INDIANAPOLIS – C&R Racing Inc. officials honored Willie Davis with the C&R Racing True Grit Award during the annual Rally in the Alley event held in Gasoline Alley at Indianapolis Motor Speedway immediately following Indianapolis 500 qualifications.
This year’s award is given in memory of Gary Bettenhausen.
In order to receive the $5,000 award, a team member must be a veteran of Indy car. The candidate must also possess the ability to overcome adversity and embody the excellent qualities of such a highly skilled trade.
Davis’ career spans many decades:
– Davis began working on hot rods in Southern California in 1946. He went to Bonneville in the 40’s and 50’s with a car he built.
– In the early 60’s he built his first USAC sprint car, giving Johnny Rutherford his first USAC ride.
– Through the 60’s Davis worked with the late A.J. Watson on the Leader Card race team at Indy as well as the Championship Trail.
– The famous Larry & Gary show dominated the ultra competitive USAC sprint series from 1968-1971. Gary Bettenhausen won the USAC sprint championship in 1969 and 1971 winning 25 races in a 4 year span.
– In 1980, Gary Bettenhausen realized his best Indy 500 finish in the Armstrong Mould Offy with Davis as his Chief Mechanic. This was the last Offy to race at Indy. They started 32 and finished third
– Davis worked the rest of his career with Gary Bettenhausen’s brother, Tony, on the Alumax Indy Car team as well as with Galen Fox and Smokey Yunick.
“Not every crew member gets this award,” said Chris Paulsen, owner of C&R Racing. “It goes to someone who time and time again has demonstrated dedication through their hard work to this sport. On behalf of C&R Racing, I am honored to give Willie Davis this year’s True Grit Award.”