Author Topic: Langhorne Speedway: USAC Champ Cars Paced by 1967 Camaro Indy Pace Car in 1967  (Read 390 times)

SMKZ28

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A 1967 Camaro RS/SS convertible Indy Pace Car was used to pace the Langhorne 100 United States Auto Club (USAC) National Championship Trail (Indycar) event held at Langhorne Speedway in Langhorne, Pennsylvania on Sunday, June 18, 1967.  This was the fifth race of the championship and the second race following the Indianapolis 500.  The track was a one mile oval and 100 laps were run.  Lloyd Ruby won the race in his Lotus/Ford.

You can see the Camaro on the right side of these pictures.  There is a driver sitting in the car waiting to be called upon during a caution period.  Notice that the date of this event is the same day as the June Sprints held at Road America that I previously posted pictures for.  As a result, the Camaro used here at Langhorne Speedway could not possibly have been the same one used at Road America.  While the close-up isn't conclusive, unlike the Camaro at Road America, this car appears to still have the "51st Annual Indianapolis 500 Mile Race May 30, 1967" at the bottom of the door.  I originally thought it might be the same car that was used to actually pace the 1967 Indianapolis 500 but this car also appears to have the passenger side sun visor which was replaced on the Camaro that paced the Indianapolis 500 with a grab handle.  The Langhorne Speedway pace car could be another one of the cars used in Indianapolis during the month of May.  Like most, but not all of the Indy Pace Cars, this one has the Rally Wheels.

Roger McCluskey leads Mario Andretti into the turn in this picture.

1st picture: https://speedsport.com/racing-history/photos-usac-at-langhorne-june-1967/attachment/no12/
2nd picture: cropped version of the same photo
« Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 12:48:25 PM by SMKZ28 »

SMKZ28

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1st picture: Eventual winner Lloyd Ruby is the first car heading into the turn in this picture. (https://speedsport.com/racing-history/photos-usac-at-langhorne-june-1967/attachment/no-4/)

2nd picture: Notice the front engined dirt type car still racing against the cars of the "rear engine revolution." (https://speedsport.com/racing-history/photos-usac-at-langhorne-june-1967/attachment/various-cars/)

SMKZ28

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The first picture shows the cover of the event program while the second pictures shows the front page of a newsletter produced by Langhorne Speedway.  The interesting thing in the newsletter is an article that talks about how the event was originally scheduled to be run the week before but there was a conflict with the 24 Hours of LeMans in France where several of the regular USAC Champ Car drivers would be driving, so the event was rescheduled for the following week.  A.J. Foyt, the co-driver of the LeMans winning Ford GT Mark IV, was one of those drivers.   

1st picture: www.worthpoint.com

2nd picture: www.amazon.com
« Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 12:49:20 PM by SMKZ28 »

KurtS

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Why do you think it would be a festival car and not one of the other Indy cars? The festival cars were 350's, right?
Kurt S
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SMKZ28

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Why do you think it would be a festival car and not one of the other Indy cars? The festival cars were 350's, right?

Kurt, I'm really not an expert on the ins and outs of the 1967 Camaro Indy Pace Car but after doing a bit more research and re-reading the article entitled, "Secrets of the '67 Indy Pace Car: Myths, Lies and Complicated Truths" that appeared in the August 2008 edition of Musclecar Review, I realize that I shouldn't have used the word "festival."  I was only using it to refer to any of the Camaros that appeared at Indy during the month of May 1967.  I have no idea if the car in these pictures is from the "initial batch of 81 Special Promotional Vehicles" specifically built by Chevrolet or not.  While the car doesn't look like it is the #92 Camaro that actually paced the Indy 500, it is possible that the car in these pictures could be one of the 2 backup pace cars produced with the 396. The resolution of the picture isn't good enough for me to tell if the emblem on the front panel is for the 350 or the 396.  You are correct on the engine size of the "initial batch."  According to the article, "most of these cars were equipped with Super Sport 350ci/295hp small-block V-8s backed by Powerglide automatic transmissions, though some (including the track car and its backups) received 396ci/325hp big-blocks with TH400s."

Then again the car could be one of the "second tier of cars occupied by those Camaros ordered by the local Zone staff and various Chevrolet dealers."  Perhaps a local dealer in Pennsylvania ordered one of these cars and supplied it to Langhorne Speedway to pace the race.  I'm really not sure.

     

SMKZ28

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Does anyone know if the 2 backup pace cars for the Indianapolis 500 had the grab handle that replaced the passenger side sun visor like the car that actually paced the race (Camaro #92)?  I asked this question at the pace car site and never got a definitive answer.

67conv6cyl

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I have seen in old pictures that I am sure I have some where 2 cars with grab bars

SMKZ28

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I have seen in old pictures that I am sure I have some where 2 cars with grab bars

That would make sense since you would want the cars to be outfitted as close as possible in case a back up did have to be used.  Although I seem to remember something about one car having Firestone tires and the other having Goodyear tires to satisfy both of the companies that were participating in the series at the time.  That might have been the only difference between the two cars.