Автор Тема: Лен Саттон  (Прочитано 6481 раз)

Оффлайн Владимир Коваленко

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Лен Саттон
« : Декабря 19, 2006, 14:11:28 »
4 декабря умер известный американский гонщик Лен Саттон, принимавший участие в шести 500-мильных гонках в Индианаполисе и в одной из них занявший второе место. Лен Саттон был одним из самых активных и почитаемых участников рассылки "Гоночная история" (Racing History). Я собрал часть из его коротких рассказов о своей гоночной жизни. Но сначала небольшая информация о нём самом.
Most racing fans remember Len Sutton for his second place finish behind Rodger Ward in the 1962 Indianapolis 500, or his six other appearances in the 500, but up in the Pacific Northwest Sutton is remembered as a whale of stock car driver. One we are proud to induct into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. Len will be 80 in two weeks and he's not getting around much, preferring to stick close to home in Lake, Oregon, so he won't be with us tonight. Except in spirit, and let me tell you, that spirit is indomitable.
When he was 20, Sutton decided he wanted to drive a race car. In his first try, on a little dirt track near his home, he spun out on the first turn of the lap. He always said that was a good lesson, it taught him that racing was not as easy as it looked. From that day on, though, he just made it look easy. Always known as a man who was easy on his equipment, and with a record as a finisher, he won championships in the Oregon Racing Assn. in 1949, 1950, 1954and 1955. A versatile driver, he also won midget championships for Portland car owner Rolla Volstedt before heading East toward the more lucrative national circuit, where he was a winner for Ray Nichels in late model stock cars. As you all know, racing was different back then. Drivers wore T-shirts and flimsy helmets, and drove cars with skinny tires and no roll bars. Sutton had his share of scares.
In 1954, during the Mexican road race, Len careened into a ravine trying to avoid a small herd of cattle. That put him in a full body cast for four months. Two years later Sutton was at Indy for the first time and flipped during practice while trying to make 140 mph. He landed upside down with his helmet scrapping the asphalt for nearly 1,000 feet. In the Indianapolis News the following day, it said, "Sutton was at first believed dead by observers on the scene." He had a skull fracture, broken shoulder and serious abrasions over his back. A year later he was back and qualified for his first 500. In 1964 he was not injured but the had the scariest moment of his career when he drove through the inferno that killed Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs. "I guess it wasn't my time," he said of that experience. If this sounds like he was always in an accident, that's not true. It is meant to show that he was a survivor, a man who could go as fast as the next guy, but who rarely made foolhardy moves. As he told Paul Buker of the Portland Oregonian recently, "If I was in good equipment, I was one of the guys who would be running right up front. But I wasn't the boldest driver out there, because I didn't take that many chances. Some of the guys didn't mind banging wheels. I wasn't that aggressive. I wanted to finish every race." That philosophy kept him racing for 20 years, winning at every level, before he made up his mind to quit during a race at treacherous old Langhorne in 1965. That was the race where Mel Kenyon was severely burned. Len Sutton is still a survivor. Lung cancer, prostate surgery and a heart attack may have slowed him some, but not enough to keep him from rooting for Danica Patrick this year in the 500.
"I wanted to send her a telegram, letting her know that qualifying fourth isn't that bad because I qualified fourth the year I finished second," Lenny said. "But she wouldn't know me from a bale of hay." We do, though, and it's an honor to have Hershel McGriff, another Oregonian Hall of Fame of Fame member, here to accept the award for Len Sutton. Come on up Hershel..
1958 год

