A favorite topic of Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his popular podcast, The Dale Jr. Download, is what he refers to as “innovations” or “creativity.” Modifications done to a race car to make it more competitive (read… fast) and often questionable in the eyes of rule makers. A few of my personal favorite episodes encompassing this subject would be Darrell Waltrip’s Cheatin’ Stories and Andy Petree’s Key To Cheating.
The notion is nothing new when it comes to the world of motor racing and it is sure to continue on as long as the sport is alive. Perhaps one of the more well-known cases of “creativity” would have to be the Penske Camaros that dominated Trans-Am in the late ’60s.
In our latest issue of Vintage Motorsport (Nov/Dec 2021) we have a wonderfully written feature from barn find hunter Tom Cotter about the one that started it all – Penske Camaro Number 1 and the wild tale of that chassis from start to finish.
While that chassis was not the first acid-dipped shell (that started with #2), it was the foundation of the “innovative” attitude towards building a race car and the give-it-everything spirit that the team embraced. This two-minute video aims to simplify the Penske Camaro’s innovations, but it is far from the whole story.
For some further reading I would highly recommend The Unfair Advantage by Mark Donohue. Now onto the quick vid…