Father to Child: Generations of Racers

Father to Child: Generations of Racers

In honor of Father’s Day, we are celebrating dads who shared their love for racing with their kids and instigated the next generations of racers.

A few years between them, Oregon’s own Dick Bown and his son Chuck both made a name for themselves in NASCAR.

Dick Bown, World of Speed Archive, WOS#1484

Dick Bown, World of Speed Archive, WOS#1484

 
Chuck Bown, via Pinterest

Chuck Bown, via Pinterest

The drag racing Force family, including dad John and daughters (left to right) Brittney, Ashley, and Courtney, has had numerous milestones as part of John Force Racing, building the winningest team in motorsports history.

Force family, via pinterest

Force family, via pinterest

Locally, inaugural rose cup winner Dick Hahn and multi-championship winning daughter Cindi Lux never raced together but have entertained and inspired families over the past six decades.

Dick Hahn, World of Speed Archive, WOS#2309

Dick Hahn, World of Speed Archive, WOS#2309

 
“Family Shot” of Cindi Lux with dad Dick Hahn on the left, World of Speed Archive

“Family Shot” of Cindi Lux with dad Dick Hahn on the left, World of Speed Archive

Al Unser Sr. and Jr. (who won the first Indy race at PIR) at World of Speed in 2016 during our 100 Years of Indy Racing exhibit (in background).

Al Unser Jr. on left with dad Al Unser Sr. on the right at World of Speed, 2016.

Al Unser Jr. on left with dad Al Unser Sr. on the right at World of Speed, 2016.

In some cases, it’s the machines that show the family racing line. World of Speed was thrilled to display the Challengers of father Mickey and son Danny Thompson side by side.

Mickey Thompson Challenger I on display at World of Speed

Mickey Thompson Challenger I on display at World of Speed

 
Danny Thompson Challenger 2 on display at World of Speed

Danny Thompson Challenger 2 on display at World of Speed

Some families have competed against one another on the track, including Mario and his son Michael Andretti who gave Mario a Father’s Day gift not to forget - a win for the 1986 championship CART race at PIR. Michael went on to win the race three times.

Also in the racing family: Mario’s other son Jeff and Michael’s son Marco; along with John and Adam, sons of Mario’s twin brother Aldo Andretti.

Articles relating to Mario and Michael Andretti at PIR, World of Speed Archive, PR Scott Collection, WOS#3949

Articles relating to Mario and Michael Andretti at PIR, World of Speed Archive, PR Scott Collection, WOS#3949

And while many fathers and sons bonded over racing off the track, Sr. and Jr. Dale Earnhardt were known to fervently not talk shop with one another off the track, though immensely proud of one another.

Dale Earnhardt Sr and Jr., via ecelebrityfacts.com

Dale Earnhardt Sr and Jr., via ecelebrityfacts.com

Even More Racing Family Ties

Bobby Allison’s two sons, Clifford and Davey started the “Alabama Gang” which continued on to Bobby’s grandsons for a third generation of drivers.

Gene Llewellyn’s interest in motorcycle racing rubbed off on his daughter Peggy Llewellyn who in 2007, became the first woman of color to win a professional motorsports event. 

Racer Jim Dunn’s son Mike continued the racing tradition and then went on to become IHRA president after covering the races for ESPN for over decade.

Amateur racer William “Bunny” Ribbs got the help of his friend and professional racer Joe Leonard to help Willy T Ribbs cross the color line to the big times of racing.

Gary Densham won eight NHRA national events while his son Steven earned the family’s first world championship at the NHRA’s Hot Rod Heritage Series.

Seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty is son of Lee Petty who won the first Daytona 500. Richard’s son Kyle and grandson Adam both raced, making four generations of Petty racing.

Even more dads with kids (and grandkids) who went on to race:

Rolla Vollstedt and his son Bruce

Parnelli Jones and his son P.J.

Dan Gurney and his son Alex

Graham Hill and his son Damon  

AJ Foyt and his grandson AJ Foyt IV

Any others?