Roof racks for race cars? No. Well, not yet, anyway...
LAKEVILLE, Conn. - You know those really trick Thule ski racks, aerodynamic roof carriers and zoomy bike racks that you see mounted on everything from Pintos to Pininfarinas?
Yes? Okay, so how cool is this...
From now on, those Thule products, and others, will have been tested at Lime Rock Park before you head off to the store to buy them.
Management at Thule’s U.S. research and development facility in Seymour, Conn., has signed an agreement to conduct its rigorous field testing of existing and future products at Lime Rock Park, beginning this month.
Click here for a short video taken during the first test day
Click here for photographs
Thule (“TOO – lee”) Inc., the Sweden-based makers of a wide range of vehicle carrying and towing accessories, including its instantly recognizable roof, bike, kayak and ski racks for cars, trucks and SUVs, will have near year-round access to the track’s test facilities. Until now, Thule’s non-laboratory product testing was conducted at its Seymour factory and parking lot.
Karl Wiedemann, channel marketing and PR manager for Thule, Inc., said, “We have a lot of racing and driving enthusiasts here at the factory who are already fans of Lime Rock Park, which is a bit more than an hour’s drive. When our test engineer insisted that we could improve our testing protocols and procedures at a dedicated track... well, it just made perfect sense to pick up the phone to talk to Lime Rock.”
Lime Rock Park and Thule also expect to take advantage of numerous marketing and promotion synergies as the partnership develops.
Even before this test-facility agreement with Lime Rock Park was finalized, since 1999 Thule has required its field test engineers to graduate from a two-day Skip Barber driving school.
Reed Frick, one of Thule’s test engineers and driver, says, “Testing at Lime Rock is a tremendous advantage – it gives us a whole new level of repeatability. And in such a strictly controlled environment, we can be even more aggressive with our protocols.”
The Seymour, Conn., plant, along with a facility in Chicago, manufactures 80 percent of the Thule products sold in North America.
The Thule Group is a world leader in products and brands designed to transport lifestyle equipment securely, safely and in style. Under the motto “Active Life, Simplified,” the Thule Group offers products within four areas: Vehicle Solutions (roof racks, bike racks, ski boxes, snow chains, etc.), Towing Solutions (towbars and trailers), Carry Solutions (laptop and camera bags, backpacks, etc.) and Work Solutions (ladder racks, tool boxes, etc.).
The Thule Group has 3,100 employees at more than 50 production facilities and sales offices worldwide. In 2010 sales amounted to SEK 5.7 billion (US 700 million).
Liam Dwyer of Southbury, Conn., is a member of C.A.R.T., the Connecticut Autocross and Rally Team club that rents track days at Lime Rock Park. He's also a Marine sergeant who lost his left leg in Afghanistan in May. But watch him in this NBC 30 segment produced yesterday and you will know he's going to be back in his car, a red Nissan 350Z, to lap Lime Rock Park again, no matter what...
Mrs. Griffin’s Penny Helps Szegedy Win the Town Fair Tire “66/99”
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (Sept. 17) – One of the duties of a star in any racing championship is the PR meet and greets with VIPs, local movers and shakers, promoters, etc. At Lime Rock Park, fans that buy Fan Hospitality tickets also get a visit from a top driver. As polesitter for the Whelen Modified “66/99” Presented by Town Fair Tire for the second year in a row, Todd Szegedy volunteered to meet those fans at lunch time today, about 90 minutes before the start of the race. After hobnobbing with the fans in the hospitality chalet, as Szegedy was leaving a woman came up to him and handed him a “lucky” penny. “Put this in your pocket for the race,” she advised.
And he did.
Then Szegedy went out and not only won the race, he did so after falling off the road not once but twice, willing himself back to the lead. After the race, Szegedy was asked, “Hey, you didn’t really need that lucky penny, did you?”
“Oh, man, yes I did. I want to thank Mrs. Griffin for that!”, as he dug the penny out of his pocket and showed it to the media. “I’m keepin’ it!”
Wherever you stand on the value of talismans, Szegedy was an absolute animal in his #2 Wisk Detergent/A&J Romano Construction Ford. After leading handily in the first half of the race, a slow pit stop put him down three positions. Then trying too hard saw him slip off the road twice; once in the Downhill and the second time in Big Bend, as he was battling hard with Teddy Christopher on a re-start.
But he knew he had a very good car and was gonna win this race, no matter what.
“I said this morning, I’m not points-racing today – I’m racing to win this thing, come heck or high water,” Sszegedy said post-race. “Man, this feels good.”
Finishing second was another road race ace, Mike Stefanik, who had won full-bodied NASCAR races at Lime Rock when the stock cars raced here. Stefanik came from sixth on the grid and he too had to work his way back to the sharp end of the field at various times. Third in a fine effort was the young Justin Bonsignore, the 24-year-old looking calm and collected all day.
