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« Local news video of March 1968 Champ Car race | Main | John Isom photos from 1967-68 Champ Car races »

More John Isom photos from 1967-68 Champ Car races

Photographer John Isom has done it again. 

We recently shared dozens of Isom's wonderful images from the 1967 and 1968 Champ Car races at Hanford Motor Speedway. Now Isom has dug deeper into his archives and has even more images to share from those races. 

Below is just a sampling of the shots Isom collected from inside the pits and on track. You can see the entire batch in this photo gallery or in the slideshow at the bottom of this article. 

I love this image of Mel Kenyon. He's got a steely gaze and slight smile. His left hand, which was severely damaged in a racing accident several years before, is covered with a specially designed glove designed to grip the steering wheel.

I interviewed Kenyon back in 2011 about his three races at Hanford. The "King of the Midgets" fared reasonably well at Hanford, with two Top-10 finishes in three races. Of Hanford, Kenyon told me, "Set-up was a challenge because of the three corners and the different degrees of banking. One was always good, one was medium and one was 'hang on!' " 

Does A.J. Watson look cool or what in that gold leather jacket? The legendary Charmp Car builder is with a young George Snider from Bakersfield, who had a long career in Silver Crown and Indy Cars. 

Isom's photos capture many nice moments in the pits, such as this shot of Bruce Walkup laughing while lacing up his driving boots. 


I like this shot for several reasons. One, it captures Gordon Johncock early in his career. Two, I like the reaction of the guy behind Johncock's left shoulder, wondering what Isom is doing. Three, I've had a hard time getting photos of the grandstands at the Champ Car races and this shows a little of that infrastructure. 


Isom shot a few black-and-white frames, including this one showing the aftermath of Danny Ongais' fiery crash in the Mickey Thompson Special. The car is covered with fire extinguisher foam.


These two images above nicely capture Johnny Rutherford's sleek "The Hugger" and a young Rutherford in the early stages of what became a long and very successful Champ Car career. 

Billy Vukovich Jr. has an innocence about him in this photo, which wouldn't last for long. I love the deck shoes, a popular choice among drivers; the letterman-style jacket and the hustle and bustle going on behind him. 


Wally Dallenbach appears to have a camera mounted behind his roll bar. Can anyone shed light on this? 


The STP turbine cars appeared several times at Hanford for races and testing. While innovative, extremely fast and delivering a muted "whoosh" as they passed by, the turbines lack of reliability hindered success. I like this photo because of all the magic under the hood, so to speak. The details includes a jar of Vaseline, which prompted Isom to ponder, might that have been the secret ingredient to the turbine technology? 

These are just a few of the great photos Isom has shared with us. Isom's Rolleiflex camera captured images in high resolution so you'll want to pore over the many details in the complete gallery of this second batch of photos. Or you can quickly scan the images in the slideshow below.

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