JPG: RIR Logo jacket patch
The "Next RIR" Page
Photo: Conte Racing Lola in RIR Turn One

The "Clouds Over The Winner's Circle" picture was taken looking to our left (north) a little west of parallel to the back of the second white wall in this shot. This is another test day with the Conte Racing Team, John Paul, Jr. at the wheel in Turn One.

It was just beyond the Southwest corner of the Firestone garage that I finally cornered Mario Andretti as he was riding his bicycle around the paddock at a mid-80s USAC Indy-car race. When I find it, I will post the photo of him up on two (bike) wheels. He slowed down long enough to autograph my "Mario Andretti, World Champion" t-shirt. A treasure. Mario, I mean. To a much lesser degree, the unique t-shirt, too.


To see frames from a lap recorded on 8mm film, click HERE
Photo: YOBS poised in the Turn Eight infield as an RX7 blurs past

Same practice session at RIR. Here Your OBedient Servant is about to try for an effect with a wide-angle lens on a camera sitting at the edge of the racing surface. You can see some of the remote release and its spool on the ground. It didn't work as well as I had hoped, but some of the photos are dramatic.

This is also the location of my favorite Stirling Moss At The 1960 US Grand Prix incident:
I was Jack-of-all-specialties at Turn Seven on Wednesday or Thursday. I was the only one there: I had a headset, a fire extinguisher, and a set of flags, so I was Observer, Flagman, Turn Marshal, and Emergency Crew, all in one. By Sunday I had promoted myself through flagman at several different turns to Turn Marshal at Eight, for the competition.

Near the end of that race Moss was a minute or so ahead of the second place man, and with about four laps to go I reckoned he (and I, and everyone else) was bored and marking time to the finish. I had been using the blue flag ("look out for overtaking traffic") conscientiously for the entire run. I just casually strolled a step or two closer to the course and flipped the flag out so Moss could see it. He did, and I saw him give a quick look in his mirrors and nod his head. I thought, "Ho, good joke!"

Next time he came by he was travelling perceptibly faster than in the immediately previous laps, and at just a critical point, he was out of shape and his car was sliding right at me! I jumped and scrambled, and he gathered it up and motored around, head back and laughing.

Ho, better joke.

GIF: waving blue (passing) flag

As I remember, it was at about the position of the Mazda in this picture where Phil Hill, driving a finance company (I can almost remember the name—Yeoman Credit?) sponsored car painted in an awful yellow-green color began a spin that ended off course to the outside. He had to get out and push the car to restart it. It seemed to me he and a team-mate were nose-to-tail shortly after a refuel stop and Hill in the following car lost traction in a spill of gasoline from the leading car. It eliminated any chance of a better result after what had been an impressive drive until that point.

There is a race summary, with grid and results, at Rick Dikeman's (Dead link on 20110901) USGP site. Another link . . .  Or two.

To see frames from a remarkable film made at the 1960 USGP at Riverside International Raceway, as well as scenes filmed in the 50s and 60s at other historic California sports car racing tracks, go to Team DNF's page, "Haybales And Asphalt." (Dead link on 20110901, but you may be able to get it on (NOPE)

I came across that Phil Hill reference in a list of members of the Novi, Michigan, Motorsports Hall Of Fame. You know, I had personal contact and at least one story about so many of the drivers listed on that page, I began to wonder if all that was true or a wishful fantasy. I guess I'll just have to go down the list name by name and tell at least a little of of what I know about each, and the nature of the contact. That will describe them, and me, in a way not available to most folks.

Of course I'll have to add Stirling Moss to the racing driver list, and Bob Bondurant, and Nadine Brengle, and Phil Binks, and Johnny Parsons, and Rob Walker, and Mickey Pleasant, and Bill Swan, and Pat Daily, and Homer James, and Paul Vollmer, and Andy deVercelli and Tom McLellan, and Dave Turner, and Lee Midgely, and John Paul, Jr., and Max Balchowski, and Bob Challman, and Geneva Middlebrook, and Ken Miles, and Joel Opsahl, and Ronny Hissom, and Alan, Alan, Alan Connell. who co-drove a Testa Rossa at LeMans in about 1959, and Steve Robinson, and Harry Washburn, and Karel, Karel Janaçek who described the Puerto Rico jitney trip before I knew I was going to Puerto Rico, and Lani Spund, and Bruce Wilson, and Walt Walsh, who more-or-less paved the road to Indy racing for the Jim Clark we all knew and loved. And others.

This may be bigger than I thought.

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