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George Follmer to speak at the IMRRC Oct. 3, 2009


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#1 B Squared

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 13:48

The International Motor Racing Research Center Open House -- traditionally held the first weekend of October (this year on October 3) -- is a means for the Research Center to show their appreciation to their supporters by providing an outstanding speaker as part of a special day at the facility. Open House speakers in recent years include Pete Lyons, Sam Posey, Denise McCluggage, Doug Nye, Leo Levine, and Michael Oliver. Admittance is free and the talk will begin at 1 P.M. Saturday, Oct. 3rd.

This year the IMRRC is pleased to announce that George Follmer will be the featured speaker. Born in 1934, American driver George Follmer has distinguished himself in every type of race car he ever drove -- and he drove just about everything. He was the USRRC Champion in 1965, Can-Am champion in 1972 and was twice Trans-Am champion -- 1972 and 1976. In addition to sports cars, sedans, and prototypes, George raced in USAC (3 Indy 500's from 1969 - 1971 / 1 win at Phoenix 1969, the first Championship Trail victory for a Chevrolet powered car), NASCAR, and Formula One. He scored a World Championship point for Shadow at the South African Grand Prix in their 1973 debut. In the Spanish Grand Prix he had a third place podium finish in only his second GP.

For any of us who used to attend the USGP at Watkins Glen, you know of the picturesque beauty of the Finger Lakes region in the Fall. This event would be a great venue for TNF members to meet.

I hope to attend as I write this and I encourage as many of you to join us for what should be a great time.

In the weeks leading up to the event, it would be great to see pictures and stories of George Follmer shared. Thanks in advance for your memories of this great driver and champion.

Brian Brown

Posted Image
George Follmer relaxes with the "Class of 1973" Grand Prix drivers before the South African round.

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#2 buckaluck

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 00:28

That is a great shot, sad to say to many of those drivers in the picture are gone such a short time after that pic!
Mike

#3 grandprix61

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 03:54

The International Motor Racing Research Center Open House -- traditionally held the first weekend of October (this year on October 3) -- is a means for the Research Center to show their appreciation to their supporters by providing an outstanding speaker as part of a special day at the facility. Open House speakers in recent years include Pete Lyons, Sam Posey, Denise McCluggage, Doug Nye, Leo Levine, and Michael Oliver. Admittance is free and the talk will begin at 1 P.M. Saturday, Oct. 3rd.

This year the IMRRC is pleased to announce that George Follmer will be the featured speaker. Born in 1934, American driver George Follmer has distinguished himself in every type of race car he ever drove -- and he drove just about everything. He was the USRRC Champion in 1965, Can-Am champion in 1972 and was twice Trans-Am champion -- 1972 and 1976. In addition to sports cars, sedans, and prototypes, George raced in USAC (3 Indy 500's from 1969 - 1971 / 1 win at Phoenix 1969, the first Championship Trail victory for a Chevrolet powered car), NASCAR, and Formula One. He scored a World Championship point for Shadow at the South African Grand Prix in their 1973 debut. In the Spanish Grand Prix he had a third place podium finish in only his second GP.

For any of us who used to attend the USGP at Watkins Glen, you know of the picturesque beauty of the Finger Lakes region in the Fall. This event would be a great venue for TNF members to meet.

I hope to attend as I write this and I encourage as many of you to join us for what should be a great time.

In the weeks leading up to the event, it would be great to see pictures and stories of George Follmer shared. Thanks in advance for your memories of this great driver and champion.

Brian Brown

Posted Image
George Follmer relaxes with the "Class of 1973" Grand Prix drivers before the South African round.

Sounds like a good way to spend a fall weekend. I will jump in with a photo of Follmer exiting the pits at Road America. With some luck I'll make it to the Glen. Ron Nelson http://img38.imagesh...67/shadow96.jpgPosted Image

#4 B Squared

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 10:41

Press release from the International Motor Racing Research Center at www.racingarchives.org

Racing Research Center’s October Open House
Features Champion Race Driver George Follmer

Versatile racing champion George Follmer will be the keynote speaker at the annual open house of the International Motor Racing Research Center on Oct. 3.

“Forceful George Follmer - a contender in any kind of racing he tried and a winner in most,” writes the Center’s 2008 speaker Pete Lyons on the website of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, into which Follmer was inducted in 1999.

The open house is a daylong event and is the Center’s way of thanking its supporters. Follmer’s talk will be at 3 p.m.
The Center is located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen.

Follmer is the only professional racing driver from the United States who has competed in Indy Cars, NASCAR, Formula 1, the World Endurance Championship, Can-Am, Trans-Am and IMSA.

