Looking at this photo of
an unidentified racing driver Dan Gurney from 1960, it’s hard to believe that “The Intimidator” was still available when people were deciding on a nickname for Dale Earnhardt after his masterful 1987 season.
Thanks Gary for identifying Dan Gurney for us!
Even better! Captain Ned was curious about this image, so he emailed AAR Racing. Incredibly, he received a reply from Evi Gurney herself. Evi says that Dan was experimenting with face protection well before his contemporaries—which led to the first full face helmet for driving. “During the years that followed he worked with Bell Helmets in California where he helped to develop the first full face helmet. He had seen motorcycle racers wear similar ones at Ascot Raceway in California. Dan wore the first full face helmet at Indianapolis in 1968 and then also introduced it to Formula I racing at the British and German Grand Prix in 1968. He was at first a bit ridiculed but within months other drivers adopted the full face helmet and now we cannot imagine how they ever raced without them.”
Evi’s complete message is in the comments.
thanks, Captain Ned.