View Full Version : Team Javelin Packs Punch For Tough '69 Series

Big Bad AMX
10-23-2004, 09:33 PM

What does it take to startle the auto racing experts? To make them sit up and really take notice; to rock them out of the doldrums and the maze of too many races for so many different types of cars?

For openers, take a long established member of the United States auto industry - American Motors, specifically - and put the firm into the racing game. Get brisk new management, bright young men who believe the way to introduce and to prove a new automobile is to steer the company's racing effort into the tough Sports Car Club of America's Trans-American Sedan Championship Series - the "Trans-Am", a circuit that's been getting clearly more competitive with each race over the past three years. Put a new car, the Javelin, for example - racy-looking, but untried - into the "Trans-Am", against Roger Penske Camaros, Carroll Shelby and Bud Moore Mustangs, screaming Porsches and Firebirds. What will the experts say? They'll say, "Glad to have you aboard, Javelin", but, to each other, they'll quietly say, "The league is too tough for a new car-Javelin will get slaughtered."

That's just what they said, when American Motors announced it was going Trans-Am racing with the company's brand new Javelin last season, but the experts discounted two things: the talent and perhaps most importantly, the product. The Javelin Racing Team went on to write an auto racing Cinderella story in its first season that will be hard to top for years to come.

Early in the series, they said Javelin couldn't cut it. Then a few more races were run and the results of Javelin Racing Team's approach to the "go fast business" began to show: Race after race, the two red, white and blue Javelins qualified in the first or second rows and "the little car that couldn't cut it" finished second again and again, steadily amassing manufacturers' points that would surpass the factory Mustangs and drop Ford out of second place in the standings by mid-season.

Independent Mustang owners made strong finishes to help Ford overtake Javelin, by season's end, but Javelin did go on to rack-up six second place finishes and become the only factory Trans-Am team to finish every race it started during the season.