Daniel Sexton Gurney: 1931-2018
Dan Gurney passed away on January 14th, 2018.
Gurney sits 83rd on the list of most F1 races, 86 starts. Yet, he wasn’t labeled as the driver of any one division. He won everywhere! He has 4 wins in F1 with his last start coming in 1970.
Coming from the crossover period, Gurney also spent time in America. He ran 16 NASCAR Cup Series races, picking up 5 wins along the way. He last NASCAR start came in 1968. In the prized Great American Race, he had a best Daytona 500 finish of 5th which came in the 1963 event.
Gurney didn’t just spend time in the premier series of the NASCAR ladder. Gurney also ran 3 NASCAR K&N West Series event, he won two of the three.
Gurney also engaged in the Verizon IndyCar Series. His best Indianapolis 500 finish was 2nd, which he claimed twice.
In 1978, Gurney wrote the famed “White Letter” which detailed the need for a series that offered more direction and control from the people invested in the sport, specifically the team owners. In 1979, CART was formed with team owners like Roger Penske joining the new series.
In 1990, Gurney was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. He is also included in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
Gurney and his wife Evi had four children. All sons; Justin, Alex, Dan Jr. and Jimmy.
Gurney Family Statement
“With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan drove off into the unknown just before noon today, Jan. 14, 2018,” Gurney’s wife, Evi, and family said in a statement. “In deepest sorrow, with gratitude in our hearts for the love and joy you have given us during your time on this earth, we say ‘Godspeed.’”
“Dan passed away due to complication from pneumonia. According to his wishes, the funeral will be private. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Hoag Hospital Foundation in Newport Beach, CA. For those that want to express their sentiments please write a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Racing community responds to the loss of Dan Gurney
Bill Ford: “We are deeply saddened about the passing of Dan Gurney. His legacy as a racer and innovator may be unmatched in the history of the sport. We are honored that so much of that legacy, including the All American Le Mans victory in 1967, came with Ford. He was a great friend to Ford and respected around the world. We offer our condolences to his wife, Evi and his family.”
AJ Foyt: “Dan Gurney was not only a great innovator, he was a great driver and it didn’t matter if it was a road course or an oval, an Indy car or a stock car,” said Foyt via statement. “I never use the word legend but in the case of Dan, he was a true legend of our sport. We became close friends at Le Mans in ’67 and winning it brought us closer together. He was a super guy. Even though we were competitors in the Indy cars, we always respected each other highly.
“As we got older we became closer, calling each other on birthdays or when we were sick. Now I’m glad we got to spend the time together we did at Long Beach last year along with Edsel Ford. We told a lot of stories and we had a lot of fun talking about the old times. It’s hard to believe he’s gone and I’m really going to miss him. My thoughts are with Evi and his family.”
Mario Andertti: “RIP Dan Gurney. I was first inspired by him when I was in midgets dreaming of being like him. I was last inspired by him yesterday. Yes, I mean forever. He understood me better than anyone else, which is why he wrote the foreword for my book in 2001.”
Indianapolis Motor Speedway: “When we talk about legendary American drivers, owners and car constructors on an international stage, Dan Gurney is one of the all-time greats,” J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said in a statement. “His skill in all three areas helped him make an indelible mark and serve as a huge influence in this sport. Dan was a giant in the racing world in every sense. Our sincere condolences and prayers are with his wife, Evi, and the entire Gurney family. Godspeed, Dan Gurney.”
IMSA President: “The word ‘legend’ can sometimes be overused, but in describing Daniel Sexton Gurney, it’s the only word that fits,” IMSA President Scott Atherton said. “Dan Gurney was an American racing legend who accomplished nearly all there was to accomplish as a driver in our sport, from sports cars to NASCAR, Indy cars to Formula 1. Dan was an innovative car builder and a lifelong steward of motorsports beyond his on-track performance.”
Chip Wile: “Dan’s success — and his sheer presence — helped elevate our facility to the world-wide stature that our founder, Bill France Sr., originally envisioned,” track president Chip Wile said in a statement. “As a driver, this man helped establish the speedway as a pre-eminent road-racing circuit. Years later, as a champion car owner in IMSA, he helped cement the speedway’s legacy in that regard. We all are fortunate to have crossed his path.”