Click here for all Historic Festival 33 practice, qualifying and race results
If you weren't able to attend... Listen to Sam and Ellen Posey, along with Trans Am president John Clagett, as they talked about Paul Newman before the screening of the Adam Carolla film “Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman,” at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington Mass., a day before the Lime Rock Park Trans Am Memorial Day race weekend. We recorded the audio, plus we added a number of old and new photos to this 29-minute "video." Great stuff, click here!
A Royal Turnout at Lime Rock’s Sunday Royals Car Show
Earth-shaking muscle cars, supercharged Sprites, pristine pickups and unrestored “survivors” were just some of the more than 400 cars, trucks and motorcycles that lined the track at Sunday’s sixth annual Royals Garage Car Show at historic Lime Rock Park.
(Click here to see a great collection of photos from the Royals Car Show taken by Greg Clark and Michael DiPleco, LRP's official shooters. You do not need to be a Facebook "member" in order to view the gallery.)
But this was more than just another car show: All of the $5 and $10 bills handed in by entrants and spectators will go to the Cancer Care Fund of the Litchfield Hills in association with Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and the “Butterfly Affair” fundraising Gala, as part of this year’s charitable joint venture between the Royals family and Skip Barber, famed race winner and president of Lime Rock Park.
“Skip donates the track and its personnel, and we donate our time as a way to give something back to the community on a day when the track is closed to racing,” noted Glenn Royals who, with brother J.R., owns and operates Royals’ Garage in Torrington. While the general-repair facility, opened nearly 40 years ago, specializes in Corvettes and has worked on cars owned by “Cannonball” racer Brock Yates and actor Michael J. Fox, “we’re just as fussy with our regular customers’ cars,” said Royals.
Perhaps most impressive is this Lime Rock event’s inclusiveness: It’s open to nearly anything with something special to separate it from more-plebian transport. And it brought some truly special cars indeed.
When was the last time you saw two original, unrestored cars with their original owners? Bill Eichner’s 1963 Ford Galaxy 500 looked as fresh as when he drove it off the showroom floor. And Russ Truelove’s 1956 Mercury Monterey NASCAR stocker appeared to have just roared off the old Daytona Beach track where he raced it that year. Survivor cars also included a 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger with 17,000 miles, a 26,000-mile 1993 Mazda RX7 that looked barely broken-in, and a red 1954 Austin-Healey 100 that was clearly driven and enjoyed.
Four entries were distinguished enough to win their lucky owners trophies awarded by the Lime Rock-Royals team...
• “Royals Crown” A numbers-matching 1969 Camaro Z/28 in Rally Green owned by David Stelly of West Granby, Conn., captured the Royals Crown. “J.R. chose it,” Glenn Royals confided. “It’s an absolutely perfect restoration”
• “Veterans Vote” Stutz hit the American performance-car scene decades before the first Corvette. Torrington resident John Grunder’s 1929 Stutz Blackhawk was rare and stunning enough to win the Veteran’s Vote. Sat the presentation, veterans were asked to stand with the car for the photos
• “Skip’s Selection” Michael O’Brien of Collinsville, Conn., won Skip’s Selection with his flawless red-and-black 1934 Ford Cabriolet custom. “I just really liked the looks of it,” said a clearly smitten Skip Barber
• “People’s Pick” A day of balloting gave spectators their say as well: Kerry Washay, also of Torrington, and his opulent metallic-blue 1960 Cadillac Coupe de Ville drove off with People’s Pick
The Royals family and Skip Barber have obviously figured out a great way to sate a car-crazy crowd at a race track where history lives. See you at the Seventh Annual!
- Robert Markovich
Robert Markovich is a car enthusiast of the highest order and is a semi-regular entrant in the Sunday in the Park Concours d' Elegance at each year's Lime Rock Historic Festival. We asked him to record his thoughts about the Sixth Annual Sunday Royals Garage Car Show.
“From the paddocks and the bathrooms to the hillside viewing areas, we’re changing Lime Rock’s infrastructure from pre-historic to be perhaps the most fan friendly road course in North America,” Barber said.
Not since Lime Rock Park’s race track surface itself was re-built in 2008 has a construction project of this magnitude been greenlighted at the famous 1.5-mile automotive and motorsports venue in Connecticut’s Northwest Corner. Some of those projects will be complete in time for Lime Rock’s season-opener – the Memorial Day Weekend Trans Am Series, and Royals Sunday Car Show, May 22-24 – and many more in time for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar weekend July 24-25.
“In 2008, the track itself had to get done – it was exceedingly bumpy, it needed more guardrail, better run-off areas – and that’s what we did for the competitors. Road to 60 is for the fans,” Barber said.
