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Thread: New Book coming about 1964 500

  1. #61
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    I believe that the car with the 100 gallon fuel tank in 1964 was driven by Parnelli Jones. It didn't carry 100 gallons during the race because of a change in strategy by Jones' pit crew after Clark was so fast during the month and on Carb Day. The decision was made to carry only about 50 gallons or so to make the car lighter and hopefully a lot faster. Jones would have to make more stops, but if something happened to Clark(or Marshman, or both), then they could go back to their old 100 gallon strategy and still be competitive.

    It almost worked...the problem on Jones' first pit stop was that the fuel tank was full of fumes because it was only half full of fuel to begin with, and as the pressurized methanol rushed into the tank, the fumes were rapidly displaced; and a spark from the refueling nozzle coming in contact with the receptacle of the tank caused an explosion.

    Parnelli mentioned this in his autobio, "Parnelli: A Story Of Auto Racing".

    He also said that he and his crew also seriously considered running on gasoline in 1964...with the same tank and strategy. Ponder what could have happened if they had...



    Dan
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  2. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by indybigjohn View Post
    Also, Art, thanks for the confirmation about most of the fuel being pumped out of Sachs' car in Gasoline Alley. A friend of mine was on that pit crew, and he told me he pumped it out. I was a little doubtful at the time.
    The sad thing is that this has been published in the aftermath of the 1964 race already! In fact, there have been more publications, released in 1964 already that clearly indicated that at least the Shrike wasn't a 100 Gallon fuel bomb. Also the data about the Thompson have appeared in print already that year. But for all kind of reasons, all these publications have been ignored.
    When you read the thread I mentioned when I asked Racing28 my question, it is indeed fascinating to have a look on when certain discoveries were made by the participants within that discussion and how often that involved long forgotten data that had appeared in print already, yet simply were forgotten.
    Regret to say Art but though I'm sure you're be able to tell me a lot of new details (Yes I've ordered your book already) but the great outlines about the fuel capacity mysteries, for me you could only confirm those beeing true because I was already near dead cartain about what was closer to the truth then the general assumptions most indy fans still believe in.
    To some extend, I am rather impressed by the discoveries that appear within that internet forum thread because as far as I can figure out, most of them are amature historians and no writers by profession. Yet combined they unearthed a lot of stories and details already that could have made professional writers really proud had they done all that reseach back then already.

    (@ Racing28/Art: No pun or offence intended Art. a genuine book about the subject is most needed because books are often more believed thatn internet pieces. The fact that the stories about the 90 and more gallons in the two fatality cars still go on because books mention that is the best approval for that)



    Indyote
    Last edited by Indyote; 12-13-2013 at 06:34 AM.

  3. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by Tifositoo View Post
    I believe that the car with the 100 gallon fuel tank in 1964 was driven by Parnelli Jones. It didn't carry 100 gallons during the race because of a change in strategy by Jones' pit crew after Clark was so fast during the month and on Carb Day. The decision was made to carry only about 50 gallons or so to make the car lighter and hopefully a lot faster. Jones would have to make more stops, but if something happened to Clark(or Marshman, or both), then they could go back to their old 100 gallon strategy and still be competitive.

    It almost worked...the problem on Jones' first pit stop was that the fuel tank was full of fumes because it was only half full of fuel to begin with, and as the pressurized methanol rushed into the tank, the fumes were rapidly displaced; and a spark from the refueling nozzle coming in contact with the receptacle of the tank caused an explosion.

    Parnelli mentioned this in his autobio, "Parnelli: A Story Of Auto Racing".

    He also said that he and his crew also seriously considered running on gasoline in 1964...with the same tank and strategy. Ponder what could have happened if they had...



    Dan
    Now that's a new story for me.
    My candidate was Unser's Ferguson-Novi P104. I've read that that car had a tank of 89 Gallons so if that was 10 or so gallons off then it would be 100.

