Gary Lambert Memorial  3       10/14/06

Orange County International Raceway

Gary and I have spent many many weekends drag racing at various drag strips over the years and had a bunch of great times at them all. Some of the tracks that he raced at back in the 70’s and early 80’s were Ontario Motor Speedway, Irwindale Raceway, Carlsbad Raceway and Orange County International Raceway (OCIR). All four of those tracks don’t exist anymore.

I remember one time in particular about one of those trips. When we arrived at (OCIR) one morning, we unloaded the car and proceeded to warm it up. The warm up procedure was to drive the car down the return road and then back again to get all the fluids warm along with the engine. One of the things that Gary liked to do was run the car hard through first and second gear on the way back to make sure everything ran right. Four speed transmissions were the norm back then and Gary was very good at not missing any gears with it. 



Now there is only “one” seat in a racecar, which meant I’m in a crouched position, holding onto the roll cage while we’re doing this little warm up. Holding on to the roll cage while the car is under power is a whole new ball game if you’ve never done it before. Just to let you know, I’ve had my hands come loose from the roll cage and when your head and back hits that steel tubing in the rear of the car, it hurts, trust me!! 



Gary looked over at me and said “ready” to which I replied with a head nod then he matted the pedal. It doesn’t take very long to do this little blast and when we were through, he would push in the clutch and let the engine idle. Now this is where the strange part comes in. While the engine was idling, we both heard this LOUD noise coming from the rear of the car. We both looked at each other for an answer (like one of us knew what was wrong on the outside of the car). Gary slammed on the brakes and we both jumped out and ran to the back of the car looking for the problem. What had happened was while we were doing the first-to-second gear warm up, the tires must have grabbed pretty hard because it was the wheelie-bar wheels that were spinning. The spinning of those wheels were resonating through the whole car making all the sheet metal vibrate. Well we both laughed once we found out what happened. The wheels on the wheelie-bars had contacted the ground, which meant the front tires were off the ground and that caused the wheels to spin fast enough to make all that noise, which was enough to scare us. I guess I’ll never forget that moment that seemed like the whole car was falling apart all around us. 

The next season, Gary put a name on his car and if you can't read it very well, it says "Hairy Gary" on the door. The paint was done a little differently and a new scoop was added too. 



Another year goes by and Gary renamed the car to "Limey". The green color is suppose to be unlucky in the racing world and a lot of people didn't have a hint of it on them. Not Gary, his whole car was green and it didn't bother him a bit. As the years went by, people didn't want to race him because he was so good at leaving the starting line. 

Here you can see Gary, right at home with the front-end in the air, just where he loved it to be.


1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10