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Historic Festival Weekend Schedule & Race Groups

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Historic Festival Chairman Murray Smith released the the Weekend Schedule and the nine Race Groups for the 33rd edition of the vintage extravaganza held every Labor Day Weekend at Lime Rock Park.

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Recipe for Home Cookin'

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How’s this for a little home cookin’? Here’s the recipe, and all you need is a few ingredients: A big dash of terrific weather. A giant pot of enthusiastic, knowledgeable fans. A whole heapin’ helpin’ of a spectacularly renovated racing park. And two big races where nobody left anything on the table. The IMSA Northeast Grand Prix for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSCC) races were both great showcases of what Lime Rock Park is all about: Frantic, high speed battles where anything can happen.

Like... the GT Daytona (GTD) leader and the Prototype Challenge (PC) leader taking each other out in the Downhill just past the halfway point of the race... a hometown team, Boston’s Turner Motorsport and its GTD BMW Z4, having to stretch the fuel well beyond when it shoulda run out a gas while being chased down a mile a minute by a venomous Viper – and winning by just a couple of seconds. (All this after the Bimmer had been crashed hard Friday morning and then flatbedded to Autoworks in Torrington for an all-night-to-get-it-fixed thrash.)

Like... the Tudor race seeing four different leaders thanks to crashes, passes, spins, mistakes, penalties, and unplanned stops – and finally being won by Mike Guasch and Tom Kimber-Smith in their ORECA FLM09, beating ex-IndyCar star Bruno Junqueira.

Like... One race after their new CTSCC Grand Sports (GS) Ford Shelby GT350R-C had been destroyed at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport), Scott Maxwell and Billy Johnson won – after starting last thanks to electrical glitches in qualifying – in a replacement car that the Multimatic team had to bang together in less than a week.

Like... Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer throwing the MLB equivalent of a shut-out in Street Tuner (ST), winning after essentially leading the entire race. The victory in their ModSpace Mazda MX-5 Miata gave the C.J. Wilson Racing team – owned by L.A. Angels lefty C.J. Wilson – the lead in the points standings. McCumbee led the opening 40 laps before pitting at the 45-minute mark. While Jeff Mosing, Justin Piscitell and Corey Lewis took turns running up front, the lead cycled back to McAleer following green flag pit stops and the Mazda driver led the final 45 laps.

The whole day was a marvelous meal of motorsport. All that was needed were the right ingredients.

Take a look at the Photos from the Feast here. (Note: Only mobile device users are prompted to log-in to Facebook (Thanks, Mark Z.!); laptop-desktop users do not need to have a Facebook account to see the pix).

Go to imsa.com for the complete menu of results.

Next up is Historic Festival 33 – and entirely different haute cuisine...


See you September 3, folks. Bring an appetite.

The Gourmands at Lime Rock Park

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Sam Posey's Interview at the Mahaiwe Theater is online

 

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If you weren't able to attend... Listen to Sam and Ellen Posey, along with Trans Am president John Clagett, as they talked about Paul Newman before the screening of the Adam Carolla film “Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman,” at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington Mass., a day before the Lime Rock Park Trans Am Memorial Day race weekend. We recorded the audio, plus we added a number of old and new photos to this 29-minute "video." Great stuff, click here!

 

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Royals Car Show Re-Cap

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A Royal Turnout at Lime Rock’s Sunday Royals Car Show

  Earth-shaking muscle cars, supercharged Sprites, pristine pickups and unrestored “survivors” were just some of the more than 400 cars, trucks and motorcycles that lined the track at Sunday’s sixth annual Royals Garage Car Show at historic Lime Rock Park.

(Click here to see a great collection of photos from the Royals Car Show taken by Greg Clark and Michael DiPleco, LRP's official shooters. You do not need to be a Facebook "member" in order to view the gallery.)

But this was more than just another car show: All of the $5 and $10 bills handed in by entrants and spectators will go to the Cancer Care Fund of the Litchfield Hills in association with Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and the “Butterfly Affair” fundraising Gala, as part of this year’s charitable joint venture between the Royals family and Skip Barber, famed race winner and president of  Lime Rock Park.

