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Pos Drivers Total
1 Scott Dixon 36
1 Tony Kanaan 36
1 Kyle Larson 36
1 Jamie McMurray 36
2 Joao Barbosa 33
2 Sebastien Bourdais 33
2 Christian Fittipaldi 33
3 Guy Cosmo 31
3 Mike Rockenfeller 31
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4 Phil Keen 29
4 Max Papis 29
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5 Matt McMurry 27
5 Oswaldo Negri Jr. 27
5 John Pew 27
6 Joey Hand 26
6 Sage Karam 26
6 Charlie Kimball 26
6 Scott Pruett 26
7 David Cheng 25
7 Robert Gewirtz 25
7 Mark Kvamme 25
7 Shane Lewis 25
8 Byron DeFoor 24
8 David Hinton 24
8 Jim Pace 24
8 Dorsey Schroeder 24
8 Doug Smith 24
9 Rubens Barrichello 23
9 Tor Graves 23
9 Brendon Hartley 23
9 Ryan Hunter-Reay 23
9 Scott Mayer 23
10 Ryan Dalziel 22
10 David Heinemeier Hansson 22
10 Scott Sharp 22
11 Ben Devlin 21
11 Tom Long 21
11 Joel Miller 21
12 Jonathan Bomarito 20
12 James Hinchcliffe 20
12 Tristan Nunez 20
12 Sylvain Tremblay 20
13 Alex Brundle 19
13 Nic Jonsson 19
13 Tracy Krohn 19
13 Olivier Pla 19
14 Ed Brown 18
14 Jon Fogarty 18
14 Johannes van Overbeek 18
15 Gabby Chaves 17
15 Katherine Legge 17
15 Andy Meyrick 17
15 Memo Rojas 17
16 Max Angelelli 16
16 Jordan Taylor 16 Ricky Taylor 16
16

Teams
1 #02 Chip Ganassi Racing 36
2 #5 Action Express Racing 33
3 #90 VisitFlorida.com Racing 31
4 #31 Action Express Racing 29
5 #60 Michael Shank Racing 27
6 #01 Chip Ganassi Racing 26
7 #66 RG Racing 25
8 #50 Highway To Help Race Team 24
9 #7 Starworks Motorsport 23
10 #1 Tequila Patrón ESM 22
11 #07 SpeedSource 21
12 #70 SpeedSource 20
13 #57 Krohn Racing 19
14 #2 Tequila Patron ESM 18
15 #0 DeltaWing Racing 17
16 #10 Wayne Taylor Racing 16

Manufacturers
1 Ford 35
2 Chevrolet 32
3 Honda 30
4 BMW 28
5 Mazda 26
Collector Cars: A Primer on Porsche's Amazing 550

by Stephen Cox
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

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This Porsche 550 sold for $3.75 million
David Newhardt/Mecum Auctions
I confess that I am a muscle car guy. Can't help it. I grew up cruising Mustangs and Torino's on the strip on Saturday night. But after watching Mecum Auctions sell Porsche 550-0077 for over 3.7 million dollars at Monterey last weekend, I couldn't help but be impressed with the little machine.

The 550 was Porsche's first race-specific design. Introduced in Paris in 1953, the 550 was famously modeled after a series of home-built cars from racer Walter Glockler utilizing a mid-engine layout and aerodynamic efficiency to squeeze the most out of a small engine. The first two prototypes were produced by Porsche in early 1953, using a ladder-style frame more suited to an early 20th century tractor than a modern sports car.

David Newhardt/Mecum Auctions
But the design took a massive leap forward with the third prototype when Porsche lowered the center of gravity by affixing the axles to the top of the frame rather than the bottom. This stroke of genius was improved further by making the center cross member bolt into place (rather than fixed by a permanent weld) to greatly simplify engine maintenance at the race track. The result was significantly reduced rear wheel lift under braking and superior turn-in qualities upon entering a corner.

The new 550 scored a class win in its first outing in May 1953, followed two weeks later by a victory in the 1.5 liter Sports class at Le Mans where the aerodynamically slippery 550 notched 124 miles per hour along the Mulsanne Straight despite its microscopic engine.

The new cars were also produced in road-going versions, with many of them being imported into the USA in the early 1950's by folks such as California auto dealer and race driver John von Neumann. The 550 was elite and rarely seen, with fewer than 150 produced by 1959.

One of them (chassis number 55) was purchased by a popular young actor named James Dean, who was also a Porsche aficionado and aspiring racer. Dean traded in his bubble-shaped Porsche 356 for the newer 550 model on September 21, 1955 and immediately entered it in the Salinas Road Race in early October. He would not live long enough to drive it in competition.

Just nine days after the purchase, Dean suffered a fatal automobile crash at Cholame Junction near the corner of California Route 46 and 41. The highly-publicized death of a Hollywood star forever sealed the unforgettable legacy of the Porsche 550, both on the track and on the street.

Today, the 550 is among the most replicated cars in history with numerous aftermarket companies making home-built kits available for less than $50,000. Many of them have the look and feel of the original 550 with a few modern amenities to boot.

Genuine 550's are still available as well, though prohibitively expensive. The most affordable versions are the 550A's, the first cars with the improved space frame chassis. With no significant provenance, such cars occasionally come up for auction starting in the $200,000 range. Authentic 550's with a notable history sell for upwards of one million dollars.

The most prized 550's today are the racing versions with earlier serial numbers. The car sold at Mecum Monterey last weekend – chassis 550-0077 – is a prime example.

This machine is believed to be the first racing 550 to be produced with Porsche's improved, high-rigidity chassis designed for better cornering. It was built for Belgian racing driver Christian Goethals, who promptly put the car in the winner's circle at the Grand Prix des Frontiers in 1956. After a successful racing career in western Europe, the car was then shipped to the United States where it was raced by Thomas Payne, who would later become a factory driver at Shelby American.

Porsche 550-0077 was one of the mega-stars of Mecum's Monterey auction, which also included one of Nigel Mansell's Formula One racecars and an authentic competition Shelby Cobra. The little Porsche drew massive crowds all weekend as well as spirited bidding that resulted in a sale for $3,750,000.

Despite the fact that it was desperately underpowered and introduced before a suitable engine was available for it, the Porsche 550 remains an amazing street machine with a legendary racing history littered with victories from Le Mans to the Targa Florio.

Even a muscle car guy can appreciate that.

Stephen Cox

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