    Remember that the stories are that in 1948 and beyond the FWD Novis carrid a fie tank of 112 Gallons in order to follow the Blue Crown one stop strategy. So an ourtrageous fuel tank was anything but uncommon for Novis

    Indyote

  4. #64
    Indy since '66 kevin99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tifositoo View Post
    I believe that the car with the 100 gallon fuel tank in 1964 was driven by Parnelli Jones. It didn't carry 100 gallons during the race because of a change in strategy by Jones' pit crew after Clark was so fast during the month and on Carb Day. The decision was made to carry only about 50 gallons or so to make the car lighter and hopefully a lot faster. Jones would have to make more stops, but if something happened to Clark(or Marshman, or both), then they could go back to their old 100 gallon strategy and still be competitive.

    It almost worked...the problem on Jones' first pit stop was that the fuel tank was full of fumes because it was only half full of fuel to begin with, and as the pressurized methanol rushed into the tank, the fumes were rapidly displaced; and a spark from the refueling nozzle coming in contact with the receptacle of the tank caused an explosion.

    Parnelli mentioned this in his autobio, "Parnelli: A Story Of Auto Racing".

    He also said that he and his crew also seriously considered running on gasoline in 1964...with the same tank and strategy. Ponder what could have happened if they had...



    Dan
    Parnelli's tank was also aluminum, Johnny Poulson removed the Watson tank to lighten the car. Turned out that something was wrong with the tank.

    Side note: Parnelli said Calhoun should have been as dominate as it was in 62-63, but the engine was sick and he could still run with Foyt.
    "You just don't know what Indy Means", Al Unser Jr.

    "That's why to me it does feel more precious when an American wins it...", Michael Andretti

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Tifositoo View Post
    I believe that the car with the 100 gallon fuel tank in 1964 was driven by Parnelli Jones. It didn't carry 100 gallons during the race because of a change in strategy by Jones' pit crew after Clark was so fast during the month and on Carb Day. The decision was made to carry only about 50 gallons or so to make the car lighter and hopefully a lot faster. Jones would have to make more stops, .........


    He also said that he and his crew also seriously considered running on gasoline in 1964...with the same tank and strategy. Ponder what could have happened if they had...



    Dan
    You may be correct about the size of the tank although the only car that I think might have been capable of holding 100 gallons of fuel was the Bob Harkey car. That tank was clearly larger than normal. And Jones was definitely on a standard three stop strategy at the time of his fire.

    Now I can't confirm this but I've had old crewman tell me that they thought they Parnelli basically had a standard tank in 1964 and that it was refueled right to the top on his 55th lap stop where he had his problem. According to them what got Jones in trouble (besides the spark that started the fire) was that he was running a small percentage of nitromethane in his fuel mixture during the race. When the tank was filled and the caps locked down it was the oxygen bearing nitro which kept burning and caused the explosion. These same people were telling me of another fire during refueling that year (I think it was Ruttman) that started in the same way. However, Ruttman was running straight methanol and when the fuel cap was clamped down the outside oxygen source was cut off and the fire in the tank simply went out.

    I don't doubt that the crew considered running gasoline. The Ford engines made everyone think about. And it's a little known fact that Jones actually ran a fuel mixture of approximately 40% gasoline (along with methanol and binders) in the 1965 500 Mile Race in an attempt to increase fuel mileage without losing much power. He was stretching his fuel when he ran out about the time he took the checkered flag in second place and had to be pushed in after the engine quit on his slowdown lap.

  6. #66
    Indy since '66 kevin99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyrjc View Post

    Now I can't confirm this but I've had old crewman tell me that they thought they Parnelli basically had a standard tank in 1964...
    I have no way to prove otherwise except what Parnelli said in his book "As A Matter of Fact I Am Parnelli Jones".

