While General Motors officially extended its own corporate ban of all motorsports into the new year, rabble-rousers Smokey Yunick and Curtis Turner sat on the Daytona 500 pole, more than a dozen race-ready examples of the recently released Camaro materialized for Sebring’s Trans-Am series opener, and aluminum rat motors overpowered the sporty-car competition in the U. Thirty-two-car, open-qualifying Top Fuel shows were not uncommon.
Most of these historic events and innovations are illustrated here by one or more archive photos.
Note the unprecedented sheetmetal stretching that factory teams applied to Fo Mo Co’s new Fairlane-Comet intermediate.
Beyond chopping, channeling, and flaring, some cars sported shortened A-pillars that drooped the roof edges but maintained stock windshield height in the center, where inspectors measured.
Eventual Motor Trend 500 winner Parnelli Jones provided plenty of excitement enroute, spinning out both weekends in virtually the same spot, then recovering in Riverside’s notorious Turn Six.
He became the first event champion not named Gurney since 1963’s inaugural.