Mark D. Murphy, Lime Rock Park Volunteer, shares his #MyLimeRockPark story about his experience here at this iconic racetrack:
I've lived in Connecticut my entire life and at the age of 45, I visited Lime Rock Park (LRP) for the very first time, Memorial Day weekend 2009. How do I remember that? Read on and you’ll understand.
I had read an article in the Hartford Courant describing the park.The fact that there were no grandstands, the natural amphitheater. The fact that you could walk and sit virtually anywhere. That Paul Newman had raced there. That you could bring in a cooler with food and beverages (and Adult Beverages) and that it was relatively inexpensive to get in. So when my oldest boy was turning 16, and he and his friends were all talking about cars, my wife and I decided to finally head up, with him, a buddy of his, and my two younger boys.
I started by accidently going in the wrong entrance in the outlook area above the front straight. A volunteer came over and asked me to roll down my window, which I did. At that very moment, a Daytona Prototype came screaming, and I do mean absolutely screaming, down the front straight and flew into the entrance to Big Ben and went flying out the back of the turn heading up to the left hander. It was the loudest and one of the coolest things I had ever seen. Up until that point, I had never seen a real race car, or heard one.
After the gentleman told me where to go, another one came down and did the exact same thing. I looked back at the gentleman and I said, “this is real racing, like real racing?” and he looked back at me and said, “Have you never been here before?” I said, “No. This is totally awesome, I’ve lived in Connecticut my entire life and I’ve never been here before.”
I’ll never forget what happened next, because now I am that guy and I volunteer at the track. He leaned down, broke open this huge smile and said, “Welcome to Lime Rock!” I fell in love with racing instantly.
That afternoon, I drove home in my mini-van and struck up a conversation with my wife that went something like this. “Hon, I want to drive a car at Lime Rock. My wife said, “It’s too expensive,” and I replied, “No it’s not,” and she replied “we can’t afford it” and I replied, “Yes we can,” and she replied, “It’s too dangerous," and I replied “No it’s not.” I then said, and I quote, “If you ever want to get me an absolute, out of the park, home run gift for me, for either my birthday or Christmas, that’s what I want. I want to drive a car at Lime Rock.”
Seven months later, on Christmas morning, my wife hands me a Fedex envelope. Then proceeds to say something along the lines of “Just so you know, this wasn’t cheap, but you said that you wanted it, so I got it for you, so please don’t be angry with me when you find out how much I spent, but you insisted that you wanted it.” At first, I couldn’t imagine what it could be, what is something expensive that I want? I couldn’t think of anything, and then it hit me. I was almost afraid to open it in the event it wasn’t what I wanted, but it was. It absolutely was. She had purchased a day at Lime Rock Park with The Drivers Club. Four hours on track, with a BMW M3, my own personal instructor and a catered lunch.
Four months later, in April of 2010, I drove a high performance automobile at LRP for the first time. I, along with my wife, were also driven around the track in that car, by a future Spec Miata National Champion. It was awesome, and I will never forget it! I have since been driving at High Performance Driving Events (HPDE) for the last eight years and two years ago, I raced my own Spec Miata at an SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) Club Racing Experience event or CRE. Recently, I had my SCCA medical forms signed off by my doctor and before the weekend is out, I will be applying for my novice racing permit. That afternoon, nine years ago, literally changed my life.
Thank you Lime Rock Park.
—Mark D. Murphy, Lime Rock Park Volunteer