24/10/1924 - 9/4/1959
George Amick was an American racing driver, mainly competing in the American National Championship. He died in the only champ car race ever held at Daytona. George Amick died 63 years ago, he was 35 , He would have been 98.
George Amick was born in Vermonia, Oregon, but was living in Venice, California. Known by his friends as "Little George", he raced mainly in USAC midget and champ cars, making his debut at the top level in 1955, finishing third on four occasions in his first season. He took wins at Langhorne and Phoenix in 1956, and Atlanta in 1957, all three races run on dirt ovals.
He made his first appearance at Indy 500 in 1958 and after surviving a multi-car crash on the first lap, "Little George" drove the Demler Special #99 to a second place finish, earning him Rookie of the Year honors.
He also raced midgets and at Riverside that year there was a 100 mile race run anticlockwise and using the NASCAR shortcut. George had the mother of all crashes at turn 1 in practice and came within inches of being killed when he flipped wildly through turn 1 and snapped off a light pole 20 feet in the air.
In 1959 he switched to the Bowes Seal Fast Epperly-Offy and on April 4, the day before the first Daytona 500, the United States Auto Club (USAC) conducted it's first and only champ car race on the newly constructed Daytona International Speedway. He won the pole for the 100 mile event at a speed of 176.818 mph, just shy of the closed course record of 176.9 set by Tony Bettenhausen at Monza, Italy in 1957.
On the final lap he lost control of his roadster. Betty Packard Voris, wife of the late Jim Packard who was killed in 1960, was sitting with Helen Amick on the hood of their passenger car when George Amick hit the wall in front of them. The car fliped over and poor George perished, apparently decapitated in the crash.
George Amick became the second driver to die at Daytona, following Marshall Teague who had perished on February 11, during preparations for this race.