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Michael Argetsinger


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#1 B Squared

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 14:13

With the deepest sorrow, I must let you know that my dear friend and author Michael Argetsinger passed away last evening at his Chicago home surrounded by loving family following a valiant battle against cancer.

 

I'll post more as details become available. I've been blessed to know him and have been a friend for these past seven years. With the various book projects and releases during this time, it has created a lifetime of fantastic memories. I respected him and loved him like a brother; my condolences to his wife, Lee and all of the Argetsinger family and Michael's many friends.

 

MArgetsinger.jpg

 

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#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 15:14

I'm so very sorry to learn this. I never met Mike, but felt I knew him through his contributions on this forum in the days when he was a regular here. Sincere condolences to all his family and friends.

#3 GMiranda

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 15:46

RIP



#4 Emery0323

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 15:50

Sad news indeed, and condolences to his family.  The Argetsingers have contributed so much to road racing in the USA. 



#5 Barry Boor

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 15:51

This is terribly sad news.

I think of Mike as a friend as well as a TNF colleague.

#6 charles r

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 15:54

Very sad news. RIP.



#7 fbarrett

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 16:21

Very, very sorry to hear this. He was a talented researcher and writer whose high-quality books were eagerly anticipated.

 

Frank



#8 Gokart Mozart

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 16:23

Earlier this year, Mike was scheduled to join us next weekend at the HAWK vintage races in Elkhart Lake to drive my Eagle FF downtown for the concours, but sadly, we will be without our friend.

 

I first met Mike in 2005 at the KIC at Road America. I knew he was writing a book about Walt Hansgen, and I had just received a photo of Walt in the mail with some other photos I found on eBay. I showed it to Mike, who was there racing Mayer Racing's Cheetah, and he immediately called his publisher, David Bull, to tell him he had found the perfect photo for the introduction page. Mike's book on Hansgen would go on to be a roaring success. It was the first of five (thus far) published books penned by him.

 

Mike served as a a teammate to me twice, driving our #57 Miata at the Kettle Moraine regional events in 2006 and 2007. Despite the fact our cars were underpowered, he never said anything other than the fact that our cars were among the best he had ever driven. He had a knack for spotlighting the good in things. He may have just been trying to be kind, but he would have never told you otherwise. He was just that kind of person.

 

It didn't matter if you were a fan of his writing looking for a signature, a pig farmer from Georgia, a PR rep, or a racer; if you were conversing with Mike, you were treated as if you were the most important person in his world at that moment. A rare man.

 

His passion to preserve racing history helped create the IMRRC in Watkins Glen, and it is without a doubt one of the true gems of motorsports. We've had our cars on display there three times, and whenever we've entered the area, we've always been treated like kings. He'd have it no other way.

 

Mike was larger than life in many ways. He worked for the Cooper Formula 1 team in the mid-1960s as Jochen Rindt's personal mechanic, raced all over the world, and also did much of the grunt work to help promote the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.

 

There was an epic story he once told me about driving a factory-prepared GT40 race car from Ohio to Watkins Glen to help garner publicity for an upcoming GP. Of course, there was no speedometer, and he was pulled over in Pennsylvania for doing roughly double the national highway speed limit for the time. After much debate and anger from the law enforcement officer (whom Mike reinacted with a voice like Boss Hog), Mike got off with a stern warning. In wrapping up the story to me, he ended it warmly with 'Jacques, I really wish you could have been there.'

 

Same here Michael, same here.

 

 

Respectfully Yours,

 

Jacques N. Dresang


Edited by Gokart Mozart, 08 July 2015 - 16:46.


#9 Gary C

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 16:25

Oh no, this is very sad news and a surprise too. I have been in e-mail contact wit Mike for a good few years after connecting up through TNF. I think I last had an e-mail from him about 3 months ago. Condolences to his family, I will certainly miss him.

#10 Option1

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 16:30

I'm so very sorry to learn this. I never met Mike, but felt I knew him through his contributions on this forum in the days when he was a regular here. Sincere condolences to all his family and friends.

Tim has said what I wanted to say better than I could myself.  May Mike rest in peace.

 

Neil



#11 Vitesse2

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 16:54

I can do no more than repeat what Tim and Neil have said.

 

Thanks for letting us know, Brian.



