Talk about dream machines…. Cars raced by Carroll Shelby, Peter Revson, Fred Lorenzen and Tony Bettenhausen – though not by Richard Petty – were featured in the second annual Field of Dreams car show held in conjunction with the launch of the 2008 Copperstate 1000 vintage rally.
For the second year in a row, before launching a 1000-mile vintage rally from Phoenix, the Copperstate crew took part in a larger car show held on the grounds of Tempe Diablo Stadium, spring training home of the Los Angeles Angels baseball team.
Last year, the theme of the inaugural Field of Dreams was Italian sports cars. This year it was vintage racing cars, some of them arrayed on the baseball diamond’s infield, most of them parked up on the ball park’s shaded mezzanine level. In addition to the vehicles inside the stadium, members of Phoenix area car clubs were invited to display their cars in the parking lot between the stadium and adjacent Interstate 10.
Featured at home plate was a car built for though not raced by stock car champion Richard Petty. The car was far from a stock car. It was a 1965 McKee Mk V sports racer powered by a rear-mounted Chrysler 426-cubic-inch Hemi engine.
In 1965, NASCAR banned Chrysler’s Hemi V8 stock car competition, so Plymouth, Petty’s primary supporter, pulled him from the series in response and commissioned the McKee sports racer for the U.S. Road Racing series. The car wasn’t finished in time for the season to begin, so others drove it while Petty went drag racing.
Phoenix Chrysler-Plymouth dealer and sports car racer Bob Montana raced the McKee until 1969 in USRRC and Can-Am Series events. The car then went into storage for 35 years.
Although Petty didn’t race McKee, other famous drivers racked up a lot of seat time in the cars on display at the Field of Dreams, including a Trans-Am Ford Mustang raced by Peter Revson and Sam Posey; the 1949 MG TC in which Carroll Shelby won his first road race; a 1966 Holman-Moody Ford Galaxie stock car raced by Fred Lorenzen; a 1959 Watson Indy roadster driven by Jim Rathmann, Tony Bettenhausen, A.J. Foyt and Jim Hurtubise; and Kenny Bernstein’s first Budweiser King drag racing funny car.
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* Images courtesy of Larry Edsall and iZoom.com.