With just a dozen laps to go, the leader was actually Doug Coby, his team having given him a good pit stop late in the race, but on a re-start, Coby made a mistake in West Bend and put it hard in the fence under the Bailey Bridge. After a brief red flag to fix the Armco, it was Stefanik leading Szegedy. But within two laps of the re-start, Szegedy popped a pass going into Big Bend, and then gapped Stefanik the last four laps.
“And boy, I had some more luck, too,” Szegedy said. “The last three laps, the engine was bucking and burbling in the Downhill– I was running out of gas!. But I didn’t tell the crew, I didn’t want them to have to suffer that knowledge. And it all worked out.”
Besides making up for last year – Szegedy had led every lap last year, except for the final four – his win in the Town Fair Tire “66/99” did something else: It moved him to first in points, a scant 12 in front of Ronnie Silk, the points leader coming into Lime Rock who got tangled up in an eight-car real estate dispute in the Lefthander that put him a lap down and earned him a desultory 15th.
Rounding out the top 10 were Richie Pallai, Jr., in fourth, Ted Christopher (he too had to slice his way back to the front twice during the race) in fifth, followed by Rowan Pennink, Erick Rudolph, Eric Beers, Kevin Goodale and in 10th, Patrick Emerling.
The complete box score of the Whelen Modified “66/99” Presented by Town Fair Tire is here, on the NASCAR Home Tracks web pages.
Also on today’s Lime Rock Park card were two SCCA Pro Racing open-wheel championships, the F1600 “Formula F” series and the F2000 series. Each championship held two races today.
In race one for F2000, points leader Remy Audette of France had the measure of 40-year-old Tim Minor and Angel Benitez, and in race two, Chris Livengood beat Audette and Tim Paul.
In F1600, Bill “The World’s Fastest” Valet nipped Art Foster for the win in race one, with Colin Thompson third, while in race two, it was Foster with a last-lap pass for the win, over Ryan Leach and Thompson.
- Rick Roso
It was a truly great collection of cars...
A small sample of low-resolution photos can be found here
One of the best collection of concours cars in recent years made up the 2011 Sunday in the Park Concours at Lime Rock Park, an elemental part of Historic Festival 29 Presented by Jaguar, September 2-5.
With Jaguar as the weekend sponsor, and the MG Vintage Racers Group making Historic Festival 29 its 2011 "focus" event, there was also an absolute stellar congregation of MGs and Jags as one would expect. Led by organizer Kent Bain, his army of judges was coordinated by Dennis David.
Lime Rock’s Sunday in the Park is unique; no other venue, not even Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway’s Rolex Motorsports Reunion, has three days of on-track racing sandwiching a prestigious concours event all on the same property.
Having the vintage racing and the concours together also provides the unequalled opportunity for a handful of significant race cars that are competing in the festival to also enter the concours, greatly augmenting the show for spectators and entrants alike.
Winning “Best of Show” was a spectacular 1911 Pope Hartford.
Pope Hartfords were built between 1908 and 1914, in Hartford, Conn., about an hour from Lime Rock Park. The company, Pope Manufacturing, was originally founded in 1878 by Civil War colonel Albert Augustus Pope to make and market what became the famous “Columbia High Wheeler” bicycle.
Pope was one of the first automotive conglomerates, with separate lines consisting of the Pope Waverly, Pope Tribune, Pope Robinson, Pope Toledo and the Pope Hartford. Of these, the Pope Hartford was the only one built at the company headquarters in Hartford. Pope never built more than 700 cars per year; the Pope empire itself collapsed under its own weight in 1914.
Owned by the Dick King Collection, this 1911 Pope Hartford Model W was presented by Stu Laidlaw. Originally part of the Bill Harrah Collection and recently restored, the Model W is powered by a massive 433 cubic-inch overhead valve inline four cylinder with an utterly unique engine note. “It’s a fabulous car to drive,” said Laidlaw as he accepted the “Best in Show” trophy.
The roadster was a big hit at the show and impressed judges and spectators alike. “It’s always great to see one of the foundational members of the automotive community at a show. and the Pope Hartford truly exemplifies the very pinnacle of the early motorcar,” said Dennis David, one of Sunday in the Park’s guest judges. “Most exciting for the crowd was when the Pope was driven up to the reviewing stand; with all cylinders firing it was a sound that none will forget. I certainly won’t.”
Other significant winners at the 2011 Sunday in the Park Concours included a stunning 1935 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Sports Saloon wearing a body by Freestone & Webb and owned by M.S. Koly; it won the “Gatsby’s Delights” award. The elegant Rolls is a celebrity itself, as it was the personal car of the Waters Sisters, a famous vaudeville act back in the day. The elegant Saloon was even equipped with separate make-up kits for the sisters.