#12 RA Historian

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 17:29

I can add little to the eloquent posts above from Brian and others. Suffice to say, I never met a nicer man. Mike was the epitome of the word gentleman. Beyond that, he was the kindest man I have ever known. I have had the privilege of knowing him for many years. He arranged to have me speak at the IMRRC, and he went way beyond the usual duties of host to make me feel at home. He could not do enough for people, spreading kindness and love wherever he went. I will miss him terribly. Sleep well, my friend.

 

Tom Schultz



#13 B Squared

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 17:57

 Mike was the epitome of the word gentleman. - Beyond that, he was the kindest man I have ever known. - I will miss him terribly.

 

Tom Schultz

These words all ring so true about our great friend.

 

As do these from Jacques; "if you were conversing with Mike, you were treated as if you were the most important person in his world at that moment. A rare man."

 

Thank you.



#14 VWV

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 18:06

Wow, I am so saddened to hear of Michael's passing. The next time I visit Watkins Glenn and the IMRCC I will feel a void from unable to see and talk to Michael like I have so many times in the past. I truly value the conversations we have had. I totally agree with all the posts above expressing Michael's personality and character, truly a wonderful human being you would enjoy associating with.

 

Rest in peace my friend and may your spirit live on in the work you have done at the IMRCC.

 

 

Walt Vitez



#15 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 18:52

Every so often we lose someone whose knowledge, research and stories are so rich, plentiful and immense, that the void left by their death can never be filled.

That has now happened again with Mike's passing.
RIP and thoughts to family and friends

#16 Doug Nye

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 19:46

I heard at Goodwood that Mike was in danger. I am now so sorry to hear this sad news. Sincerest condolences to his family and many, many friends...

 

DCN



#17 Michael Ferner

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 19:50

Oh dear, what a nasty surprise! :(

Most heartfelt condolences to the Argetsingers and everyone else close to him.

#18 racinggeek

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 19:56

Sad news for motorsports history buffs. Can't say i knew Mr. Argetsinger, just chatted briefly with him at Road America, but his Hansgen book is indispensable, perhaps the best I've ever read covering that period in America, and the Donohue follow-ups are tremendous as well. And he was very gracious. RIP



#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 20:05

I remember in the early days of TNF when Michael's name first appeared here...

I immediately contacted Don Capps with the jubilance I felt, knowing someone with that famous name and the knowledge and background it carried was contributing.

Since then I've come to know Mike a little better. The first thing I learned about him was that he never... no, never!... said a bad word about someone. He stayed out of those conversations.

Remaining in occasional touch with him after that, through the period when he became a part of the fallout of the change of management here, I learned more. And when I went to the USA in 2012 with my wife, a great deal more... What Jacques has posted is so true:
 

.....He had a knack for spotlighting the good in things. He may have just been trying to be kind, but he would have never told you otherwise. He was just that kind of person.

It didn't matter if you were a fan of his writing looking for a signature, a pig farmer from Georgia, a PR rep, or a racer; if you were conversing with Mike, you were treated as if you were the most important person in his world at that moment. A rare man.

His passion to preserve racing history helped create the IMRRC in Watkins Glen, and it is without a doubt one of the true gems of motorsports.....


He treated us like royalty! We were so welcomed it really hit Janet and helped her appreciate and remember Watkins Glen even more. Mike showed me around the original road circuit and told me tales of the fifties there, especially the one about when Stirling Moss went to race on the artificial circuit, but they took him for a run around the old one...

"A pity we can't race here, old boy!" he said as they drove down the ess bends to the bridge.

Last year I stayed a night with he and Lee in Chicago. I would know nothing about Chicago if it hadn't been for Mike's 'grand tour' of the 'Ell' and the city centre, it was fabulous.

Then I stayed two nights with him in the Argetsinger family holiday cottage by Lake Seneca. Again, it was like being a royal visitor... he took me to the family vineyard the other side of the lake to meet Sam, one of his younger brothers. One of his sisters, Louise, was there, and lovely Jean, his mother.

My thoughts are with Jean now. Sam died in January, now Michael. Michael was unable to make Sam's funeral and felt really bad about that, Jean has been unable to travel to see Michael in his final weeks (though Mike and Lee did make a trip to visit her a couple of months ago) and that is all so sad.

And then there's loving and patient Lee, who has nursed Michael through all his trials, helped him with his books. They got the original interview tapes for The Unfair Advantage from David Donohue in California, Mike had no idea how he would go through them for points for his book.

