Some 65 years after the first race at Lime Rock Park, the famous “No Name Straight” was finally bestowed with a very memorable name Labor Day weekend. During a special ceremony held at the Historic Festival 40 presented by Corvette, the not quite straight but very fast backstretch of the Connecticut circuit was dedicated as the “Paul Newman Straight.”
“Paul Newman’s name now lives in perpetuity at Lime Rock Park, not in recognition of Paul’s fame which was considerable, but for the authenticity of his experience here at the Park,” said Dicky Riegel, President and CEO of Lime Rock. “Even with all his racing wins here on this legendary circuit and elsewhere around the world, it was Paul’s expression of joy at Lime Rock Park in every drive and every visit that cemented this place as his true home. The balanced appellation of the Sam Posey Straight, dedicated in 2013, and the Paul Newman Straight dedicated today pay homage to these amazing and pioneering drivers and friends of Lime Rock Park.”
In honor of Paul Newman’s legacy at this historic venue, Lime Rock Park also announced its partnership with The Hole in The Wall Gang Camp, a nonprofit organization, dedicated to providing “a different kind of healing” to more than 20,000 seriously ill children and family members annually-all completely free of charge. Hole in the Wall provides multiple Camp experiences throughout the year at the facility in Ashford, Conn., in more than 40 hospitals and clinics, directly in camper homes and communities, and through other outreach activities across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.
Founded by Paul Newman in 1988, the Hole in The Wall Gang is now the official charitable partner of Lime Rock Park’s fundraising efforts. All participants and fans at the Historic Festival this weekend were encouraged to consider a donation to the Hole In The Wall Gang to help support the organization’s efforts. Contributions can be made by texting BANDIT to 243725 or by visiting https://bit.ly/RaceToHelpHoleInTheWall.
“The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is honored to be Lime Rock’s official charitable partner and deeply grateful for their friendship,” said Camp CEO Jimmy Canton. “The dedication of the Newman Straight is such a meaningful moment for all of us, celebrating the intersection of two of Paul Newman’s greatest passions – racing at Lime Rock and The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.”
Newman began his racing career late in life, running a Datsun 510 on Tuesdays at Lime Rock Park, not far from his home in Westport. He joined another Connecticut racer, Bob Sharp, moving up to faster cars and a bigger stage as he went from club racing to becoming a regular in the professional Trans-Am championship. Newman scored his second and final Trans-Am victory, fittingly, at Lime Rock, in Bob Sharp’s red, white and blue Nissan.
Newman won his last race at Lime Rock during a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) event, carrying the No. 82—his age at the time—on board a 900-horsepower Corvette.
Newman’s racing role was even further cemented when he teamed with Carl Haas to launch Newman/Haas Racing, which went on to score 105 CART IndyCar races.
“Two of my dad’s “Happiest Happy Places” would have to be Hole in the Wall and Lime Rock Park,” said Paul’s daughter Lissy Newman, who serves on The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp’s Board of Directors. “At the track, he liked that success or failure were objective and he earned respect the hard way. At Hole in the Wall he was simply “The guy who started Camp” and that was enough for campers. He could look around and see the magic and healing of Camp at work. If there was ever a place where you could measure joy and magic objectively, Hole in the Wall would be it.”
Lime Rock Park’s HF40 festivities continue through Labor Day, celebrating the 70th year of Corvette with Sunday in The Park and racing on Monday.