1960 год

1962 год

1963 год

1964 год

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Оффлайн Владимир Коваленко

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Re: Лен Саттон
« Ответ #1 : Декабря 19, 2006, 23:37:57 »
Вот истории, которые можно сгруппировать по годам.
1954 (участие в "Каррере Панамерикане")
Nice to see the Mexican road race brought up. I was driving a '54 Lincoln,  not necessarily backed by the factory, but entered by Ranald Fergason of  Bickleton, Wa., who had Jack McGrath driving for him in "53 [got a 3rd] .The  factory kind of helped him [them] the year before and we expected to do  well. I ended up in a ravine, after missing some cows in the road, and came  home with a cracked vertabre. Wore a cast for 4 months.
1955 (о первой гонке на большой трассе; до этого Лен гонялся на миджетах на коротких овалах)
In 1955 at the AAA race in Sacramento, my very first race on the big  circuit, Rolla and I were in the pay off line after the race behind Bryan  when Jimmy just kind of blurts out " I sure hated to see that kid, Amick  [George] spin out leading this thing, but it didn't hurt my feelings when  that &%#* Swiikert ran out of fuel". At the time it kind of startled both  Rolla and I about such vocal feelings.
1955 (вторая большая гонка)
The mile dirts were pretty full with 18 cars. In  honest racing circles, I believe a field of race cars made up of the fastest  [??] makes it a race. I mean a race to get in the field too. Not sure of the  numbers, but I feel sure I have been at some dirt shows where better than 28  cars showed up trying to make the field. The problem with dirt tracks, they  dry out so bad, anyone drawing a late number to qualify, even a Jimmy Bryan  can miss the show. In 1955 my 2nd AAA race at Phoenix, Bryan actually  qualified late and honestly missed the show. He qualified 37.90 and they  announced 36.90. You don't believe the promoter would run the Phoenix race  and not have Jimmy in it! My mechanic Don Collins had a stop watch on him  and he should have been a non qualifier. There were 28 cars there that day  and it took well over an hour to get them all qualified. The track went to  pieces. I qualified 36.82 and started 12th. Jimmy started 13th and as we all  may know, won the race. When the race itself starts we are all back to  square one. I'm sure I drew a low number to qualify. I was not in that good  of a car that day.
1956 (первая попытка в Индианаполисе; тест для новичков)
I passed my rookie test in 1956 and ended up in the hospital. When I ran  Indy the next time in '58, I did not have to re-take the test
1956 (о туалетах на трассе)
Talk about memories, in 1956 my first year at Indy, the men's and women's  rest rooms were in the infields and were the old fashion "outhouses' that  would have to dig a new pit every few years as they filled up. My two  daughters would hold their noses as they walked by them. And yes the garage  rest rooms had open showers with maybe three shower heads. No privacies at  all. It was a different world.
1956
For what it's worth, in 1956 when I crashed [rolled ] the Walcott dirt car  starting in turn three and where it finally stopped almost in turn four,,,  The car had such light damage, Troy Ruttman drove it at Milwaukee the week  after Indy.
1956 (четвертьмильный трек на 16-й улице находится в Индианаполисе; рекорд трассы Лен Сатто установил осенью 1956 года)
I can tell you this, I held the track record at 16th street 1/4 mile track  when it was torn down. I set this record on 9/8/56 The time was 15.64 and  was in Kay Wright's Hardwood Door black #2. It was never broken after that  and I ran there several times myself.
1957
Bob Gregg and I went to Saugus in  the spring of "57 on our way to the Tangerine Tournament in Florida with  Ashley Wright's midgets. Ashley was taking delivery of the first roadster  midget that Frank Kurtis built. It was for Gregg to drive. I'm in Shorty's  ride [he is going to join us later down there], and I go out to warm up,  never thinking about checking the chassis for weight distribution. Everyone  is going by me and I come in and Larry our chief says, lets check the cross  weight as it still had the settings when Shorty ran it last. Well it had RR  weight and Saugus was nice and tacky. I ended up qualifying third quick and  ran second to Johnny Tolan in the feature. That was after we tuned the  chassis.
1957
My 3rd or 4th Champ car race in USAC was at Trenton in the fall of  '57. I got a fourth and came back in the spring and won it. I may have spent  the least amount of time inspecting the track of anyone. I guess that was my  not my style, I will say the extremely low guard rail could not help but to  make you leery of getting in it. If the guard rail is only a foot taller the  your tire height that's no protection, regardless of what it's made of. The  racing fraternity is probably fortunate we did not loose more drivers than  we did there.
1957 (на 16-й улице также проводились традиционные гонки накануне 500-й мильной гонки на ИМС)

