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The Longest Day of Nelson
August 22-24, 2008
2007 RACE FOOTAGE!
OVERVIEWThe Longest Day of Nelson premiered in 1980 and was the first of its kind in the world – a 24-hour endurance event for amateur racers of production-based SCCA showroom stock automobiles. This highly-regarded, legendary event attracted competitors from across the country and ran yearly until 1996. Ten years later, in 2007, the management, spectators, and drivers of Nelson Ledges Road Course were pleased to see the return of the Longest Day of Nelson! This section of the website provides all the details regarding the upcoming endurance race which is scheduled for August 22-24, 2008. But first, we’d like to share the history of the Longest Day (LD) with you.
HISTORYThe Longest Day of Nelson was the brainchild of Fred Koslasky. Together with John McGill, Grover Griggs, and Ron Urcheck, they took Fred’s initial concept and cultivated the seed to get the event off the ground in 1980. However while LD may have been a 24-hour race, it was one woman who kept it going in the 1980’s and 90’s---Ann McHugh. Ann was completely dedicated to the organization, both publicizing and running the Longest Day. As each event drew to a close, Ann was already thinking about, and planning for the next year. Through Ann’s generosity of time and effort, the only 24-hour endurance event for club racers grew from year to year, drawing teams from across the country. Car magazines put teams together; “famous” people entered; manufacturers helped with sponsorship; local members turned out in “droves” to race or to work. The first LD had 21 entries and 14 finishers; the second had 34 entries and 23 finishers; and the third needed permission to exceed its maximum allowance of 50 entries! The competitiveness of club racing shone through the Longest Day entrants from the very first year. A friendly rivalry between teams sponsored by racing magazines endured during every LD. In addition, all these publications helped publicize the yearly endurance race, thus drawing teams from across the country. Local celebrities also joined in the fun: TV personality Fred Griffith spent the first two hours of the first LD riding with Bill Fishburne, camera in hand. Sports anchor Jim Mueller drove in the LD in the mid-‘80s. Cleveland Browns personalities crewed – Bob Golic and Tom Cousineau were both seen at the track in the mid-‘80s. The LD brought out the best and the worst cars ever seen on a racetrack. You could see new (or newly painted) late model cars – Porsches, Corvettes, Saabs, VWs, etc.- even prototypes, such as the Consoliers. Many a team, however, brought whatever would run. Transmissions and other assemblies were torn-off and replaced with spare parts that often times were taken right off of the team’s street cars. After many a Longest Day you could find shells of cars in various states of disassembly strewn around the paddock. Engines were rebuilt at Superman speed. Fenders, doors, and hoods were treated with the ever-handy sledgehammer; and don’t forget the obligatory car (or two) on its roof! LD participants have seen unbearable heat, bone chilling cold, and absolutely perfect temperatures all in one day. This event ran under extremely dry conditions and in soggy environments. After all, this is northeast Ohio and you have to prepare for any and all kinds of weather. Drivers, crews, race officials, families, and friends looked forward to this annual endurance event. It was the yearly, all night party of racing engines, percolating coffee pots, pounding hammers, and joyous voices at the end of a grueling race. Nelson Ledges looks forward to many more years of this high-endurance, crowd favorite.
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