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© 1996-2008 by
Ken R. Noffsinger
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The #71 K&K Dodge Daytona Visits Europe
By Ken R. Noffsinger

All Photos Courtesy of Tim Wellborn

If NASCAR handed out perfect attendance certificates for Talladega Superspeedway's Winston Cup events, two things are pretty certain. First, there wouldn't be many certificates, and second, Tim Wellborn would have one hanging on his wall. This life-long Alabama resident has had a close association with the track from its beginnings in 1969, thanks to his father's ties to its designers and builders. In 1982, Tim moved beyond race spectator status when he joined the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum's executive board of directors; the Hall of Fame and Museum is located adjacent to the track.

At close to 170 MPH, the #71 is just a blur to everyone at the Silverstone race course in England, a third of the world and 30 years away from the NASCAR tour of 1969 and 1970.

Tim has been a life long Mopar fan also, having owned some of the rarest and most desirable of all Chryslers, including a fair number of particularly rare winged cars. In recent years, he has tackled some noteworthy winged car projects, including hosting the 1988, 1994 and 1999 Aero Warrior Reunions. In addition, Tim also spearheaded efforts to get the remaining #71 K & K Insurance Dodge Daytona back on track, as it turns out, literally!

In 1995, Tim contacted Chrysler about supplying a Hemi for the #71 K&K Insurance Dodge Daytona. The car had been donated to the Hall of Fame and Museum in 1976 by K&K Crew Chief Harry Hyde, but its drive train wasn't functional. Tim knew that getting the car to run under its own power would make life much easier for those taking it around the country for various show appearances. Having to push or hoist an almost 4,000 pound stock car on and off a trailer was no fun! Plus, Tim felt it was an indignity for such a famous car not to be able to move under its own power.

To Tim's surprise, he eventually got through to then Chrysler President Bob Lutz, and Lutz arranged for a 528 c.i. crate motor to be donated for use in the car's restoration. Interestingly, this was the first Hemi built by Chrysler since 1971. Tim and noted Chrysler restorer Roger Gibson eventually shoe-horned the motor into the car. Fortunately, there were a number of functional original components on the "dummy Hemi" already in the car, and they were fitted to the 528 c.i. short block.

The Museum's #88 Daytona was sent to Europe on a publicity junket for DaimlerChrysler in 1998. Due to his close affiliation with the museum, Tim was chosen to drive the car. When DaimlerChrysler opted for a similar tour in 1999, the recently resurrected #71 seemed like a logical choice that time around. Tim attended seven events with the car in Europe in 1999 and 2000; photos on this page document his visits to Silverstone and Goodwood in England, as well as to the Nurburgring in Germany.

Before the car left on the 1999 tour, Harry Hyde's son Harry Lee Hyde (Harry Hyde passed away suddenly in 1996) helped Tim tune the suspension. Amazingly, Harry Lee was in possession of his father's original set-up notes for the car!


Left: Tim is chauffeuring a DaimlerChrysler executive around the track, even though the #71 is definitely a one-seater!

Right: Tim is having a little fun by himself. He reports that the Nurburgring had the most demanding road course curves he has ever driven, and very long straights where speeds in excess of 165 MPH were possible in the K&K Dodge! And with drum brakes that tended to fade over time, braking was sometimes more of a thrill than Tim had expected.

Goodwood Festival of Speed

Top Left: Goodwood is basically a series of time trials held on a three mile hill to a castle. During the trials, cars run by themselves, with staggered starts at one-to-two minute intervals. Here, Tim is in the staging lane, waiting for his try at the winding castle drive.

Top Right: Although damp conditions are nothing new to England, they were definitely something new for the K&K Daytona. American stock cars don't typically race in the wet, but the Goodwood rules were a bit different.

Bottom Left: Tim and the #71 are about one mile into their three mile trek up the hill to the castle.

Bottom Right: Tim is taking the K&K Daytona back down the hill after a run. Hay bales (like the ones seen in the background here) are the only protection for the spectators throughout the course. And the #71's slightly crinkled nose? Well, that just goes with racing!