  7. #67
    Regarding the fuel tank in Parnelli Jonesís car, the stories have varied from time-to-time over the years, as you might expect. Based primarily on the interview I had with Parnelli, I came to the conclusion it was a big tank, 80-90 gallons. It was made of aluminum in an attempt to save weight, but painted gray, so preying eyes would think it was still made of steel. No one liked the way the car performed after practicing with a full load, however, and they decided to run the race with a normal load of about 45 gallons, making two pit stops. But the fuel sloshing around in the half-filled aluminum tank right from the start of the race broke one of the mounts and eventually led to fuel pickup problems. Thatís why Jones pitted early, while still leading A. J. Foyt. There are a couple of theories about the cause of the fire, including the buildup in fumes mentioned here. But I didnít draw a final conclusion on the cause.

    BTW, no one has some close yet to the car that started the race with 100 gallons of fuel on board.

  8. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by racing28 View Post
    [FONT=Times New Roman][COLOR=#000000]....... with a normal load of about 45 gallons, making two pit stops. ......]
    I don't disagree with any of your conclusions. I've asked a lot of questions myself over the years and there's getting to be fewer people around that were really there.

    One thing that people forget today is just how hard it was to judge how much fuel was going into a race car fuel tank back then. The fuel was pressurized and went in much faster than it does today with gravity only fueling. And there was no metering device that told you how much was being put in the tank. The refueler simply looked down one side of the double lidded fuel cap and watched for the level to rise to the neck. In most cases there was no real way to look down into the tank. In other words it would be difficult at best to be able to judge when a tank was half full. The same thing was true of the rear engined cars as well.

    And mileage calculation was a little iffy as well in that era. Because the pit tanks were under pressure there was no sight glass in place like there was in later years. I guess you could have depressurized the tank and stuck a stick in it but that would have been about the only way. And because mileage calculations were often inaccurate nearly every roadster and many rear engined cars had some form of a reserve fuel tank onboard. If the driver started to lose fuel pressure they could switch to the reserve tank and signal to their pit that they were coming in.

    BTW, most fuel calculations of the day would have concluded that 45 gallons of methanol would be about right for a three pit stop strategy. I'd have to look it up or ask around but I seem to remember that there were at least three cars that were able to pit for the first time around the halfway point of the race. Of those only the Hurtubise car stands out in my memory. Hurtubise had installed a very large "reserve" tank (in an attempt to help with handling and weight distribution) in a very dangerous and unprotected position in the car so he might have had much more fuel on board than most other cars. The other cars I would have to think about.

  9. #69
    I look forward to this book.
    The author contacted me some time ago in order to use some of my father's photos.
    It should be cool.
    ...a puerile junior-high zit-laden bloviating bozo loser blogger using third-rate scatological pseudo-humor talking loud and saying nothing.

  10. #70
    Dirt biker/carp hunter Stick500's Avatar
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    in reference to the implication that the fuel sloshing in Parnelli's tank was a problem- my question is did the mechanics in those days have baffles figured out for fuel tanks, or was it literally just a big open receptacle?
    "Charging a man with murder here was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500."- Capt. Willard, Apocolypse Now
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  11. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by Stick500 View Post
    in reference to the implication that the fuel sloshing in Parnelli's tank was a problem- my question is did the mechanics in those days have baffles figured out for fuel tanks, or was it literally just a big open receptacle?
    Both the fuel and oil tanks were baffled and were as functional as anything that is run today with respect to sloshing and fluid pickup. I had a chance to go through the fuel tank from the Belond winning car when it was being worked on by Mac Miller. It was a masterpiece of engineering and Quinn Epperly's craftsmanship.


  12. #72
    Racing28,

    If there was indeed a car that started with 100 gallons of fuel, the only thing I am pretty certain about is that it must have been one of the front engiend cars. As I can inspect them on pictures, none of the rear engined cars appear to be bulky enough to accomodate such an amount of fuel. I have seen pictures of the replica of the Shrike and it really bewilders me how people still can insist on that monocoque being capable of containing 100 gallons of fuel. And if parnelli's Watson could store 90 gallons in the tail, and remembering that the right side of a Roadster is rather empty below the fuel injection and ram tubes. It may not be the place where you want to have weight within the frame but if the need to stare something comes up....

