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#2851 lotuspoweredbyford

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 17:47

Sad to report that 5-time Indianapolis 500 starter and all-around great guy John Martin has passed away at the age of 80.



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#2852 E1pix

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 18:52

Oh No! I loved that guy!

I first met John at the Milwaukee Mile for an autograph at 14, when was in his venerable red McLaren, in 1974. Some later research had me realizing he'd been a sports car guy, knowing it was much rarer in those days to come to Indy cars from road racing.

I did some PR work for an Indy Lights team in 1991, and met with them at the old Performance Development & Racing shop in Denver. My clients had yet to arrive, but the trailer had. A guy I didn't know had his back to me and I called out Hello. He turned around and I immediately knew it was John Martin. Mind you, Denver was still a cowtown in those days, meaning certainly not a place one expected to meet an Indy car driver in!

John and I had time to kill, an hour or two anyway, and became immediate friends. I reminded him I'd gotten his autograph at the Mile 16 years earlier, and he just smiled while opening his briefcase. He pulled out a "safekeeping" envelope and carefully removed two autograph cards -- from 1974.

He said, "These are my last two autograph cards of the McLaren. I've saved them for years, for the right time, and want you to have one." He personalized and signed one and gave it to me.

He quit that team by the end of '91, and knowing both parties I saw it coming. John wasn't one to take the sort of BS I'd known he was getting.

In 2014, the Missus and I were at her first World of Outlaws race ever, at Skagit Speedway in Washington. I went into a small, rag-tag building that was a sort of memorial for a known Skagit supporter. On the wall were scores of memories, including a candid of John Martin in Nomex, and images of racing cars with "John Martin" on the side. It seemed clear John had moved up north, settled in the area, and had died. One kid in a Sprint car we befriended told me a lot about what John had been doing, and had a decal on the side to honor him. He hadn't known he'd ever been a 500 driver but wasn't surprised.

About two years later, I was reading a post here from a guy who'd just done the Brickyard vintage race in his Corvette -- and he said his teammate was... John Martin! I was absolutely dumbfounded, PMed the guy and gave my history with John, leaving my phone number and contact info.

No more than five minutes later my phone rings, and an excited voice says "Eric, this is John Martin -- and I am very much alive!!!" We talked for probably 90 minutes, both of us repeatedly laughing over the entire affair. I've intended to keep in touch, but...

So this is the second time I've lost John. I'd give anything to be able to call him right now.

RIP, Buddy. Thanks for being exactly as you were.

#2853 DCapps

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 19:08

Sad to report that 5-time Indianapolis 500 starter and all-around great guy John Martin has passed away at the age of 80.

 

I usually don't comment on these too often sad announcements, but Eric's comments on John Martin certainly rang true. While I only had a few brushes with John Martin, but he was exactly as suggested by Mike and Eric, just a really nice guy. You meet enough folks in racing and you soon begin to figure out just who really are the Nice Guys. John Martin easily fell into that category. Thanks, Eric, for confirming what many of us already knew about John. You are one lucky guy.


Edited by DCapps, 21 November 2019 - 19:09.


#2854 E1pix

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 19:52

Now I need a hankie.

Thank You, Don.

#2855 SKL

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 20:29

Robin Miller has a piece on him on racer.com  and a nice video that was done before he passed.



#2856 E1pix

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 00:48

^^^ >>> https://youtu.be/YC0CFK1yG1A

#2857 Henri Greuter

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 07:26

Sad to report that 5-time Indianapolis 500 starter and all-around great guy John Martin has passed away at the age of 80.


Oh no! Another of those nice men who were so nice and grateful but also helpful when they found out you knew them and their achievements!

I met him in 2016 high up in Turn One on a practice day, we were all alone in the box. Thus we had had a brief talk, introduced ourselves, (My acccent and funny English made him notice I was foreign so he got curious where I came from) but he truly opened up when he found out I knew him and his achievements and liked his era.
Lovely moment of the day, a nice memory about a nice man.

RIP John Martin, thanks for the memories.


Henri

#2858 B Squared

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 10:07

The Racer article:

https://racer.com/20...dies-at-age-80/

#2859 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 14:28

John wasn't one to take the sort of BS
In 2014, the Missus and I were at her first World of Outlaws race ever, at Skagit Speedway in Washington. I went into a small, rag-tag building that was a sort of memorial for a known Skagit supporter. On the wall were scores of memories, including a candid of John Martin in Nomex, and images of racing cars with "John Martin" on the side. It seemed clear John had moved up north, settled in the area, and had died.

About two years later, I was reading a post here from a guy who'd just done the Brickyard vintage race in his Corvette -- and he said his teammate was... John Martin! I was absolutely dumbfounded, PMed the guy and gave my history with John, leaving my phone number and contact info.

No more than five minutes later my phone rings, and an excited voice says "Eric, this is John Martin -- and I am very much alive!!!" We talked for probably 90 minutes, both of us repeatedly laughing over the entire affair. I've intended to keep in touch, but...

So this is the second time I've lost John. I'd give anything to be able to call him right now.

RIP, Buddy. Thanks for being exactly as you were.

Lovely tribute Eric to a true enthusiast.

The reason for people thinking he may have already passed away was because his son, of the same name, who also worked with him on the same team, died in tragic circumstances in 2004.

That John Sr. didnt change his personality as a result is testament to the man he was.

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#2860 E1pix

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 14:42

Thanks Richard... I completely forgot about that!

Not sure why a Californian would be honored in northern Washington... so perhaps the mystery deepens. I think I'll call the track owner and clear this up once and for all...

