by Paul Gohde
In the advertising world of the Indy 500 and NASCAR, the name of Ken Miles may not have sounded loud for some racing fans, but in the 1960s, during endurance races like the Daytona 24 and Le Mans twice around the – the clock, Miles name and the results were magical. Time and time again he and his Shelby Ford endurance teammates owned the podium steps as a variety of drivers from various racing disciplines combined to bring the Ford Cobras, Mustangs and especially the Ford GTs of Carroll Shelby to great heights. dominant victories.
Shelby Team USA Photographer / Writer Dave Friedman takes the reader to “Ken Miles: The American Shelby Years”, in the pits and race circuits, team meetings and private moments, recording in words and a volume of photos how Miles’ role as competition manager and lead / test pilot has grown the team to dominate endurance races around the world.
Shelby had hired Miles before the 1963 season to organize and create more professionalism in a team that had the cars but couldn’t race and win with the other big organizations.
In Friedman’s full review, he recounts Miles ‘immediate impact on the team, competing in the 1964 USRRC Championship winning 8 of 10 races and securing that season’s Constructors’ Championship along the way.
Ford transferred its fledgling GT-40 program from its Advance Vehicles department to Shelby’s guidance in December 1964, but after an unsuccessful first season on the endurance circuit, the team clicked and captured the 1966 Le Mans crown jewel. .
It is here, however, that Friedman combines his narrative imagery with a revealing description of how Miles and his co-pilot Lloyd Ruby were deprived of this victory by Team Ford politics; a victory that over the past few years has proven to have been rightly captured by Miles’ team.
Sadly, Miles never got another chance to try again at Le Mans as he died in a horrific crash while testing Ford’s J-Car at Riverside Raceway on August 14.e, just two months after losing his well-deserved victory at Le Mans.
Author Friedman does a great job bringing the endurance racing fan to the heart of the sport; notably through its 357 photos. But the 240-page horizontal format volume also shines as it immerses the sports car enthusiast further into the sometimes harsh and often cruel world of sports.
“Ken Miles: The American Shelby Years” would make a great Christmas present that will keep the reader busy for many hours flipping through the pages and digesting the photos.
To order: contact Car Tech at www.cartechbooks.com or call 1-800-551-4754. Also available through Amazon.
Paul Gohde heard the sound of racing cars early in his life.
Growing up in the suburb of Milwaukee, just north of Wisconsin State Fair Park in the 1950s, Paul had no idea what “that noise” was that he heard several times a year. Finally, pushed by friends of his parents, he was taken to several modified stock car races Thursday night on the old quarter-mile dirt track that was in the infield of the Oval of a mile – and he got hooked.
The first Milwaukee Mile event he attended was the 1959 Rex Mays Classic won by Johnny Thomson in the Racing Associates Pink Offy built by the legendary Lujie Lesovsky. After 100-miler Gohde got the winner’s autograph in the pits, something he couldn’t do when he saw Hank Aaron hit a home run at County Stadium, and, again, he became addicted.
Paul started attending the Indianapolis 500 in 1961 and saw AJ Foyt’s first Indy victory. He started covering races in 1965 for the Racing Wheels newspaper in Vancouver, WA as a reporter / photographer and his first accredited race was Jim Clark’s historic victory at the Indy. Paul has also been reporting, reviewing, and photographing for Midwest Racing News since the mid-1960s, with the 1967 Hoosier 100 being his first major race to report for them.
He is a retired mid-level teacher, avid collector of vintage racing memorabilia, and a tour guide in Miller Park. Paul enjoys exploring abandoned race tracks here and in Europe, with the Brooklands track in Weybridge in England being his favorite. Married to Paula, they have three adult children and two cats.
Paul enjoys the diversity of all types of races, “a factor that got me hooked in the first place”.