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Thompson Configurations, Miscellanea and Ephemera
The road course evolved through 3 configurations.
Configuration #1 - 1.5 miles. Photos in the "Early Years" section on Thompson page 1 were taken during this period.
A page extracted from the race program for July 1956 at Thompson, showing the 1.5 mile version of the track being used at the time.
1956 page courtesy of Duncan Johnson.
|Configuration #2 - 2 miles. Most photos on this site were taken when the course looked like this. Note that the oval was not used.|
"[Here is] a page from the May 27, 1962 race program. The listed course record of 1:37.2 (74 mph) was set on Labor Day weekend 1958 by Chuck Daigh in the original Reventlow Scarab during a preliminary race. He beat his own boss (Lance Reventlow) and two Cunningham Lister-Jaguars in the process. This record stood until sometime in the early-mid 1960s, when it was broken (at 1:37.0) by Bob Holbert (Al Holbertís father) in a Porsche RS-61, who beat the same Scarab, now driven by Harry Heuer as a privateer." - Duncan Johnson
|Configuration #3 -About 1.7 miles.|
|Configuration #3 as shown in the race program of 29 September, 1968. The paddock seems to have remained in the same place on both later track layouts, although the pits were placed adjacent to the paddock in the last phase, as shown here.||
Program page courtesy of Henry Savelli
Here are some shots by Lynda W., another "paddock brat" of the era. Three of the four were taken at Thompson - the one at the lower right appears to be Lime Rock, from the paddock looking towards the esses. There was probably no car better suited to both tracks than a Porsche Spyder. The other cars in the pictures really provide a flavoring that vintage racing today doesn't have. Station wagons, Healey 100-6's, and furniture trailers hauling race cars have been replaced by motor homes and eighteen wheelers. The fellow in the kilt is, of course, Gordon MacKenzie. The #14 RSK was Bob Holbert's.
"Thompson Topics" postcards
Below we have a "Thompson Topics" postcard courtesy of Duncan Johnson. The Weavers sent these out for years to keep us all informed. A lot of the "regulars" are mentioned here including Oscar Koveleski, who created the "Polish Racing Team" and John Keane who built the potent "N & B Special". I have it straight from the horse's mouth that "N & B" stood for "Nuts and Bolts"!
Thompson must have been a labor of love for the Weavers, as evidenced by the time they spent simply keeping folks up to date. A few items from Henry Savelli's collection are shown below. Be sure to look closely at the second postcard.
Thompson Today (October, 2007)
David Kmetz is researching the history of the Thompson road course, and he has sent these pictures showing the present condition of the track. Their approximate locations are keyed the track plan drawn over a Mapquest image. David, thank you for allowing me to use your photos.
The diagram shows the track in its 2 mile configuration, since most pictures on the site are from this period. For more detail on the various track layouts, see page 3.
|A faded grid marking near the start/finish
|From the start/finish line, looking toward the first turn.|
|Taken near B, looking back to the first turn.|
|This was taken near C, looking back towards B. The access road is probably situated right where the track was between turns 2 and 3.|
Taken from D, looking at turn 3
|Now, on to the "lightbulb", marked E on the image. The camera is pointed towards the west. I think this would have been just at the beginning of the uphill section. The lightbulb was a slow, uphill, hairpin turn to the right.|
|Taken from the bottom of the lightbulb turn (F), looking towards D. Back in the days, this would have included turns 3 through 7.|
End of the backstraight (G), looking towards the hairpin. It's about where the yellow dot is, with the arrow indicating the direction.
|This was taken from the same spot as above, but in the opposite direction, looking back down the backstraight.|
|Taken at H, showing the remains of the
track surface at the exit of the last turn.
Duncan Johnson lived near the track in the fifties and sixties.
[To the right] is Turn 3 of the two mile course, as it looked in May 2005, with my '04 Corvette posing at the apex. It appears this piece of pavement might now be overflow parking for the oval track next door. This section of track was used in all three versions of Thompson road courses over the years; the 1.5 mile course which grew out of the oval, the "pure" 2.0 mile course, and the final ~1.7 mile course which again used the oval.
Gary Card stopped at the track in mid-October, 2006 and kindly sent the following update:
"There have definitely been some "environmental" enhancements done to the landscape since the last time I was there. The front straight has been cleared and filled with topsoil, and new grass is growing. A lot of the scrubby pines around Turn 10-11 shown in David's photos [Photos 4-8] are gone too. You'd never know there'd been a venerable old race track there. Arguably, it looks prettier than it did, but it's a shame in my opinion." [Mine, too]
Dave Beldon sent an update in November 2006. Dave spent a lot of time at the track watching, flagging, and driving.
"There has been work done along the
old straightaway and in the area where the pits were, but the back straight and
the last two turns are as before and as shown in your pictures.[Photos 4-6]
The straight has been graded and has grass growing, especially at the high point around the old pits and start/finish line for a couple of years. This looks largely completed and results in a nice park like area. But, the asphalt is gone and you have to look really hard in some brush to find the remaining end of the pit wall and evidence of a track. [See photo 8]
However the back straight and turns 10 and 11 look as they have for quite a few years. The asphalt is still there down most of the back straight and all the way around 10 and 11. The trees may be a bit bigger but you can still see it all. The flagger's mounds (that I spent a lot of days occupying) are still recognizable."