The Corvette world is mourning the passing of another racing legend, Dr. Dick Thompson.
“The Flying Dentist,” as he came to be known, didn’t start racing until he was 32 years old, but he quickly became a force to be reckoned with in many different makes of automobiles, not just Corvettes.
In fact, he and a friend, Bill Kinchloe, competed in the very first 12 Hours of Sebring in 1952, driving Thompson’s MG TC from Washington, D.C., to Florida, where they finished eighth overall and then headed back home.
Thompson’s star rose quickly, as he won two straight SCCAF Production national titles in a Porsche Super and a Jaguar XK 120.
That success caught the attention of another Corvette racing legend, John Fitch, who suggested to Zora Arkus-Duntov that Chevy hire Thompson to race in their Corvette.
It didn’t take Thompson long to prove his worth as he won back-to-back C Production and B Production titles in Corvettes through 1957, along with a GT class victory at Sebring.
Thompson also later raced the legendary Sting Ray Racer to the C Modified national championship, at the urging of designer Bill Mitchell. At the same time, he was also competing for Briggs Cunningham and won more national crowns for Corvette under Gulf Oil and Roger Penske.
Thompson moved in 1965 to Ford, for whom he was equally successful in a Cobra and Mirage.
Dr. Thompson passed away last weekend at age 94. Retirement from racing had kept him busy raising thoroughbred horses and pursuing motocross and sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.