1966 Season Highlights
March 20, 1966 - Phoenix, Arizona - Joe had a new primary sponsor in Bardahl on the #29 All-American Racers Halibrand Ford for the 150-mile race at Phoenix. Joe qualified in the 12 starting spot but dropped out of the race after only 60 laps. Joe was awarded $288.00 for his 14th place finish. Jim McElreath won the race.
May 1966 - Indianapolis 500 - Joe had a new Ford powered #6 Gurney Eagle and a new primary sponsor of Yamaha for his second Indianapolis 500. Joe qualified in the middle of row 7 in 20th starting spot for the Memorial Day Classic. Driver Chuck Rodee lost his life in a qualifying accident this year. On raceday somehow Joe made it through the infamous pile-up as the field approached the green flag at the start of the race (above). Due to the attrition of the race, which eliminated 1/3 of the field before the drop of the green flag, Joe Leonard bagged a top ten finish in 9th place, even though his engine dumped 30 laps from the finish! Joe was awarded 200 Championship points and his cut of $15,822.00 in prize money. Rookie Graham Hill won the race.
June 5, 1966 - Milwaukee Mile - Joe put his #6 Yamaha Eagle Ford on the front row in qualifying in the 2nd spot next to pole sitter Mario Andretti. There was not much anybody could do with Andretti during the race as Mario led every lap of the 100 mile race. Joe finished in 3rd behind Andretti and McCluskey and picked up 140 Championship points and $3,853.00.
June 12, 1966 - Langhorne, Pennsylvania - Joe qualified the #6 Yamaha Eagle Ford in 4th position. Mario Andretti did it again by leading every lap. Joe finished in the 3rd spot behind Jim McElreath and picked up 140 more points and $2,171.00.
June 26, 1966 - Atlanta, Georgia - Joe, not driving his #6 Yamaha Eagle Ford, qualified the #11 Vita-Fresh Orange Juice Huffaker car with a supercharged Offenhauser in the 28th starting spot. A broken fuel line took him out of the competition after on 74 of the 200 laps which made up the race. Joe finished in a disappointing 21st place. He won $575.00 in prize money. Mario Andretti won the race.
July 24, 1966 - Indianapolis Raceway Park - On the roadcourse at Raceway Park, Joe qualified his familiar #6 Yamaha Eagle Ford in the 5th starting spot and finished in 8th. Joe picked up 75 Championship points and $498.00. Mario won this race too!
August 7, 1966 - Langhorne, Pennsylvania - Although Joe Leonard and A.J. Foyt entered this race at Langhorne, they both withdrew from the event prior to raceday. Roger McCluskey won the race.
August 20, 1966 - Springfield, Illinois - At Springfield Joe qualified the #7 Vita Fresh Orange Juice Special Meskowski Offy Champ Dirt Car in 15th palce but moved all the way up to finish in the 4th spot at the end of the 100 lap event. Joe picked up 120 Championship points and $1,444.00. Don Branson led every lap enroute to his victory.
August 27, 1966 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Joe started the #6 Yamaha Eagle Ford in the 3rd position and finshed in the 3rd position behind race winner Mario Andretti and Gordon Johncock. Joe received 280 points and $3,202.00.
September 5, 1966 - DuQuoin, Illinois - Back on the dirt again where Joe started the #7 Vita Fresh Orange Juice Special Meskowski Offy in 14th and finished in 4th on the lead lap. Joe picked up another 120 points and $1,467.00. Bud Tinglestad won the event.
September 10, 1966 - Hoosier 100 - Joe failed to qualify for this event which was won by Mario Andretti.
September 25, 1966 - Trenton, New Jersey - Joe wrecked his #6 Yamaha Eagle Ford in practice and was unable to start the race which was won by Mario Andretti.
November 20, 1966 - Phoenix, Arizona - Joe started and finished in the 5th position driving the #6 Yamaha Eagle Ford four laps down to race winner Mario Andretti. Joe was awarded 200 points and $1,227.00.