Friday 8th November 1985
Racer Masten Gregory (53) died. A race winner at SCCA racing level in the US, Masten Gregory’s big international break came by winning the 1957 Buenos Aires 1000km race sharing the car with Luigi Musso, Eugenio Castellotti and Cesare Perdisa. This led to his Formula 1 debut shortly after with Mimmo Deiís Scuderia Centro Sud at Monaco. Driving the privateer Maserati 250F to a great 3rd place, he became the first American to stand on the podium of a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Injury made him miss a number of races in 1958, but driving for Cooper in 1959 he finished 3rd at the Dutch Grand Prix and 2nd in Portugal. Still he was dropped at the end of the season and the privateer teams he raced with, like Centro Sud, Camoradi International, UDT Laystall and Reg Parnell Racing, never allowed a break through in F1. So Masten concentrated on his sports car career winning the 1961 Nurumburging 1000km race in a Birdcage Maserati with Lucky Casner and in 1962 the Canadian Grand Prix sports car race at Mosport Park in a Lotus-Climax. After the 1964 season as Ford works driver he won the 1965 Le Mans 24 hours race sharing a North American Racing Team Ferrari with Jochen Rindt. That same year came his debut at the Indianapolis 500 where he was running fifth when he retired. After his friend Jo Bonnier was killed at Le Mans in 1972, Masten got disenchanted with the sport becoming a diamond trader. He succumbed to a heart attack during a holiday trip in Italy in 1985.