Friday, March 16, 2018

Peter Gregg, SCCA Trans Am winner of 1969 (under 2 ltr), 73, and 74(overall winner due to format change), successful Porsche race car driver, successful Porsche dealership owner, and at age 40 married a 25 year old piano playing, horse riding, art director turned racer. A life of tragedy. No joke

Peter Gregg was a Harvard grad of English Lit, a navy Air Intel officer for 4 years at NAS Jacksonville while simultaneously becoming a race car driver who became the International Motor Sports Association`s all-time winningest driver. The year before mustering out of the Navy he won an SCCA race with a Vette, and then went racing a 904... while still in uniform.

He was one of America's greatest and most successful road racers with 152 wins out of 340 races he started.

He was an atheist who stumped the press, who asked how he'd won 3 sequential 24hrs of Daytona, with "It's because I'm right with Jesus"

He owned the 2 most prestigious Porsche dealerships in America, in Atlanta and Jacksonville (bought after leaving the Navy), and a Mercedes Benz dealership (bought 3 years after the Navy), partly because his 1st wife was so wealthy that she let him do what he wanted, and then go racing.

He became rich enough to be placed as director of the Jacksonville Natl bank

He drove for Peter Brock in the BRE guest car in 1972, and raced in Can Am 1973

He co-drove to win the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1973, 1975, 1976, and 1978.

And he had a problem. He was a barely tolerable ass at most times. He lined up his dealership employees shoulder to shoulder, military style, and sidestepped down the line, having each employee step forward, state their name, and income, and then he decided if they were still worth that.

But was that a sudden departure from his previous lifelong personality? The previous summer, he'd crashed while driving through France, to avoid an crash while overtaking an ox cart on the road in front of him, and suffered double vision and migraines afterward. That's brain damage folks. 

The Greggs first met in July 1980 at a party, and initially bonded over a him challenging her to a race after dinner. Deborah had never actually raced. He challenged the group to a spin behind the wheel of his Porsche. Deborah took him up on the offer, and they were off -- she in his Porsche, he in a friend's BMW -- on a late-night drive through Jacksonville's deserted downtown streets.

Her dad was a retired WW2 and Korean War bomber pilot--B-24s and B-29s

Their relationship progressed quickly, and they married within 5 months.

Together, they shared a home in Jacksonville, Fla., where Gregg owned four car dealerships and the Brumos Racing team. He had organized the team and used it to win a record 47 IMSA GT races.

Deborah was left with four auto dealerships, worth an estimated $19 million, Peter`s racing team and a shattered life.

However, just 9 days after they married, Peter Gregg committed suicide with a .38 on a deserted beach south of Punta Gorda, near their home, leaving a note that, essentially, told his wife his death had nothing to do with her.

He had changed his will in favor of Deborah, and left her a note telling her not to blame herself for what he had done.

With the help of her business partner, Bob Snodgrass, Gregg was able to keep her husband`s holdings intact. She was still in dire need of emotional resuscitation, so seven months after her husband`s death, she enrolled at Bob Bondurant`s driving school

It has become a way of life for Gregg, 32, a rookie on the SCCA Trans-Am series. A veteran of IMSA`s various circuits, co-driver with lyn St James, Gregg is the newest member of Jack Roush`s successful Lincoln-Mercury factory team, spearheaded by series point leader Scott Pruett and Pete Halsmer.

Before August 1987`s 66-lap race at Lime Rock (Conn.) Park, she was ranked third in the point standings, thus becoming the first woman to break into the top five.

A life changed dramatically by a guy she knew for a couple months.

A guy who was 7 when his mom left to buy him a birthday cake, but on the way home she set it down on the subway platform and stepped in front of a train.

Like I said... a life of tragedy. He had manic depression before that was common enough  for drs to be educated and experienced enough to diagnose or treat. I doubt meds were tested and approved to the point of selecting the best one for a person based on some trial and error (needed to find the one each patients brain chemistry reacts the best with).

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The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of 161 crisis centers that provides a 24/7,  line available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

No matter what problems you’re dealing with, whether or not you’re thinking about suicide, if you need someone to lean on for emotional support, call the Lifeline.

1800 488 3000
The Boys Town National Hotline is a ​free hotline available to kids, ​teens and young adults at any time. We provide help when you need it most. Call, chat, text or email. We are here to talk if you're depressed, contemplating suicide, being physically or sexually abused, on the run, addicted, threatened by gang violence, fighting with a friend or parent, or if you are faced with an overwhelming challenge.

Fifty Years with Car and Driver By Marty Padgett

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