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T O P I C R E V I E W
Posted - 05/14/2013 : 17:57:57 reposted from another Chin member:
You may have heard these stories before from Sebring veterans. As best as we can determine, here is the truth:
Several drivers once started the 12 Hours without permission, sneaking on to the track during the first lap. FACT Six drivers of reserve entries in 1955, unhappy they were not allowed to start, decided to go on the track at the start, they did one of two laps and then got off the track.
A Ford GT involved in a fatal accident back in 1966 is buried at the track. FACT This is the most widely repeated Sebring "legend," and its basically true. The Ford GT driven by Bob McLean, in which he was killed during a fiery accident approaching the hairpin in 1966, was buried at nearby ranch property. There was very little left of the car, but it is not clear whether the entire remnants were buried. The remains of an Alfa Romeo also are buried near the circuit. We're not telling where.
Even though there was no Sebring race in 1974, hundreds of fans showed up anyway. FACT The actual number of fans who showed up that year is disputed, somewhere between 500 and 5,000. We doubt it was more than a 1,000.
One of the victims of the Charles Manson "family" in 1969 was hair salon entrepreneur Jay Sebring, who named himself after the famous 12-hour race. FACT Sadly true. His real name was Thomas Kummer, but he chose Jay Sebring because he liked the name of the famous Florida sports car race.
Jim Morrison, the lead singer for the Doors, attended the Sebring 12 hours. FACT By all accounts, Morrison attended the 1962 and/or 1963 race. Remember, he was born in Melbourne Florida and attended St Petersburg Junior College and Florida State University.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was seen at the Sebring 12 Hours? FACT Jobs attended the 1980 race (Apple sponsored a car that year).
The race was once yellow-flagged because the track was running out of fuel for the teams. FACT In 1983, a yellow flag was needed to allow a fuel truck to cross the track to bring more fuel. There were 83 cars in the race that year!
A spectator was able to sneak out onto the track in a street car and race during a supporting event at Sebring. FACT It happened in December 1959 prior to the US Grand Prix Formula One race.
Roger Penske's Chevrolet Lola was stolen after the 1969 Sebring 12 Hours. FACT While towing the car back from Sebring, the team stopped near Ormond Beach, where it was stolen (most of it was eventually recovered).
A movie starring Robert Redford was filmed at Sebring Raceway. FACT Portions of the 1975 movie "The Great Waldo Pepper" were filmed at the Sebring Airport and Raceway.
The car that won the first ever race at Sebring in 1950 was actually a spectator's car. FACT Victor Sharpe of Tampa drove his Crosley Hot Shot to the Sam Collier 6-hour Memorial race in 1950. He was convinced to loan his car to drivers Ralph Deshon and Fritz Koster. They ended up winning the race, which was run on a handicap formula.
A funeral hearse once did a lap around Sebring with a casket in the back. FACT After he passed away, the legendary "Big Stan" Durrance was given a lap around Sebring in a hearse, complete with the checkered flag being waved.
Walter Cronkite drove in the 12 Hours of Sebring and witnessed a fatal accident on his very first lap. FACT Cronkite competed in the 1959 Sebring 12 Hours driving a Lancia, and on his first practice lap he witnessed Edwin Lawrence's fatal accident at the Hairpin. Lawrence was also taking his first ever lap at Sebring, and lost control of his Maserati at the Hairpin. His family still attends the race every year.
Drivers would actually get lost at night on the old 5.2-mile circuit, some recording laps over 10 minutes trying to find the circuit. FACT The old runway portions of the circuit were nearly impossible to negotiate at night, and many cars wandered aimlessly trying to orient themselves back on the proper line.
During the first Sebring race, the Governor of Florida was given a lap of the circuit by a race official while the race was in progress. FACT Gov. Fuller Warren took a tour of the circuit during the race!