“Skip donates the track and its personnel, and we donate our time as a way to give something back to the community on a day when the track is closed to racing,” noted Glenn Royals who, with brother J.R., owns and operates Royals’ Garage in Torrington. While the general-repair facility, opened nearly 40 years ago, specializes in Corvettes and has worked on cars owned by “Cannonball” racer Brock Yates and actor Michael J. Fox, “we’re just as fussy with our regular customers’ cars,” said Royals.

Perhaps most impressive is this Lime Rock event’s inclusiveness: It’s open to nearly anything with something special to separate it from more-plebian transport. And it brought some truly special cars indeed.

When was the last time you saw two original, unrestored cars with their original owners? Bill Eichner’s 1963 Ford Galaxy 500 looked as fresh as when he drove it off the showroom floor. And Russ Truelove’s 1956 Mercury Monterey NASCAR stocker appeared to have just roared off the old Daytona Beach track where he raced it that year. Survivor cars also included a 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger with 17,000 miles, a 26,000-mile 1993 Mazda RX7 that looked barely broken-in, and a red 1954 Austin-Healey 100 that was clearly driven and enjoyed.

Four entries were distinguished enough to win their lucky owners trophies awarded by the Lime Rock-Royals team...

• “Royals Crown” A numbers-matching 1969 Camaro Z/28 in Rally Green owned by David Stelly of West Granby, Conn., captured the Royals Crown. “J.R. chose it,” Glenn Royals confided. “It’s an absolutely perfect restoration”

• “Veterans Vote” Stutz hit the American performance-car scene decades before the first Corvette. Torrington resident John Grunder’s 1929 Stutz Blackhawk was rare and stunning enough to win the Veteran’s Vote. Sat the presentation, veterans were asked to stand with the car for the photos

• “Skip’s Selection” Michael O’Brien of Collinsville, Conn., won Skip’s Selection with his flawless red-and-black 1934 Ford Cabriolet custom. “I just really liked the looks of it,” said a clearly smitten Skip Barber

• “People’s Pick” A day of balloting gave spectators their say as well: Kerry Washay, also of Torrington, and his opulent metallic-blue 1960 Cadillac Coupe de Ville drove off with People’s Pick

The Royals family and Skip Barber have obviously figured out a great way to sate a car-crazy crowd at a race track where history lives. See you at the Seventh Annual!

- Robert Markovich

Robert Markovich is a car enthusiast of the highest order and is a semi-regular entrant in the Sunday in the Park Concours d' Elegance at each year's Lime Rock Historic Festival. We asked him to record his thoughts about the Sixth Annual Sunday Royals Garage Car Show.

A Royal Turnout at Lime Rock’s Sunday Royals Car Show

Earth-shaking muscle cars, supercharged Sprites, pristine pickups and unrestored “survivors” were just some of the more than 400 cars, trucks and motorcycles that lined the track at Sunday’s sixth annual Royals Garage Car Show at historic Lime Rock Park.

But this was more than just another car show: All of the roughly $6,000 to $8,000 in $5 and $10 bills handed in by entrants and spectators will go to the Cancer Care Fund of the Litchfield Hills in association with Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and the “Butterfly Affair” fundraising Gala, as part of this year’s charitable joint venture between the Royals family and John “Skip” Barber III, famed race winner and president of  Lime Rock Park.

“Skip donates the track and its personnel, and we donate our time as a way to give something back to the community on a day when the track is closed to racing,” noted Glenn Royals who, with brother J.R., owns and operates Royals’ Garage in Torrington. While the general-repair facility, opened nearly 40 years ago, specializes in Corvettes and has worked on cars owned by “Cannonball” racer Brock Yates and actor Michael J. Fox, “we’re just as fussy with our regular customers’ cars,” said Royals.

Perhaps most impressive is this Lime Rock event’s inclusiveness: It’s open to nearly anything with something special to separate it from more-plebian transport. And it brought some truly special cars indeed.

