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Jigger Sirois

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  • Jigger Sirois

    Some of y’all know that Jigger lives in my hometown.
    He met my Dad through the Local Toastmasters group years ago and comes by every couple of months to visit and talk racing.
    He was by yesterday and has completed his rehab from the recent heart surgery that kept him from attending the 500 (I got a call from him Race Day morning for a weather report).
    He is in tip top shape and ready for next years race.
    A nicer guy and a bigger humanitarian you’ll never meet.
    With one foot in the grave, and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel.

  • #2
    Jigger is a gem! Met him at a Richmond IRL race. Racer Rich who used to post here, was one of Jigger's pit guys introduced me.

    Had a great time reliving old races. Good to hear the heart is under control.
    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
    body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting
    "...holy $^!+...what a ride!"
    >

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    • #3
      Pole Day, what could have been.

      =

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      • #4
        Everyone knows Jigger’s story at Indy.
        Many know his father crewed on Indy winning cars.
        What isn’t as commonly known is that as a result of a traumatic incident as a child, Jigger was a stutterer, and was for most of his life.
        As a result, he set up a foundation to help children similarly afflicted.
        In order to reach more people, it is now run by Peyton Manning’s Children’s Hospital.
        As for his attempt at Indy that could have put him on the pole, he told me he never was bitter or called it bad luck, just a part of the game and although he never qualified for the 500 he considered it an honor just to have had the chance.
        Again, a nicer guy you’ll never meet.
        With one foot in the grave, and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel.

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        • #5
          Probably a better race driver than he gets credit for, really. Known better for missing the 500, he was a pretty good midget shoe and gave the Riley Turbine a heck of a run on the dirt at DuQuoin.
          "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal".

          John Kennedy at American University 1963

          "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

          A. Lincoln

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          • #6
            I assume Jigger and Myron Caves thought that there was more speed in their car, hence waving the run off. If that was the absolute max they could do, they may as well have stuck with it, and hope for the weather, a la Chet Fillip in 1983.
            "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

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            • #7
              Caves waved off the first two attempts thinking they needed more speed.
              IIRC, it later turned out either attempt would have put them in.
              The motor dropped a valve warming up for the third try.
              Being the class act he is, Jigger later said “If I’d have been a tick faster, he wouldn’t have waved me off.”
              He told me that years later Caves apologized to him and he replied that there was nothing to apologize for, he made the call he thought was right.
              He also said that after the engine let go, Penske offered to loan him one but there wasn’t enough time to get the swap done.
              With one foot in the grave, and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jandj View Post
                He also said that after the engine let go, Penske offered to loan him one but there wasn’t enough time to get the swap done.
                Definitely a great sign of respect...

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                • #9
                  Another neat story from Jigger:
                  Most of us “Of an age” know the story of the Midget race at Terre Haute where at the promotors request, AJ went out first on a bad track in hopes others would attempt to qualify.
                  He did.
                  The track then dried out and AJ didn’t make the field.
                  AJ paid the last place driver a couple hundred bucks to take over his car.
                  He won the race and lapped the field in the process.
                  Jigger was there that day.
                  He didn’t have a ride but went in case something came open.
                  It didn’t but he stayed to watch the race.
                  He told me he watched from inside Turn 3.
                  After a few laps he noticed someone in the back moving up the track each time by.
                  He didn’t recognize the car and didn’t know who was in it.
                  By about lap 10 the mystery driver was up top, hooked up, and passing cars like a rocketship.
                  It wasn’t until much later in the race he knew it was AJ.
                  He said it was the most impressive drive in a Midget he ever saw.
                  Kind of neat hearing the story from someone who was there.
                  With one foot in the grave, and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jandj View Post
                    Caves waved off the first two attempts thinking they needed more speed.
                    IIRC, it later turned out either attempt would have put them in.
                    There's a thread on this forum which claims his speed was reported incorrectly by the newspaper at the time, and the actual speed would not have made the race.

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                    • #11
                      It’s all speculation anyway as without a 4th lap speed there’s no way to tell.
                      If he’d done a 4th lap on the first day the pole was his, and the motor going ended a third and final attempt.
                      With one foot in the grave, and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel.

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                      • #12
                        Jigger is probably is better known at Indy (despite never made it into the race) than a bunch of drivers who qualified at least once, maybe twice.

                        For example, anyone remember George Mack??


                        BTW, this is no complaint or to downgrade Jigger. I have nothing but praise for the man and how he dealt with his fate and all he did in later years.

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                        • #13
                          I remember George.
                          You make a good point. Each May I go to the Old Timers Dinners. Drivers are called to the stage to tell their stories. Often a driver I don’t recall or qualified for one race speaks. They always remember every moment of their experience, sometimes shed some tears and get choked up as they tell us about the greatest day of their life.
                          They usually then catch themselves and add - except for my wedding day and when our children were born.

                          But everyone knows the Sirois story.

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