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My good friend David Loring

September 19, 2012

Ron Hussey and David Loring prepare dinner at Graycroft

Visits at Graycroft would always start with the lament: Well, it needs this and it needs that and this is broken and I can’t find any more of these… for me, going to David Loring’s house was always a grand adventure, and getting there on the dirt road was half the fun, particularly with my sweetheart Ron Hussey at the wheel.

No matter what vehicle we’d borrowed for the trip to Chocorua, NH, he’d drive it like a rally car once we hit the “driveway”.

Graycroft is primitive but in a wonderful way. Sure, it’s got running water – but heat is an anomaly and it’s a typically renovated summer home – always wants something and wants it now. Kind of like a kid.

To get the racing drift on David Loring, please be sure to reference this tribute by Gordon Kirby, a near and dear friend of his: http://www.gordonkirby.com/categories/columns/theway/2012/the_way_it_is_no353.html

David Loring’s racing exploits are widely chronicled, but his wonderful nature – his gift of being human – isn’t the kind of thing we can talk about in public. If I could make it to the Saturday memorial, my commentary might go something like this:

“I will never forget David – for his love of life, love of his friends and his absolute neglect of self. He was always ready to help someone else, but never himself. Always wanting a new adventure, but never with sufficient funding to enact it. Sure, travel to Alaska with a dog in tow in a VW was an option before Kathy, Evan and Alycks, but after that, it just wasn’t possible or feasible.

“Ron and DL had a bargain – Ron would send tequila to Denali and DL would capitulate with crabs legs – lots of crabs legs. David would take pictures of eagles while he was living there – instead of building Eagles, as he’d done in southern California.

“When David figured he wanted and needed to get back into the racing game, he came to Del Mar with us for the weekend. We decided, since the first day of practice and qualifying for IMSA hadn’t yet started, that we’d take a quick trip to Mexico for some tequila – and maybe even some dinner. We went to Ron’s favorite haunt south of Rosarita Beach, La Fonda restaurant and hotel – and watched the autumnal sunset.

“At one point DL asked about the floating barges out on the horizon – Ron grabbed his 400mm lens and the digital camera (quite new at the time) and announced they weren’t ships or barges, they were islands! That’s when we decided we’d easily had enough and ought to return stateside. As we approached the border, we tried to wake David up, but to no avail. The border guard asked, ‘Is he alive?” We responded that we thought so… we made the morning practice but Ron had to go pull David from the bed at midday and wrest him to the track.

“The following year, David and Bob Leitzinger won the GTU championship. See, he could survive anything – except death.

“DL loved anything spicy – I recall there was this one particular restaurant east of the Del Mar circuit that he always enjoyed because they had a great salsa. While everyone else at the table would gently dip a chip or two, David would engorge the entire bowl of salsa. He loved wasabi – would take a whole tube of the stuff to his mouth, no problem! Perhaps that’s the cause of some of his later stomach ailments?

“The first year that Honda came to CART racing certainly wasn’t their best. They had two cars, for Bobby Rahal and Mike Groff and made small models t hat were given away to media at the New Hampshire race. Ron and I grabbed piles of them and took them to Graycroft, our hotel for the weekend.

“DL proudly announced, ‘I’ve got a potato gun!’ We placed poor Bobby and Mike’s cars individually in the potato gun and fired them in the direction of Mt Washington. I wonder if they ever found them out there in the overgrown fields? One remains in my possession, gently tweaked by the years but another memory of Graycroft that lingers.

the rear end’s kinda tweaked but at least this model never made it into the potato gun

“The meals these two guys cooked were always the best and we women were allocated to clean – but not to bother them whilst in the kitchen. The result was always a fabulous meal – with every utensil known to mankind used and dirtied. It was always a pleasure to clean up – not really…

“Once Ron died in 2000, I didn’t get to see David, but we kept in touch by phone. He was always there for me in my moments of terror at being without his best friend – and like so many others, he became a “best friend” to me as he’d been to Ron Hussey. I always felt the bond was unbroken because I could reach out to DL and hear his high-pitched voice on the other end of the line.

We had plans to meet here and there – and had I known he’d be at the celebration of Dan Gurney’s life in Monterey, I’d have made the trip just to see him. Regrets, we all have them. But I know that as long as I remember David Loring and his fabulous exploits, he’s still alive in my mind’s eye.

A great racer, a true friend, a fabulous character unlike the cookie-cutter drivers we’ve got today – David Loring was amongst the last of a breed. He could do it all – design the car, build the car, maintain the car and drive the car to Victory Lane. I hope there’s a fabulous Winner’s Circle ready for David Loring in heaven.”

By Anne Proffit

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11 Comments
  1. I reckon something truly special in this web site.

  2. Piggy malone permalink

    Great tribute to DL… Thanks for sharing your memories of two great guys.

    Piggy

  3. Eric Loring permalink

    It was nice surprize to see this on the internet, I can not remember what I was originally looking for, but this came up and it was a great read, teared me up, I linked it to my facebook page for others to see, I hope that is alright, thanks so much and much love- eric

    • Thanks for reading and sharing – David and Ron were such good friends and I miss them both tremendously… love back at ya!

  4. Katie Loring Amador permalink

    More tears, but thank you so much for writing this wonderful article about wonderful David! You captured him 100%! – much love from his always”little sister” Katie

    • Thanks Katie – As you’ve discovered, I loved your brother so very much! And can’t look at a bottle of Heineken beer without thinking of him and laughing!

      • Eric Loring permalink

        Hello Anne; I got this message a few days ago it appears that walkings glen is putting together a celerbration for DL on June 25; See details below, I will be going and putting together some pictures and stories, let me know if you want me to add anything, and by all means come if you can find the time, please pass this on to anyone that you think may be interested

        Dear Eric

        As I said in my last email the Denali is now on display at the
        International Motor Racing Library and Research Center at Watkins Glen.

        Peter Argetsinger Davids close friend, is putting together a celebration and
        reception with friends and family. to be held on June 25th, between 5:30 and
        7:30 pm at the Library.
        Cocktails and appetizers served, alone with stories and pictures about
        David.

        Very much look forward to you and anyone in the family that can come and
        be a part of this.

        Peter is asking that we try our best to get a head count of folks coming
        and that you assist in passing the word out to the rest of the family
        or contact information that we can use to get in touch with them.

        We have some pictures, but are looking for more to display if you have any
        that you may wish to share.

        Advise you got this if you would and we look forward to seeing you.

        JW Pettigrew
        907-277-7100
        Peter Argetsinger
        954-494-8994

  5. JW Pettigrew permalink

    Just stumbled across this as well. He was my teacher, my mentor, and my best friend.
    I stil have his plastic Heineken Sticker which I carry in my pocket .
    And every day as I pass by his picture and the Denali..
    “Top of the morning to ya”

    JW Pettigrew

    • thanks for conjuring DL’s voice – next Wednesday would have been his birthday and I know just how we should all celebrate it!

  6. Evan Page Loring permalink

    Thanks Annie, this was a wonderful read this am – evan page loring

    • Thanks Evan – not a day goes by that I don’t think of David, spending time in Chocorua at Greycroft and shooting potato guns into the wilderness (with racecars inside)

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