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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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