford Daytona 500
Ned Jarrett 11 1963 Ford Daytona 500
11 Darrell Waltrip Monte Carlo SS
11 Ned Jarret 65 Ford closeup
11 Cale Yarborough Holly Farms Chevrolet
Ned Jarrett 11 1961 Chevrolet Daytona garage area
Mario Andretti 11 1967 Fairlane Daytona 500
Ned Jarrett 11 1965 Ford Riverside

Darrell Waltrip 11 Bud Monte Carlo

Darrell Waltrip 11 Buick Regal 1982

11 Darrell Waltrip Budweiser Chevrolet

Ned Jarrett 11 1962 Chevrolet Daytona

Ned Jarrett 11 1966 Ford Rockingham 500

Cale Yarborough 11 Chevy Laguna

Denny Hamlin JGR Camry testing crash 12-12 Charlotte

Bill Elliott 11 Atlanta 1992

Darrell Waltrip 11 Buick Mountain Dew MIS

Ned Jarrett 11 1965 Ford Martinsville, VA

Mario Andretti 11 Fairlane Daytona

11 Parnelli Jones Olds convertible c1957

Denny Hamlin 11 JGR Monte Carlo

Ned Jarrett 11 1964 Ford

Ned Jarrett 1965 Ford Daytona 500

Ned Jarrett 11 1963 Ford Daytona 500

11 Darrell Waltrip Monte Carlo SS

11 Ned Jarret 65 Ford closeup

11 Cale Yarborough Holly Farms Chevrolet

Ned Jarrett 11 1961 Chevrolet Daytona garage area

Mario Andretti 11 1967 Fairlane Daytona 500

Ned Jarrett 11 1965 Ford Riverside

12 thoughts on “Daytona 500 Countdown: day minus 11

  1. I’am looking at 2 pictures of a 1964 Ford and a 1963 Ford that indicate both cars are factory built and not race shop built like they are today. My definitive answer as to when NASCAR raced all factory built modified cars vs the cars built in the racing teams shops has never been answered. Did they race both at the same time? Did NASCAR require all cars at any one race be factory built and modified? Did NASCAR allow both types to race together? I have been trying to get an exact answer to this question for several years and have not been able to.

      • I thought I’d made it very clear, but I’ll define it as accurately as I can. By factory built I mean built by Ford Motor Company on the production line at a Ford assembly plant. Then after a racing team would acquire that car they would modify it to meet racing safety standards along with other improvements to increase it’s duribility required to race in competition. By racing team built or race shop built I mean the entire car body, frame, etc. being built by the racing teams themselves. Some componets supplied by the manufacture such as engine blocks would be about the only original stock item in that race car

  2. Jim, maybe this answers your question: At Holman Moody in Charlotte where the Ford factory race cars were prepared, 1964 was the last year in which they began with new production cars (complete and running, with serial number, etc) off the Ford assembly line, then stripped them down and rebuilt them into race cars. In 1965 the customary practice became to start with a body in white aka bare body shell, which was then built up into a complete race car. Is that the type of distinction you’re looking for?

  3. Racing Reference states that Andretti ran the #11 four times in 1967 and three times in 1968. I think that photo of him is from the 1967 Firecracker 400. His Daytona 500 winner was dark blue with the same red striped gold roof and red wheels. Could be a trick of the light.

    To expand on what MCG said today and recently, in 1965 NASCAR began switching over to production sheetmetal laid over a tube frame. This was necessitated by the introduction of smaller wheelbase cars. I am guessing that the smaller cars were a manufacturer request. It’s somewhat more complicated as NASCAR ruled that the big engines needed for the speedways could only be run in full-size cars.

    Chrysler boycotted most of 1965, and GM wasn’t officially racing, so the move to tube frames was mostly pushed by Ford. I could be completely wrong, but I think that the production Fairlane did not have a full frame beneath it, just a monocoque with a front subframe bolted on. In order to make a stock car out of it, they needed to bolt the body to a tube frame. This is all just off the top of my head, with no guarantee that it happened just this way, but the essential concept is true.

    We’re on generation 6 stockers cars now, but up through the Eighties (generation 3) there were still a few factory “stock” body panels. You could bolt on a production nose for example. The last truly right out of the showroom with all the original drivetrain and suspension was probably somewhere around 1955. They started bolting Ford rear ends into Chevys and using truck suspensions sometime after that.

