Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ode to Dick Doane--Part II

  '63 Dick Doane racing the LightWeight Grand-Sport Sting Ray at Geenwood IR.


Note: Road-racing Drivers School is considerably different than regular driving school as you must go to a doctor, have a physical, a mental test to see if you are qualified to operate motor vehicles at high speeds and you must have an extensive eye test to qualify. Then have several days of instruction.

Dick Doane at Greenwood International Raceway in Indianola Ia. just south of Des Moines, brought in 1963 the Lightweight Grand-Sport Corvette and the next year he raced the #29 Chevette.  The number 29 must have been his lucky number of choice as he put it on many of his cars, much as 37 was mine. If I couldn't get the number 37, as was on my every race car, I would try to get something that I could easily make out of 37 by adding a little black tape, like #39.

Dick Doane checking air in tire the of Light Weight Sting Ray before race
Dick Doane came in second place that day in the lightweight Stingray at Greenwood, much to all our disappointment but bleeding profusely from the right hand palm because the shifting ball had come off the end of the gear shift halfway through the race. He had to shift the gears the rest of the race, up and down many times a lap with only the bare threads on the shifting leaver. The shifting ball kept rolling around in the cockpit showing up in unexpected places impeding his progress, like under the accelerator when he needed to go fast or shift, sometimes under the brake when he needed to slow down for a corner. The treads on the shifter lever cut into his hand through his racing glove and he was bleeding from that wound as he soldiered on.

Dick Doane in his metallic Blue Grand Sport (Lightweight) At Greenwood IA.

I found out much later Dick Doane was actually part owner of the Meadowdale International Raceway and had Doane's Corner named after him.  But I had heard his stories of the mud roads in South America and him being a General Motors test driver sent there by them. As I said before, I heard from somewhere, maybe him, that he had all five of the Grand Sports GM concept cars the Lightweight Stingrays to begin with. The lightweight Stingrays were all very unique with many different features.  He had kept what he thought was the best Grand Sport for himself and gave other four of them away to his racing buddies to race and develop.

1964 Dick Doane leaning against station wagon waiting for the call 
to race at Greenwood IR. 

1964 Dick Doane driving the Chevette through the pits at Greenwood IR in Iowa

Dick Doane and the Chevette, hurrying to the staring line '64 at Greenwood IR

Those were the good old days. They bring back so many fond and cherished memories.........Although my racing career as a whole was only slightly better than mediocre at best, I made a somewhat notable success of my later life mainly because of my past knowledge, experience and driving obsession with cars and beautiful women.   

I started my career at Playboy magazine with the exceptionally well received 
"Sex and the Automobile" feature.

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