This link is currently down
thanks to the legal types at NBC,
who apparently think we're
trying to get away with something.
We're trying to figure out what?

As some of you already know, my older brother Maurice passed away a little over a week ago, and although it was hardly unexpected (he'd been in poor health at a not very fancy but truly exceptional convalescent facility less than a mile from us for several years) it happened quite suddenly and Carol and I are still feeling somewhat lost in its slipstream. Visits with Maury were part of our daily routine, and the good news is that he was still getting himself around and in good humor and spirits right up until the last few hours. For which we are grateful. We are also grateful for the wonderful care he received, which was truly above and beyond on a daily basis.

Maury and I followed far different life paths--at times we were even estranged--but we were able to re-connect with a lot of the old humor and shared memories over the past several years, and that was a genuine blessing.

We miss him.

Due to the above, I wasn't able to carry out our "Be a Character in the New Book" raffle drawing at midnight during the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona as originally planned, but we did indeed do it that same evening at the Chicago Region Alfa Romeo Owners Club annual banquet, so there were witnesses on hand to keep me from fixing, fudging or finagling the results. And Carol was the one who actually drew the winning tickets (out of the excellent replica Amoco Trophy I received for sharing the overall win in David Whitesides' 1959 Lotus 17 at the Rolex Vintage Challenge 4-Hour at Sebring many years ago) and everyone knows she's thoroughly incorruptible. Though Lord knows I've tried.
In any case, and without further ado:

Ken Kotyk of Garlield, Ohio is the lucky (?) winner who will be able to name and co-create a character in the new book with me. I'll be contacting him shortly so we can start working on it.

(These folks each get a $250-value Sponsorship in the new book)
1. Glenda Gephardt, who works at the IMRRC in Watkins Glen (which incidentally will be receiving a nice donation out of the raffle's net proceeds) and whom I think intends to pass the honor along to a very worthy recipient.

2. Dennis Sbertoli, who is president of the local Alfa Club (I believe his official title is "Il Duce") and was on hand for the drawing

3. Kevin Samp of Bloomindale, IL., who bought 50 bucks worth of tickets and surely deserves something in return.
These folks each get a free copy of the new book whenever it's finally ready (soon). Signed & personalized, no less. Big Deal.
1. Bob Allen from Walton on Thames, England (see amazingly detailed Trivia answer below)
2. Tony Cavaliere from the AROC Chi-town region
3. My neighbor Steve Crowley from the AROC
4. Great Friend & Famed TR3-flogger Bill Dentinger from Brookfield,Wisconsin
5. Todd Fleming, also from Wisconsin
6. Sandy GaNun (yet another Alfisti)
7. Jeff Ironside (who looks after our dog Buddy when we're out of town and made the mistake of reading one of my books).
8. Dave Johnson from Island Lake, IL. (another local guy)
9. Ernie Knight (can't find his address sheet, but I have his number)
10. Ted Marks from the Atwater Estate Vinyards & Winery in Watkins Glen, NY (what a finish, eh?)

I'll be contacting all the winners later this week, and thanks so much to all the folks who participated!



I was hoping to open a can of worms by asking who fronted up the first true wing on a road-racing car, and I belkieve I succeeded. A lot of folks went for the obvious (Chaparral 2E in 1966) and some sit-down-to-pee Europhiles insisted it was the F1 Ferrari 312 of 1968 (I guess if something happens first over on this side of the Atlantic, it doesn't count). And then you had the famous and VERY scary pre-WWII German record cars from Opel and Mercedes-Benz shown below. But those wings were mostly to keep them from taking off and not really "road-racing" applications....

But several of you (particularly 3rd-place raffle-winner Bob Allen from Walton-on-Thames, England) agreed with me (pending further information, of course) that the first-ever road-racing wing was mounted on a privateer Porsche 550 entered and driven by a clever young engineer named Michael May at The Nurburgring in 1956.

In fact, Bob's answer was so complete (and included so much stuff I'd never heard before) that I have regurgitated it verbatim below: 

I believe the claim to the first use of a wing for aerodynamic benefit goes to Michel May. In 1956 this 22 year old Swiss amateur racing driver was a student at the Zurich Technical University and experimented with an inverted wing mounted over the cockpit of his Porsche 550 Spyder (550-0031). He and his brother Pierre raced the car, bought by their cousin, on the European circuit and saw the immediate benefits of the downforce created to increase grip and cornering. Michel added a lever system to adjust the tilt of the wing which created outstanding results.

At its debut, the Nürburgring 1000 Kilometres on 27-May-56, they were met with the predictable ridicule, an obvious reaction from the philistines among their competitors but the car was passed by scrutineering and they went on to qualify fourth in practice - faster, even, than Fangio and Behra. Outpacing the works Porsches prompted Huschke von Hanstein to lodge a protest for the wing to be banned under the pretext that it was unsafe and obscured the vision of following drivers. He threatened to pull all four works cars from the race so the officials backed down and bowed to his request. May raced the car with the wing in one other race, the Supercortemaggiore in June but did not finish and the concept was then shelved.

May continued his engineering career working at Daimler-Benz on his own patent fuel injection system and was approached by Porsche to get more power out of their F1 engine. He went on the agreement that if he increased its power, he would get an F1 drive in the F1 car; May achieved the goal but von Hanstein convinced Porsche not to let him drive for fear of embarrassing the works drivers with his ability. He left Porsche to become a consultant to Ferrari on its Bosch direct injection and, in doing so, mentioned the wing to Mauro Forghieri. As a result, Ferrari successfully used a wing on the 1968 type 312, one of the first in F1.

So there! (my words, not Bob's).

Anyhow, I'm still working away relentlessly on the new book (every day, in fact) so you won't be getting many e-blasts for awhile. But here's a quick trivia photo puzzler:

In the immortal words of Steve Martin: "WHAT TH' HAIL IS THAT????"

Catch the latest poop & pictures, the Jay Leno interview, Last Open Road swag & highly inappropriate attire from Finzio's Store and the lurid & occasionally embarrassing "ride with Burt" in-car racing videos on the hopefully now fully operational website at: