(MARRS-RX7) One last shot (for now) of USGP pics

Scott Luttrell fastandwily
Tue Jun 1 11:43:12 CEST 2010


I think Alex is right You've got the makings of a book worth buy'n.


On May 31, 2010, at 10:42 PM, Jack Burrows wrote:

> A couple parting shots....
> 
> Jack Brabham on the grid before the start of the 1970 USGP.  Yes, for the eagle-eyes among you, the grid is on the short straight between the "ninety" (now turn 1) and the esses because that's where the old pits used to be before the track was lengthened.  Start/finish was just past the present-day pit re-entry where Wedgwood Road crosses the track.  
> <Brabham 70.jpg>
> 
> During this race, Denny Hulme sheared a half-shaft on his McLaren, causing the rear end to fishtail radically and hook a wheel in the culvert which used to be on track's edge on driver's left where the road crosses the track.  His car flipped up into the air, barrel-rolling while airborne and landing with a loud WHUMP in a cloud of dust.  Everyone along pit road was holding their breath waiting for the dust to clear because they knew if it landed upside down Hulme would be toast. (Remember those "roll bars.")  The relief was palpable when the dust cleared and we all saw Hulme was right-side up.  He climbed out of the car and stood there watching race traffic whiz past and then did the damnedest thing - he reached into the pocket of his driver's suit and pulled out an apple.  After a few nonchalant bites, he trotted back across the track as if nothing had happened.  And of course, his totaled McLaren sat there for the rest of the race, having become "part of the course." 
> 
> Two other more "modern" pics from the Glen's final USGP in 1980:
> 
> 1980 world Driving champion and race winner that year, Alan Jones in his Williams-Cosworth.
> <Alan Jones Williams-Ford USGP 80.jpg>
> 
> 
> And another of my heroes, Gilles Villeneuve, in his pig of a Ferrari in the same race:
> <Giles Villeneuve USGP 80.jpg>
> I'll always be grateful to Gilles for one of those surreal things that can only happen in F-1.  Ferrari, figuring their flat-12 car had been good enough to win the world driving championship the previous year, had done nothing to update their cars for 1980 and found themselves utterly outclassed and in the embarrassing position of struggle just to make the grid.  I was working the pits at the Long Beach season opener and watched Villeneuve and Schecter struggling mightily with their cars.  This was also the days of ground-effects cars (note the skirts between the side pods and the track pavement), and Villeneuve had damaged one of the skirts on a curb.  He "fixed the problem" by taking out the other skirt on another curb, making the car skate and slide all over the place.  Most drivers would've parked it, but not Gilles.  He power-slid and drifted for lap after lap, also breaking off the front wings and coming in for a new nose.  The team wanted too call it quits, but he insisted on continuing.  He flogged that pig for a bunch more laps, cracking and shedding fiberglass and bodywork all around the track as he caromed off of every curb.  finally i head the called that he had a large fire in the engine compartment, and i listened as the corner stations called him around and realized he was going to be coming in the pits (Matt Geidl-style). fully involved.   He calmly drove the car past all manner of pit marshals and firemen waving fire extinguishers and parked it in the Ferrari pit.  Then, as we all descended on his flaming car, he causally climbed out, gave the car a huge kick, and then bowed formally to the grandstands across the track.  Then he turned around, grinned sardonically, and said "At least they can't accuse of me not getting everything out of this car."  And walked away.
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