The Early Years of Trans Am at Lime Rock Park, 1967-69

Lime Rock Park has hosted Trans Am races for three consecutive years on May 30, when the traditional Memorial Day holiday fell through the week. The midweek dates brought big crowds to the Connecticut circuit, but also introduced schedule conflicts with several Trans Am regulars who also competed in the Indianapolis 500.

On Tuesday May 30, 1967, Trans Am made its first visit to the Berkshire Hills in the fourth race of its second season of competition. Peter Revson debuted in a Mercury Cougar sent by Budd Moore. Revson was filling in for Parnelli Jones, who came four laps shy to win the Indy 500 in a turbo-powered race car.

Mark Donoghue finished second by two laps in the Pinske Chevrolet Camaro, followed by Jerry Titus in a Carroll Shelby Ford Mustang. Horst Koesch took fourth overall and first in the under 2 liter class in an Alfa Romeo car.

The four-hour race had 30 participants, with Revson covering 219 laps on a 1.53-mile circuit at an average of 83.65 mph.

The following year, Memorial Day fell on a Thursday. Donohue captured the pole and then drove all 171 laps of the three hour race, averaging 87.21 mph.

Jerry Titus finished second in a Mustang, then appeared twice, followed by Revson in an AMC Javelin (pictured above). NASCAR Grand National Champion David Pearson took Barneley Jones’ place in a Ford Mustang, but lost oil pressure 22 laps in the competition and finished 20th – and final. Tony Adamowicz finished fourth in the overall standings, winning the Under Two-Liter class.

Friday, May 30, 1969, many Trans-Am stars were missing Lime Rock to compete in Indianapolis. Carroll Shelby summoned a local driver—Sam Posey—to fill up the Revson in his Mustang, and the nearby resident of Sharon, Connecticut, went on to win (Pictured, above).

Swede Savage – a replacement for Barnelli Jones in the Mustang Bud Moore – finished second in the race that lasted 2 hours 30 minutes, 51.1 seconds back. The third went to another fill, with Bob Johnson at the wheel of a Sunoco Camaro usually driven by Mark Donoghue. And the under-2 honors go again to “A-to-Z” Adamowicz, who drives a Porsche.

For 1970, Lime Rock avoided the Indianapolis 500 struggle by racing on May 9, and the race was won by Barney Jones. Briar Motorsports Park in Loudoun, New Hampshire held the 1970 Memorial Day weekend race, which was won by Donohoe on Sunday—who had finished second in Indy the day before.

The following year, the Memorial Day holiday moved to the last Monday in May, paving the way for new holiday traditions.

The Trans Am tradition continues at Lime Rock Park this Memorial Day weekend (May 27-30) with the Trans Am series presented by Pirelli. For tickets click here.

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