It was 1978, the third year of the Skip Barber Series, and slow learner Bill has finally clawed his way to the top of the standings. We Barber drivers were all curious how our driving skills compared to drivers outside of our series. I guess Skip was curious too because he announced at a drivers meeting that Sam Posey was going to be a guest driver at our next race at Lime Rock.
“Can’t he be a guest at some other track ??” said I. Growing up in the 1960’s and reading Road and Track and Car and Driver magazines I knew that Sam lived right around the corner from Lime Rock and was known to be the Lime Rock expert. Whenever the pros would come to Lime Rock they would hire Sam if they wanted to win. “Nope, Lime Rock it is.” said Skip.
You could say I was really excited when the weekend finally arrived. In our group that weekend was Bob Ziegel who was second in the standings. Bob was more experienced than I was; his main claim to fame was that he beat out Bob Sharp and his Datsun to take the pole at the 1965 SCCA runoffs. Later Bob Z. was a longtime instructor at the Skip Barber School so some of you may know him.
This was 1978 BD (before data) so the only way you could you could find out about the other guy’s line and braking points was to follow and observe. Waiting in the pits to go out for our practice session my eyes were fully focused on the back of Sam’s car. I did not blink! I was going to shadow Sam and learn all of his Lime Rock secrets. When we were released and I saw Sam start to move I dumped the clutch and lit up the back tires pulling up right behind Sam. Skip later said he was thinking that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea! I guess Sam figured that the way to shake me was to go slow rather than fast. Eventually I gave up and passed Sam and did my normal practice. Sam’s secrets were still a secret.
For the race I was on the pole because I was the points leader and Bob Ziegel was alongside in second. I don’t know where they gridded Sam but I did know he was going to be coming after us PDQ. After the rolling start I was just settling into first place and Bob was right behind. As I start to make my turn in to the uphill after the No Name back straight, I glance to my right and there’s Bob diving inside of me!
Nobody ever passed there. So should I make a point and contest my rightful corner?? Naw, if that’s the way he was going to play it I’ll let him go now and take care of him later. After cruising around in his draft for a few laps I made my move and passed him on the front straight. I was able to concentrate and pull far enough ahead that no more ridiculous passing attempts could be made. I took the chequered flag.
So where was Sam? He was in third right behind Bob. He said he was just about ready to make his move when the race ended. He also said when he saw Bob’s maneuver going into the uphill on the first lap he thought, “Boy, these guys really go at it!”
So that’s my claim to fame: “I beat Sam Posey at Lime Rock !!!”