When was the last time you saw two original, unrestored cars with their original owners? Bill Eichner’s 1963 Ford Galaxy 500 looked as fresh as when he drove it off the showroom floor. And Russ Truelove’s 1956 Mercury Monterey NASCAR stocker appeared to have just roared off the old Daytona Beach track where he raced it that year. Survivor cars also included a 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger with 17,000 miles, a 26,000-mile 1993 Mazda RX7 that looked barely broken-in, and a red 1954 Austin-Healey 100 that was clearly driven and enjoyed.

Four entries were distinguished enough to win their lucky owners trophies awarded by the Lime Rock-Royals team...

“Royals Crown” A numbers-matching 1969 Camaro Z/28 in Rally Green owned by David Stelly of West Granby, Conn., captured the Royals Crown. “J.R. chose it,” Glenn Royals confided. “It’s an absolutely perfect restoration”

“Veterans Vote” Stutz hit the American performance-car scene decades before the first Corvette. Torrington resident John Grunder’s 1929 Stutz Blackhawk was rare and stunning enough to win the Veteran’s Vote. Sat the presentation, veterans were asked to stand with the car for the photos

“Skip’s Selection” Michael O’Brien of Collinsville, Conn., won Skip’s Selection with his flawless red-and-black 1934 Ford Cabriolet custom. “I just really liked the looks of it,” said a clearly smitten Skip Barber

“People’s Pick” A day of balloting gave spectators their say as well: Kerry Washay, also of Torrington, and his opulent metallic-blue 1960 Cadillac Coupe de Ville drove off with People’s Pick

The Royals family and Skip Barber have obviously figured out a great way to sate a car-crazy crowd at a race track where history lives. See you at the Seventh Annual!

- Robert Markovich
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For You, the Fans

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Lime Rock spending millions as it builds a better fan experience. "Road to 60" is underway -- you'll love all the changes! Late last year, Lime Rock Park Track President Skip Barber committed more than $3 million to a wide variety of projects to rebuild, refine and renew Lime Rock’s infrastructure. The goal of the so-called Road to 60 Project is to dramatically enhance the spectator experience from 2015 onward.

“From the paddocks and the bathrooms to the hillside viewing areas, we’re changing Lime Rock’s infrastructure from pre-historic to be perhaps the most fan friendly road course in North America,” Barber said.

Not since Lime Rock Park’s race track surface itself was re-built in 2008 has a construction project of this magnitude been greenlighted at the famous 1.5-mile automotive and motorsports venue in Connecticut’s Northwest Corner. Some of those projects will be complete in time for Lime Rock’s season-opener – the Memorial Day Weekend Trans Am Series, and Royals Sunday Car Show, May 22-24 – and many more in time for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar weekend July 24-25.

“In 2008, the track itself had to get done – it was exceedingly bumpy, it needed more guardrail, better run-off areas – and that’s what we did for the competitors. Road to 60 is for the fans,” Barber said.

The target for completion of all Road to 60 projects is 2017, when Lime Rock Park celebrates its 60th anniversary. “We’re doing what we need to do – what we want to do – to ensure the track’s professional racing future,” Barber says. “Major sports car races have defined Lime Rock since the day it opened, and I’m making sure that continues well into the future.

“It’s important to note that everything we’re doing, all the changes, all the improvements... all will make Lime Rock more useful, easier to navigate, more sensible – but all with an eye to making Lime Rock even more beautiful than it already is. I have no doubt that, just in the case of our paddocks, Lime Rock’s will be the most attractive in the U.S.”

Of the multitude of Road to 60 projects underway, the highlights are...

A-Paddock to be completely re-done and much larger, plus: laser-graded-and-paved to eliminate standing water; it will be landscaped; there’ll be defined spectator walkways and cobblestone curbing; and the roadways through the paddock will be much wider. The new A-Paddock is specifically designed to allow two complete race rigs, tractors included, to park in-line – with a fan walkway in between – from inside Big Bend up to Victory Circle.

