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  • Stacey Hopkins
    This is from the article 10 American Sports Heroes You Won t Find on a Wheaties Box by Eric Trex (p. 33) in the May-June issue of Mental_Floss. I felt rather
    Message 1 of 3 , May 4, 2008
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      This is from the article "10 American Sports Heroes You Won't Find on a Wheaties Box" by Eric Trex (p. 33) in the May-June issue of Mental_Floss. I felt rather annoyed as I read on. Can anyone attest to the accuracy of this entry?

      7. Formula One Racing: Phil Hill

      Formula One, the elite international driving circuit characterized by curvy courses, is a sport dominated by Europeans. It's also a sport that rewards aggressive driving. Both are reasons why Phil Hill, an American who's petrified of racing, should not be one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time.

      After a boyhood spent obsessing over cars, Hill began racing Jaguars in 1950 in Southern California's burgeoning road-racing scene. Successful as he was, Hill remained terrified of racing's dangers. Worried that he was going to kill himself on the track, Hill developed serious stomach ulcers that prevented him from keeping down solid foods before a race. To keep his energy up, he began a pre-race regimen that included feasting on jar after jar of baby food.

      In 1956, Hill made the jump to European racing as a member of the famed Ferrari team. With a few key wins, including France's grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans race, he established himself as a star. Then in 1961, Hill got behind the wheel of the legendary "shark-nose" Ferrari 156 and became the first American to win the coveted Formula One World Drivers' Championship. The victory not only secured his place in racing history, it also assured that Phil Hill could afford the finest baby food for the rest of his career.
    • bstorck@sprynet.com
      There s an element of truth to all of that, although I too am offended by the rather scurrilous writing and editing. A shameful reflection on the need so many
      Message 2 of 3 , May 4, 2008
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        There's an element of truth to all of that, although I too am offended by
        the rather scurrilous writing and editing. A shameful reflection on the
        need so many publications feel to sensationalize and undermine notables.
        "Petrified and terrified" are a poor choice of words for Phil, and reflect
        on the writer's poor vocabulary more than the facts. He may have
        internalized the stress more than others, but his driving never showed it.
        Phil was from working roots and was as brave as any, but perhaps more
        sensitive than most. He was poorly treated by the meglomanical Enzo
        Ferrari, and was never his favored driver, and had the skill and luck to
        outlive other drivers. Including de Portago, von Trips, and others. He
        suffered frequent slights, even after he had won LeMans several times, and
        the GP championship. In discussions with Phil in the 90s, he told of
        getting paid paltry amounts as a Ferrari driver, having to drive in
        off-season races and buy and sell cars to make a living.

        Cheers, Bob

        Original Message:
        -----------------
        From: Stacey Hopkins 3gowaving@...
        Date: Sun, 4 May 2008 19:45:18 -0400
        To: marlboro_raceway@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Marlboro_Raceway] You think you know a guy...


        This is from the article "10 American Sports Heroes You Won't Find on a
        Wheaties Box" by Eric Trex (p. 33) in the May-June issue of Mental_Floss. I
        felt rather annoyed as I read on. Can anyone attest to the accuracy of this
        entry?
        7. Formula One Racing: Phil Hill

        Formula One, the elite international driving circuit characterized by curvy
        courses, is a sport dominated by Europeans. It's also a sport that rewards
        aggressive driving. Both are reasons why Phil Hill, an American who's
        petrified of racing, should not be one of the greatest Formula One drivers
        of all time.

        After a boyhood spent obsessing over cars, Hill began racing Jaguars in 1950
        in Southern California's burgeoning road-racing scene. Successful as he was,
        Hill remained terrified of racing's dangers. Worried that he was going to
        kill himself on the track, Hill developed serious stomach ulcers that
        prevented him from keeping down solid foods before a race. To keep his
        energy up, he began a pre-race regimen that included feasting on jar after
        jar of baby food.