Altho I drove 16th street more than once, The only time I drove there the  night before the 500, was in 1957. If you are in the starting line up for  the 500, you are not allowed to run 16th St. I had run there in the fall of  '56 and broke the track record, that was never broken right up until the  track was demolished. In 1957 there were 2 complete races that night and  Chuck Rodee and I shared fast time and second fast time for the two events.  In the 100 lap features Chuck won the first and I ran second.  In the second  feature, I won it and Chuck finished second. We ended up being very good  friends and shared many good times together. While Shorty was there that  night, hot shoes Jack Turner and Gene Hartly were not.They were in the 500  the next day.
1958 (гонка на знаменитой трассе "Уильмс Граув")
I  remember Williams Grove though. Was there twice, once in a sprinter [Bill  Cowgill's] that was kind of a disaster. The other time was in '58 in the  Sumar Champ car. With fast or second fast time, I led the 50 lap feature  until I spun it. Oh Lord. Anyway when you have Don Branson and Foyt chasing  you and you try too hard,,, oopps
1958 (воспоминания о гибели Джимми Риса в Трентоне)
I have to believe he lost his life at Trenton on Sept. 28 1958.
I was there in the Sumar #48 and while Reece had fast time, he ran second to  Rodger Ward most of the race. Rodger started outside front row. I am quite  sure he went over the guard rail outside the first turn and I believe got  upside down on the 99th lap. Ward shows finishing 100 laps and the next 6  finishers were credited with 99 laps. Reece was credited with 99 and was  listed as 7th. I did not witness the accident.
1958 (о квалификации к "Инди-500")
Having just won Trenton, [spring of '58] I was anxious to get to Indianapolis for the next race. I stopped in Cleveland to see the Kurtis that had just been re-worked by Eddie Kuzma. It looked good to me. [I am still a rookie at Indy]. among the things that Kuzma did was narrow the frame. In a nut shell, the car would not respond to ANY chassis adjustments.And we made many. By qualifying time I was looking for another ride. I jumped in the Jim Robbins car and made the show. I don't believe that car ever ran a race. After several different rides I got back with Central [mid summer of '59] in their #81 dirt car and after rounding out the season with them, they ordered a new Watson for the '60 race and we were off and running. I ran that same car also in '61.
1959 (стартуя теперь больше в больших гонках, сезон миджетов он провёл лишь частично)
Although I drove a short season of  midgets that year ['59] , out of 62 races that were run, I competed in 17 of  them. Driving mostly for Don and Ed Pearson, I won 3 with one second and one  third. Had fast time twice. Out of 126 drivers competing all year, I ended  up 13th for the season. After winning Xenia on the 5th, I won the next race  on the 8th at Columbus OH. Same car, Pearson Offy.
1959 (о появлении дуг безопасности)
Correct me if I am wrong, but I remember we [USAC] had to install roll bars  starting the 1959 season on all Champ cars. Of the many pictures I have  ,through 1958, no roll bars , starting 1959 everyone having one installed.
1959 (о способах предотвращения жульничества)
Using a  series of blinking lights all the way around the track, honestly was my idea  in probably 1959 or '60. I suggested to USAC and then the idea was taken to  the speedway. At the time it was considered "not necessary" and was dropped.  The way to keep the cheaters [Unsers] from taking that advantage would be,  to make sure the line up didn't change during the yellow. Example, if you  are running 8th after the end of the first yellow lap, you better not be  running 7th or 6th or something else when the green comes out. The running  order is easy to trace as its all there in black and white.
1959 (о роли покрытия трека в победе в Спрингфилде)
 It costs a lot of moola to prepare a good dirt track. Any size,  all sizes. Weekly or by weekly racing affords the promoter more to work  with. Or more reason to keep the track, race ready. That just takes time and  money. For a dirt track to have more than one cushion, the turns have to be  worked and watered in a wide swath. When the first cushion goes away someone  starts a new one. When the one up against the guard rail goes completly  away, everyone goes to the bottom and starts over.
My win at Springfield in '59 was a little that way. As the cushion went away  at the top and everyone [but me] started a new on, there was not much to  work with. It was hard and dry. Everyone went through right rears and had to  pit. I just stayed up there and with no one else using it, there was enough  left for me to finish first and get the win.
Branson [2nd] Thomson [4th], I know pitted for tires. Not sure about Al  Keller who finished [3rd].
Just to take a little credit for having been "in the hunt", I qualified 8th  and was running 4th by the 10th lap. At lap 40 I was running 3dr behind  Branson and Sachs. It must have been between lap 50 and 60 that the cushion  went away. I went from 3rd to first sometime between lap 50 and lap 60. I  led lap 60 through the end.
1961 (гонка в Финиксе)
