HERE COMES THE SUN ???

Paddock View

The Monterey Peninsula heavy marine layer finally made it to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Day Four of the Rolex Motorsports Monterey Reunion. The previous three days the world-famous road circuit dodged the bullet. Sunday morning the fog was low and thick enough to delay the morning warm-ups for an hour. Then, the cars had laps behind the Pace Car, for track acclimation.

The Sunday schedule calls for eight more races for the Group B Cars, followed by the Prize Giving ceremonies in the paddock.

The crowd is typically smaller on Sundays, at least in the morning, as many drivers/participants and fans head over to Pebble Beach for the Concours D’Elegance. They make their way back to Laguna Seca for the afternoon races and ceremonies.

Mother Nature likes Formula One and the sun shone on Race Group 3B for the Historic F1 cars. The Speed Trap sign atop the Start-Finish stand records the speed of the cars after they come charging down the front straight and up over the Turn One hill. DAN MARVIN in PHIL REILLY’s 1974 Brabham BT-44 turned a 148 mph for that Turn One sector. Marvin won the Historic Formula One Race which ran with the inaugural USGP F1 race at Circuit of the Americas last November, and was accorded all the pomp and circumstance that goes with Formula One including the podium anthems, flags and champagne.

James Alder & 1952 Jaguar XKE

James Alder & 1952 Jaguar XKE

Race Group 5B is for 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars. JAMES ALDER of Reno NV drives his 1952 Jaguar XK 120 OTS to and from the races – no trailer. His logbook has 111 races, at least 17 of which have been at the Laguna Seca historic events. Alder first saw the car in March 1982 and “just had to have it.” He scraped together the funding and bought it. Originally he thought of it as an investment car, but 38 years later, he’s still racing it. Once the car was invited to the prestigious Australian Shannons Historic Car Races at Phillip Island, near Melbourne. They shipped his car to and from, so this was one race he didn’t commute.

LEGENDARY CORVETTES

2011 Chevrolet Race Car #73 Corvette C6

2011 Chevrolet Race Car #73 Corvette C6

1957 Chevrolet "Fuelie" Corvette C1

1957 Chevrolet “Fuelie” Corvette C1

1960 Chevrolet Cunningham #3 Corvette

1960 Chevrolet Cunningham #3 Corvette

1967 Chevrolet Le Mans Racer Corvette C2

1967 Chevrolet Le Mans Racer Corvette C2

1967 Chevrolet 427 Corvette

1967 Chevrolet 427 Corvette

1968 Chevrolet Owens-Corning -88 Corvette C3

1968 Chevrolet Owens-Corning -88 Corvette C3

1972 Chevrolet LT1 Survivor Corvette C3

1972 Chevrolet LT1 Survivor Corvette C3

1989 Chevrolet Corvette Challenge Car #3 C4

1989 Chevrolet Corvette Challenge Car #3 C4

1989 Chevrolet ZR1 Corvette C4

1989 Chevrolet ZR1 Corvette C4

2001 Chevrolet C5R Corvette Race Car C5

2001 Chevrolet C5R Corvette Race Car C5

2004 Chevrolet Z06 Le Mans Commemorative Edition Corvette C5

2004 Chevrolet Z06 Le Mans Commemorative Edition Corvette C5

2011 Chevrolet Race Car #73 Corvette C6

2011 Chevrolet Race Car #73 Corvette C6

2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Indy 500 Pace Car C6

2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Indy 500 Pace Car C6

2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7

2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7

WHOLE LOTTA RACIN’ GOIN’ ON

Trylon Flag

Saturday was the third day of the jam-packed Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – and the first of two race days. All the Race Group A cars ran Saturday, with a morning Warm-Up followed by the afternoon 20-minute timed races. The computer gremlins that plagued Timing & Scoring on Friday were banished from the kingdom.

The weather wasn’t quite as lovely as Days One and Two, but still quite tolerable. The cloud cover came and went, there was a breeze, and it was fairly warm.

Some of the historic cars are scheduled for Saturday Race Group A so they can enter the Sunday Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance.

STEVE WALKER/1935 BMW 315 Special won Race 1A for Pre 1940 Sports Racing and Touring Cars. There were 26 cars in the field, the average race speed was 55.356 mph and eighth place winner, JOHN KERR/1932 MILLER-SCOFIELD/Ford turned the fastest lap of 2:10.550 on Lap Three.

1934 MG K3 Magnette Sports

John Hampson

John Hampson

JOHN HAMPSON finished fifth in Race 1A, in the family 1934 MG K3 Magnette Sports. This was the first time the car had raced since 1940. It has competed in the Mille Miglia in Italy and run in touring and rally events. John is the youngest driver of the weekend, at age 20. He’s a Junior at Tufts University studying economics. John’s father, DOUG HAMPSON, prepares the car.

