News & Multimedia

My Favorite Car: Gordon Johncock

Note: This continues a series of interviews with Indianapolis 500 legends about the favorite car they drove in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and why, in their words. “My Favorite Car” interviews will appear on IMS.com on Mondays through the spring. Read other installments of "My Favorite Car" here.

Q: What was your favorite car you drove in the Indianapolis 500?

Gordon Johncock: I’d have to say probably my rookie year, in the old roadster. There were only a couple of us that made the race in a roadster. They were about all rear-engine cars. The old roadster seemed to be a good old car. I liked it. We went to the rear-engine cars. I can’t think of one that stood out, that really worked that well (as the roadster). The roadster would be the best.

Q: What did you like the most about the roadster?

GJ: Everything just went well. I qualified 14th and finished fifth (in 1965 at Indy). (Note: Johncock was the top finisher in a roadster that year.) We were steady all day long with it.

Q: Anything that stood out? Power? Handling? Or just a good overall package?

GJ: We really hadn’t run it that much. I believe it was the one that Lloyd Ruby used to have, and we bought it. It was a good, stable car. I didn’t have any problems.

Q: You were one of the last competitive drivers in a roadster at Indy? Does that give you special satisfaction with this car?

GJ: I can remember when I went to Indy (in 1965), I don’t know if they were trying to scare you, or what, but they said you’ve got to watch it going down the backstretch, when they start the race, they’re (rear-engine cars) going to draw you right into a whole bunch of cars because they’re breaking all of the air from you, but I didn’t have any trouble with it. Everything went fine.

Q: Any final thoughts about this car?

GJ: It was one of the best cars that I ever ran. It was so reliable. The mechanic I worked with, Duane Glasgow, we didn’t any oil leaks because I could see him rebuilding these engines. Every bolt that he would tighten up, he would put a red mark on it with a pen to make sure things were tight. When we stopped with the car, you didn’t see a lot of oil spots under the car like you did with a lot of the other cars.

Q: What was it like to drive on the narrow tires of a roadster compared to the wider tires of a rear-engine car?

GJ: I was always a Goodyear person, and Goodyear hadn’t really developed a tire for the roadster to run the race. They came to me and said, ‘We think for you to finish the race and do well that you better run the Firestones because we’re not that comfortable with our tire on your roadster to run the race.' That was about the only time I ever ran a Firestone tire. We didn’t have a bit of a problem. Everything went well.

Facts about Gordon Johncock’s 1965 Indianapolis 500 car:
Car name: Weinberger Homes Watson/Offy
Car number: 76
Team: Weinberger & Welseck Enterprises
Started: 14th
Finished: 5th
Laps Completed: 200
Laps Led: 0
Status: Running
Gordon Johncock career ‘500” starts: 24 (1965-84, 87, 89, 91-92)

Visit IMS.com for tickets to the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, GMR Grand Prix and all other activities at IMS.

 
Show More Show Less
Items 6 - 10 of 5,883