Also making a favourable impression on the crowd and winning the “Risky & Racy” class was Howard Kroplick’s huge 1909 ALCO racing machine. It even managed to blow one of the spectator’s sunglasses off his head with its bellowing exhaust! Built by the American Locomotive Company in Providence, R.I., the impressive machine roared to the reviewing stand to the delight of all. ALCO’s racing history includes Vanderbilt Cup wins in both 1909 and 1910.
Making an elegant and classy appearance in winning the “Environmental Elegance, open cars 1961 to 1980” category was a beautiful 1962 Mercedes Benz 190 SL owned by Jim Petty. Although the 190 SL was built by Mercedes from May of 1955 to February 1983, its timeless and classic roadster lines were right at home on Lime Rock’s front stretch. “This was an impeccable restoration right down to the last nut and bolt,” said concours judge Chris David.
A crowd favourite also scored a win in the “Off to Grandma’s” class: a 1951 Chevrolet Wagon owned by Jack and Vicki Deluca. The Chevy literally purred across the reviewing stand with an engine so quiet one could hear the whispers of the crowd. Station wagons have been gaining in popularity with collectors in recent years, and this one truly exemplified the original American family hauler…
This year’s honoured collector was Dr. Fred Simeone of Philadelphia, who brought four extraordinary cars from his vast museum collection – all of which run, and most of which are unrestored:
- A 1956 D-Type Jaguar, the prototype of what would become the iconic E-Type (“XKE”) and which finished third at Sebring driven by Bob Sweikert and Jack Ensley
- A K3 MG, the best-placed of all MGs at Le Mans (1934, fourth overall)
- A 1958 DBR1 Aston Martin World Champion Sports Racer, one of the best looking racing cars ever built
- A 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 with a fabulous body by the house of Castagna, absolutely unrestored (like the K3), and also like the MG, in a true state of grace
Below are all the category winners from the 2011 Sunday in the Park Concours at Lime Rock Park…
The Lime Rock website link to the following winners list is: http://www.limerock.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=321
Class 29, Best in Show
1911 Pope Hartford, Dick King Collection (from Class 1, "They Don't Build 'Em Like They Used To")
Class 2, “"Gatsby's Delights," very special automobiles from 1925 to 1942
1935 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Sports Saloon, M.S. Koly, Darien, Conn.
Class 3, “Wheels for All," making the world more accessible, pre-1942
1929 Austin 7 Gordon England Special, Murray Smith, Washington, Conn.
Class 4, "Risky ‘n’ Racy," pre- & selected post-war competition cars
1909 Alco, Howard Kroplick, East Hills, N.Y.
Class 5, "Sporting Standouts," open cars 1943 to 1954
1946 MG TC, Peter Roberts, Farmington, Conn.
Class 6, “Fancy ‘n’ Fun," open cars 1955 to 1960
1957 Austin-Healey 100/6 BN4, Ed & Paula Collins, Springfield, Mass.
Class 7, “Environmental Elegance,” open cars 1961 to 1980
1962 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, Jim Petty, Weston, Conn.
Class 8, “Off to Grandma's," coupes & hardtops 1943 to 1975
1951 Chevy “Steelie” Station Wagon, Jack & Vicki DeLuca, Ho Ho Kus, N.J.
Class 9, "Home from Work," closed sedans 1943 to 1985
1966 Jaguar Mk II, George Jones, Mansfield Center, Conn.
Class 10, “For Road or Track,” sporting machines 1945 to 1957
1954 Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Stan Cryz, Dedham, Mass.
Class 11, “A Sporting Proposition,” sports cars 1958 to 1966
1964 Sunbeam Tiger, Dale Akuszewski, San Bernardino, Calif.
Class 12, “Keep the Shiny Side Up,” sports cars 1967 to 1972
1967 Jaguar E-Type, Andrew Bennenson, Darien, Conn.
Class 13, “Rapid Transit,” GT cars 1945 to 1960
1950 Abarth 2005 Vignale, Edward Shraged
Class 14, “Businessmen's Express,” GT cars 1961 to 1970
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, Herb Chambers, Boston, Mass.
