Bob Akin, revisited
I was hanging out at Road Atlanta this past weekend with a friend of mine who ran in the Mitty last year.
The field was so large on that grim day that the paddock, lower paddock, and the parking lot down by Barbour were full of competitors, and it was in this lowest area that my buddy had his car. He was watching practice as the GTP guys went through 1 and up to 2, where they disappear over the crest. The story goes that Bob got clipped on the left rear turning into 4, a fast downhill left. He turned left, hit the outside wall head on and actually somersaulted over it, bursting into flame at the same time. The car then continued down the slope where it came to rest in some trees, igniting them as well. Since it was a practice session, Friday I think, there were no fire marshalls outside the course. (?!) It took a while to get to him.
From his vantage point my friend saw only heavy black smoke rising over 2-3. The cars were red flagged on the track. It became very quiet for a long time. A driver's meeting was called, at which time they learned that Bob was awake and talking, but very badly burned. The event then continued, although this guy was badly shaken up, as was everyone.
Later, scuttlebutt amoung the HSR boys had it that the family wanted to keep Akin alive for the duration of the weekend's races so as not to cast a further pall on the proceedings. Not surprising, as these are classy people who brought grace and sportsmanship to sportscar racing. He of course passed early the following week.
In closing the story, the guy said "This was a club race, you know? They're supposed to keep you alive." And just shook his head.