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John Fitch, far more than just a race car driver, and more than a racing team director. Not only did he date JFK’s sister, he was manager of Lime Rock, inventor of the sand barrel safety barrier saving over 17,000 lives, and a WW2 fighter pilot in the P51 Mustang

Sunday, August 6th, 2017 by admin

To think of him only on terms of a Gran Prix race car driver is to miss the majority of his astonishing life.

But learn from that. To think of most people in terms of just one thing, is to miss the big picture of their lives, and odds are you’ll have missed the better parts.

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1917. He was a descendent of the inventor of the steamboat, John Fitch. Fitch’s stepfather was an executive with the Stutz Motor Company, which introduced him to cars and racing at an early age.

When WW2 broke out, he volunteered in spring of 1941, for the United States Army Air Corps. His service took him to North Africa, where he flew the A-20 Havoc and then on to England. By 1944, Captain Fitch was a P-51 Mustang pilot with the Fourth Fighter Group on bomber escort missions, and became one of the Americans to shoot down a German Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.

When Fitch returned to the U.S., he was among many young pilots who’d developed the need for speed during the conflict. He became part of the Palm Springs set, hanging out with Joe Kennedy’s sons including Jack and Bobby, and dating his daughter. But he was increasingly interested in racing and by the 1950s had started to devote more and more time to the sport.

Fitch opened an MG car dealership and also began racing at

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