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08/13/2012

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Actually, Grant did finish the race in the 1967 Daytona 500, doing so in fifth place, though he apparently did spin out as a result of Richard Petty's blown engine, which forced the race to end under caution. He's listed in the results of that race as having finished the race.

And another race that was traumatizing to Grant was the 1973 Indianapolis 500. It was his car the Salt Walther got into on the initial start that triggered that horrendous crash that saw 12 cars involved, Walther taken to the hospital with burns that actually, among other things, disfigured his hands, and injured 13 spectators. Then when the race was actually run, Grant was not far behind Swede Savage when he crashed on an oiled down track. Grant was interviewed by Dave Diles of ABC Sports after both incidents, and although he gave a great description of what happened both times, you could see he was traumitized by those events.

And about the 1972 Indianapolis 500. While Grant inherited the lead after Gary Bettenhausen dropped out, Mark Donohue was probably going to pass him anyway, even if he didn't have a loose wheel (Donohue was only a second or two behind Grant when Grant had to pit), but Dan Gurney (who believed at the time that Grant was a lap ahead of Donohue) had him stop in Bobby Unser's pit, where they connected the fuel hose, effectively taking him out of the race, dropping him from second to 12th.

With regards to the tragic death of Gordon Harrison: I was Jerry Grant's crew chief on the Lola T-70. The next time Jerry and I returned to Mosport we attended a coroner's inquest into Gordon's death.

I gave testimony to the fact that no mechanical failure had contributed to the accident. (A very thorough and complete inspection of the damaged Lola was made on the car's return to the AAR shop in Santa Ana)

As I recall testimony was given to the fact that oil had been dropped by one of the other race cars and that Jerry, unfortunately, had hit that oil slick and spun off. I can truthfully say that Jerry was very affected by the accident and Gordon's untimely passing. The Coroner's finding was that this was indeed a tragic accident and no specific blame could be placed.

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