The target for completion of all Road to 60 projects is 2017, when Lime Rock Park celebrates its 60th anniversary. “We’re doing what we need to do – what we want to do – to ensure the track’s professional racing future,” Barber says. “Major sports car races have defined Lime Rock since the day it opened, and I’m making sure that continues well into the future.
“It’s important to note that everything we’re doing, all the changes, all the improvements... all will make Lime Rock more useful, easier to navigate, more sensible – but all with an eye to making Lime Rock even more beautiful than it already is. I have no doubt that, just in the case of our paddocks, Lime Rock’s will be the most attractive in the U.S.”
Of the multitude of Road to 60 projects underway, the highlights are...
A-Paddock to be completely re-done and much larger, plus: laser-graded-and-paved to eliminate standing water; it will be landscaped; there’ll be defined spectator walkways and cobblestone curbing; and the roadways through the paddock will be much wider. The new A-Paddock is specifically designed to allow two complete race rigs, tractors included, to park in-line – with a fan walkway in between – from inside Big Bend up to Victory Circle.
B-Paddock to be completely re-done
Paved in its entirety (and also laser-graded to eliminate standing water), there’ll be much more usable space. Like A-Paddock, it will provide large and extremely efficient driving exercise and hospitality acreage.
Infield Spectator Hillside completely re-done
Close to 100,000 square yards of earth was moved, re-contoured, re-sloped and/or removed to dramatically improve and expand the sightlines as well as make Lime Rock’s famous “picnic-blanket-and-lawn-chair” experience even more enjoyable. Thanks to the re-working of the hill, close to 45 percent of the track can now be seen from this Hillside – with just a turn of the head. Additionally, the Infield Spectator Hillside has been extended all the way through the inside curve of the Righthander, creating an entirely new and exciting viewing area of No Name Straight and the Uphill. The Hillside reconfiguration has also allowed the spectator fencing to be moved even closer to the circuit in many locations.
There are now a total of three large areas of Lime Rock property dedicated to corporate, race team and VIP hospitality. The popular Outfield hospitality acreage remains essentially the same but the existing hospitality area in the Infield (between the Chalets) has been significantly increased in size and laser-graded. The third is an exciting new hospitality area that overlooks the Righthander and No Name Straight.
A-Paddock Rest Rooms
The Men’s Room will be completely rebuilt, and the Ladies Room totally refreshed.
It will be improved and/or added throughout much of the facility
There’ll be a new PA system; expanded and robust wi-fi; improved cellular service; and improvements and expansions to the other spectator areas.
Barber says, “Road to 60 accomplishes many things for Lime Rock’s future, both short term and long. For each project, I asked myself, ‘What’s the best way to do this to make the Lime Rock experience better for the fan?’ While not forgetting the competitors, sanctioning bodies, the car makers, hospitality clients, the Lime Rock Drivers Club and all the driving and racing organizations, I’m pretty sure we’ve made good decisions.”
Mille Miglia-winning 300 SLR Mercedes to star at Lime Rock Historic Festival
Murray Smith, chairman of Lime Rock Park’s Labor Day Weekend historic festival, announced that Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that the factory will send to Connecticut’s Northwest Corner “722,” the 300SLR sports car with which Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson stormed to victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia. Also coming from the factory collection will be a W196 Formula One Grand Prix car of the type that Juan Manuel Fangio and Moss finished first and second in the world championship the same year.
On hand to drive the cars at Lime Rock will be Sir Stirling himself as well as Mercedes Classic official driver Jochen Mass, who of course won the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Sauber Mercedes C9, in addition to being the winningest driver of the Group C era. The Jochen’s C.V. includes a Formula 1 victory for McLaren and a win at the 1987 Sebring 12 Hours, teamed with Bobby Rahal in the Bayside Porsche 962.
Smith said, “Stirling’s drive to victory in the Mille Miglia is one of the outstanding sporting feats of the 20th century… right up there with Roger Bannister's sub-4-minute mile and Jean-Claude Killy’s three gold medals in the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics.
“It is probably the single greatest drive of all time in motorsports.”
Smith continued, “We are delighted that Mercedes have honored us with this gesture. We are planning to reciprocate by underlining the three pointed star's outstanding sporting and engineering legacy as we organize a truly great display of the company's cars from the last 10 decades.”
This exemplary gathering of Mercedes-Benz machinery will stand-out at Historic Festival 33 even as the grounds are graced with 280 vintage and historic cars in nine racing groups Friday, Saturday and Monday, and on Sunday when more than 800 vehicles of the highest calibre are on display for the Sunday in the Park Concours d' Elegance and its concomitant Gathering of the Marques.
Click here for ticket information.