The Winning Stretch
Click here for a lot of great photos from today, by Greg Clark and Casey Keil
LIME ROCK PARK (May 25) – In racing, the reason why rain is called “the great equalizer” is this: A slick race track means a driver cannot put all the power down. It just results in wheelspin. So a car that has a lot more horsepower than another simply can’t utilize the power advantage. That means everything is mostly down to the driver and the choices he or she makes... rain, the great equalizer.
Do you know how much power a Trans Am TA car makes? The answer is at least 850 h.p. Do you know how much horsepower a TA2 car makes? Answer: 480. Do you know who won today’s Trans Am race at Lime Rock Park? Bob Stretch in a TA2. Second was Cam Lawrence in a TA2. Third was Pete Halsmer in a... TA2.
Yes, for the first time since the Trans Am Series created its TA2 class in 2010, a TA2 car was the overall winner of Trans Am race. It was great fun to watch – as most wet races, from club racing up to F1, are wont to be – and Stretch’s win in his Fix Rim Mobile/Wheels America Chevy Camaro at Lime Rock Park made history.
And it wasn’t like Stretch started up front, either; he had gridded way back in 20th place. He sliced and diced his way to the sharp end of the field, finding traction where others weren’t, putting down his power as gently as a butterfly on a clover, flitting his way to the front while others spun or slid or skidded off into the... clover.
Lesson: When you’re given the chance to watch a Lime Rock race run in the rain, take it.
Every race today – there were six others – was in the wet.
In the two F2000 open-wheel races, there were two different winners. In the morning’s first go, Tim Minor clearly majored in mastering the rain line at Lime Rock and romped to the win over Kevin Kopp and Roberto Lorena. Minor, by the way, is what one might call a “fall” or “winter” chicken, as opposed to the spring variety. He left his 40s more than a few years ago but had no problem plucking the feathers of his very-much-younger competitors.
In race two, the young bucks took over the podium, with Kyle Connery victorious over Lorena and Federico (yes, not Frederico) Mosconi. Minor was running second when he failed to meet expectations in the Lefthander and spun off...
The Formula F/F1600 races had the same winner for both races, Jake Eidson. He beat Paul Alspach in race one, and Adrian Starrantino in the second. A-Star had a decent day, finishing third in the first race, while Aaron Telitz snagged P3 in race two.
In the two vintage races sanctioned by the VSCCA, Roger Cassin wasn’t afraid to get his old Alfa wet and won both, with Jeff Schur grabbing a pair of P2s in Cassin’s wake – literally – driving his Lotus 57. Stellar work, guys.
It was a wet-but-good day of racing, and thanks to the fans who didn’t mind the rain.
NEXT UP: The ALMS Northeast Grand Prix and Pirelli World Challenge and Lamborghini Super Trofeo (first time in America), July 4, 5 & 6.
The Winning Stretch
‘Spikes’ and friends made it happen at Lime Rock Park: The car show to benefit Sandy Hook families and first responders was, by all accounts, a big success. At the “Spike’s Ride for Sandy Hook,” organizers confirmed more than 2,400 vehicles – cars, motorcycles and trucks – made their way to Lakeville this past Saturday morning, collecting $26,000 in cash donations. That total does not include checks, vendor donations, pledges, t-shirt sales and matching funds, still being tallied.
George “Spikes” LeGrice, 27, an EMT and National Guardsman from Brockton, Mass., organized the event while Lime Rock donated the facility and its personnel. LeGrice recruited hundreds of volunteers for the cause, which he officially launched within a day of the mid-December tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
“I thought it would be a simple bike ride, and by 7:30 p.m. Saturday [Dec. 15] I had a Facebook page, but things went huge very, very quickly,” LeGrice told the Litchfield County Times. “People with any kind of nice car, bike or truck wanted to join in. Convoys came from Connecticut, obviously, but also New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania – we even have people from as far away as Texas.”
Skip Barber said, “This is one of the most ‘democratic’ shows I’ve ever seen. We had Bentleys from the 1930s shoulder to shoulder with Honda Accords, which, by the way, were right next to jacked-up diesel pick-ups, Z28s and Austin-Healeys. Thousands of vehicles... It’s wonderful when everyone feels as one, to do what they can for Newtown.”
Jim Perry, Lime Rock Park’s video producer, uploaded his Spike’s Ride piece by Sunday afternoon (you may click on the “Preview” link for an instant-play, non-HD view), which provides a succinct overview of the show...
Casey Keil, one of Lime Rock Park’s photographers, put up a terrific gallery of photos on the track’s Facebook page...
Many show attendees are also uploading videos of the event to the internet; search “Spikes Ride for Sandy Hook Lime Rock.”
It was successfully kept secret for weeks in order to surprise a racing legend; on Saturday, March 9, at the Amelia Island (Fla.) Concours d’Elegance, where this year’s honored guest was Sam Posey, Lime Rock Park owner Skip Barber announced that the track’s front straightaway is now officially Sam Posey Straight. Barber reported that Posey was rendered speechless by the surprise honor – no mean feat for one of the most erudite, articulate gentlemen you’ll ever meet.
