Crossing the St. Lawrence into Ogdensburg, New York, on July 21, we headed south and then joined the New York Thruway/I-90, eventually connecting to the Massachusetts Turnpike to bring us, after a bit less than 6 hours of driving, to the small town of Lee, where we had booked accommodation at a nice Bed & Breakfast.
|The Colonial Theater, Pittsfield, Massachusetts|
Once you own a Corvette, you discover that you can get special treatment (well, somewhat special and you pay for it) when you go to races where Corvette Racing competes. The Corvette Corral is a special parking area set aside for owners. There are activities associated with it but the extent of these seems to vary considerably from track to track. It seems at the 24 Hours of Daytona that Chevrolet is the main sponsor but otherwise it seems to be up to local Corvette dealers or clubs to put something together. The affair at Lime Rock Park was modest: a parking place, a chance to hang out with other owners as well as the opportunity for a few parade laps of the track, then to hear from Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing's manager, and meet the four team drivers. In addition to the Corvette Corral, there was a Porsche Corral, one for Minis, and another for American Muscle Cars.
After looking at the other Corvettes, all those who wanted to do the parade laps were asked to assemble at the Porsche Corral. Their sponsor was able to offer coffee and doughnuts, which we enjoyed as the safety briefing was given. Pretty standard: no passing anyone; keep in line; obey whatever the lead vehicle wants you to do. It all went pretty smoothly and we enjoyed our three laps and did not get into any trouble, although we had to be quick to get onto the track as when everyone pulled off the grass to turn onto the asphalt they gunned it and a big gap opened up.
|Here we go!|
Lime Rock Park sits on 325 acres and features a 1.5 mile long track with seven turns and some nice changes in elevation. Opened in 1957, it is the oldest continually operating road racing track in the United States. There is a permanent injunction preventing Sunday racing. After his retirement in 1964, racing legend John Fitch (who had been associated with Corvette, among other marques) became the track manager. He died in 2012 at his home not far from Lime Rock Park, aged 95. The track was the home course of actor Paul Newman, a talented racer, but saw all of racing's greats pass through, including Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney, Mario Andretti, Sam Posey and Mark Donohue and the lap record of 43.112 seconds was set by Parnelli Jones in 1993. Sam Posey, who has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and experience as an architect, designed the gorgeous timing tower building at the start/finish line.
|Corvette No. 4 Drivers: Oliver Gavin (l) and Tommy Milner|