“George Follmer distinguished himself in every type of race car he ever drove – and he drove just about everything,” says Research Center historian Bill Green. “He was the USRRC Champion in 1965, Can-Am champion in 1972 and was twice Trans-Am champion – in 1972 and 1976. In addition to sports cars, sedans and prototypes, George raced in USAC, NASCAR and Formula 1. He scored World Championship points for Shadow in Formula 1, including a podium finish in 1973.”

“I am always happy to return to Watkins Glen where so many of the great race battles of the 1960s and ’70s played out,” said Follmer. “I like to remember the victories, including the USRRC and Trans-Am wins, but they are all great memories.”

In his first racing season in 1960, Follmer earned the honor of California Sports Car Club Rookie of the Year. He turned pro five years later, winning the SCCA’s 1965 United States Road Racing Championship driving a Porsche-powered Lotus. Follmer’s Can-Am championship in 1972 was at the wheel of the iconic Penske Racing Porsche 917-10. He won the Trans-Am championship the same year, driving the Roy Woods Javelin. His second Trans-Am championship came in 1976 at the wheel of a Porsche.

Follmer’s USAC career included an historic victory at Phoenix in 1969, marking the first Championship Trail win for a Chevrolet-powered car. His three consecutive appearances in the Indianapolis 500 from 1969 through 1971 were plagued with mechanical misfortune, scoring his best result of 15th in the 1971 event.

“Despite George Follmer’s reputation as a hard-nosed, pure racer, he never lost his essential sportsmanship,” said Michael Argetsinger, a member of the Racing Research Center’s Council and author of the recently released biography, Mark Donohue: Technical Excellence at Speed, from David Bull Publishing. “Mark Donohue, who competed fiercely against George as a rival and often as a teammate, had the highest regard for him as a man and as a driver.”

For his accomplishments at Watkins Glen, Follmer will be inducted into the Watkins Glen Drivers Walk of Fame during the open house. The Walk of Fame is a project of the Watkins Glen Historic Committee, sponsored by the Center.
Other activities during the day will include the Center’s ever-popular annual “garage sale” and refreshments.
“We are delighted to have George Follmer at the Research Center to celebrate this important weekend on our calendar. This is our opportunity to thank our patrons for their generous support throughout the year,” said Mark Steigerwald, Director of Archives & Administration for the Research Center.

The Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation of motorsports, all series and all venues. It is open to the public without charge and welcomes the casual race fan as well as the serious researcher.
It was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of racing in Watkins Glen, the home of post-World War II road racing in America. It opened in June 1999.


I look forward to seeing Watkins Glen in the fall colors of the old traditional Grand Prix weekend. Brian

#5 B Squared

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 10:29

From National Speed Sport News - Sept. 9, 2009 - by Al Robinson

Unappreciated Follmer

Bring a group of racing people together at a favorite watering hole and one of the first subjects that will be kicked around for the umpteenth time is, "Who is the least appreciated driver?"

Formula One devotees who go back to the 1970s will usually argue for Chris Amon, while later arrivals may wave the flag for Jean Alesi. Indy-car types are likely to give you the late Lloyd Ruby, or in the IRL era, Davey Hamilton or Vitor Meira. NASCAR candidates would certainly include Bobby Isaac, Dave Marcis and Tommy Houston. Pose the question in a sprint-car crowd and you'll get answers from Chuck Amati to Danny Smith to Jack Haudenschild.

Or on the other hand, sports-car folks from the golden era, that is to say from the start of the original CanAm to the end of Camel GTP, would be close to unanimous. Lothar Motschenbacher might find some support, but George Follmer would win as easily as a Democrat running for alderman on the north side of Chicago.

George Follmer could only have come out of the 1960s racing scene. As a 31-year old insurance man from Santa Barbara, Calif., he towed a Porsche-powered Lotus 23 across the country in 1965 and, thanks tto the class scoring system, beat Jim Hall and the mighty Chaparral for the United States Road Racing Championship. During the next few years, he drove Roger Penske's CanAm Lolas, the Bud Moore TransAm Mustangs, Javelins for several owners and he won a USAC champ-car race at Phoenix in his own unsponsored, stock-block Chevy-powered car.

He replaced the injured Mark Donohue to win the 1972 CanAm title in the first of the Penske Panzer turbo Porsches while taking the TransAm title the same year. In 1973, he became a rookie Formula One driver for Shadow at age 39. He started the 1974 NASCAR season with his old pal Bud Moore, scoring a trio of top fives and a pole at Riverside International Raceway. There are a ton of other successes on his resume, including the 1976 TransAm crown, but you get the idea. George Follmer may have been the ultimate Renaissance man of an era when the best drove everything with wheels.

