When the FIA announced the 1984 Formula 1 calendar, I saw that Dallas Texas had been given the 9th race date of July 8th. The Dallas United States Formula 1 event would follow the Canada Grand Prix event on June 3, and the Detroit Grand Prix event on June 24.
I started to read about the Dallas event in “Auto Week” a periodical focused on racing with a section devoted to vintage racing. One of the articles in “Auto Week” noted a list of support races for the Dallas event which included the Dallas Grand Prix Vintage Auto Race for vintage racers from years 1962 to 1968.These were a similar class to Steve Earles’ class at the Monterey Histroics. “Hey – that’s me” I thought. Later at a spring Vintage Racing event at Laguna Seca I noticed a Don Walker from Dallas was listed as running a Ferrari. I went over to his transporter and introduced myself. He was the same Don Walker who was the Co-founder of the Dallas Grand Prix event.
We talked about his event and the Vintage support races. Don said my 1962 Lotus 23 would fit into the Vintage Auto Race event. Don gave me his card with the name of his administrator for the event and said he would alert her to my call. I waited until the following Tuesday and gave the administrator, Susan Lackey a call. She told me Don had talked with her and she would send me the entry forms and told me to call if I had any questions. I received the entry forms on March 18th. I immediately filled out the Entry Application for the Vintage race. After several phone calls to Susan I received my acceptance for the to drive smoothly to drive smoothly Vintage race on May 8th – I’m accepted!
Next came planning for the event.
The tow to Dallas from my home in San Carlos, about 15 miles north of Palo Alto would be 1,715 miles. I planned four days for the trip. My travel plans had to include a business commitment, I had to be in Las Vegas for a Computer trade conference on Monday afternoon, July 9th following the Dallas event. How to get the Lotus to Vegas? I started to scramble. Then a series of fortuitous events occurred. A fellow Lotus enthusiastic, Paul, who owned a Lotus Elan, lived a few minutes away from San Carlos. He was from Dallas, and he and his wife were flying to the event on Thursday, July 4th. He thought sharing the towing duties to Dallas would be great fun and save him a plane ticket. Plus, as part of the deal he would get a “hot-pit pass”, and he and his wife would tow the Lotus back to San Carlos. They were saved from buying two plane tickets back home, and I got the Lotus home – miracles of miracles. Getting the Lotus down to Dallas and getting it back home after the race were solved. For lodging I called my company counterpart in Dallas and asked if I could stay with him on his couch during the race week. He agreed, but said he was leaving for the Vegas Trade show on Thursday and I would only have one night on the couch than I would have the entire place to myself – things were looking up. I cleared arriving at the Vegas Trade show on Monday afternoon rather than Sunday. My plans were looking better every day.
I had one race, Sears Point, prior to the Dallas event and used the weekend to further sort out the Lotus and gain additional “Seat Time”. I was still in the novice category as a driver and I needed all the “Seat Time” I could get. I spent the next weeks prepping the Lotus for the Sears Point weekend. Paul joined me at the Sears weekend, and all went smoothly. I was becoming more familiar with the Lotus’ handling and capability. The Lotus came home and with Paul’s assistance the car was checked over for the four days of track time in Dallas.
The trailer was prepped for the tow to Dallas. Oh, did I mention the race would be held during July 5th to 8th – Mid-summer in “Big D”. My tow vehicle was a 1976 Mercury Station wagon. Lovingly called the “Queen Mary” or the “Family Huge-mobile” for its size and turning radius. With a 24-gal fuel tank we could handle the endless miles towing to Dallas and could easily tow the Lotus and carry all the tools and other equipment I would need for the racing weekend.