1964 Watson Sheraton-Thompson Special news, pictures, and information
1964 WATSON 'SHERATON-THOMPSON' SPECIALOne year after Parenlli Jones' controversial victory at Indianapolis, rear-engine automobiles were about to take over at the venerable Brickyard. However, 1964 would prove to be the last hurrah for front-engine racers, and an incredible year for a then-growing racing legend.
The Watson built Sheraton-Thompson Special #32 had finished 14th in the 1963 Indianapolis 500. Ebb
Rose was the last driver to complete the '63 Indy 500 in the #32, finishing a full 17 minutes behind winner Parnelli Jones. That was the last time the Sheraton-Thompson Special would lose a race in the next 16 months.
In the winter of 1964, the Sheraton-Thompson was re-worked by mechanic George Bignotti. Known as the 'master mechanic of Indy-car racing,' Bignotti's drivers won the Indianapolis 500 seven times and season championships six times. An air scoop was added to the nose and the cockpit of the Sheraton-Thompson was enlarged to aid the driver's comfort.
That driver turned out to be A.J.Foyt, who turned in what may have been the greatest year in the history of
automobile racing. Foyt won his first seven races in 1964, and 10 of 13 in total on the Championship Trail.
Bu his success wasn't simply limited to Indy cars. He won five of 13 NASCAR races he ran that year too, and won the Firecracker 400 at Daytona.
Although Foyt would not dominate at Indianapolis like he did earlier at other races, he did lead for most of the day, pulling to the front at lap 55 and not relinquishing the top spot from that point forward. Foyt's win
was the last for front-engine cars. In 1965, 27 rear-engine cars would start the race at Indy, and the world of automobile racing would change forever.
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