I was there driving  for Vollstedt in his "space frame" 4 bar champ car at Phoenix in 1961. That  chain link fence topping is an example of how bad that track had  deteriorated. Although Al lost his life on lap 40, the race was stopped at  lap 89 "because of darkness and deteriorating track conditions". The next  year the race was shortened to 51 laps as an accident created a safety issue  with the spectators. Again the track was is such poor condition we should  not even been racing there. I was driving the Leader Card in that event.
1963 was the last year[thank heaven] Rodger Ward won it. A race average  speed of 85 mph would indicate how bad the track was.
1961 (воспоминания о погоне за Джеком Брэбэмом в "Инди-500")
Jack Brabhams 1961 entry of the Cooper Climax comes back to  me, loud and clear. The color was probably green, but it looked like a dark  grey as you looked at it. Vollstedt asked me to take pictures of it and  bring them home with me after the 500 race. He thought with an "engine" it  would be hard to catch.
During the race [I start 8th] [Brabham starts 13th], I am running 6th at lap  40, Foyt and Sachs are right ahead of me, and the first series of pit stops  are about to start. A series of spins by whoevers and Jack Turner is upside  down on the front stretch at the start/finish line. Looking at my pit board  to see if they want me in,,, and I look back and everybody in front of me  have slowed way down. I spin but am restarted but it drops me to 10th. I'm sorry, I got off the subject at hand.
By the time I drop out at around lap 110, I had run along side Brabham for  probably a half dozen laps. I am running 9th at lap 110 and the book says  Brabham is running 10th at laps130 and laps 140.
My point is this,,, when you tried to pass him, you could "blow' him off  going down the straight and then he would drive right back by you in the  corner. We must have done this 4 or 5 times.
1962 (о том, как психологическая хитрость механика позволила Саттону показать хороший результат в квалификации в Индианаполисе)
In 1962 driving for the WWW team at Indy, Chickie Hirashima was my Chief and  the Friday before qualifying I was not getting around as quick as I had been  earlier and Chickie was prodding me and I guess my response was too relaxed  and he said lets take the race car back to the garages and see what we can  come up with. They suggested I go get something to drink and they would look  over the car. About 20 minutes later one of the crewmen come rushing in to  the coffee shop with an excited "hey we found something" and Chickie wants  you to go back out and try it.
While I tried to quiz him, he just said Chickie wants you to try it. With a  little more excitement, I said lets go.
I did pick up those couple miles an hour that I had seen earlier and with an  early Qualifying number, I set a new 1 and 4 lap record breaking Hurtibuse's  record set in 1959. Parnelli broke my record a half hour later [150] The end of the story goes like this. Several years later one of the crew  members told me, Chickie didn't change a thing on the car. He just "turned  the screws in my head".
1962 (о дальнейшей подготовке к "Инди-500")
 After qualifying for the '62 race [4th quick], Chickie and the crew,and I  decided we wanted to be as prepared as possible for the full 500 miles. We  were new  to one another and we wanted to know everything. Myself, I had  been in four 500's but had never made it to even the first pit stop. ie.  never saw what a worn out tire looked like as we would practice looking at  the right rear after coming off the corner. Believe me, I finally found out  one day.
Its not unusual of course to try a "full load" after the preparations are  finished for the race itself.
It's also normal to run a specific number of laps to calculate "mileage"  with the fuel/air  settings you have selected. I believe we wanted 3 miles  per gallon.
On carburetion day, we went out on the line with that full tank and with a  fresh set of tires all around. Without really agreeing on how many laps I  was to run, we did agree on trying to see how fast and find out how stable  the car would be, as we had it set up.
I went out and brought it up to speed as quickly as if I was returning after  a normal race pit stop. The car felt so good that I was running approx 147  within a few laps. [must have been pretty stable even with that full load].  Other cars were out there when we started. But after 20 laps or so we were  by ourselves.
I find out later as we are running more laps and at a pretty swift speed, as  the other cars would pull in, the crews and drivers would watch and put  their hand watches on to see what I was doing.
Chickie was out there on the wall with his hand watches, giving me the prior  lap, speed and as I remember, my thinking was, if he wanted me to come in,  he would give me the "in" board.
I was having a ball as it was me against the clock and I was anxious to  actually see the "cord" in my tire as we approached 50 laps. Remember, a  three pit stop race means you must go at least 51 laps with the fuel on  board and your right rear must go that distance too. I was by myself on the  track and it seemed like everyone else was watching.
The cord started showing at about '52 or '53 laps and I came in. I even got  a "hand" from all those standing around us. I believe my average for that  distance was about 148.5 and the "rail birds" felt it was going to be a  pretty fast race, come race day.
Chickie's only observation was I hope I put that engine together to last  more than 625 miles. It was of course our race day engine. It was interesting the next day in the newspaper.
