The 1966 Ken Brenn Ford Gerhardt IndyCar has a grand history that includes competition as an IndyCar and even as a Supermodified at the Oswego Speedway when NASCAR great Geoff Bodine purchased the car and competed with it in the 1972 season at the Big O.
Prior to that, it competed as part of the 1967 USAC Champ Car season. The all aluminum IndyCar was driven by original driver Bob Harkey at tracks such as Milwaukee, Langhorne, and Mosport, with Harkey bringing home a pair of seventh place finishes that year in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
In 1968, the car was changed from its original number, 57, to the No. 36, becoming a part of the ‘Bulldog Stables’ with Chevy power, different from its original 255 C.I. Ford engine that was used in the car throughout 1967.
In ‘68 and ‘69, a slew of different drivers piloted the now Chevy powered racer including Harkey, Gene Begin, Denny Zimmerman, Bruce Walkup and Lother Motschenbacher. It’s best result was that of an eighth place effort at Circuit Mont Tremblant in Quebec in 1968.
For the 1970 and ‘71 seasons, Eastern midget standout Jerry Karl acquired the car and competed with it for those two seasons, with both Zimmerman and Karl driving the No. 36 in their rookie tests at Indianapolis.
One year later in 1972 was when Bodine purchased the IndyCar and drove it as an Oswego Speedway Supermodified, campaigning the car alongside good friend Bryan Osgood of Elmira, N.Y.
Bodine entered four total races with the car in ‘72, driving it to a sixth place finish in its first ever Oswego start on May 27 of that year. Bodine then returned one week later and finished a season high fourth place behind Don McLaren, Jim Shampine and Kempton Dates on the podium.
Following the 1972 campaign by Bodine, the car was bought and stored by Bob McConnell of Urbana, OH for several decades before it was finally purchased by Mondschein in 2011. Then, a ground up restoration was shared over a three year period between noted IndyCar restoration specialists Walter Goodwin and Peter Jamie in Indianapolis.
Since being purchased by Mondschein, the car has been restored to resemble its first year of racing when owned by the legendary Ken Brenn of New Jersey. Brenn has a long history as a midget owner dating back to the 1940’s, is 92 years old, and still doing well today.
After the restoration was completed, Mondschein has since been busy taking the car to vintage events across the country. The Gerhardt has made its return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, plus appeared at events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Iowa Speedway, and most recently the Pocono Speedway in Pennsylvania just a couple of weeks ago. The car is also back to its original glory complete with a Ford 4-Cam engine.
On Saturday, September 1, the No. 57 will be on display in the pit area all evening long, including as part of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver autograph session set to take place at 5:45pm.
Mondschein will be on hand to meet and greet fans, do interviews, and will also take a few at speed warm up laps prior to pacing the field.
Tickets for Bud Classic Weekend, including the Classic Saturday show featuring the ISMA Supernationals as well as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s remain available. To purchase general admission, reserved, or VIP ticket packages, you can phone the track’s box office at (315)-342-0646.
For more information on Classic Racing Times, you can visit them online at TheClassicRacingTimes.com.
For more information on Oswego Speedway, be sure to visit online at OswegoSpeedway.com. You can also FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway or LIKE on Facebook at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.
About Oswego Speedway: Oswego Speedway, a sports entertainment company, is a 5/8 mile semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. Oswego Speedway has been a continuously run weekly racing venue since August, 1951. The premier open-wheel pavement short track cars in the world, Supermodifieds, run weekly at Oswego Speedway making Oswego the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block Supermodifieds accompany the full blown Supers on a weekly Saturday night schedule which runs from May through September. Oswego Speedway is mentioned in racing circles as the “Indy of the East,” as no fewer than a dozen past and present competitors have competed at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway including Mario Andretti, arguably the greatest driver of all time, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, along with former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.