Sunday, September 21, 2008

Paul Goldsmith's Rookie Year, 1958

Linden Left Big Seat To Fill, Says ‘500’ Rookie

Long Distance To…Paul Goldsmith

By Rick Johnson-Indianapolis Times, April 28, 1958

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A big league baseball rookie may be a veteran of more than 1000 minor league games, but until he proves himself in the big time, he is a rookie.

So it goes with rookie drivers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Paul Goldsmith, St Claire Shores, Mich., two-time NASCAR champion, will be one of the more outstanding rookies taking his driver’s test in May.

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Paul is 30 years old, and has been racing since 1947. He started by racing motorcycles, then moved to the modified stocks and joined the NASCAR circuit.

Photo Courtesy

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Three strips of tape will be placed on the tail of his car, the City of Daytona Spl., to show that he is a rookie. He must go through a four-phase test, 10 laps each, at speeds of 115, 120, 125, and 130 mph, with USAC stewards and several drivers observing.

IMS Photo

Let’s talk long distance to Paul Goldsmith.

Q: How do you feel about taking an Indianapolis driver’s test?

A: I’m pretty thrilled about it, and I’m looking forward to it. This is the race every driver wants to make before he quits.

Q: Do you prefer any sort of track surface?

A: No. I’ve raced on every surface imaginable…sand, asphalt, concrete, flat tracks, banks, smooth, rutted…I guess you could say I’ve been on about anything that resembles a race track.

Q: Have you ever raced in an Indianapolis-type car before…sprints or midgets?

A: No. I have driven them at one time or another, but only in practice. I don’t think it will be too hard for me to learn how, though.

Q: Can you recall your greatest thrill in racing?

A: Everything about racing is a thrill to me. Just being able to do what I like best is thrill enough for me.

Q: When do you plan to begin your driver’s test?

A: I’ll be in Indianapolis tomorrow or the next day, and I plan to get started on it just as soon as possible. I can’t wait to get on that track.

Q: What’s the fastest you have been timed in closed-course racing?

A: I averaged a little better than 157 mph for quite a while on the Chevrolet proving grounds in Phoenix last year. That was quite a thrill. The track out there was a 5-mile course, quite a bit bigger than the one at Indianapolis. I imagine some of the things I ran into there will help me quite a bit at Indianapolis.

Q: Are you familiar with the problems you might encounter at Indianapolis?

A: I won’t say I know it all. But I worked with Marshall Teague at the track for a couple of years, and learned a lot about the track and the ‘groove.’ What I don’t know, I’m going to learn.

Q: What do you think of your car?

A: It’s really a fine machine. Andy Linden drove it last year, so you know it’s got to be a good one. That Linden left me a big seat to fill.

Q: If you make the 500-Mile Race field, will you forget the stock car circuit?

A: I won’t forget it, but if I make that race field, I’m going to drive in the National USAC circuit.

Q: Have you ever been injured in racing?

A: Only twice. When I first started out on the motorcycles, I jumped off my bike at Cleveland one time to keep from hitting a rider who had been spilled. My bike tore through the fence, and I broke both my feet. The other one was at Darlington last year, when I hit another car. It wasn’t serious though…only a cut above the eye.

Q: How much longer do you intend to keep racing?

A: I’ll keep it up until I find something else I like as much as racing. But I’ll tell you one thing right now…I’m going to keep on racing until I get to tear those three strips of tape off of my car.

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