Posey competed in just about every form of racing, including Can-Am, Trans-Am, World Endurance Championship, IMSA, Indy Cars, Formula 5000 and Formula 1. Since 1981, Posey has been one of the most sought-out TV racing announcers, and he’s also an accomplished writer, painter and artist. An avid model railroader, he authored Playing with Trains: A Passion Beyond Scale. Posey not only wrote an autobiography, The Mudge Pond Express, he won a sports writing Emmy in the early 1990s.
“I know – we all know – that Sam deeply loves Lime Rock Park,” Barber said at the Saturday evening 'Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. Gala Dinner Honoring Sam Posey.' “He’s been racing here since he was a teen – he grew up five miles from the track. Sam was the first driver to lap the track in less than 60 seconds – that was a big, big deal when Sam did that, in 1967. He was driving a McLaren Can-Am car. And that was just two years after his very first race here, in a Formula Vee, a car that has less than a fifth of the power of that McLaren.
“Sam was able to use Lime Rock as a launching pad for what turned out to be an astoundingly steep early career path. One year after that FV race, he was racing a 350 horsepower Bizzarrini 5300 GT at Le Mans.
“And of course, we’ve been blessed that no less than three of the beautiful buildings here, including the now-iconic paddock tower, were designed by Sam,” Barber said.
Although Posey retired from professional driving in the 1980s, he has not retired from the cockpit; he still drives his PRS Formula Ford at speed during Lime Rock Drivers Club track days – consistently under a minute, to boot!
When Barber got back from Florida, he said, “I wanted to do this special thing, for Sam and Ellen and the kids, so that Sam could savor it, appreciate it, in the here and now. That’s not an opportunity commonly afforded. I’ll be sending him the revised track map in about a week...”
It’s the moment many of you have been waiting for... the first-ever open-enrollment Autocross Competitions at Lime Rock Park!
Click here for the full schedule!
Anyone with a fun car – and we’ll let you define that – can sign-up!
You’ll be driving the full autocross layout, which is eight turns and nearly a half-mile long.
Lime Rock racing instructors will be there to provide feedback, tips and techniques that will make anyone, experienced or not, smoother and faster. In other words, your lap times will drop! Not to mention how much fun this whole thing is...
Toward the end of each of these first three open-enrollment Autocross Competition days, there will be a hand-timed competition as part of our exciting **Fastest Laps of the Year championship.
- No experience necessary! This is safe, fast fun, with lots of run-off area
- If you are an experienced autocrosser, you will love this layout – elevation changes, all corner types, and the track is not a sea of cones
- Lime Rock Autocross Competitions are run Rain or Shine
- You do not need a helmet, though you may wear one if you wish
- For the March 22 event, your car cannot exceed 86 decibels. This should not be an issue if you’re running an essentially stock exhaust system
- For the April 9 and June 18 days, you can run un-muffled; there is no db limit for these days
- For food and drink, Lime Rock Catering will have concession stands open
- Restrooms are in the Infield Chalet
- We do not time every lap -- bring your own in-car timing devices if you wish -- but we do time the final sessions for the Fastest Laps of the Year championship (see below)
- Your car must pass a walk-around assessment by the instructors and/or Lime Rock personnel for reasons of safety and appropriateness, including working seatbelts
- You must have a valid drivers license
- The Drivers Meeting and “Chalk Talk” begins promptly at 9:00 a.m. on March 22, and 12:00 noon for the April and June days
- Enter the facility starting at 7:30 a.m. through Lime Rock Park’s Main Entrance, which is 60 White Hollow Road, Lakeville, 06039
Do not pass up these opportunities to drive your car at the limit!
The cost is $225 (non-refundable) per driver, not per car.
Hints: Empty your interior and trunk of all items that are not strongly secured... arrive with full fuel... Air-up your tires to 45 lbs., then bleed down as necessary... wear comfortable, non-bulky shoes and clothes... we are not snobby about the kind of car you bring, but please present a clean, safe automobile...
**Fastest Lap Run-offs All through the year, we will keep record of the fastest laps set at the end of the day at each open-enrollment Autocross Competition day. We will continually update the year's 20-fastest laps and post the times/drivers on the LRP website. At the end of the year, the final top 20 "Fastest Lappers" will be invited to enter, free of charge, the “Lime Rock Park Autocross Run-offs,” to crown a champion. The prizes will probably be cheap, tchotchke-esk racing trinkets – but you will have earned huge bragging rights!
Keep an eye on emails from Lime Rock Park for further details of the year-end Autocross Run-offs.
In the meantime... Think Fast!
Your Fellow Cone Killers at Lime Rock Park
It's true... The Lime Rock Park Online Store is here!
Just in time for the upcoming Christmas and holiday shopping season.
The website is limerockparkstore.com: Click here...