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The Gene Felton Pages

The Gene Felton Pages

Before his successful career in professional racing,
Gene Felton enjoyed a competitive year with the Datsun 2000.

Gene Felton has enjoyed an amazing race career, mainly in Professional Road Racing. His list of wins and top 3 finishes are the envy of many and his number of victories are second only to Al Holbert.

Before his career spiralled, Gene was a regular on the SCCA circuit - a successful spell with a Ford Mustang, which he took to the 1967 ARRC, was soon followed by a year at the wheel of an ex-BRE Datsun 2000, which he bought from Pete Brock in 1970. The 2000 had previously been raced by John McComb, who Gene had raced against in A Sedan when campaigning his Mustang.

Gene says: "I got the car from Pete Brock after the 1970 runoffs. I had been driving sedans (and crashing them) so I thought it was less expensive to add a roll cage than to obtain more life insurance - I asked Pete Brock to design a roll cage which he did and I had it welded up. It was probably the first roadster around with a "rollcage"."
Atlanta Auto Sales Ad

Gene Felton's ex-BRE Datsun 2000 featured in an Atlanta Auto Sales advertisement.
(from the 1971 ARRC program - click on thumbnail for larger image)

With limited sponsorship from Atlanta Auto Sales, 1971 saw Gene battling out D Production with Bob McQueen, who had coincidentally bought the ex-John Morton BRE Datsun 2000, and Jim Fitzgerald, master of the South East Division tracks. The hard fought season saw all three of them qualify for the ARRC that year, with Gene finishing behind Fitzy in SE Division and Bob McQueen coming in third.

Gene Felton: "for the 1971 runoffs BRE delivered my engine to Road Atlanta (not to me, some 2 hours away). The day before qualifying I had to go and pay COD for it, come back home about "dark thirty" and put the motor in with no help from my friends. The next day I went to the track on my own and promptly put her on the pole against a well financed McQueen and several serious factory backed D-production teams. I was not even a Mechanic much less a TEAM.

Gene qualified on pole, followed by Dave Frellsen, also in a Datsun 2000. (Dave was to become five times National Cchampion with Datsun in the 1970s, racing the 510, 610 and A510). McQueen qualified third, with Brian Fuerstenau, in the Group 44 GT6, fourth. Felton led early on, under heavy pressure from Frellsen and McQueen, who passed Frellsen on the 2nd lap. Felton and McQueen could not be separated until 4 laps into the race when McQueen took 1st.

Gene continues: "After leading several laps in the race I did what had been waiting to happen all year. The gear shift lever was real long, almost going under the dash in third gear. Sure nuff I missed a downshift going up to the bridge and spun under the bridge, sliding down the hill into the mud where I remained till the race ended."

Bob McQueen went on to win the National Championship that year, a feat he repeated in 1972. For a full story of the 1971 race and the results - click here.

Gene himself was to achieve greater things over a long career but his battles with the Datsun roadster are still a fond memory. As for the car, Gene says : "I sold it to a guy in Florida who immediately trashed it and had it repaired - then I lost track of it...".
Rick Hurst      

Gene's car is, in fact, still around - Rick Hurst enjoyed some success in the early 1980s with the car, which is now owned by the son of the racer who last campaigned it in 1983, John Robinson.  At the 1983 ARRC, the two BRE cars raced together again. John was racing against Ken Glasener, who at that time was racing the ex-John Morton Datsun 2000.

Click on the thumbnail to view the car under Rick's ownership

Rob Beddington

Click here for details of Gene's racing achievements over the years.
Gene Felton Restorations Gene, who in 2001 was still enjoying racing (despite spending 70 days in hospital after a horrific crash in 1984) also has a thriving business restoring Winston Cup cars. He has restored over 90 cars. "It's taken off like a rocket - I've found my niche", he says. click on thumbnail to visit Gene's site.


 The Gene Felton Datsun Roadster Gallery
The following images from Gene Felton's own archives chart his 1971 season through to the ARRC at Road Atlanta.
  (Click on thumbnails for enlargements)
Gene Felton and Bob McQueen fight it out Gene Felton and Bob McQueen racing the ex-BRE Datsun 2000s at Road Atlanta in 1971.

Gene at speed Great image of Gene at speed

Gene's 2000 At speed

At the limit At the limit

At Road Atlanta Road Atlanta, 1971. The BRE 'Spook' has gone.

Road Atlanta Road Atlanta, 1971 . Gene chased by Dave Frellsen and Fitzy - a new Spook in place.

Gene Felton tussles with Bob McQueen Road Atlanta, 1971 Gene and Bob McQueen. Dave Frellsen and Jim Fitzgerald in the background.

Road Atlanta, 1971 - Gene finds the  barrier

Road Atlanta, Joe Hebert spins - Gene's 2000  is still  in the background, suspension broken.


The Gene Felton Pages

Many thanks again go to Gene Felton for the excellent images you see here - thanks also to Gene for the further information.  

Research by Rob Beddington. Thanks also go to the SCCA.

Should you have any further information or images which you think would benefit these pages please E-Mail me.

Rob Beddington

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These pages and images, unless otherwise stated, are copyright ©1999, 2000 and 2001, Rob Beddington & The Classic Fairlady Roadster Register. No part to be repoduced in any form without the prior permission of the owners.