About an hour ago I got an email from Eagle Racing Cars USA that Dan Gurney has passed away.
"With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan drove off into the unknown just before noon today, January 14, 2018. In deepest sorrow, with gratitude in our hearts for the love and joy you have given us during your time on this earth, we say 'Godspeed.'
Evi Gurney, the Gurney family, and AAR teammates
"...Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic..."
"Dan passed away due to complications from pneumonia. According to his wishes, the funeral will be private. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Hoag Hospital Foundation in Newport Beach, CA. For those that want to express their sentiments, please write a note to firstname.lastname@example.org"
I first met this great American Racer in my optometry practice believe it or not! About 12 yrs ago, I was handed a chart by my staff to see my next patient. The staff had already seated him in the exam room. Door closed.
I saw the name and though to myself..."No way, this can't be THE Dan Gurney..."
I opened the door and there he was...his tall lanky frame sprawled out sort of on my exam chair. The guy was 6'4" (193cm) and because of some back issues he couldn't really sit upright.
I was floored. Anyway, it took a long time to finish the exam of course....90% of the time was talking...he told me about how proud he was to be an American F1 driver, in an American car, in an American team. He told me about his current pet project called the Alligator motorcycle...a 1 cylinder low slung bike..and alluded to the DeltaWing racing car sometime in the future. He didn't name it...just said something really cool is gonna be coming down the road.
When we got out of the exam room, I was getting the stink eye from my staff about why I was taking so long...they didn't know who he was.
He then introduced me to his wife, Evi. My god...they were both such friendly, polite humble people.
I remember as we walked out, he called over to his wife..."Evi, this is Dr. Crandon! He's a racer also!! (Geez...I wasn't a racer, but just a track day guy). But, he said it's all the same, it's just some guys do it professionally, and some guys do it just for fun.
R.I.P Dan Gurney