This is a very interesting thread. Really neat to learn about some of your guys first time behind the wheel of a race car. John Mc proves the apple did not fall far from the tree. Doing so well in his first time in a car. Mine on the other hand did not go so well.
I was working fulltime for Statewide Racing and Jimmy Horton at the time. Those guys always knew that I wanted to be a race car driver. I started off the evening doing my real job working on the race cars for Statewide. I took a trip down to the fuel truck to pick up a few gallons of fuel for us so we had enough fuel for the next day. We were heading to Weedsport for a Sunday show. At the fuel truck I ran into a fellow named Budd Orens. He drove his on car a small block #77. Bud owned a roller rink in Pitman, NJ. I was giving Budd some info on the set up for his cars over a period time. Budd than asked me to drive his car that evening to help sort it out. I jumpped at the chance. I ran down to the hauler to tell Jimmy and George Smith ,Jr that I finally got my big chance. They wished me luck and said they would try and keep an eye on me.
Well low and behold I hit the track for my debut. Well it wasnt long after that , I not only hit the race track for warm ups but a quick while after that I HIT the 1st turn wall wide open. Those steel walls that came from Langhorne were tested tuff long before I nailed it. Those walls do not move. 2 tow trucks later and I did not know if I wanted to dig a hole and hide. Everyone saw it. The tow truck driver who,s name was Joey and we knew him pretty well was the first to greet me. I remember him telling me that I better stick with the crew side and leave the driving to others.
To this day I still do not really know what happened. Possibley lack of talent but I did not want to admit it at the time. When I got back to the pits to talk with the car owner, I was speachless. He was too. His car looked like a wrecking ball hit it. I told Budd that I would fix the car for him and than like Superman ,I took off my cape and reported back to the #3 car and kept my head down and mouth shut and went back to work.
Needless to say the rest of the evening and the ride to Weedsport the next day was like a bad deep sea fishing trip. I got my stones broken for some time. I will never forget it and Mr. Orens probley never did either.