Monday, November 5, 2012

John Fitch passes away

Ran across the news last Thursday in the New York Times that John Cooper Fitch had died at the remarkable age of 95 on October 29th, as Fitch who led a most remarkable life - who always felt the need; the need for speed, was not only a Gran Primo Piloto, Sports Car Ace, but also a WWII fighter pilot who flew a North American P-51 Mustang before becoming a POW for three months... And then after the war was instrumental in the construction of Lime Rock Raceway...

Yet Fitch is seemingly best remembered for his huge contribution to driver and public safety, most notably inventor and patent holder of the Fitch inertia barrier; those yellow energy absorbing barrels filled with sand dotting exit ramps across the country - designed to save  drivers life’s!

And with the passing of Fitch who contested two European Grand Prix’s in the early 1950’s, I’m sure that Tacoma resident Pete Lovely isn’t thrilled to now inherit the oldest living American F1 driver mantle at the age of 86, which I’m guessing ‘Ol Rufus Parnelli Jones feels similarly likewise on the Open wheel Racing side of the ladder.

OH CRAP! How did I miss the news of Messer Lovely’s death last May? (May 15, 2011) As somehow I heard nary a peep about this occurring here in my own backyard; having seen the ex-Lotus F1 privateer campaigning his Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa at Seattle International Raceway.

And now by my very unofficial records - the oldest living F1 Americano baton is passed onto Tony Settember, also age 86...