SCCA National Lime Rock [AP+BP+CP]
SCCA National Race, Lime Rock Date: June 30, 1962
Pos. No. Driver / Nationality Car
1. - Gerry Georgi (USA) Ferrari Berlinetta
2. - Bob Grossman (USA) Ferrari Berlinetta
3. - Dick Lang (USA) Chevrolet Corvette
Here is an account of the trip by Dick's lifelong friend, Jack Cochran:
LIME ROCK 1961
The summer of 1961 was memorable for us for many reasons. First and foremost, Barbara and I got married. Second, through the grace of my parents wedding gift, we were able to have the luxury of not working for that summer. Since Judy was not in town, Dick was happy to have us accompany him to several races to serve as companions and cheering section. Later, we were replaced by Matt, who could also work on the car and by Judy who could provide even more inspiration. That summer we went with Dick to races at Lime Rock, Meadowdale, and Bridgehampton. Furthermore, we watched him race at Indianapolis Raceway Park on the first day of our honeymoon. We traveled in a red Impala tow car closely followed by the red #85 Corvette on an open trailer.
Our trip to Lime Rock was the first of our adventures as a married couple traveling with Dick to a race. One disclaimer, I suspect some of what I say may be tainted by “false memory syndrome.” In which case, I hope it leads to a better story.
Dick picked us up in Columbus Thursday evening for the trip to Lime Rock, Connecticut for the race on Saturday. At that time, and maybe even today, Lime Rock did not allow racing on Sunday. The plan was to drive all night Thursday night and arrive at the track for practice Friday morning. Things went well until we got close to Hamburg NY. We ran out of gas about 50 miles from the Hamburg toll booth exit. Dick siphoned gas from the race car into a gas can and poured it into the Chevrolet Impala tow car. Other than swallowing a lot of gasoline, that was enough to get us to a turnpike gasoline station where we filled up. Our memory is a little vague on this, but I think I drove from the place where we siphoned gas to the filling station. I think I set the emergency brake and did not tell Dick. He started driving again. When we reached the Hamburg toll booth exit, Dick applied the brakes but nothing happened.. We realized all of the tires had gone flat and we could not move the car and trailer through the booth, much to the aggravation of the toll booth attendant. Dick had somehow managed to drive with the emergency brake on from the gas station. The brakes got too hot, melted and popped the tires. There was no choice but to leave the race car and trailer in the toll booth area and get the car towed to a local garage.
We rode in the wrecker to the garage. The plan was for the people at the garage to go to the local Chevy dealer as soon as they opened, get the brake parts and fix the car so we could be on the road as early as possible the next morning.
The garage was the dirtiest I have ever been in. The toilet was actually black. In addition to being filthy, the garage had several speakers broadcasting the scanner’s conversations asking for help, etc. Barbara and I did the best we could trying to sleep in the tow car, but to no avail. Of course, the car had front bucket seats and the car was designed for driving, not sleeping. In the morning we found Dick sleeping comfortably in an old Chrysler product with large wide seats more like a sofa than car seats. Fortunately, he was somewhat rested.
The people in the garage got the brake parts and installed them. Afterwards, we decided to move the car in the garage and found that the brakes did not work. The car came to a stop at a workbench. The vice on the bench destroyed one of the headlights. We discovered that night that the headlight was much more suited for spotting raccoons in trees than lighting the highway.
We finally left Hamburg NY in the late morning with memories that have lasted almost 50 years and stories that have been retold many times. We arrived at Lime Rock just as the cars were leaving the track after the final practice on Friday. So much for Dick having an opportunity to learn the track. That night we had a fine dinner with Fred, Helen and Shirley Lang and a good night’s sleep in a nice motel.
As is the case with most of our race travels with Dick, we remember quite a bit about the trip but very little about the race. The only thing I remember about the race is that Roger Penske, who was still racing then, gave Dick some tips about the track. I do remember that Dick finished with the car intact.
You might think we stayed another night in Connecticut and had a nice leisurely drive home on Sunday. However, that was not the case. Instead, we set off for Ohio right after the race. The track at Mid-Ohio in Mansfield was nearing completion and Dick and a few other drivers had been invited to come to Mid-Ohio on Sunday to test the track. As you might guess, we loaded the car on Saturday after the race and set out for Mid-Ohio. We drove all night, stopping somewhere for a brief nap.
I remember arriving at Mid-Ohio about 6AM Sunday and not being able to get into the track because we were so early. I think we woke some people up who were also waiting to get in. We finally got in and Dick had fun breaking in the new track. At the time, the track resembled a single lane road through a farmer’s fields. It has since become a beautiful road course that has hosted many premier events. I’m sure Dick’s suggestions led to some of the features that make it such a fine track today.
We arrived back to our Columbus apartment late Sunday afternoon completely exhausted. Believe it or not, this was our first but not last trip to the track with Dick.