B-Paddock to be completely re-done
Paved in its entirety (and also laser-graded to eliminate standing water), there’ll be much more usable space. Like A-Paddock, it will provide large and extremely efficient driving exercise and hospitality acreage.

Infield Spectator Hillside completely re-done
Close to 100,000 square yards of earth was moved, re-contoured, re-sloped and/or removed to dramatically improve and expand the sightlines as well as make Lime Rock’s famous “picnic-blanket-and-lawn-chair” experience even more enjoyable. Thanks to the re-working of the hill, close to 45 percent of the track can now be seen from this Hillside – with just a turn of the head. Additionally, the Infield Spectator Hillside has been extended all the way through the inside curve of the Righthander, creating an entirely new and exciting viewing area of No Name Straight and the Uphill. The Hillside reconfiguration has also allowed the spectator fencing to be moved even closer to the circuit in many locations.

Hospitality Acreage
There are now a total of three large areas of Lime Rock property dedicated to corporate, race team and VIP hospitality. The popular Outfield hospitality acreage remains essentially the same but the existing hospitality area in the Infield (between the Chalets) has been significantly increased in size and laser-graded. The third is an exciting new hospitality area that overlooks the Righthander and No Name Straight.

A-Paddock Rest Rooms
The Men’s Room will be completely rebuilt, and the Ladies Room totally refreshed.

Handicap Access
It will be improved and/or added throughout much of the facility

Also..
There’ll be a new PA system; expanded and robust wi-fi; improved cellular service; and improvements and expansions to the other spectator areas.

Barber says, “Road to 60 accomplishes many things for Lime Rock’s future, both short term and long. For each project, I asked myself, ‘What’s the best way to do this to make the Lime Rock experience better for the fan?’ While not forgetting the competitors, sanctioning bodies, the car makers, hospitality clients, the Lime Rock Drivers Club and all the driving and racing organizations, I’m pretty sure we’ve made good decisions.”

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Lime Rock spending millions as it builds a better fan experience

“Road to 60” underway; you'll love all the changes!

 

Late last year, Lime Rock Park Track President Skip Barber committed more than $3 million to a wide variety of projects to rebuild, refine and renew Lime Rock’s infrastructure. The goal of the so-called Road to 60 Project is to dramatically enhance the spectator experience from 2015 onward.

“From the paddocks and the bathrooms to the hillside viewing areas, we’re changing Lime Rock’s infrastructure from pre-historic to be perhaps the most fan friendly road course in North America,” Barber said.

Not since Lime Rock Park’s race track surface itself was re-built in 2008 has a construction project of this magnitude been greenlighted at the famous 1.5-mile automotive and motorsports venue in Connecticut’s Northwest Corner. Some of those projects will be complete in time for Lime Rock’s season-opener – the Memorial Day Weekend Trans Am Series, and Royals Sunday Car Show, May 22-24 – and many more in time for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar weekend July 24-25.

“In 2008, the track itself had to get done – it was exceedingly bumpy, it needed more guardrail, better run-off areas – and that’s what we did for the competitors. Road to 60 is for the fans,” Barber said.

The target for completion of all Road to 60 projects is 2017, when Lime Rock Park celebrates its 60th anniversary.

“We’re doing what we need to do – what we want to do – to ensure the track’s professional racing future,” Barber says. “Major sports car races have defined Lime Rock since the day it opened, and I’m making sure that continues well into the future.

“It’s important to note that everything we’re doing, all the changes, all the improvements... all will make Lime Rock more useful, easier to navigate, more sensible – but all with an eye to making Lime Rock even more beautiful than it already is. I have no doubt that, just in the case of our paddocks, Lime Rock’s will be the most attractive in the U.S.”

Of the multitude of Road to 60 projects underway, the highlights are...

A-Paddock
To be completely re-done and much larger, plus: laser-graded-and-paved to eliminate standing water; it will be landscaped; there’ll be defined spectator walkways and cobblestone curbing; and the roadways through the paddock will be much wider. The new A-Paddock is specifically designed to allow two complete race rigs, tractors included, to park in-line – with a fan walkway in between – from inside Big Bend up to Victory Circle.

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