Hampson is just starting his racing career. Earlier this month he ran the family Mazda RX7 in the Cal Club Regional Race at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, and set the fastest time ever at the track for a RX-7. He’s hoping to run enough races to qualify for his SCCA National Driver’s License and try to qualify for the 2014 SCCA National Runoffs, which will be held at Laguna Seca.

PADDINS DOWLING/1939 Maserati 4CL won Race 2A for 1927-1951 Racing Cars, and runner-up JEFFREY O’NEILL/1957 Maserati 250F turned the fastest lap at 1:54.639 on Lap Eight at 70.280 mph. That must have been the lap where he passed PETER GIDDINGS/1926 Delage 15-S-8. Twelve of the 18 entries in the race competed.

Race 3A for 1955-1962 GT Cars was won by TONY GARMLEY/1962 Chevrolet Corvette, who also went fastest on Lap Three – 73.977 mph/1:48.910. Thirty-four cars ran the race, which had seven Corvettes.

ILYA BURKOFF/1969 McLaren M6B won Race 4A for 1960-1968 Sports Racing USRRC Cars, and turned the fastest race lap of 85.157 mph/1:34.611 on the second lap. Thirty-three cars raced.

1963 Corvette Grand Sport

Revs Project 1963 Corvette Grand Sport

He may have been wired, but it didn’t get in the way of BRUCE CANEPA in the Collier Collection 1963 Corvette Grand Sport. The car has been fast all weekend, and last weekend also – with another driver, JOHN MORTON. The car is in its third year of the Revs Project, which collects data by telemetry on the car, and driver instrumentation. This weekend it’s brain waves. (Feel free to insert your choice of joke here.) They drivers have probes under their helmet, applied with gel. Morton said that despite the gel being water soluble, it still takes a lot of shampoo to get it off. This year’s probes are streamlined and less painful/noticeable than last year.

In previous years the drivers were wired on their chests for heart rates and other vitals. The car and driver data is collected at Stanford Medical Center to correlate what the driver is doing with what the car is doing – the human to car reaction. The car has a GPS telemetry so the staff knows everything the car is doing and where on the track.

The project includes Stanford graduate students and professors. Morton said the Revs staff likes “oops” moments … they don’t want to be bored. Seriously, the project likes to measure driver stress. He saw his data, but “couldn’t make sense of my brain waves.” PREVIOUS drivers to be instrumented included BRIAN REDMAN and ROGER MANDEVILLE, but Morton and Canepa are the primaries.

Eventually Revs hopes to make race cars safer.

Race 5A runner-up, JAMES FARLEY/1965 Shelby Cobra, turned the fastest time of 1:40.770 for 61.714 mph on Lap Six. Morton raced in this group also, running sixth in a 1964 Sunbeam Tiger. He finished behind Aussie, JOHN BOWE/1965 Chevrolet Corvette, who is running his second Rolex Reunion. Bowe is also racing a 1974 March 741 in Race 3B for Historic F1 cars. There were 33 of the 39 entries in Race 5A.

JOHN WATKINS/1970 Ford Boss Mustang won Race 61 for 1973-1982 FIA and IMSA Cars – GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU, & GTP. Runner-up KEN EPSMAN/1975 Dekon Monza was fastest on Lap Six at 87.181 mph/1:32.415. Thirty-one of the 41 entries took the Green Flag, with 17 finishing on the lead lap.

1957 Monsterati Special and Fiat

1957 Monsterati Special and Fiat

Pole sitter DAVID SWIG won Race 7A for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars under 2000cc. Swig drove the family 1958 Scarab MK 1, turning the fastest time of 1:44.743/76.92 mph on Lap Three. The field was small (20) but competitive. David’s younger brother, HOWARD, raced the family 1957 Monsterati Special and finished ninth.

At one time David was the youngest driver at Laguna, and then was supplanted by Howard. But these two are now old men at age 28 and 25, respectively. Both brothers started out as automotive journalists, before working directly with cars. David is the US Motorcar Specialist at Bonham’s, and Howard is an Account Executive at Cartelligent.

The Swig brothers are the sons of the late MARTIN SWIG, who among other many things, founded and ran the California Miglia. The brothers are carrying on with the 22-year old annual event. Martin passed away July 2012. At last year’s Reunion, the brothers received the Founder’s Trophy on behalf of their father, “to the remembrance of a truly passionate and involved person who was instrumental in growing this sport.” The trophy, in honor of STEVE and DEBBIE EARLE, is presented to the person who richly personifies historic racing.

Rick Knoop & Echidna Special

Rick Knoop & Echidna Special

Veteran professional racer, RICK KNOOP, finished Race 71 in eleventh place, driving a 1959 Echidna Special. The car, owned by BOB HARDISON, has been “asleep for 40 years.” Hardison owns two of the three remaining such cars. The No.65 car Rick is racing is the cousin of the No.64 Devon Huffaker that Knoop’s father, FREDERICK KNOOP, put on the pole at a long-ago Laguna historic race. Fredrick was honored at last year’s Rolex Reunion, a month before he passed away.