Lee suggested that they play them in the car as they drove back to Chicago, then she took notes when Mike heard something he wanted to use. He, with Lee's help, was very thorough with his research.

I will certainly miss him when I go back next year. And to Lee, Jean and all the family I offer my condolences...

IL96leeandmike.jpg
Lee and Mike at home in Chicago




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Edited by Ray Bell, 12 July 2015 - 23:13.


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#20 Darren Galpin

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 20:47

So sad to hear this, and of course condolences to his family. Mike was someone who encouraged you and made your contributions feel very valuable. He will be missed.



#21 Jerry Entin

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 21:12

mike%20and%20bill%20600%20x%20450_zpslio

Michael in much happier times in his friends Bill and Bob Mayer's Titan Formula car.

 

A Great friend and a Truly Great Author and race Historian.

 

Michael will be Greatly missed by all who Admired him.


Edited by Jerry Entin, 08 July 2015 - 21:25.


#22 David Birchall

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 21:38

Very sad to hear this news. I never met him but I enjoyed his humour and his contributions to this forum. RIP Mike.

#23 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 22:21

Such a terrible loss. Sincere condolences to Mike's family and many friends.

#24 wolf sun

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 22:46

Very sad to hear this. Sincerest condolences to the Argetsinger family and Mike's friends. 

 

RIP Mike.



#25 sprite

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 23:05

I only met Michael a few times, but each time he spoke with me like an old friend.  He was a true gentleman. 

I am happy to have met him.

My sincere condolences to his family and many friends.


Edited by sprite, 09 July 2015 - 01:12.


#26 B Squared

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 00:36

Watkins%20Glen%2010-14-12%20215_zpsnjayj
As I think of Michael and his family; I easily remember his love of his large family, Seneca Lake and Watkins Glen.
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Watkins%20Glen%2010-14-12%20230_zpsiy0ol

#27 JacnGille

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 01:51

damn



#28 TIPO61

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 04:23

He and his father were responsible for for more goodness than we all knew.

RIP indeed old friend.



#29 B Squared

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 10:11

Michael's obituary from the Schuyler County New York news, the Odessa File;

http://www.odessafil...eople-obits.htm

#30 jj2728

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 12:00

Oh no. That is very sad news. Deepest condolences to his family.

 

John



#31 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 23:51

Terribly sad news. I can only agree with the sentiments expressed.

 

Michael will be missed. RIP

 

Dennis



#32 Keir

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 20:19

Sad news. Michael was one of those good guys you meet every once and a while. He will be missed.



#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 22:42

The Research Center will certainly miss Mike...

I was talking to Bill Green and he said of Mike's final trip to the Glen, "I know he did three things when he came, he came to the Center, he visited his mom and he went to the lake."

Michael loved it at 'the lake'. This was the family holiday cottage, though there are two of them side by side on the steep incline to the western side of Seneca Lake. Brian's pics are of the little beach where there's a children's playhouse as well as a jetty, overhanging trees and spots to relax.

I was privileged to spend two nights there with Mike last year. It was truly beautiful, awakening to see the fishermen boating by, while from some spots you could see the family vineyard at Burdett, the other side of the lake, where Sam used to tend the vineyard.

The family only use the cottages in warm weather, so it is 'closed down' some time in the autunm, when the trees around there are aglow with colour, and 'opened up' again as late spring brings some warmth. There are many members of the family, hence the second cottage having been added to accommodate them.

Mike's love of this holiday setting, originally built by his grandfather, was shown in his expression when we went out to the table and chairs set out a short distance from the upper cottage, it takes the form of a kind of outlook where you can breakfast and watch the lake and anything that is on it.

The early summer sun was dancing across the ripples on the lake and I took a photo:

NY2lakeglistening.jpg

When I did, Mike said to me: "You know, Ray, no matter where I am in the world, whenever I see the sun coming across the water like that I think of this place."

He had good reason to love the place, he possibly had reason when he made his last trip to think that it would be just that... his last trip... so he made sure he visited 'the lake' just one more time, even though it wasn't yet opened for the season.



.

Edited by Ray Bell, 12 July 2015 - 23:17.


#34 GMACKIE

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 23:18

I never met Michael, however after reading this thread, I wish I had. RIP.



#35 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 23:58

I never met Michael, however after reading this thread, I wish I had. RIP.


Yes, and I think that says as much about Michael's friends as it does about him.

