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Right there in the official VIR files, near the front of the record book which is always interesting to sports car followers, is the name of Charlie Wallace.
He holds the course record at 2:26.2 minutes, averaging out to 79.58 miles per hour . . . but there's quite a story attached to such cold figures.
The nation's top sports car drivers have contested the 3.2-mile rolling road course in time trials for this VIR record, and if began last August in the inaugural. Carroll Shelby in a 4.5 Maserati clocked 2:29, and it was quickly beaten by Wait Hansgen in a D-Jaguar at 2:27.2. Wallace came in second at 2:27.8. That riled the Texas Ranger quite a bit; Shelby went back out and posted an unofficial 2:25 flat, which didn't count, of course.
But that August was not made for Wallace. He took a Cook's four of some rough infield spots, banged up a front fender and headlight, had to give way to Bob Holbert in the E-F-G race. Then he finished third to Shelby and Hansgen in the big car warmup. He again followed Holbert by 16 seconds in the semi-feature, and Charlie spun out at Horseshoe Bend trying to pass Hansgen in the feature race, finishing third.
Come October, however, he was ready. He had learned VIR's trick spots. Hansgen broke his old record at 2:26.8 in the trials, but Ed Crawford in another D-Jaguar bettered this with 2:26.4. Wallace drove a Porsche RS to 2:26.8 early in the day, too, but he came back in the afternoon with 2:26.2 for the record.
This set him up. He beat Leo Butcher in a Corvette as his Porsche RS ran warm, and then he shared the President's Cup with Hansgen, a team effort. When Hansgen's car dropped out, Wallace was leading, but he was called in to share the team trophy with Hansgen. It ranked as the sportsmanship of the year.
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