Monday, July 11, 2011

Jaguar Wins NASCAR Race

AL Keller at the Linden Airport Course - 1954
You read it right folks, Jaguar did indeed take the fight to the Detroit iron and emerge victorious. It was however, in 1954.

Piloted by hotshoe driver Al Keller, the 1948 Jaguar XK-120 coupe was one of 21 imports entered in NASCAR's first road course event staged at the temporary course set up at Linden Airport in Linden, New Jersey. This event was called the International 100 and was also the first event to welcome imported cars to the field - a total of 21 of them.

Keller's Jaguar was one of thirteen entered in the race that day, along with five MGs of various types, an Austin Healey, a Morgan and a lone Porsche. The Union Jack was well represented, indeed.

Previously, Keller drove Fords, Studebakers, Oldsmobiles and Hudsons prior to entering the red and white liveried number 4 XK in the New Jersey event. The car was owned by jazz musician Paul Whiteman and was part of his stable of exotic imported cars. Personally, I'd be a bit concerned if someone wanted to enter my new Jaguar in a NASCAR Grand National bumpin' and bangin' fest.  

Keller's NASCAR career spanned 29 races with two victories and twelve top ten finishes. His life was cut short in in an open wheel race crash in Phoenix, Arizona.

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