#36 GreenMachine

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 03:45

I never met Michael, however after reading this thread, I wish I had. RIP.


What Greg said.



#37 275 GTB-4

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 09:21

What Greg said.


agreed...what Ed said...some people contribute and others, well, they just tag along for the ride.

#38 lotuspoweredbyford

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 15:17

I am shocked to hear this news. I met Michael at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway photo shop in 2014 just by pure luck. He was choosing photos for his Bobby Marshman project. He treated me immediately like an old friend and joined me as a guest in my 1964 Indianapolis 500 radio documentary.

I only knew him briefly but he was a remarkable,kind man who will be missed. RIP.

#39 WDH74

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 04:43

I never met Michael, however after reading this thread, I wish I had. RIP.

 

Me too. I think I only interacted with him here once or twice (I am far from prolific), and though I saw him drive at Road America a couple of times I was far too shy to introduce myself. 



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#40 Buford

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 10:02

Very saddened. I knew him about 15 years. He was very grateful for my family's 40 year photo collection donation to the museum. I have been to his home where we went out for dinner and back for many hours of watching old films in his rec room. He really was one of the nicest guys I ever met and he also told me the Ford GT story. He defended my credibility here when I was under attack. Had to come back and express my sorrow. We were infrequent and distant friends but we were friends I am very sad.



#41 B Squared

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 18:04

Racer magazine remembers Michael:

http://www.racer.com...-dies-at-age-70

Buford - Thanks for taking time to remember Michael.

I was at the Millers at Milwaukee event the past two days. Michael was the point of many conversations, with plenty of laughs and tears. His memory and recognition of his character and accomplishments are secure with so many people; Michael will be remembered well and long. To have touched so many in such a positive manner is truly a sign of a life well-lived.

Edited by B Squared, 12 July 2015 - 18:08.


#42 jj2728

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 18:50

I 'grew up' at The Glen, as it were, from the mid '60s thru mid '70s and only have the fondest and some sad, memories of our family's time there. The lovely (and at times not) fall weekends during the GP, breakfasts at the Glen Motor Inn amongst my racing heroes, my father introducing me to Mike's dad, Cameron, the unbelievably surreal silence that followed Cevert's accident (one of the sad memories), Jimmy's win in '67 and so on and so forth. And I'm now reading again Mike's superb book 'Formula One at Watkins Glen' that he so graciously signed for me, thanking me for my contribution to the book ,refreshing those memories and thinking that as a cancer survivor myself and one who came so close to the edge and is still never completely out of the woods, that he's up there now with the racing greats and re-living his old memories with them. Time to hoist a dram in his honour.



#43 AAA-Eagle

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 20:01

Oh no..... That's terrible to hear......... 

 

At the very moment I saw a thread titled with the name of Michael the worse thoughts came to me.... And now I still can't believe it's true.......

 

For me as for many of TNFers Mike wasn't just a contributor to this forum, but also and firstly a great friend, who was always open to helping others....

 

My sincerest condolences to the Mike's family...

 

R.I.P. mate, hope you are in a better world now...

 

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:



#44 rdrcr

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 21:54

This is such a loss not only to the motorsports community at large, but to humanity.  Mike was so kind, gracious, selfless and a true gentleman as others have mentioned.  He was the consummate host, either at his family's estate on the lake, or at his home in Chicago...  I never heard him speak ill of anyone, ever…

 

It was through TNF that I first met Mike and from here, we discovered that our families were acquainted long before we were a glimmer in our daddy's eyes.  Cameron was the general counsel and an officer for the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co - right across the Mahoning River was my father's scrap yard that sold the reprocessed scrap to them - the contractual matters negotiated by the aforementioned parties.  Mike instantly recognized my last name and after I spoke of my grand adventures at the Glen in the '70s and early '80s, we became fast friends.  Sharing time with one another as our paths crossed from time to time.

 

I was privileged and honored to escort Mike and Lee to the Petersen Museum for the 2011 Motor Press Guild Awards, where his fine work, Formula One at Watkins Glen: 20 Years of the United States Grand Prix, 1961-1980" was a finalist for the Dean Batchelor Award.  We had maintained contact up until earlier this year. 

 

A fellow racer and friend had texted me regarding Mike's passing.  Shocked and saddened to the core, I thought I may be able to compose some words of respect for my friend and deliver them here to others who knew him better than I and to some who only knew him from TNF. 