And he still stands on the gas today in vintage races.

George Follmer will be the guest speaker at the International Motor Racing Research Center's annual open house in Watkins Glen (NY) Oct. 3. The open house runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the center on Decatur Street next to the Watkins Glen High School campus, with Follmer's talk at 1 p.m.

Also on the IMRRC agenda is the annual classic car raffle, this year featuring a coyote orange (aka hugger orange) 1984 Corvette formerly owned by longtime A.J. Foyt sponsor Jim Gilmore. The 19,000 mile car is loaded with options, fully documented and the interior is autographed by A.J. himself. Tickets are $60 or two for $100. Only 1,984 will be sold. The drawing is set for Nov. 14. For information or to order tickets, call (607) 535-9044, or send a check the old fashioned way to International Motor Racing Research Center, 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

On a final IMRRC topic, the current centerpiece in the main library is a 1972 McLaren M19 in Yardley livery and with Peter Revson's name on the side, replacing the JPS Lotus 79 that resided in that spot for several months. While not Andretti's personal car, the Lotus was identical to Mario's 1978 World Championship winner.

The difference is striking. The McLaren is all struts and rivets with a rear wing the size of a table for six at Denny's. Just six years newer, the Lotus is smaller and cleaner in design, looking like it was sculpted rather than assembled. McLaren, it is said, made unremarkable cars remarkably well. Lotus, by contrast, made remarkable cars. How ironic that McLaren remains a powerhouse today, while Team Lotus is just a cherished memory.



Thanks for your interest and we will look forward to seeing any who can make it in a couple of weeks. The fall colors should be blanketing the region. A firm reminder of the Formula One days of old in this wonderful, welcoming village. Brian Brown

Edited by B Squared, 18 September 2009 - 11:08.


#6 B Squared

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:57

I'm wondering how many of the Watkins Glen "regulars" may be turning out for this fast approaching event?

Looking forward to meeting or re-acquainting with any of you who may be doing so.

So far, the extended weather forecast looks positive with sun and high temps in the low 70's.

I recently uncovered a long lost stack of Autoweek magazines from the late 60's through mid 70's and George Follmer is featured in many of the issues. I'd forgotten he was a driver/ columnist for the magazine for a period of time. Looking forward to meeting Mr. Follmer and enjoying the village and the beautiful surroundings.

Brian



#7 stevewf1

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 11:26

Cool photo!

Let's see if I can name the drivers (most are obvious, of course)...

Ground (L-R): Hulme, Follmer, Peterson.

Standing (L-R): Revson(?), Stewart, Cevert, Fittipaldi, Lauda, Ganley, Pace(?), deAdamich, Regazzoni, Jarier(?) [barely visible - looking at Beltoise], Beltoise, and... don't know the guy on the far right...

#8 lil'chris

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 13:05

Cool photo!

Let's see if I can name the drivers (most are obvious, of course)...

Ground (L-R): Hulme, Follmer, Peterson.

Standing (L-R): Revson(?), Stewart, Cevert, Fittipaldi, Lauda, Ganley, Pace(?), deAdamich, Regazzoni, Jarier(?) [barely visible - looking at Beltoise], Beltoise, and... don't know the guy on the far right...



looks like Wilson fittipaldi on the far right

#9 RA Historian

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 13:48

looks like Wilson fittipaldi on the far right

I'd say you are right.

With reference to George Follmer writing in Autoweek back in the 1970s, I remember how appropriate I thought it was at the time that his column was titled, "The Verbal Fist".

Tom

#10 stevewf1

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 15:22

Never met George Follmer, but I saw him walking through the paddock at the Can-Am race at Mid-Ohio in 1974. I wanted to get his autograph, but his scowl gave me pause... No autograph. :well:



#11 stevewf1

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 15:24

looks like Wilson fittipaldi on the far right

:wave: Wilson was somewhat taller than his brother, wasn't he?




#12 RA Historian

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 18:18

:wave: Wilson was somewhat taller than his brother, wasn't he?

As were most people. I got to chat with Emerson at a cocktail party in 1985 and was surprised in that he was shorter than I had imagined.

I also seem to recall that one of Wilson's sponsors was Bardahl.

Tom

Edited by RA Historian, 24 September 2009 - 18:19.


#13 beighes

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 20:29

If any TNF member has the chance to speak with George Follmer, perhaps they could ask couple of questions from the "Continental Divide Trans Am, 1967" thread. Was he at the event? Did he drive the Camaro? Could not ask for a better source.

