One of the great things about the National Corvette Museum is that its archives contain stories from Corvette history, but with it are artifacts, like Dr. Dick Thompson’s, helmet, and goggles. Dr. Thompson, better known as The Flying Dentist, couldn’t support himself as just a racecar driver, so during the week he would work at his dental office. Dr. Thompson’s natural talent behind the wheel however, allowed him to become one of the premiere racecar drivers of his time.
His passion and dedication to racing earned him SCCA championships in 1956, 1957, 1960, 1961, and 1962. He would also place third overall in the 24 Hours at Daytona in 1963. At a time in history when Corvette was not even supposed to be racing, privateers were relied on to be the ones to cross the finish line before Corvette had a factory-backed racing program. These award-winning racing seasons made Dr. Thompson the perfect Corvette test driver at Milford Proving Grounds–a role that was vital to Zora Arkus-Duntov, and to the development of Corvette.