April 12, 2024

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2024 Kicks Off in Style with Madison Avenue Sports Car Driver Society

The Madison Avenue Sports Car Driver and Chowder Society, one of the oldest automotive driving associations in the USA, paid tribute to Lime Rock Park track announcer Greg Rickes at their first gathering of the new year at Sardi’s Restaurant in the heart of Manhattan’s theater district. 

Rickes, himself a veteran of over five decades of broadcasting at Lime Rock Park in northwestern Connecticut, entertained the group with photos and stories of famous racers, fantastic finishes and the evolution of sports car racing as he saw it throughout his career.  

His presentation rolled back the clock to a time when racers such as Sam Posey, David Hobbes, Paul Newman and John Fitch were regular competitors at Lime Rock. Rickes was sincerely proud to have announced Paul Newman’s debut professional race back in 1972 at Thompson Speedway as well as the racer/actor’s final laps at Lime Rock in 2008. 

Beginning in May, Greg Rickes will be back trackside at Lime Rock announcing all the action at the Trans Am and SVRA event on Memorial Day weekend.

Jim Donick and Greg Rickes

The Madison Avenue Sports Car Drivers and Chowder Society was formed back in March of 1957 by Art Peck and King Moore. It was intended as a gathering of enthusiasts, racers and sports car fanatics, with monthly meetings at Sardi’s, hosted by owner Vince Sardi. 

Although meeting attendees are generally well attired with jackets and ties for the men and dresses for the women, the mood is cordial, friendly and filled with laughter — typically when discussing various tall tales of racing, restorations and car topics in general.  

The club was formed on three basic principles: We have no known purpose; We have accomplished Nothing; We ain’t mad at Nobody. 

The truth of the matter is that club members comprise of some of the most accomplished racers, track management, automotive journalists and motorcar builders and collectors of the past 70 years. Each meeting offers a featured speaker and summertime gatherings are often located at venues with a relevance to the sports car culture.  The list of past speakers is truly a who’s who of the automotive industry, adding to the fun and camaraderie of this unique group.  

Jim Donick, a longtime member of the club’s Advisory Board, is currently leading the “Chowderheads,” as they refer to themselves, and began the gathering with a honk of an antique brass air horn before introducing the guest speaker.  

With Sardi’s iconic caricatures of Broadway legends in the background and a blustry winter storm outdoors, the Chowderheads all seemed to enjoy the break in the dreary winter to talk and dream about the rides, drives, and races to come in the months ahead.

Learn more hereChuck Gilchrest