Racing enthusiast Reed Andrews '52 speeds through retirementWho says retirement must be boring, or even sedate? F. Reed Andrews III '52 of Moreland Hills, Ohio, is seventy-one, has been racing sports cars as a hobby since 1956, and has just completed another season. Like his rather-more-famous fellow Kenyon graduate Paul Newman '49, he sees no reason to hang up his helmet as long as he can pass the physical.
"It's really not a dangerous sport," he says. Over the years there have been scarcely any fatalities. For me, the thrill is in the competition not in the danger. I just like to compete and have a good time."
It was a chance visit to the races at Watkins Glenn, New York, on the way home from a vacation in Massachusetts that ignited Andrews's passion. Just a year later, he was behind the wheel of a Triumph. Over the years, he has pushed some classic cars-a Sunbeam Alpine, a Fraser Nash, a Bristol, a "bathtub" Porsche, and an Elva Mark VI-around the track.
His current vehicle, a scrappy Honda Civic, includes the engine and transmission of a Honda CRX that he crashed during a race in 1997. "I was fighting for the lead on the last lap of a race at Nelson Ledges, my home track, and I touched the car of my closest competitor," Andrews recalls. "He managed to go on, and I lost control and hit a tire barrier at over one hundred miles per hour, traveling backwards."
It was the first time he had ever been hurt in a crash. Luckily, the injury was not serious and he was treated and released the same day. "I've had worse injuries on the tennis court," he laughs, saying he can be found there five days a week. "Once, I was hit in the head by my partner's racquet and needed stitches."
Andrews has twice won the North American Touring Car Series (NACTS) in the IT-A class, once in the CRX and, previously, in a Volkswagon Golf GTI. The series consists of six endurance races at Watkins Glen, Mosport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Summit Point in Washington, D.C., and Nelson Ledges.
Off the track, Andrews has led a conventional, though not boring, life. He has been married to Barbara Cotesworth, a Denison University coed he met at a fraternity party in 1950 who claims he proposed thirty times before she said yes, for fifty years. Andrews joined the old Cleveland Trust in 1952 and later moved to Bache and Company, now part of Prudential, and then to Singer, Dean, and Scribner. He retired in 1995, but he continues to operate a financial-consulting business from his home under the umbrella of Securities America. He and Barbara have two daughters, a son, and four grandchildren, and they enjoy visiting them in Seattle, Washington, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Oneonta, New York. "We like to travel," says Andrews. "In recent years we've cruised through the Panama Canal and visited Alaska.
Andrews is in his fourth year of a four-year term as a Moreland Hills councilman, a job he approaches with the same enthusiasm he brings to racing. It's the second time he has held the position, having served for five years in the early 1980s. "I decided to run again because the village was having troubles with lawsuits, and I though I could be of help," he says. The six council members generally change committee assignments yearly, but Andrews served as chair of the finance committee for two years in order to see the legal matters to their conclusion.
The veteran of more than five hundred races estimates he has won about one hundred fifty. Held under the jurisdiction of the Northeast Ohio region of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), races begin in early May and continue until the end of October. Race weekends, which for Andrews number about ten, often include a round of golf and dinner out with friends.
SCCA was originally established to provide racing inexpensively for amateurs. Many of the background functions on the day of the race are performed by volunteers and Andrews has logged his share of hours behind the scenes. Interestingly, because of insurance costs, most of the races don't permit spectators.
"These days, I race in the Show Room Stock Sedan division, which is for small unmodified cars, Andrews explains. "You can't change the car except to add safety features so it is relatively inexpensive. The Volkswagon Golf GTI in which I won the NACTS transported me every day to work." The races vary from thirty to forty miles on a 2.0- or 2.5-mile course.
The rocking-chair life is not something even dimly considered by Andrews. With the pedal to the metal, he plans to continue enjoying life at full speed.
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