#14 Jerry Entin

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 11:15

Posted Image
George Follmer and his Indy car racing teammate the great Jim Clark
This is from Riverside and the Indy car race held there called the Rex Mays race.

photo- Gil Munz
scanned for site Ike Smith

#15 B Squared

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 10:36

Jerry - Thanks for posting the photo above, with Jim Clark.

A portrait of this Saturday's (October 3) featured speaker at the International Motor Racing Research Center, Mr. George Follmer. I'll be arriving on Friday. I'll be more than happy to post photos from the event, if there is any interest amongst you in seeing them.

Brian

Posted Image

#16 Jim Thurman

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 02:12

I sincerely hope someone will go against the grain and ask George about NASCAR's "Follmer Rule".

Road racers like Follmer, Jerry Titus and Ron Grable were entering the special Late Model Sportsman races (sponsored by Permatex) at Riverside and Stardust. The answer NASCAR came up with was to require a minimum number of starts at NASCAR sanctioned short track ovals in order to be eligible for the road race events. So, George got a car and towed it to San Gabriel Valley Speedway, a 1/2 mile paved oval located a few miles from his home in Arcadia.

Any memories of his brief foray into short track racing (the track, fellow competitors - how about the legendary Ivan Baldwin?) would be welcome. For that matter, he won the first stock car event at Ontario Motor Speedway, a Late Model Sportsman race held the day before the inaugural NASCAR Grand National event...and he won it by a nose. I imagine he has some interesting, and untold, stories from those experiences.

#17 RA Historian

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 14:08

I sincerely hope someone will go against the grain and ask George about NASCAR's "Follmer Rule".

Road racers like Follmer, Jerry Titus and Ron Grable were entering the special Late Model Sportsman races (sponsored by Permatex) at Riverside and Stardust. The answer NASCAR came up with was to require a minimum number of starts at NASCAR sanctioned short track ovals in order to be eligible for the road race events.

Ah, yes, good ole' nascar, always open to expanding horizons, getting new drivers, and being fair to newcomers. Some things never change. Never let some outsider come in and upset the status quo of the good old boys.
Tom

#18 RShaw

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 19:06

If any TNF member has the chance to speak with George Follmer, perhaps they could ask couple of questions from the "Continental Divide Trans Am, 1967" thread. Was he at the event? Did he drive the Camaro? Could not ask for a better source.


There is a post on the CDR thread relating a phone call I made to George Follmer and I asked him those very questions, and followed up by sending him a copy of the Gas Can Man photo. George told me he did not remember being there at all, and was unable to identify the Gas Can Man photo as himself, nor did he know who it could be. He guessed Sam Posey or Ron Bucknum, but neither fits Gas Can Man.

Subsequently, Jon posted a Competition Press article written by Jerry Titus in which he noted the presence of Follmer in the Penske pits that weekend, verifying that he was there.

In Follmer's defense, since he did not drive in the race there is no particular reason for that weekend to be indelibly stamped in his memory, especially since he did not drive the Camaro again that season.

RonS.





#19 Jim Thurman

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 18:50

Ah, yes, good ole' nascar, always open to expanding horizons, getting new drivers, and being fair to newcomers. Some things never change. Never let some outsider come in and upset the status quo of the good old boys.

No one is more critical of NASCAR's provincial and often puzzling rules and regulations than me - well, other than you Tom :) , but...in this case, I can see their point. They wanted to avoid "cherry picking" of these big events that were set up to give local drivers a larger purse and gain experience. The fact that the rules did not allow for use of their short track cars and necessitated building separate cars for these events probably played an even larger role in the decision.

Edited by Jim Thurman, 03 October 2009 - 07:23.


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#20 RA Historian

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 23:08

No one - well, other than you Tom :) , is more critical of NASCAR's provincial and often puzzling rules and regulations,

You are probably right, Jim! My dislike for all things nascar has been well documented here; just think what an earfull my friends get from me!
Tom

#21 Jim Thurman

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 07:28

You are probably right, Jim! My dislike for all things nascar has been well documented here; just think what an earfull my friends get from me!

:lol: I completely botched my first sentence and have re-edited it. I was attempting to write - "No one is more critical of NASCAR's provincial and often puzzling rules and regulations than me - well, other than you Tom :)"

IIRC, the rule was only 3 to 5 starts at a NASCAR sanctioned track, so it was reasonable for the circumstances. Follmer made the effort, so it could be done. Unreasonable would have been requiring something like a minimum of 20 starts.