Fred Lorenzen drove the No. 26 Ford for Junior Johnson at the Dixie 400 at Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) on Aug. 7, 1966. On the heels of Ford Motor Company boycotting NASCAR, Johnson built this specially designed Ford and signed Lorenzen as the driver in an attempt to lure Ford back into the sport. The car was painted yellow and had a dropped nose, chopped roof and raised rear quarter panels resembling a banana. Lorenzen qualified third and was leading midway through the race when a front hub broke sending the car into the wall and out of the race. When Lorenzen crashed, a journalist said, “It’s pretty hard to drive a banana at 145 miles per hour.” The nickname stuck, and the car has been known as the “Banana Car” ever since. This Ford ranks as one of the most controversial stock cars in NASCAR history. Its radical body design was used in only one race, but it brought attention to the need for body templates, which have been used in the NASCAR inspection process ever since.
Glory Road, which features 18 historic stock cars encircling the Great Hall, has served as one of the Hall’s most prominent focal points since opening. Speedways from across the country are illustrated here as well, where guests can touch the texture of various tracks and feel the intense banking that drivers face week-to-week. Glory Road 2.0 will see 18 new cars that reflect the six generations of premier series race cars that have been driven and built by some of the sport’s most celebrated drivers, owners and mechanics. Already announced as part of the exhibit are Buck Baker's "Black Widow" 1957 Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon's 1994 Chevrolet Lumina, Tony Stewart's 2011 Chevrolet Impala, Ned Jarrett's 1966 Ford Fairlane, Jimmie Johnson's 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, Bobby Allison's 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle and Rusty Wallace's 2000 Ford Taurus.