        In 1956, Hill made the jump to European racing as a member of the famed
        Ferrari team. With a few key wins, including France's grueling 24 Hours of
        Le Mans race, he established himself as a star. Then in 1961, Hill got
        behind the wheel of the legendary "shark-nose" Ferrari 156 and became the
        first American to win the coveted Formula One World Drivers' Championship.
        The victory not only secured his place in racing history, it also assured
        that Phil Hill could afford the finest baby food for the rest of his career.


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      • scshmoo@earthlink.net
        Hi Stacy, Wildly exaggerated and highly inaccurate. Phil Hill began racing in midgets, but decided that they were too dangerous. He switched to sports cars in
        Message 3 of 3 , May 4, 2008
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          Hi Stacy,

          Wildly exaggerated and highly inaccurate.

          Phil Hill began racing in midgets, but decided that they were too dangerous. He
          switched to sports cars in 1947 (MG TC).

          He did suffer from ulcers and retired from racing in March 1954 on doctor's
          orders. He was back racing in by July 1954 with his ulcers under control. In
          those days ulcers were treated with a bland diet (baby food was not unusual).
          Hill did suffer from pre race butterflies throughout his career, but once in a
          race there was no sign of hesitancy in his driving. Not well known he was the
          first driver to break the nine minute lap record at the Nurburgring then the
          first to break the eight minute mark at the same track.

          He also held the lap record at Spa, which was considered one of the fastest and
          most dangerous tracks.

          After years of being frustrated by not getting an F1 ride he was finally given a
          Ferrari GP car at Reims in July 1957 (practice only). After several Ferrari
          drivers died in 1958 Hill joined the F1 team in 1958.

          He often said that drivers who died at the wheel did so due to driving errors.
          If he was terrified by racing he did not show it. Phil Hill and Phil Walters
          were standing on the pit wall at Le Mans in 1955 when Levegh went into the
          crowd. Walters retired on the spot. As we know Hill continued racing for another
          12 years. It was a time of extremely dangerous cars and circuits, long before
          modern safety features and cleaned up stadium courses. Looking at the number of
          great drivers who died in accidents during the period, that Hill had few
          accidents and no serious injuries while winning his share of races speaks to his
          skill lack of nerves.

          Hill won Le Mans three times, Sebring thrice (two more times 1st in big GT
          class), Nurburgring 1000 km and the 1961 F1 driver's championship.

          Hill may have made some bad career moves (staying with Ferrari in 1962 and
          joining Cooper are two), but his driving was always superior, if not
          spectacular.

          best wishes,

          David

          Stacey Hopkins wrote:

          > This is from the article "10 American Sports Heroes You Won't Find on a
          > Wheaties Box" by Eric Trex (p. 33) in the May-June issue of Mental_Floss. I
          > felt rather annoyed as I read on. Can anyone attest to the accuracy of this
          > entry? 7. Formula One Racing: Phil Hill Formula One, the elite international
          > driving circuit characterized by curvy courses, is a sport dominated by
          > Europeans. It's also a sport that rewards aggressive driving. Both are reasons
          > why Phil Hill, an American who's petrified of racing, should not be one of the
          > greatest Formula One drivers of all time. After a boyhood spent obsessing over
          > cars, Hill began racing Jaguars in 1950 in Southern California's burgeoning
          > road-racing scene. Successful as he was, Hill remained terrified of racing's
          > dangers. Worried that he was going to kill himself on the track, Hill
          > developed serious stomach ulcers that prevented him from keeping down solid
          > foods before a race. To keep his energy up, he began a pre-race regimen that
          > included feasting on jar after jar of baby food. In 1956, Hill made the jump
          > to European racing as a member of the famed Ferrari team. With a few key wins,
          > including France's grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans race, he established himself
          > as a star. Then in 1961, Hill got behind the wheel of the legendary
          > "shark-nose" Ferrari 156 and became the first American to win the coveted
          > Formula One World Drivers' Championship. The victory not only secured his
          > place in racing history, it also assured that Phil Hill could afford the
          > finest baby food for the rest of his career.
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