A brief tribute to the dearly departed

Posted by Iannucci | 7/20/2009 | 1 comments »
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As you may have heard, America's most famous TV newsman passed away this weekend. I suppose I could say spill some words of reverence since I met the man twice during my time at Arizona State's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, so I'll just say he was always nice and polite to us students. Honestly, the legendary anchor had retired from nightly newscasts, and my family usually watched NBC instead of CBS.

As you also may have heard (or even seen), 18-year-old Henry Surtees was tragically killed during a Formula Two race at Brands Hatch when he was hit by a loose wheel from another car. No matter how many technological achievements are made auto racing is and always will be a dangerous sport. Fuel, metal, and adrenaline are the same ingredients in both motorsports and modern warfare, so the tragic shadow of mortal danger is always lurking close. And it still stings when it occurs, especially to a teenager.

So what does Walter Cronkite have to do with racing? Funny you should ask (assuming of course you did, although if you didn't don't let my silly rhetorical question distract you any further.)

What is it they seek, that they are willing to face such dangers to achieve? The answer is one that no man can with certainty provide for another.

Rest In Peace, Walter and Henry.

(Thanks to our buddy Lewis Franck - who's actually a swell racing journalist - for bringing this YouTube gem to our attention.)

UPDATE: Check out "Walter Cronkite, the race car driver" from the New York Times.

Mr. Cronkite drove several times in the Little Le Mans endurance races in the late 1950s at Lime Rock, in a Volvo PV444. He once finished as high as third over all; he took home the winner’s trophy, however, for coming in first in his class.

“He drove in the 12 Hours of Sebring once, 1959, I believe, and he filed radio reports for CBS between shifts,” [Donald] Davidson said Monday in an e-mail exchange.


  1. Simon // July 20, 2009 11:32 PM  

    A quick check shows Cronkite placed 40th out of 65 starters and 48 finishers at Sebring in 1959, driving a 1300cc Lancia Appia Zagato with Peter Baumberger and Warren Rohlfs.