November 15, 2016
(Part 3 of a 3-part series) John McComb ordered a new car for 1967. The choice was easy. Given his success in the 1966 Group 2 Mustang, he ordered a new notchback for 1967 to pick up where he left off with the Shelby program.
The 1967 Mustang was the model’s first major redesign and the car gained both size and weight. McComb didn’t care for either.
“Even though the ’67 car had a wider track, it was a heavier car, so I don’t really think the wider track helped,” McComb said. “The ’66 car was just a very reliable, quick car. I always thought the ’66 car was better than the ’67 anyway.“
While awaiting delivery of the new car, McComb pulled his old mount out of the garage to start the new season. The 1966 car still ran strong, competing at the Daytona 300 Trans-Am race on February 3, 1967 and in the 24 Hours of Daytona the following day.
October 20, 2016
The next weekend John McComb was racing again. The Trans-Am Series Six-Hour Pan-American Endurance Race was to be held at Green Valley Raceway in Texas. The sanctioning body mandated a second driver for each team due to the length of the event. McComb chose veteran Brad Brooker, a successful club racer who had logged plenty of miles in the Group 2 notchback’s nearly identical twin, the Shelby GT350.
Run entirely in a downpour late on Saturday evening, September 10, 1966, the Pan-American race would become an epic battle that still stands as the #12 Group 2 Mustang’s greatest triumph.
October 5, 2016
On a hot summer afternoon in late August 1966, the telephone on John McComb’s desk rang.
On the other end was automotive design engineer Chuck Cantwell of Carroll Shelby’s legendary racing shop, calling with the surprising news that Shelby had a Mustang Group 2 racecar for sale.
McComb was delighted since his prior inquiries at Shelby had been met only by rejection. He had raced MGB sportscars for years but his first taste of Ford V-8 power came while driving Peter Talbert’s notchback Group 2 Mustang earlier that summer in the Trans-Am event at St. Louis. McComb and Talbert were leading the race until an exhaust pipe came loose, forcing them to settle for third place.
But McComb was already hooked. The car was more powerful than anything he’d ever driven. He wanted one of those Mustangs.
September 7, 2016
(Read Part 1 by clicking here) Ken Wallis was running out of time. Both of Carrol Shelby's turbine-powered cars were now at Indianapolis but they were nowhere near race-ready condition. His drivers, McLaren and Hulme, had only a six-day window before they returned to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix.
In a desperate bid to make the cars competitive, Wallis used a liberal interpretation of USAC's rules to design a new annulus (the engine opening that fed air to the turbine). When measured by technical inspectors, the annulus was under the legal 16-inch limit. But at full throttle on the race track, a variable valve system opened to permit greater air flow into the turbine. At best, this was a careful translation of the rules. If they were caught there was no guarantee that USAC wouldn't immediately disqualify the Shelby/Wallis Turbines. Such a move would be an unmitigated disaster not only for the team principals, but also for Goodyear, their drivers and their sponsors.
August 26, 2016
PART 1 of 2
He wasn't the first to try, nor was he the last. Armed with a huge budget, a massive turbine engine and two of the finest drivers on the planet, in the spring of 1968 Carroll Shelby was ready to steal the Indianapolis 500.
August 1, 2016
Last season was a dream year. Seven starts produced three poles, a track record, five podiums and three wins.
This year not so much.
My car caught fire in a well-publicized road race at Circuit of the Americas, burning the team's Porsche to the ground and sending me to intensive care.