Little Indians

1962 Daytona Continental

by Mike Matune | 06/01/2015 4:45 PM

Daytona International Speedway

February 11, 1962

Four Tempests competed in the inaugural Daytona Continental. This race is perhaps best known for Dan Gurney’s unique win. After the engine failed in his Lotus 19, Gurney parked the car at the top of the track just short of the start/finish line. He waited until the checkered flag fell on the three hour event and crossed the line driven by his starter motor or gravity, depending on which version of the story you believe.

The Tempests were less successful with only Rodger Ward being able to finish in 27th place. The other three cars were all DNF’s. Paul Goldsmith (differential) and A.J. Foyt (engine) would both go out after being credited with two laps; although Foyt would be attributed with leading the first lap. Harry Heuer lasted a little longer until lap 14, when he was sidelined with a gearbox problem.

Among the questions to which we need answers are:

  • Reports and results indicate the cars had a 421 CI, 389 CI and two 195 CI four cylinder engines (perhaps the Marlboro cars?). However there are also references to two of the cars having aluminum V8’s. Another report indicates there was an aborted Pontiac program to build aluminum V8’s for NASCAR. Does anyone know anything further about the power plants used at Daytona in 1962?
  • The four drivers named above are listed in most reports and results. However, other drivers are also named in some publications, they include David Pearson, Junior Johnson and Cotton Owens. Does anyone have any information on these drivers’ potential participation?
  • The Homologation Papers for the 1962 Tempest are not to be found anywhere. The car was homologated on February 7, 1962 under recognition number 55. We have tried the FIA, ACCUS, SCCA, NASCAR Archives, Daytona Speedway Archives, etc. with no luck. Does anyone know where these can be found?
  • We are always interested in any documentation available, i.e. photos entry lists, results lists, remembrances, programs, etc.

The Ray Nichels transporter arrives at the Daytona International Speedway with the four Tempests slated to compete in the inaugural Daytona Continental. (Nichels Engineering Photo Courtesy Tom Schlauch)

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