  4. Thanks, Andy. I enjoy these “rest of the story” expansions. Yes, in 1966 NASCAR allowed Bud Moore to run what became known as a half-chassis car. The ’66 Comet in production form was a unit body car with Falcon/Mustang type front suspension, featuring flimsy components and the spring on top of the upper control arm. Since this setup was unsuited for the loadings on high banks, NASCAR allowed Moore to splice a ’65 Galaxie-type front snout (frame rail stubs and suspension assembly) onto the ’66 Comet unibody.

    This was the solution that allowed the Ford/Mercury teams to return in ’67 with intermediate-bodied cars. The ’67 Fairlane in which Mario Andretti won the Daytona 500 was a half-chassis car built by Holman Moody. Famed bit of NASCAR lore: This very same car was then re-skinned multiple times, eventually becoming the ’71 Mercury Cyclone in which Darrell Waltrip launched his NASCAR career.

  5. @Jim — you’ve identified a good tipping point or line of demarcation in the evolution of stock cars. I hadn’t approached the issue quite that way before.

  6. Thanks MCG here’s another series of cars raced in 1970 I wondered about, the famed wing cars of Dodge and Plymouth. I know these were unibody cars from the factory and as I recall NASCAR banned them after the 1970 season. My question is did the bodies all get tubular frames installed by the race teams to the entire bodies supplied by Chrysler. It would appear this is the way they were built and the outer sheet metal was all factory including the arodynamic snout.

    • Jim –
      The tube frame chassis for all of the winged cars were built by one company – Nichels Engineering. To paraphrase from his website:

      In 1963, Ray Nichels and Nichels Engineering became the “house” racecar builder for all of Chrysler Corporation. Nichels was commissioned to build the fastest and safest stock cars in the business, disseminate racing knowledge and design technology to all Chrysler teams in support of their collective racing efforts. Nichels Engineering-built stock cars won national stock car championships in USAC, NASCAR, ARCA and IMCA.

      Essentially, Nichels supplied an assembled racecar. Teams then did their own work on the engine and modified the car for their own uses. Holman-Moody provided a similar function for Ford but I don’t believe that they had the complete control that Nichels did.

      Richard Petty had been driving Plymouths exclusively since around 1959/1960. Chrysler planned to introduce the winged Dodge Daytona in mid-1969 and as one of their most high profile drivers, Petty had advance knowledge of the plan. When Chrysler said they would neither build a Plymouth version nor allow Petty to switch to a Dodge, he stunned the NASCAR community by switching to arch-enemy Ford for the 1969 season. In order to get him back, Chrysler agreed to build the Plymouth Superbird AND to give the parts and construction business to Petty Enterprises instead of Nichels.

      The Daytona was based on the Dodge Charger, whereas the Superbird was a hybrid Plymouth Belvedere / Dodge Coronet. I’ve read that the only thing that the two cars have in common is the mechanism for the hidden headlights.

      http://www.superbirdclub.com/InsideNichels.html
      http://aerowarriors.com/88daytona.html

      Also of note: In the mid 1970s, Chrysler introduced the “kit car”. It was a complete Dart / Duster racecar – suspension, engine, sheetmetal, roll cage, virtually everything but gasoline. They were available to anyone that wanted one, and was delivered in three or four crates. Dale Earnhardt’s first factory ride was helping Chrysler develop the car on the dirt track in Concord, NC.

      • Thanks Andy, that is very interesting about Chrysler and their NASCAR racing cars. As I recall after the 63 and 64 seasons mostly dominated by Ford, Chrysler along with Petty Enterprises became the dominate player untill the late 60’s when Ford again became more dominate or competive with their fastback Torino’s and Mercury’s. Then Chrysler slipped in their winged cars that with the hemi’s showed to be unbeatable untill NASCAR banned them.

  7. On the unibody Ford and Mopar cars, NASCAR accommodated 2×3-in rectangular steel tubes running inside the length of the rocker panels on each side. These tied the front snout to the rear torque boxes, while the roll cage also served as an additional quasi-space frame structure. Stay tuned for some stories on this stuff.

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