David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/16/21 9:41 a.m.

[Editor's Note: This article was written before the 2021 Longest Day of Nelson Ledges was canceled.]

Brian Ross, a lifelong motorsports fan from a racing family, grew up 20 minutes away from Nelson Ledges Road Course, once a stop on the Trans-Am circuit—back when the series featured factory-backed motorsports legends like Peter Gregg, Hurley Haywood and Al Holbert. 

Brian now …

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benjschneider
benjschneider New Reader
6/16/21 11:00 a.m.

I was drafted to work the infield gates there in 1966 by Less Walters.  Lake Erie would tell me and a friend when to open and close them for traffic.  At another event, I got drafted into Lake Erie by Bill Brenen.  I later got my Lake Erie License in 1967 when working Mid-Ohio.   Then in 1970, Less drafted me and my girlfriend (later my wife) to be timers.  That was the last race she wanted to attend!

I remember waking to the sounds of bagpipes there.  Doc Wylie who raced an Bobsy piped us all awake when he raced there.  I remember pushing his Bobsy to a safe position after it lost oil pressure near my turn.  I could hardly understand his Scottish.

That track had some fine racing in the late sixties, and seventies.  Bob Sharp, Bob Tullius were two of my favorites.  The SCCA Nationals were very competitive there.  I remember sleeping under a Healey 3000 that was on jack stands one night.  It was raining, and I didn't have a tent.  The Healey belonged to Alec Fortuna, and Howard Walters.  During another evening, I helped a driver remove the engine from his Sprite and replace the rear seal; we used that big oak tree at the end of pit road to attach the come-a-long.

I found my racing puberty ant Nelson-Ledges.  It started a journey that lasted most of my life.  I no longer flag for Lake Erie; it got too political, and me too old.  I did enjoy the bonfires with them though, and appreciate the volunteers who do that work.…

slowbird
slowbird UltraDork
6/16/21 2:54 p.m.

I'm a big fan of the image at the top where the Mercury Capri is keeping up with a Porsche, at least for a while.

sir_mike
sir_mike New Reader
6/16/21 3:43 p.m.

Was there in 1974 with a friend for his drivers school.What a place it was back then.

dougalfa36
dougalfa36
9/10/22 2:58 p.m.

I did my first two driver's schools at Nelson in the mid 80's, but I lived about 15 miles from there and was at races when it was one mile long and the Porsche Carrara was new and Donna Mae Mims raced a pink Corvair (?) or Bugeye in a pink drivers's suit.

Forward to the later 80's when a fellow engineer asked if I would be interested in racing with him at the Nelson 24 hour, he had run a 300 zx in the early Escort races and either won or placed well with a Nissan in the earlier 24 hour races.  Pickup team with a chief that really knew Nissan 300zx's and could do pretty much anything with a car.  I made a lot of the suspension bushings for the car after work hours on the company lathe so I guess it helped.  My wife spent a lot of time in the scoring tower with Ann, over night since she knew how to do that and they found a common ground in dog showing/stuff.  One of her stories is that it snowed over night (the year the Caterhams won it), I do remember that I had my Nomex on from Friday till we left on Sun PM.

I do remember Dave Wolin and the team, we were primitive compared to their next door pit complex  and that in the Carousel when I was right up against the right pavement edge Wolin's driver in whatever Mitsu they wanted him to race went by on my right on the grass with a Hacker brothers G60 Golf tied to the rear bumper.  Pretty amazing.

Worse was getting a double yellow at 4 AM in the rain.  Tired, adrenalin depleted and now doing 40 MPH laps.  A sure prescription for falling asleep.

Now, I am ok with the updated including getting rid of all the old im-mobile homes, farm tractors, pit latrines and a lot of the tire walls that we always said had B-52 mosquitos that were impervious to any known insecticide.  I  am not ok with clear cutting every thing from Oak tree turn to the Kink along with cutting down the Oaks at Oak tree but I am really not ok with taking down the black barn that was the first thing you saw entering the track and was the registration building when I first went there in the late 60's.

7 24 hour races later I'd like to do a stint again maybe the sunset/sunrise I always seemed to get.  Fun, all memories now.

Doug

 

 

 

 

 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
9/11/22 8:11 p.m.

Great story.  The epic battle between the 944s and Mustang SVOs at Nelson is a legendary story in itself.

DrMikeCSI
DrMikeCSI New Reader
9/11/22 8:33 p.m.

I remember watch Fast Freddy Baker and his Jaguar XKE 6 racing against Bob Tullius Group 44 XKE V12. What glorious sounds.  Nelson was the only place I saw Paul Newman racing. I saw one of the 24 hour showroom stock races and a 24 hours motorcycle race there too. I cherish those memories from my younger years. 

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