Every year the newspaper would post the odds on every driver and they posted  Rodger and I at 4 to 1 favorites to win. Foyt was given 5 to 1 to win and  Parnelli, who sat on the pole at 150, was given 6 to 1 to win.
Now to answer that question, of course the car handles different. But the  car was never what you would call unstable at any time. With a full load it  kind of felt like you were pulling an anchor around and at empty, you felt  like you were driving a "sprinter" on a half mile track.
1963 (не прошёл квалификацию: дважды его выбивали с 33 позиции протокола)
The year at Indy that I would like to forget; 1963
After qualifying on the last day at maybe around 5 o'clock, I was bumped from the field. Very embarrassing. I start walking down the qualifying line that is still left, to see if anyone would want to give me a chance to qualify their car. I stop at Ray Crawfords car. He is looking real grumpy. I ask him if he is going to try again and he says "what for'. I'm not fast enough. Want me to try, I ask? He says go ahead.
So about 10 minutes to 6, I go out in Crawfords car, never sat in it before,did not have the time or space needed to adjust anything. He is at least 3 inches shorter than me, all the pedals are to close to me, my knees are into the steering wheel.
Anyway I qualify the car but am 33rd. At about 3 minutes to 6 the next car in line is Al Miller and he starts his run. We are not too worried as he has not been running that fast. Well he did then and I am bumped for the second time at the same race. Some time later, I asked Donald Davidson if he had ever heard of any driver having qualified twice and been bumped twice. He did not know of any.
End of the story.
1963 (дальнейшие события в сезоне)
 After winning the opener at Trenton and not getting their car qualified at  Indy [the next race], I lost the ride I had with Central EX. Art picked up  the ride and won the next race out which was at Milwaukee. Shows how good  the car was. Art qualified on the pole and led most of the race.
Bettenhausen, who qualified 3rd got by Bisch somewhere between lap 70 and  lap 80 and led for about 20 laps. Bisch got back by him sometime after lap  90 and went on for the win.
They[Bisch] missed the next race which was at Langhorne. The next race was  Atlanta on the 4th of July. Art started 9th but was involved in an accident  on the 37th lap that cost him his life. I finished 4th in the Sumar car that  day.
1963-1964 (испытания шин "Гудьир" и "Файрстоун")
Remember, we were asked to join in  on the Goodyear tire tests that were kind of set up with A.J. Foyt.  Firestone was the only approved tire at that time. The tires we tested were  quicker than Firestones 1963 race tires. And before the tests were over,  Rolla's car with me driving, were the fastest of the group and ran about 2  1/2 miles an hour faster than Parnelli's pole speed in the '63 race. Yes a  lot of people were looking at the car, but Watson was the only one that took  measurements.
What happened with Firestone in their engineering department that winter  after those test were finished is a whole nuther story.
After testing tires for Goodyear in '63, and then finding that Firestones were better in May of '64, no cars stayed on Goodyear. Later on that year Firestone ask me and others to test for them at Trenton. I'm in Vollstedts RE car. You usually ran about 10 laps and then come in. They throw on another set and you go out and do it again. On about the third set on my car, I went out and after the usual 2 or 3 warm up laps I got on it and, rather quickly came in. They asked me "What's the matter". I told them the tires were squirley and didn't feel safe. They didn't like what they heard, but they were taken off and we went ahead and tested some more, on others. It was some time later, I found out it was Firestones first test of radials on race cars. All those "wagon wheels" we ran for years were bias ply.
I got my check from Firestone when I switched in '64. Rolla was one of the  holdouts in the switch over. Mainly because they, Goodyear, were so  supportive in the prior testing. Rolla has said many times later on, that he  kind of wished we'ed stayed on the Goodyears and we would have been "the  fair haired boys" from then on. We would have made the race and been a  little less competitive, but with what happened later, he could have boasted  we were the only car in Goodyears.
1963 (забавный случай на шинных испытаниях)
I can't stand it any longer!!! During Goodyear tire tests at Indy in the  fall of '63, A "dumb" squirrel came out on the track in the short chute  between 3 and 4, and it was right in my path. The next trip around, there he  was. I straddled him, but he didn't make it. When he stopped and raised up  on his haunches, the nose was low enought to catch him.
Если кто-то чего-то не может, не умеет или не понимает, он доказывает, что это никому не нужно и даже вредно.

Оффлайн Антон Сумин

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Re: Лен Саттон
« Ответ #2 : Декабря 20, 2006, 12:35:08 »
Белку... жалко!..
Антон

Оффлайн Владимир Коваленко

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Re: Лен Саттон
« Ответ #3 : Декабря 20, 2006, 12:42:29 »
То есть под "носом" подразумевался нос автомобиля, а "поймать" - это попросту сбить? Я поначалу решил, что всё-таки обошлось.
Если кто-то чего-то не может, не умеет или не понимает, он доказывает, что это никому не нужно и даже вредно.

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Re: Лен Саттон
« Ответ #4 : Декабря 20, 2006, 14:33:10 »
Да нет, видимо, не обошлось.
Антон