Author Topic: North Carolina Motor Speedway 1968 Camaro RS/SS 396 Conv. Pace Car for NASCAR GT  (Read 1495 times)

SMKZ28

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A white 1968 Camaro RS/SS 396 convertible was used as the pace car for the Sandhills 250 NASCAR Grand Touring division race held at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, North Carolina on Saturday, March 9, 1968.  This Camaro is wearing similar decals/stickers to the Camaro pace cars used at Daytona the previous month.  It might even be one of those cars, albeit with different lettering on the fenders.  Notice that this car does not have the decal/sticker that went over the hood on the Daytona pace cars.  It only has the red side decals/stickers.  Also notice that the upper door decal/sticker is different from the one on the Daytona pace cars.  This car has the word "CAMARO" next to the door handle and the NASCAR symbol under the door mirror.  The Daytona pace cars had the opposite placement.  This car also has a larger rear stripe that follows the contour of the upper part of the rear quarter panel, whereas the top of the stripe on the Daytona pace cars cuts straight across and does not follow the upper contour.

The "Carolina 500" on the rear quarter panels is there to promote the NASCAR Grand National event that was scheduled to run the next day, Sunday March 10th but was ultimately postponed due to rain.  It would be run in June.

This was the inaugural event for the new NASCAR Grand Touring (GT) division which featured two classes of cars running on the track at the same time.  Similar to the SCCA's Trans Am Championship, Camaros, Firebirds, Cougars, Mustangs, Javelins, Barracudas and Darts participated in the over 2.0 liter class (305 Cu. in. max.) while Porsches, Alfa Romeos and Minis ran in the under 2.0 liter class.

Tiny Lund won the event in his Bud Moore Cougar.  Buck Baker had the highest finishing Camaro in the event.  He finished fourth.

All four of these pictures came from the Peterson Automotive Museum SEMA Digitization Project: https://archive.petersen.org/pages/home.php

Notice that the first and fourth pictures feature comedian and racing enthusiast/driver/owner Dick Smothers.  It looks like he rode along in the back seat on the parade/pace laps with a beauty queen.

The second picture shows the Camaro in front of the field during a caution period.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 03:23:08 AM by SMKZ28 »

SMKZ28

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Color racing footage of the Sandhills 250 NASCAR Grand Touring event appeared in an episode of the old automotive/racing television show from the late 1960's and early 1970's called "Car and Track."  I had recorded these shows onto VHS video tape back in the late 1990's when Speed Channel was re-running the series.  Here are a few pictures of the Camaro pace car on the pace laps as it appeared in footage shown in the show.

SMKZ28

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More from the "Car and Track" television show.

SMKZ28

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Even more from the television show "Car and Track."

A different white 1968 Camaro RS/SS 396 convertible is parked in the paddock in the fourth picture behind the Camaro race car (raised white convertible top, black tail panel).  It doesn't seem to have the same decals/stickers as the pace car.  Perhaps this was the backup pace car?

SMKZ28

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Program for the event weekend. (worthpoint.com)

SMKZ28

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Here is a cool color photo of the Camaro that paced the Sandhills 250 NASCAR Grand Touring race.  I had not seen this one before.  It was posted a few years ago here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/863830030370161/photos/

You can tell it was take prior to the NASCAR Grand Touring race because of the beauty queen and Dick Smothers in the back as well as the Cougar race car just behind the Camaro pace car.