In Troy, N.Y., a 15-year-old boy is told by his good buddy that he and his Dad and his uncle are going to “that new race track in Connecticut, Lime Rock, it’s their opening day, wanna come with us?”
That Troy High School freshman said yes.
So it was that Rod Kurst and his friend watched all eight opening-day races, “with the hillsides packed with fans” and “having a terrific time.”
That’s a direct quote, because we spoke to him a couple days ago – when Lime Rock Park asked Rod Kurst to be the Grand Marshal for Lime Rock's Pirelli World Challenge season opener May 26-27.
“This is quite an honor, I don’t even know what to say” Kurst said. “I’ve been going to Lime Rock with my friends and family ever since those first races. This is a heck of a way to get in free, right?”
Lime Rock “discovered” Kurst serendipitously; three weeks ago he emailed the track’s GM, asking about coming to watch the private VSCCA races that were held here in early May. In that email, Kurst offhandedly mentioned that “I went to the very first race at Lime Rock 60 years ago.” When that email was forwarded to Lime Rock's public relations office, the track reached out to Kurst to ask him to be the Grand Marshal for 2017’s first spectator race weekend.
Asked what stood out to him and his friend that day in 1957, Kurst said, “It felt like everyone there, they were all in their late teens, early 20s. And I was amazed when I saw people drive into Lime Rock, just like we did... but the next thing I know, they’re racing that car on the track!”
Kurst, 75, now living in Castleton-on-Hudson (east of Albany), N.Y., is hoping to have nephews, nieces and grandkids in tow next weekend. He’ll be introduced in the pre-race ceremony, will make the announcement for drivers to start their engines, and will then wave the green flag for the 1:20 p.m. start of the Pirelli World Challenge GT SprintX race.