As far as any driver with any sense is concerned, there is more at stake than our pride and our reputations, our standing in our sport and the money. We all have the pressure of keeping our necks connected to our spines. If we make a mistake it's not a question of striking out or losing 15 yards. It's not a matter of losing or even making an ass of yourself in front of a great number of people. In this business a mistake can be ramified into something that could be terminal.
Only gamblers take complete chances. Nothing was ever accomplished without taking some sort of chance, though. But I try to minimize the risks of race driving. I'm said to be a conservative driver. I don't know why people say that, maybe it's true. I look at other drivers and at times I think they drive beyond their ability. They drive with wild abandon, and I ask myself if that's why I'm not winning more races.
MANDEL: This is the way it is at Indianapolis in May 1973: Revson has spun out in practice and hit the wall at 150 mph. He has survived that shattering experience, practiced again and finally qualified his car for 10th starting spot on the 500 grid. He also has flown off to race in the Belgian Grand Prix—where he spun off the course and did not finish. And he flew back to Indiana where he awaits the Memorial Day race.
There are signs on the window at Hook's Drug Store announcing Revson's exclusive appearance and the introduction of Rev-Up, the vitamin for men. The crowd waiting is small, made up of housewives and their teen-aged daughters. The announcer is prattling, marking time while he waits for Revson: "Recover! A cover-up leg cream for varicose veins and facial scars. Peter, howareya?" His voice rises in triumph. Revson is almost 20 minutes late but he has finally walked in the door.
The Rev-Up man is joined by the store manager, who walks over beaming and offers chairs, Cokes, anything, anything at all. Would this table be handy for the stack of 8x10 glossies showing Revson with his Can-Am medals around his neck? Perfect. The people line up and the Rev-Up man and the manager slip into the background, like parents at an eighth-grade piano recital.
I have seen these women in the late afternoon on my television set: they are the audience of The Mike Douglas Show. I have heard them say about Merv Griffin off-camera what they are now saying about Revson: "Gee, you're too handsome," and "This one's not for me, it's for my son who's just furious he couldn't be here himself," and "I promised I'd get your autograph for the girl I work with," and "Sign it, 'For Connie with love.' "
A fat girl wants an autographed photo and she proffers her notebook as a writing desk. The notebook has Al Unser's name written on it. An old man wanders up and asks if he can get Mel Kenyon's autograph. The fat girl comes back to tell Revson to take it easy. "I'll be watching you in the third turn," she says. A young housewife introduces herself as a former "Miss Grapefruit," and it is time to move on to Haag Drug Store across town.
At Haag the crowd is bigger, the signs gaudier, HERE IN PERSON, PETER REVSON Says one; PETER REVSON, SPOKESMAN FOR REV-UP and, to Revson's total embarrassment, PETER REVSON, ADMIRED BY MEN, ADORED BY WOMEN, ONE OF TODAY'S OUTSTANDING PERSONALITIES. Revson looks at the sign and at the women and says quietly, with sarcasm, "A Budley Studhorse Production."
Here the women are in curlers, the young girls in braces; it's a far more fashion-conscious neighborhood. The store is newer and larger. A local disc jockey is doing a live broadcast, interspersed with commercials pitching the Haag Rev-Upcontest. The store is giving away Peter Revson sunglasses, Peter Revson racing jackets, Peter Revson driving suits, Peter Revson racing patches..."nothing to do, nothing to buy."
At the end of the two-hour session a young girl, who has been waiting patiently, approaches Revson and identifies herself as being from the Middlebury, Ohio newspaper. She asks for just 10 minutes. Revson sighs and takes her over to the patio furniture display. She flips open her notebook, opens her eyes wide, takes a deep breath and asks Revson, "How do you feel about the ever-present danger?"