Masten Gregory, “The Kansas City Flash,” is Born: February 29, 1932

Matsen Gregory in 1965
Lothar Spurzem

Masten Gregory was born on this date in 1932, in Kansas City. Masten was an American racing driver renowned for his exploits in Formula One and sports car racing. Known as the “Kansas City Flash,” Gregory’s racing career was marked by his fearless driving style and remarkable talent, which made him one of the most colorful characters in motorsport history.

Gregory’s journey into racing began in the early 1950s, starting with local sports car events. His prowess quickly became evident, and by the mid-1950s, he had moved to Europe to compete against the world’s best. Gregory’s Formula One debut came in 1957 with the Maserati team, showcasing his potential by finishing third in his first race, the Monaco Grand Prix. This performance established him as a formidable competitor on the international stage.

Throughout his Formula One career, Gregory drove for several teams, including Cooper, BRM, and Lotus, achieving notable successes. His driving was characterized by a mix of aggressive overtakes and strategic finesse, earning him a reputation as a driver who could extract the maximum from any car. Despite his talent, Gregory’s F1 career was not marked by consistent success, partly due to the unreliability of the cars he drove.

Parallel to his Formula One endeavors, Gregory found significant success in sports car racing. He won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1965, during the Ford vs. Ferrari years. Masten won driving a Ferrari 250LM alongside Jochen Rindt. This victory was a highlight of his career, underscoring his versatility and skill in endurance racing.

Gregory’s racing career was also notable for his multiple comebacks after serious accidents, reflecting his indomitable spirit and passion for racing. Unfortunately, his life was cut short when he died of a heart attack in 1985.

Masten Gregory has been inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas City Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He is one of only 19 drivers to have competed in the three events which motorsport triple crown (Le Mans, The Indy 500, and the Monaco Grand Prix) and won at least one leg.