The man known as the “Flying Dentist,” Dr. Dick Thompson, has died of natural causes at the age of 94. Thompson didn’t begin racing until he was in his 30s, but despite a lack of formal training or mechanical background, he was a natural who competed for nearly 20 years, driving primarily Corvettes, but also a variety of other cars including Maseratis, Jaguars, Cobras, GT40s, Mustangs and the Howmet Turbine for entrants such as Briggs Cunningham, Grady Davis, Carroll Shelby and John Wyer.
Along the way he collected a remarkable seven SCCA National Championships, five of them in Corvettes, one in a Porsche 356 and one in an Austin-Healey. Thompson’s work with the early Corvettes—his five Vette National Championships came in four different classes—helped Chevrolet’s engineers apply the lessons learned from racing to their road-going models to make a better car.
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