Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Catching up With"...

Is the title of my new column in Excellence Magazine.  It has been a regular piece for the last three or four months and has been a great privilege. I get to hear some great stories from famous old drivers and I get paid for it!  What a deal!
Issue #192 is on the newsstand right now and contains my interview with Scooter Patrick. Pick it up next time you are at the grocery or better yet get a trial issue of Excellence right here:

In the meantime, here is a photo of Scooter with a 904 and an anecdote that we didn't have room for in the magazine. (Photo: Patrick Collection-Bill Norcross)

"One of the first cars that I got into that I was really familiar with was the 904.  I had a tremendous amount of success with the 904.  In the mid 80’s I was up at Monterey {Historics) and I was walking up and down the pit lane on the pre-grid.  It was what I would call the A/B production cars – Camaros Mustangs Cobras…that kind of stuff.  There was this gorgeous 904 sitting there.  It was just a beautiful car.  I’m admiring it and this voice behind me said, how do you like my car.  I turned around and it was a guy by the name of Bill Karges,  Bill Karges was Sales Manager at Kendon Porsche when I was Service Manager.  He had gone on and made quite a bit of money for himself.  I said, 'whats your car?'  He said, 'that 904!  Can you beat that GTO Ferrari?'  I said, 'well Bill, I don’t know, but back in the day, the GTO was never a threat to us.  What the problem is going to be is if somebody can drive that FIA 289 Cobra back there.  He says, 'you want to drive the car?' "

"Of course, the Cobra blew my doors off going up the hill.  Get down to turn three and he gives me about four feet on the inside by the apex and the brake lights came on.  I said to myself, 'son that’s a mistake!'  So I went underneath him up the hill and around through the corkscrew and through turn 9 and I would get about 75 feet from the start finish and he smoked my ass going up the hill.  So I figured, 'well thats fun.'  I [figured that] he got a good lesson and we wouldn't worry about it. We get down to turn three and he does the same thing again! Long story short, he never did learn."  
"So now Im trying to figure out how the hell I’m going to beat him to the start finish on the last lap.  I was fortunate and put one of those proverbial white knuckle laps together.  As I came down off the top of the hill on the last four or five laps there was a big spectator bunch up there on the hill and on the inside and they are getting out of their motor-homes and coming up against the fence and they’re waving and yelling and I can see them.  What it did was take them back instantly to ‘64 and ‘65 when we were doing this for real with Ken Miles and the 904’s and Davey (McDonald) and the Cobras for real in USRRC.  This was a hell of a battle and they are going crazy."

"So the last lap, I go around turn 9 and I’m so close to the hay on the outside, I got hay flying off the right rear fender.  Its fishtailen coming out of there.  I don’t know whether the guy gave up, but anyway I beat him.  I get back to the pits and Karges is about as white as a sheet.  He said, 'man, you scared the shit outa me.'  'Really, why what’s wrong?'  He said, 'that car is worth $110,000.00!'  I said, 'Bill if you had told me that before, I wouldn’t have driven it!'"

"The next thing that happens is that I get a call over the PA for me to go up and see Steve Earl in control.  I go up there and  Steve says, 'well we are going to put you in second place.'  I said, 'OK…why you going to put me in second place?'  'Well, you blocked that Cobra.'  I said,' really, what race were you watching? I don’t care where you put me.  You can put me in last place…it all pays the same – nothin!  You don’t have a problem with me, I’m easy, but you got a problem with about six thousand people up there on that hill.  You gotta sell them that that Porsche didn’t win that race!'" 

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading the Scooter Patrick Story since it was my then company Schroeder & Weise who had sold the car the to Bill Karges für US$ 30k. Valueing the car at 110k gives the impression that he was most happy with the purchase. I also recall the report on Scooter at speed in the 904 published in Auto Week overtaking the Cobra.
    I would be most greatful if you could make contact with Scooter for me since I would like get in touch with him. Thank you and

    Kind Regards
    Martin Schroeder