Sports Commentary: "Dan Gurney for President"

Courtesy of Jack Cobourn
In this photo of a painting, signed by Dan Gurney himself, Gurney is driving his Eagle-Westlake T1G to victory in the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix. The win was the only victory for an American-made car in the Formula One World Championship.


Though Tuesday’s election does not decide the president of the United States, my mind is firmly set on 2016 and who will be running. So far, no one gets my vote because all of the proposed candidates don’t hold my attention long enough.

But there is a man—a tall, lanky Californian who I believe should be elected president in two years. He is a good leader and standing at 6 feet 3 inches, with chiseled good looks, he fits the bill of what a political candidate should be.

This man is Dan Gurney. A former Formula One driver, Gurney, 83, is intelligent, well spoken and intuitive. He is well liked by all who meet him, so I don’t see an attack ad coming out against him. And even if there were one, he would laugh it off with good-natured humor.

He is a formidable candidate, and as Jim Clark said, he was the driver he feared most. And if the world’s best racing driver (in my opinion, as do many in the Formula One media) feared Gurney, then any political candidate should fear his great abilities.

He is innovative, having invented so many things along the way. While most politicians flap their lips without saying anything important (at least to me), Gurney invented the Gurney flap, allowing cars to have more downforce so as to corner quicker. Gurney also invented the champagne spray after a victory, which one candidate might just be doing tonight when they win. He is now a consultant on the new DeltaWing sports racer that raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year.

Gurney is as patriotic as they come. In 1962, he took a Chevrolet Impala to race in the prestigious British Touring Car Championship, leading his first race until a wheel broke. The car was banned by the inspectors a few months later. His team was named “All-American Racers” and the cars he built were called “Eagle.” Gurney became the second American in racing history to win a Grand Prix in an American car when he claimed the Belgian Grand Prix on June 21, 1967.

He created jobs in America when he built his Indy cars there in the 1970s. 14 of his Eagles, more than a third of the field, started the 1975 Indianapolis 500. Plus, he kept those jobs in America, for he has run “All-American Racers” to the present day from a shop in California.

It’s no wonder why Gurney was selected by Car and Driver magazine in 1964 to become president. At the 2012 Goodwood Revival vintage car race in England, the campaign was revived as Gurney was driven around the circuit in a Ford Mustang convertible with “Dan Gurney for President” stickers on the side.

It has been 50 years since the campaign to vote Gurney president came out. That has been 12 elections, and that’s 12 too many.

So when you are in the voting booth, write in Dan Gurney for president. As for his running mate, write in that other American racing legend, A.J. Foyt. Gurney and Foyt teamed up to win Le Mans in 1967, where they first sprayed the champagne after winning one of the world’s most famous races. America would be a better place with Gurney in the Oval Office.

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