On that first lap Rainville ran into trouble when two cars ahead of him made contact. To avoid them he went off the pavement spinning on the grass and going through the flimsy snow fencing used to restrain the crowds. Two race fans were struck and injured. He returned to the track to continue the race while emergency personnel tended to the injured.
This would not be the last he would hear about the accident because after the race a personal injury lawsuit was filed against him. According to Rainville’s son, Paul, the legal action seemed to drag on for years until it was finally settled.
The decision by Mr. Bizzarrini to go with the brake fluid recommended by Dunlop was beginning to tell because by lap 12 the #8 car was experiencing severe brake fade as the brake fluid began to boil and evaporate in the extreme heat. With slightly more than an hour of racing on the clock the Bizzarrini’s brakes were totally gone and when driver Silvio Moser approached the infamous Hairpin turn he had no brakes. He headed for the escape road but managed to plunge into the crowd near the turn hitting a VW microbus. One report indicated that no one was injured but another report indicated that two occupants of the bus sustained minor injuries. The severely damaged race car was moved away from the crowd lest souvenir hunters strip it. The #8 Bizzarrini was officially retired on lap 16. The car’s co-driver, Mario Casoni, never got a chance to drive the car.
The Bizzarrini team was not the only ones who suffered from problems early in the race. Dan Gurney led for several laps in his All-American Lotus 19J-Ford but had to retire on lap 43 when the chain drive on the oil pump failed. Cars were entering the pits for unscheduled pit stops on a regular basis due to overheating. When the hoods were lifted on those cars and the radiator caps removed geysers of steam would erupt into the air. One mechanic was slightly scalded and had to be treated at the hospital tent at the end of pit road. The third place #4 Bruce Jennings, Ronnie Hissom Chaparral had to pit with battery problems that some said was related to the heat. It took 45 minutes to resolve before the car was able to reenter the race.
The #9 Bizzarrini continued on a steady pace and it was beginning to pay off as their class competition pitted or retired with a variety of ailments. This included a couple of Shelby Cobras, Ferraris and the Richie Ginther – Phil Hill Ford GT40 which retired after 37 laps with a broken suspension. These retirements allowed the Rainville/Gammino car to move up the overall standings and higher in the Sports Racing class.