Winning Streak

Also from Issue 55

  • Hennessey ZR700
  • 1965 restomod
  • Market Report: C1/C2
  • 1982 Collector Edition
  • Tech: Cross-Fire Injection
  • Dutch collection
  • 1,000-bhp C5 convertible
  • Genes Vettes twin-turbo C6
  • 1964 Fuelie convertible
  • NCM 15th anniversary gathering
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You had secured the Owens/Corning sponsorship by then, correct?

DeLorenzo: Yes. In mid-1968, I got the call after Dolly Cole [wife of then-General Motors President Ed Cole] took my proposal to New York and plunked it on the desk of the chairman of Owens/Corning Fiberglas, Curtis LeMay. In her Texas drawl, she told him, “Curtis, I think you should help these boys.” That’s when it all started. I believe our first race with them was in August 1968 at Mid-Ohio. We had the ’68 car painted for the race, but the ’67 was still black with a Nassau Blue stripe—but with Owens/Corning Fiberglas lettering on it, of course.

The 1969 season was tough on those cars, especially the ’68, right?

DeLorenzo: Let’s see…it got totaled at Daytona in ’69 and totaled at Watkins Glen. I lost track after that. And when I say totaled, I mean we replaced the frame.

Thompson: I don’t think it caught fire when it went into the woods [at Watkins Glen].

DeLorenzo: No, that was a Camaro.

Thompson: I recall we changed the body after that, but the frame survived, didn’t it?

DeLorenzo: Oh, no. You bent the frame at Watkins Glen.

Thompson: [Gesturing toward DeLorenzo] I was hoping he forgot that [laughs].

DeLorenzo: And then the crowd—the people in the bog—came out and stole all the bodywork from the car.

How were the driving duties handled?

Thompson: Once we had the two C3s, what we’d do was, Tony and I would be the lead driver on each car. So, we were like the captains of the respective cars. We each had other co-drivers, but if one of the cars went out of the race, we could become a co-driver for the other. We trusted each other in the cars more than anyone else, so it was the best way to approach it.

Tell us about the first victory in an L88.

DeLorenzo: For me, it was the first race I had with it [the 1967 car]. It was at Wilmot

Hills, Wisconsin in early 1967. With the Owens/Corning sponsorship, our first team win was also the first race—that August race at Mid-Ohio.

What about the first victory in 1969?

DeLorenzo: Let’s see. It wasn’t Daytona or Sebring. It was Meadow Day.

Thompson: In the rain.

DeLorenzo: Yes, in the rain. We finished 1-2.

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