Class 15, “Speed with Style,” GT cars 1971 to 1989
1972 BMW 3.0 CS Coupe, Chuck Moss, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Class 16, “Pace with Grace,” competition machines of merit
1963 Jaguar E-Type Coupe, Miles Collier Collection, Naples, Fla.
Class 17, “No Holds Barred,” post-war competition cars
1964 Lotus 30 Sports Racer, Bob Tkacik, Saco, Maine
Class 18, “Fun not Fancy,” odd and interesting perfection
1985 Renault 5 Turbo II, Mark Nicotera, Milford, Conn.
Class 19, “Creative Thinking,’ creative competition cars, rods & bikes
1946 Ford Custom Coupe, Deborah Becker, Falls Village, Conn.
Class 20, “Virgin Vehicles,” just as we found it, or non-restored originals
1965 Porsche 356 SC Coupe, Frank Righetti, Sr., Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.
Class 21, “Pick of the Paddock," a car racing in Historic Festival 29
1933 Alfa Romeo Monza, Peter Greenfield, Freeport, N.Y.
Class 22, “The Best Seat in the House," our softer side... interiors of distinction
1965 Jaguar E-Type, Allen Oshana, Guilford, Conn.
Class 23, Octane Magazine's "Landmark Competition Car" Award
1956 Ferrari 500 Testarossa prototype, Bill Binnie, Portsmouth, N.H.
Class 24, “The Morris Garage: Competition at its best," best MG race car
1933 MG L2 Magna, Chris Nowlson
Class 25, "The Morris Garage: Marvellous," best MG road car
1961 MGA Twin Cam Roadster, Phil Roy, Leicester, Mass.
Class 26, "A Jag to Remember," best Jaguar saloon
1966 Jaguar MkII 3.8, George Jones, Mansfield Center, Conn.
Class 28, Presented by Jaguar Cars N.A., "Best Classic Jaguar," post-war
1966 E-Type Coupe, Alan Weidie, Bolton, Conn.
Class 30, "Honored Collector & Contributor"
Dr. Fred Simeone, Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, Philadelphia, Pa.
Class 31, "People's Choice," spectator ballots
1966 Sunbeam Tiger MkI, Scotty Hackenson, Trumbull, Conn.
Skip Barber’s Sunday Selections, for spirit, quality and otherwise unrecognized excellence
1948 Cisitalia 202 Nuvolari Spyder, Michael Schwartz, New York, N.Y.
1960 Triumph TR3A, Harry, Candy & Matt Bartik, Pattersonville, N.Y.
1952 VW Beetle, David & Tracy Haviland, Burlington, Vt.
1956 Connecticut State Police Ford squad car, Bill Wood, South Egremont, Mass.
1955 Triumph Mayflower, Ann & Joe Trotta, Sharon, Conn.
1954 Mercedes-Benz 220A Cabriolet, Arlo Guthrie, Woodstock, N.Y.
Separately, Lime Rock Drivers Club member Chuck Ange organized a terrific Ronald McDonald House event for more than 60 children. They came to the concours and the kids themselves voted on their own “Kid’s Choice Best of Show.” The winner was Bill Gucker’s 1989 Ferrari 348 GTO Factory Concept. An astute pick, we say!
On a related note: The complete race results for Historic Festival 29 Presented by Jaguar can be found at this MyLaps link, with thanks to the VSCCA. http://www.mylaps.com/results/showevent.jsp?id=709691
INTO THE MAW...
The combined vintage festival and Sunday in the Park Concours is one of the biggest events for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut, the official charity of Lime Rock Park. Lime Rock set a goal of raising $100,000 this year – and we’re close ($75,000), thanks to you, the fan.
If you’re coming for any or all of the days, we wanted to give you a heads-up on what you can do, if you wish, to help Make-A-Wish get over the final hump. (By the way, the vintage drivers and entrants are helping, too!)
- A big percentage of each sale of the weekend’s Historic Festival 29 Souvenir Program – it is big (54 pages), beautiful and filled with good stories and photographs, and is still only $7 – goes to Make-A-Wish. Buy one when you’re here!
- You can wave the green flag to start one of the Saturday or Monday races. Just go to the Make-A-Wish display at the Lime Rock Info Tent and buy a $5 raffle tickets. We have LOTS of races, so your chances are pretty good at becoming an Official Starter
- There is giant convention of MGs here this weekend – almost 100 – and they want a Make-A-Wish “People’s Pick” vote to choose the best one for the Sunday Car Show! Make a small Make-A-Wish donation at the MG Tent (on No-Name Straight) on Sunday and you’ll get your voting card to pick your favorite MG
- You can also make a Make-A-Wish donation at the Rolls-Royce/Bentley display at West Bend
- And what are many of the 300 vintage race car drivers doing? For every lap they complete this weekend, they’ve gotten “per-lap” pledges from friends, family and sponsors. The driver that collects the most money wins a Rolex watch, donated to Make-A-Wish by Rolex U.S.A.
- Even if you’re not coming to Lime Rock this weekend and still want to make a Make-A-Wish donation, click here. The kids thank you very, very much...
The Saturday, Sept. 3 Lime Rock-sponsored special 9:40 p.m. showing of “Senna” at The Moviehouse in nearby Millerton, N.Y., still has seats left! If you don’t want to go to New York City or Boston to see this fantastic movie, click here to go to themoviehouse.net and get your ticket now.