A small error with eight laps to go in Thursday evening’s USAC Silver Crown race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds one-mile dirt track led to a wild ride for Chris Dyson, whose sprint car flipped multiple times down the backstretch.
Cleared to drive this weekend by the medical team at Indianapolis’s Methodist Hospital, Dyson flew home Friday morning to nurse his injuries; and then this afternoon gingerly climbed into his Plaid Ford Mustang — and topped the time charts in both timed practice sessions for Monday’s Memorial Day Classic Trans Am 100-mile feature race at Lime Rock Park.
“A fast race car is the best pain reliever,” said Dyson, following today’s afternoon practice session where he was half-a-second clear of the rest of the TA field. “I had to dig deep today, but this result gives me a lot of confidence going into Monday‘s qualifying and race.”
Lime Rock is Dyson’s home track. He has been coming here with his family since he was a small boy, and more than 20 years ago drove in his first SCCA race at the deceptively challenging 1.53-mile Connecticut road circuit.
“Lime Rock is one of the highest average speed road racing circuits in North America,“ Dyson said. “The turns are fast, but most of the straightaways are short. Going really quickly here is harder than it looks, and it takes most drivers, even professionals, more than one visit to master this track.”
Fifty years ago this weekend, another hometown hero, Sam Posey from nearby Sharon, Ct., won the Lime Rock Trans Am race in a factory Ford Mustang.
Dyson won the 2011 American Le Mans Series race at Lime Rock Park aboard a Lola LMP car, but hasn’t raced at the track since 2013. According to Dyson, that six-year hiatus is not a problem.
“I have so many laps around this race track that I could almost drive it in my sleep” he said. “I know every inch of it. The team gave me a great car and we showed it was fast right off the trailer. I’m really looking forward to the race on Monday. There will be so many of my friends and family here, who haven’t had a chance to see a Dyson car racing at Lime Rock for several years.
“I’ll do my best to send them all home with happy memories of a great day at this beautiful race track.”
Trans Am TA/SGT/GT 40-minute qualifying is scheduled for 9:05 a.m. EDT on Memorial Day. The 100-mile feature race (67 laps or 65 minutes, whichever comes first) starts at 1:25 p.m. EDT. For live timing and scoring, log on to gotransam.com