This link is currently down
thanks to the legal types at NBC,
who apparently think we're
trying to get away with something.
We're trying to figure out what?

A week and a half later I was off on a marathon, 2500-mile solo road trip east, stopping first at Lime Rock for Murray Smith’s wonderfully re-invented and rejuvenated Lime Rock Vintage Festival on Labor Day weekend (full story coming up in my next column in Vintage Motorsport magazine, see shameless subscription plug above). Sold & signed a lot of books in front of my buddy Bob Zacca’s Driving Impressions store between the hill and the paddock on the Friday, Saturday & Labor Day Monday, and spent Sunday signing alongside my friend and hero John Fitch and his books at the concours on the front straightaway. If you haven’t read John’s Adventure on Wheelsor Driving for Mercedes, you’re missing some fascinating insider stories from a guy who has led─and continues to lead─a truly incredible life. All in all, Lime Rock was a wonderful event and hats off to Murray Smith for doing a truly spectacular job on all counts. Even the weather.
Then it was a short drive down to Eastchester, NY, for a lox-and-bagels breakfast the next morning with my favorite aunt Irma, and then on to Brooklyn, Manhattan and New Jersey for some business meetings (didn’t even get to see the freaking publishing people I had been trying to get in touch with in Manhattan, but what do you expect from New York?). Then it was thankfully away from the slowly disintegrating human anthill of New Yawk City and up to the Catskills, where I spent an absolutely lovely Wednesday pounding around the magnificent new Monticello Motor Club track in a Spec Miata (under the thoroughly transparent pretext of researching a magazine story, of course). It’s a fabulous layout (my good friend Brian Redman had much input into the final configuration, and it’s a fabulous layout and a welcome relief from the typically fiddly and uninteresting “technical” club circuits that seem to be all the rage these days. There are some wonderful corners, dramatic elevation changes and great and subtle driving challenges at Monticello, and even the great Mario Andretti commented that this isn’t the sort of racetrack you can master in a day or two. Rob Dyson’s team was there testing their LMP2 car, so I got to spend a little time with the drivers and crew and renew some old friendships (and then watch their Lola/Mazda LMP coupe rocket past and vanish at warp speed when I was out in the Miata!). I can’t say as I’m entirely sold on Monticello’s club-only business plan (particularly in the current economic environment) but the track and facilities are fantastic and the owners are tremendously enthusiastic and fully committed to seeing it through. I wish them the best, as it’s a fabulous place.


Next morning it was off to Watkins Glen to hawk books again with the Green Mountain Motorbooks gang and co-drive in both the Friday Enduros. First up was a co-drive with friend and regular team hotshoe Ken Fitzgerald in one of Yesteryear Motorsports’ marvelous Lotus Esprit Turbo X180Rs (the last factory-built Lotus racecar to win a professional championship) and although the X180Rs can’t really run down the straightaways with the far more powerful and more highly modified IMSA GTO and Trans-Am iron they find themselves regularly up against in SVRA’s Group 10, the team loves picking on the bulged-out, whaletail Porsches and they’re absolutely lovely cars to drive. Pretty to look at, too. I didn’t even get in the blessed thing until the Full Course Yellow pitstop just four laps into the race (long story) and we had the usual dramas and turnabouts―including the pop-up headlamps deciding to deploy!―on our way to a respectable 2nd in class finish. You can read chapter and verse on it in my column in Vintage Motorsport two issues hence (you’ll like the part about how the wheelbase of the #12 car mysteriously grew ¾ of an inch during the winter rebuild!).


More lapse...