VIR - As everyone knows by now, VIR had one of it's greatest Nationals ever this year. Course and lap records were broken in almost all classes, the most notable being that of George Alderman in that "great Honkin' " McLaren/Chevy which completely wiped out Dick Thompson's course record set at 2:15.6 in the GT-40. Alderman set the new record at 2:13.8 !! The Formula Races this year were just great. It's been a darn good while since we've bad as big a field in either FV or the A, B & C cars. Whit Tharin showed everyone the way in the FV event as he completely walked away from everybody in his new Zink. In the F/ABC Race odds were resting on Pete Hutchinson and Bob McQueen in a Lotus 35 and LeGrand as overall and FB winners. Off the line it was a good dice from the start with McQueen taking the lead and Hutchinson right on his tail. On the 3rd lap, coming into the "downhills" the two tangled and Hutchinson ended up riding over McQueen's car. McQueen was first back on and headed for the Pits. Hutchinson, thinking he had proceeded on, took off to catch him. He only got as far as the bridges before be overcooked it and sumersalted into the brush. Bill Gubelman in his Brabham FC now had command and proceeded to break the checker 80 seconds before the next car, Alan Gottlieb's FB Brabham which also set the FB record at 2:21.
As unfortunate as it was, I think a lesson was well learned by all from Pete Hutchinson's accident at the VIR Nationals, April 30th. Pete lost control of his Formula B Lotus 35 between the crossover bridges, flipped several times, landed upside-down, and started burning. Flagman,Rick Dixon was first on the scene and enlisted the help of some spectators to help remove Hutchinson from the car, which had to be lifted. Although it was only a few moments that Hutchinson was in the burning car, his Goodyear Driving Suit was burned almost completely off of him. What perhaps saved him ? NOMEX UNDERWEAR. Almost every part of his body not covered by Nomex received 2nd degree burns. Perhaps with a Nomex outer-suit, FULL driving gloves, and a bubble shield, almost none of him might have been hurt, for be had no contusions at all. Fuel cells in his tanks kept the car from igniting fast and allowed more time, with less danger for personnel, to remove him. Hutchinson did not lose consciousness and had already released his shoulder harness and belt, thus saving more time in his removal. The Nomex outfit costs around $100.00 as opposed to $25.00 or $30.00 for the other type suits, but for your life, it's a pretty cheap price to pay.