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Lime Rock Park’s First IMSA Race Launched Chauncey “Jocko” Maggiacomo Jr.’s Motorsports Career

Lime Rock Park’s First IMSA Race Launched Chauncey “Jocko” Maggiacomo Jr.’s Motorsports Career

 

Fifty years ago, Poughkeepsie driver Chauncey “Jocko” Maggiacomo Jr. made his road racing debut at Lime Rock Park. That one race changed the trajectory of Maggiacomo’s motorsports career.

 

Driving a Chevrolet Camaro, the second-generation driver won the first-ever IMSA race held at Lime Rock Park in the then TO class.

 

Maggiacomo ran his new car in a mid-week test at Lime Rock, and his times caught the attention of IMSA founder John Bishop.

 

“John Bishop came over after the track closed at 5 p.m., and asked why I wasn’t entered in that weekend’s Camel GT,” Maggiacomo recalled. “He told me my times would put me in the top 20. He got me a provisional license, and as long as I stayed out of trouble, I would get my full IMSA license at the end of the race. The race was very stressful, very confusing for me, especially the pit stops – my team and I had never done that before. We had no radios. I just ran consistently. But I had no idea about the number of laps – I didn’t even know the race was over when I saw the checkered flag. I was really worn out after that race.

 

“That race was enjoyable, and it was a shot in the arm for me,” Maggiacomo said. “That immediately got me into Trans Am. Then I got involved with Roger Penske and Jay Signore and bought one of their Javelins, and won the Trans Am championship.

 

“After that, I got my IMSA license, my USAC, Trans Am and FIA license – all that in one shot after winning that race at my age,” continued Maggiacomo, who was 24 at the time. “Back then, drivers were getting hurt, and even killed. They were looking for new young drivers coming up, and they grabbed you right away.”

 

Jocko’s father was a New England racing legend, a star of the oval tracks, and in that era when there was little cross-over between ovals and road courses, Senior was highly regarded by both groups. His Lime Rock record included a win in one of the 1960 Lime Rock Little LeMans endurance race, driving a Studebaker Lark sedan. Junior would go on to his own success in Trans Am, and make a valiant try at NASCAR racing in the Winston Cup era, running 11 races over an 11-year span.

 

Maggiacomo and his wife Deborah now run a successful sign business in Poughkeepsie. Both are slated to attend the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix to celebrate the 50th anniversary of  IMSA’s first race at Lime Rock Park.

 

For tickets and more information, visit:  Northeast Grand Prix – Lime Rock Park

 

Photo Credit: JJ O’Malley