36 may 2015
the british invasion
chunking tire. On lap 100, teammate
Gurney was withdrawn as a precaution.
A year on, the revolution was full bore,
with even Foyt and Jones joining the
march to the rear. But there was no
Welcome Wagon anymore for Team Lotus.
“The only way to say it is that there
was a lot of effort made to throw us out,”
says Bob Sparshott, a fabricating whiz
who worked for Chapman in ’ 65, but
would surface again in 1980 after
building Johnny Rutherford’s Indy-
winning Chaparral 2K for Jim Hall. “USAC
made us re-make the suspension and
wheels, and it was very difficult to keep
going because there were only a couple
of us. It was a very interesting month.”
But Clark wasn’t going to let such
trivial matters divert him from his task.
In fact, he wasn’t going to let anything
divert him, even pulling out of the
Monaco GP to concentrate on Indy.
In qualifying, he set another track
record in his new Lotus 38, only to
have Foyt better it in the ’ 64 Lotus he’d
acquired from Ford. “I said over the P.A.
system that I brought the track record
back to the USA and got a huge ovation
from the fans,” says Foyt with a chuckle.
“Clark came over and shook my hand and
I thought that was pretty damn nice.”
In the ’ 65 race, nobody had anything
for Clark and he made it look effortless,
something Gurney is quick to expound on.
“People always said he was so smooth,
but Jimmy ran it on the ragged edge and
extracted the maximum out of the car,”
says the only driver Clark feared,
according to Jim’s father. “Jimmy was an
edge man, his tail was out a lot of the
time. He wasn’t so calculating; he was
more the hell-bent-for-election kind of
guy. And if you were a spectator, you
wouldn’t take your eyes off him.”
Despite the fact he’d galvanized
Gasoline Alley and it was all about the
“Yanks vs. The Brits” now, Clark’s victory
was met with respectful adoration.
“He was shy, polite and a little
uncomfortable with the fame,” says
British-born IMS historian Donald
Davidson, who befriended Clark in 1964.
“And he was always amazed how popular
Not a surprise, according to Stewart.