Thanks Again.

#2861 Henri Greuter

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 20:32

To whom it may concern...

 

I hope the Mods won't come down oon me when I bring up the following info

 

Qualifying at Indy in the good old days was often an achievement in itself, and there are numerous stories about unforgettable and unbelievable events.

For these members over here who love Indy History and the Era of the Roadsters, maybe the following can be of interest.

 

My friend Greg Littleton has compiled a book about the Roadster years 1953-1963, focussing on the practice and qualifying during those years. A subject not being dealt with very extensively yet.  the book has the title "The race to make the race"

The book isn't cheap and I think you're have to be really into Indy history and/or the Roadsters to get hooked on it. But perhaps there are one or two fellow members over here who will be happy with reading this news and might be interested in this publication as well.

The book is not for sale (Yet) at the regular outlets.

 

Maybe the name Greg Littleton does ring a bell with some, he is indeed one of the co-writers on the book "The Roadsters of Indianapolis - Glory years ", a book in which he and the late Bill Enoch presented every Roadster ever present at the IMS.

 

Greg has a homepage for the book with more info about the book itself as well as how to obtain it. the link to it I have posted it below.

 

https://theracetomaketherace.com/

 

Apologies for breaking the thread and discussion and also to the mods if I broke the rules, that was definitely not intentional but I think that the largest numbers of forum members, who might be interested in thhis book and appreciate to read about its existance can be found looking into this thread.



#2862 E1pix

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 21:06

I love the concept!

I'll add that interest and profits would soar if the coverage extended to the last real days of the two-weekend qualifying format.

#2863 Henri Greuter

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 10:03

I love the concept!

I'll add that interest and profits would soar if the coverage extended to the last real days of the two-weekend qualifying format.

 

Greg is one of those people who loves Roadsters above all and he has co-written one of the I think ten essential books you need to have if you are into that period. But try to find one nowadays..... This new book of him is a kind of follow-up that became possible because of all research done for the first one.

I have yet to see my own copy but reading the info on the website makes me feel agree with you that he has indeed found a concept. Follow-ups of the concept would appeal indeed. But knowing Greg as I do, I am not sure if he wants to go into later years since his heart (and more)  is with the roadsters. But I am glad he gave us this one.

 

But I know what you feel. One example of a great story I did not find in the '80 Hungness was about Gary Bettenhausen making the field, ending up as slowest that year. The Practice & qualifying reports don't mention his attempt that brought him in the field.. So even the later years, as you suggest, could well `use ` a book of such a concept.



#2864 Michael Ferner

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 11:44

Lovely concept, yes. I always feel that coverage of the practice and qualifying periods is an essential part of the story of any race, which is why the "Grand Prix!" series of books by Mike Lang appeal so much to me, with their extensive and detailed descriptions of the days leading up to the Grands Prix proper. That, of course, is of even more importance when practice and qualifying takes up an entire month, as is the case with the Indy 500 - I have, in the past, already tried to do my best to include practice and qualifying reports within a couple of articles about past editions of the great race, and I think the one about the 1933 '500' should still be available within the archive of TNF. It's also good to know that Greg Littleton has already covered the "roadster era", which is about the least interesting for me, personally, so that I can save my efforts for the years which hold more appeal for me! :lol:



#2865 Jim Thurman

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 18:16

I love the concept!

I'll add that interest and profits would soar if the coverage extended to the last real days of the two-weekend qualifying format.

 

I concur, but this is specifically solely covering the era of Kurtis and Watson roadsters (and their off-shoots).



#2866 E1pix

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 14:53

Sorry guys, didn't mean to undermine the roadster project.

Maybe someone can run with "my" concept. Title: "Bumped." Could include everything from Rookie Test failures all the way to last-qualifier bump stories. But Man, what a lot of research!

Best to the author of the Roadster book, sounds great.

#2867 B Squared

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 11:21

Om this day, 55 years ago, Bobby Marshman lost his life from the injuries incurred in his Phoenix testing accident on November 27, 1964. Thinking of his sister Ronney, wife Janet, and son Rob. It is very rewarding that this year, due to Michael Argetsinger and Joe Freeman, that there is now a biography on Bob's all-too-brief, but very memorable career. Bobby is with me in thought everyday, as well as Michael.

#2868 B Squared

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 10:01

Robin Miller on Bill Simpson and his passing.

https://racer.com/20...son-dies-at-79/

#2869 E1pix

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 19:11

I knew a decade ago that'd we'd be mourning endless losses of the guys we so admired as kids.

Such is the case with Bill Simpson; wholly politically-incorrect, stubborn as they come, no BS tolerated, all coming right in the end -- from *the* guy racing really needed in those fatal times.


Thanks, Bill, for saving so many lives. So sorry for your being accused of the opposite; but Thanks for having the balls to fight your good name clear and keeping your "Impact" moving forward.

Thanks for the R30, the coolest hat a karting kid could ever want. Sorry my friends called it a "pig face," but know it's safe and revered in my vault.

Thanks for Nomex. Its rejecting fuel saved more injuries when my lifelong friend Eddie Miller crashed at Indy in '76, upside-down, neck broken, him soaked in gas with a smoker within eyeshot. I still shudder when thinking of the test his Nomex avoided that day.

Thanks also for signing a kid's program at the Milwaukee Mile in 1974, and making him feel like he belonged in your presence.

Thanks for bringing an off-roader to a higher plane, even if in a pink car. :-)


My hope is your legacy extends to telling it like it is -- no matter who is hearing it. We desperately need more like you, right now.

RIP, Hero.