Sports

United States racing pioneer Gurney dies

United States racing pioneer Gurney dies

Dan Gurney, the first race auto driver to win all the three major competitions - Formula One, IndyCar and NASCAR, died Sunday at the age of 86 due to complications from pneumonia.

The man credited with inventing spraying champagne after winning a race, Gurney also won Formula One races, won the Le Mans 24hr, raced NASCAR, and even held a record for fastest time driving between NY city and Los Angeles on the Cannonball Run.

Andretti took to Twitter to offer condolences. In Formula One, Gurney drove for racing teams which included Ferrari, Porsche, BRM and Braham and he also formed his own racing team later. That was the first and only time when a driver from the United States won a Formula One race with a vehicle which was designed by the driver, ESPN reported. As well as this, Gurney has a couple of "firsts" to his name. He also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1967 by collaborating with A.J. Foyt.

Gurney also created the Gurney flap, a small addition to a car's rear wing which can noticeably improve cornering speed and downforce without creating significant drag. He was the first driver to wear a full-face helmet and is also known for the "Gurney Flap", a right-angle extension on the upper trailing edge of the rear wing that he created to help increase downforce. Only Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya have wins in the top levels Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR and sports cars.

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Gurney ended his career at McLaren in 1970, stepping in after the death of the team's founder Bruce McLaren for three races.

His influence is still noted to this day, and current Indy driver Graham Rahal paid his respects, as did president of the Indianapolis Speedway Doug Boles.

What do you think Dan Gurney's greatest achievement was?

He retired from racing in 1970 with 51 race wins before dying at the age of 86.


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