    Indyote

  13. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Indyote View Post
    Racing28,

    If there was indeed a car that started with 100 gallons of fuel, the only thing I am pretty certain about is that it must have been one of the front engiend cars.
    Indyote
    You're right about that, it was a front engine car. BTW, here's a link for anyone interested to my latest blog post, on the 1964 Mustang pace car.

    https://www.goodreads.com/author_blo...e-for-the-book

  14. #74
    For those that are interested, a Facebook page has been created the book on the 1964 Indy 500: Black Noon, The Year They Stopped The Indy 500. I'll be updating it regularly with some of the stories behind the stories in the book.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Black...61904433981559

  15. #75
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    black noon - looks like a mandatory read

    It's a brand new day.

  16. #76
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    I think I'll let someone else read it first and tell me whether it supports or debunks some of the myths surrounding the accident.
    Duncan Rollo

    The more you learn, the more you realise how little you know.

  17. #77
    Based on the author's own posts in the earlier thread about the book, I think optimism is justified.

  18. #78
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    Have a very blessed day!

  19. #79
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    The author is the real thing. His blogs are interesting. The most recent one on Bobby Marshman is an example of good research and fine writing. He had access to proper sources. I agree that optimism is justified.

    My copy is already ordered.

  20. #80
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    Pre-ordered...man I have a lot of reading to do.

    Reading Beast first.
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    Everything I ever wanted in my life, I found inside the walls of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. - Eddie Sachs.

  21. #81
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    My apologies to Art Garner for doubting him.
    Last edited by D-Type; 04-10-2014 at 05:12 AM.

  22. #82
    Indy since '66 kevin99's Avatar
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    Pre-ordered mine!!

  23. #83
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    It looks like the author collaborated with both the Sachs and MacDonald families in this book, so I think the sensationalism and wild speculation will be at a minimum.

  24. #84
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    I'll buy it at The Speedway on May 3rd.
    "We are all speeding toward our deaths at 60 minutes an hour." Sid Collins on Race Day, 1964

  25. #85
    No apology needed. Just hope I've done justice to the people involved. Art

  26. #86
    just pre-ordered from Abe Books for $9.99 postage paid

  27. #87
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    Is the book going to be available in printed form, or only on Kindle?

  28. #88
    It says Hardcover on Amazon.

    Really looking forward to this book - and not especially because of the story of the dreadful accident. It was a fascinating 500, easily the most transitional, the only one with a good mixture of both front and rear engined cars.

  29. #89
    Quote Originally Posted by Norman J Crump View Post
    ...... It was a fascinating 500, easily the most transitional, the only one with a good mixture of both front and rear engined cars.
    Absolutely true. It was one of the most diverse of all of the 500s and as the author noted in his writing it actually started just after the 1963 500. Tire testing was almost nonstop during 1963 and into early 1964 with Firestone, Goodyear, and even Allstate testing at the Speedway. Ford was renting the track on a regular basis as well. And the drivers didn't know which way to go either. I think I once counted up that Foyt drove eight different cars during this period before settling on the roadster for the 64 500.

    It's too bad that so many people only remember the crash as it was probably the most interesting 500 of all.

  30. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norman J Crump View Post
    It says Hardcover on Amazon.

    Really looking forward to this book - and not especially because of the story of the dreadful accident. It was a fascinating 500, easily the most transitional, the only one with a good mixture of both front and rear engined cars.
    Totally. I hope it goes into the background of the race itself, why who drove what, and isn't mostly an accident report. Being just a young kid then, my older brothers had to explain to me why everyone would drive a r/e car in 65 even though Foyt won in a roadster.
    A book fell on my head, and I only have my shelf to blame.

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