On Thursday, May 2, 2019, Jack Whitby was able to turn back the clock and relive some strong memories while getting behind the wheel at the Monster Mile.
Whitby, who served as a pace car driver at Dover International Speedway for 19 years, including for the track’s first NASCAR Cup Series race on July 6, 1969, drove the track’s original pace car, a 1969 Oldsmobile 442 around the high-banked, one-mile concrete oval for several laps through morning fog.
“It brought back a lot of old memories,” Whitby said to the Delaware State News. Whitby, the retired owner of Kent County Motors in Dover, also drove the pace car for NASCAR events in Atlanta, Darlington, Michigan and Pocono. Kent County Motors provided the original pace car to the Monster Mile.
Whitby said the changes in safety have been the most dramatic change since his time as a pace car driver.
“It wasn’t uncommon for us to run 110 miles-per-hour [catching up to the field],” Whitby said to the Delaware State News. “All we had was a seatbelt. Today, the pace car driver wears a helmet.”
The car was purchased from Kent County Motors in late 1969 by Clifton and Annette H. Hubbard, and remained in their possession until Annette’s passing in 2013. The personalized license plate bears her initials – AHH.
The car is now owned by their daughters Karryl Hubbard and Mable Blackmon. The car is garage-kept and maintained at Karryl’s home in Wilmington, Del.
The interior has been updated, a new convertible top has been installed and it was converted to use unleaded gasoline. Other than these improvements, the majority of the vehicle remains in its original factory condition.
Decals have been applied to the vehicle to replicate those used when it paced the first race in Dover 50 years ago.
Dover International Speedway greatly appreciates the Hubbard family’s generosity and cooperation in allowing the car to be featured and displayed during our 50th Anniversary race weekends in 2019.