Grand American

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For sports car racing association formed in 1999, see Grand American Road Racing Association.

Grand American was a NASCAR sanctioned series of pony car stock cars. The series ran from 1968 until 1971. The series was called "Grand Touring" from 1968 to 1969. It was sometimes nicknamed the Baby Grand series.

History[edit]

The series formed in 1968 under the name "Grand Touring" as a competitor to USAC's stock car division and SCCA's Trans Am Series.[1] It held 19 events in 1968. It was renamed Grand American after hosting 35 events the 1969 season. After running another full season in 1970, it dropped to many less events in 1971 with many event being combined with Grand National cars.[1]

In 1972, NASCAR completely changed its structure. Winston took title sponsorship for the Grand National Series which was renamed the Winston Cup Series. All races at Grand National tracks under a 1/2 mile in length or 250 miles in event length were moved to a new division called the Grand National East Division. Grand American, Grand National (then Winston Cup), and 1969 model cars were allowed to race in the new division.[1] That series lasted from 1972 until 1973.[1] The Grand American series held four events in 1972, its final season.

Cars[edit]

The series featured Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros, AMC Javelins, Mercury Cougars, and Pontiac Trans Ams.[1] Several Grand American cars were former SCCA Trans-Am cars, extensively modified to meet the NASCAR safety rules and weight limits.

The motors were initially restricted to a 305 cubic inch (5.0 liter) engine displacement.[2] The 305 cubic inch limit eventually was increased to 366 cubic inch to help with performance and reliability of the Grand American cars.[2]

Win controversies[edit]

In 1971, the money invested by American auto makers began to lessen as marketing and perceived consumer demand caused funds to shift away from NASCAR.[1] The car entries for some of the Grand National (now Sprint Cup) events with smaller payouts shrank to the point that NASCAR allowed the Grand American cars to race in certain Grand National events.[1] Grand American drivers Tiny Lund (Camaro) and Bobby Allison (Mustang) were winners of Grand National races.[1] These victories have not been added to either driver's NASCAR total wins, and there is a debate whether or not they should be added.[1] NASCAR had dictated that if a Grand American car won it would not be credited with the victory; first place points would not be awarded. Despite this, the wins were counted as constructors victories for Chevrolet and starts for Lund.

Drivers[edit]

The series was dominated by Tiny Lund.[1] Lund won 41 races in the 109 races in the series' history.[1] Lund won three of the four championship, with the other one won by Ken Rush of High Point, NC. Pete Hamilton won 12 of 26 events in 1969.[3]

List of champions[edit]

Other notable drivers who were regular competitors in the Grand American Series include: Jim Paschal, Buck Baker, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Mark Donohue and Jim Hall.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The Grand National East Division, Retrieved October 3, 2007
  2. ^ a b The Glory Days; David Tom; Retrieved October 3, 2007
  3. ^ Biography for Pete Hamilton at the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame, Retrieved October 3, 2007

External links[edit]