 

My sincerest condolences to Lee, Jean, JC, Joan and all of the Argetsinger family.  This must be especially difficult for the Argetsingers as they just lost younger brother, Samuel, earlier this year.  I am sure we all extend our deepest sympathies as well to Mike's extended family within IMRRC - Bill, Glenda and everyone past and present who were a close part of Mike's life there at the Center.  He will be deeply missed.

 

Godspeed my friend.

 

 

Richard

 

Argetsinger%20Lake%20House%20North%20Vie

 

 

PA040013b_zpsyyvzbqbq.jpg


Edited by rdrcr, 12 July 2015 - 22:08.


#45 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 08:35

Originally posted by Gokart Mozart
.....There was an epic story he once told me about driving a factory-prepared GT40 race car from Ohio to Watkins Glen to help garner publicity for an upcoming GP. Of course, there was no speedometer, and he was pulled over in Pennsylvania for doing roughly double the national highway speed limit for the time. After much debate and anger from the law enforcement officer (whom Mike reinacted with a voice like Boss Hog), Mike got off with a stern warning. In wrapping up the story to me, he ended it warmly with 'Jacques, I really wish you could have been there.'


I'm sure this was the story where the police officer thought Mike was the driver... and he wasn't...

The GT40 being right hand drive, and the officer not knowing this, he went to the left side and spoke to Mike through the window. You can imagine the humour this added to the situation... and the embarrassment...

Another good story he had to tell related to a drive back from Rochester where John Surtees had done an interview about the upcoming GP. They were in, as usual in those times, a car provided by FoMoCo to help transport the visiting drivers around.

As they headed back towards the Glen, they hadn't noticed the fuel level was low and they ran out of fuel. The car rolled to a stop and they didn't get it quite off the road when they stopped. This attracted the ire of a law officer who came upon them

He was reading the riot act to them, or to Mike anyway, and didn't want to know about any excuses or reasons, about the United States Grand Prix, Watkins Glen or anything else. It wasn't going well at all until Mike mentioned his passenger's name.

"John Surtees, the motorcycle World Champion?" the officer responded. His demeanour changed in a flash.

"What do you guys want me to do for you?"




.

Edited by Ray Bell, 13 July 2015 - 08:37.


#46 B Squared

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 13:46

Add Autoweek to those remembering Michael:

 

http://autoweek.com/...tsinger-dies-70

 

As well as ESPN:

 

http://espn.go.com/r...ger-dies-age-70

 

and Vintage Motorsport:

 

http://www.vintagemo...ews.asp?id=2875


Edited by B Squared, 13 July 2015 - 13:52.


#47 dmj

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 13:51

RIP. I'm sure I'm not the only one here who learnt so much from his great contributions in earlier days of TNF.



#48 rdrcr

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 16:01

2004.07.20%20-%20RA%20-%20Mike%20Argetsi

 

July, 2004 - Road America - Mike behind the wheel of the Cheetah (a very quick, but (ev)ill handling beast we are told)

 

2004.07.20%20-%20RA%20-%20Mike%20Argetsi

 

2004%20-%20Argetsinger%20in%20the%20Chee

Photo: Scott Paceley


Edited by rdrcr, 13 July 2015 - 16:23.


#49 WDH74

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Posted 14 July 2015 - 04:26

I've lost track of the number of times I've seen that particular Cheetah at RA, including  Michael's performances as well. Am unsure if I have any shots of it in action, though!


Edited by WDH74, 14 July 2015 - 04:27.


#50 B Squared

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Posted 14 July 2015 - 13:05

A memorial mass for Michael will be held at St. Mary’s of the Lake Catholic Church in Watkins Glen at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 20. The burial service will be private.

 

I will be attending the services in Watkins Glen, possibly some of you in the States may be able to be there also. There is also to be a memorial for Michael in Chicago at a later date, which I will share as details become available.

 

Michael with my Mom and Dad on September 29, 2013 when he came down to spend a couple of days to kick off the launch of the Bobby Marshman project with me. He and Lee had gone to the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with my family, but Mom hasn't gone since the first of the grandkids was born so she first met him that day. She called a few days later and stated that if there should ever be a photo associated with the word "gentleman" in the dictionary; it should surely be that of Michael Argetsinger.

Michaels%20Visit%20008_zpsdoemff0m.jpg