365 days ago, Eagle DGF #005 went for a drive in California, close to where it was hatched. It came back with the Rolex Award of Excellence for the Formula Ford class at the Monterey Reunion, held at Monterey’s renowned Laguna Seca circuit.
In our five years racing the Eagle in vintage competition, earning the prestigious award was perhaps the highlight of what we have done with the car- as it not only coupled what we did on track, but how many view the car, its restoration and its place in history.
And about that history- we never forget to mention who built DGF #005: All American Racers. Dan Gurney’s shop in Santa Ana. The same Dan Gurney who is tattooed on my right arm, and the same man who in my sole meeting with him told me to keep the car flying.
In 2017, Eagle DGF #005 won the Monoposto Cup for Club Ford cars. Dan passed away before I could fly out and present the award to him. But, I knew that the award belonged in Santa Ana, so I met up with Justin and Danny Gurney the following April at AAR, and a handshake deal was made that any major award #005 took home, I’d make sure a copy was made for AAR- as the reward of their efforts from 43 years ago are still echoing with every time the car hits the racing surface.
After Monterey, I kept my word and worked with first SCRAMP, and later the new managers at Laguna Seca to get a duplicate award made for Class 3B from the Monterey Reunion. It turned out Rolex has their own private engravers modify the silver cups, so I had to make some more calls. Around New Years’ Day, I got connected to the right person, they said it wouldn’t be a problem, but did I perhaps want to have something engraved on the back? Sure- AAR Eagle DGF #005, let the future know what car took home Formula Ford’s first Rolex Award at Monterey.
I was going to fly out to Santa Ana to present the award to AAR this March, but COVID nixed that. Then I asked FF lover and all-around swell guy Paul Pfanner if he’d personally drop it off at AAR if I shipped it to him and COVID tapered off, but again, that was also thwarted by 2020.
Then a phone call occurred around April 15th- and it wasn’t my tax man. It was Kathy Weida, VP of All American Racers, and an employee of AAR going back to 1974. We discussed a historical footnote, but we then got on the topic of the Eagle DGFs. She shared with me the fact that at that time, one of her duties was to market and sell the DGFs, and she recalled the day Bob Tankersley came by to pick up his chassis, #005, which was produced in a vivid yellow.
Kathy shared with me her memories of the DGF project, and how attached she was to the car’s success. An email followed with some amazing photos of David Loring on-edge, pitching his Eaglet around Riverside. As we talked, she made it really simple for me to figure out who to ship the trophy to when it went out to AAR last month to entrust it went to the right place- the woman who made sure the Eaglets found their homes.
Thank you Kathy.
I’ll keep it flying.
Special thanks to Andrew Wait, Rolex, Barry Toepke, Boardman Silversmiths, Paul Pfanner, Justin Gurney, Kathy Weida and all the rest of the All American Racers.