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Piston Technician Award Presented at the Lime Rock Park Historic Festival

The very first Piston Technician Award was presented to this weekend’s most valuable race technician in a pit lane ceremony at the Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 40. The Piston Technician Award recognizes the essential contribution auto technicians make to the collector car community through their trade skills and technical automotive expertise.

By Christopher Perkowski

September 14, 2022

Why the Technician Award?

Anyone who finds themselves drawn to the racetrack is there for the flashy cars, the smell of rubber on asphalt, and of course the thrill of the race. The last thing on most people’s minds is the logistics involved in keeping those cars ready for the track. Often times, the automotive technicians supporting the behind the scenes work on these spectacles receive little to no appreciation for it. As advocates of automotive technicians and skilled trade education, the folks at the Piston Foundation felt it was time to create an award that would give these unsung heroes of the track their moment in the spotlight.

Top Technicians of the Historic Festival

Naturally, the technicians were out in full force during the Lime Rock Park racing festivities, each doing their part to assist the racers. To find the MVP of the weekend, The Piston Foundation invited people to vote on which technician they saw making the biggest difference. While there was only one winner, several notable runner ups were still deserving of recognition. Here are the top six honorable mentions (from left to right: Technician’s Name, Affiliated Motor Shop, Featured Race Car, Car Owner)

  • Dean Hutchinson – GMT Racing, 1965 Ford Lotus Cortina Mk 1, David Porter
  • Greg Meindl Jr. – DG Racing, 1965 Ford Mustang, Gregory Meindl
  • Alex Vividor – DG Racing, 1965 Ford Mustang, Gregory Meindl
  • Tazio Squire – Former Glory Racing, 1964 Austin Healey 3000, Jon Einhorn
  • Jim Newton – Automobile Associates, 1968 Porsche 911, Ted Goneos
  • Rod Atkinson – Apex Vintage Racing, 1963 Brabham BT6 FJ, Sharon Adelman

And the Winner Is…

After a final tally of the votes, Mark Marra of Automobile Associates in Canton, CT, was declared the winner and recipient of the first Piston Technician Award. Mike received the award for his excellent race prep and maintenance of car #310, the ’72 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Dave Hutchings. In Friday’s qualifying session, the car developed throttle problems, which Mike quickly diagnosed and solved to give Dave the chance for a good position on Saturday’s starting grid.

The award was presented jointly by Dicky Riegel, President and CEO of Lime Rock Park, and the Piston Foundation’s own Mayo T. Smith, Director of Donor Relations. Afterward, Mr. Riegel expressed his excitement to be involved. “The Piston Technician Award recognizes the essential contribution auto technicians make to the racing, collector car and auto enthusiast communities,” he said. “Lime Rock Park is delighted to support the Piston Foundation’s mission to fund skilled trade education and apprenticeships. It’s critical if we are going to continue to enjoy the Historic Festival for generations to come.”

Technicians, Skilled Trade, and Beyond

The recognition Mike Marra received for his efforts illustrated to all in attendance the importance of first-rate technicians. Such level-headed expertise is exactly what the Piston Foundation hopes to cultivate in today’s youth. The more students that can get an education to learn the proper techniques of the trade, the more technicians there’ll be to serve as the backbone of one of car culture’s greatest pastimes. The Foundation looks forward to seeing many more promising technicians at future events as well as bestowing the second Technician Award in 2023.

Support skilled trade education for future auto restoration technicians.

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