The last race Saturday was Race 8A for Historic Trans-Am Cars. BRUCE CANEPA won, driving his 1970 AMC Javelin, after starting second. Pole sitter, JIM HAGUE/1970 Ford Boss Mustang 302 finished second, and also ran the fastest lap of 1:42.811/78.365 mph. Strong contender and leader of the pack-figuratively-KEN EPSMAN had a strong run going until he had a flat tire and retired after three laps. Epsman is the organizer for the West Coast Historic Trans-Am Group. He finished thirtieth. Thirty-four of the 41 entrants raced.

(presented to the person who richly personifies historic racing)

RACY CORVETTE

Danny Binks revealing the new Corvette Racing CR7

The 2014 Corvette Racing C7.R had a dramatic unveiling Saturday at the Rolex Motorsports Monterey Reunion. The car was secreted in a Pit Lane garage, and appeared mid-afternoon when Corvette Racing Crew Chief DANNY BINKS opened the roll-up door into the Pit Lane. Driver TOMMY MILNER drove straight onto the track for two hot laps and then pulled off at Turn 11 to disappear into the sunset.

Danny Binks

Binks said that the car wasn’t even supposed to be at Laguna. It was on track Thursday at Road America. A last minute decision was made to show off the car at the Reunion, which is honoring the Sixty Year History of Corvette. So the car was loaded and transported across country for Saturday’s surprise showing. Binks and all the BowTie Brigade were all smiles.

This race car is based on the 2014 Corvette Stingray and will turn its first wheels in anger at next year’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona Race 26 January 2014.

2014 Corvette  Racing CR-7

CALIFORNIA DREAMING

Corvette Class Picture

Corvette Class Picture. Photo courtesy John Lamm

It’s Day Two Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the 2013 Rolex Motorsports Monterey Reunion – sixteen classes of historic race cars, plus all the extras thrown in. Mother Nature has shone favorably on the famous Monterey road course with warm sunshine all day both days, while fog swirled around elsewhere.

While Thursday was Practice all day for the 16 classes, Friday was Qualifying for the weekend races – for all Race Groups. Saturday will be all the A Race Groups and Sunday will be all the B Race Groups, with morning Warm-Ups and afternoon races.

Tommy Milner

Tommy Milner

Special Corvette and other activities are scheduled for lunch breaks, mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks and possibly at end of days. There will be a Corvette Parade on Saturday and Sunday with 130 cars. All three days there will be hot laps with professional race drivers in the new 2014 Corvette C7, from the Driver’s Schools at Bondurant School of High Performance Driving and RON FELLOWS Performance Driving School. The drivers are DARREN LAW, RICK MALONE, TOMMY MILNER, and JOHNNY O’CONNELL.

In Historic racing, it’s not necessarily about the speed or who finishes first. At the Rolex Reunion races, there are no trophies or awards for winning a race, but there are trophies presented in each group for overall excellence in presentation and driving conduct. The special award is the Spirit of Monterey Award which goes to the driver who excels in the spirit of the weekend, on track performance and support for historic car racing. The Award is a special Rolex Watch and the weekend’s poster art painted by official track painter, BILL PATTERSON.

Radar Speed Sign

Having said all that drivers are competitive and many try to go fast. However, their lap times are not published. Individual drivers may be timing their cars and there’s always the ubiquituous GoPro Cameras. I had one way of gauging speed – watching the radar screen readout above Start-Finish, for the radar gun aimed at Turn One. In Race Group 3B for Formula One, the top speed I saw was 147 mph, but it was so fast all I was able to capture on camera was the previous speed of 144 mph. These speeds are just for that one sector.

The current unofficial track record, according to Ferrari, was set on 23 May 2012 at the Ferrari Days event. MARC GENE turned a 1:05.786, driving a F2003 GA Formula 1 car. That converts to 122.47 mph.

The official track record was set at 1:07.722 by Helio Castroneves in 2000 behind the wheel of a Penske Champ Car, which converts to 118.86 mph.

1930 Frazer Nash Interceptor

Frazer Nash Interceptor

In Group 1A for Pre 1940 Sports Racing and Touring Cars, 26 cars ran, with JOHN KERR getting the pole for Saturday’s race in his 1932 Miller-Scofield/Ford. Running third was RICHARD PARSONS from Milthorpe, England driving his 1930 Frazer Nash Interceptor. And Parsons does drive it, not just on the race track. The car was shipped over from England, arriving in time for him to run last weekend’s Rolex Pre-Reunion races. Between on track sessions, Parsons drives the car to and from the hotel, around town, etc. After this weekend’s races, Parsons will set out for New York in the car, meeting up with 30 other Frazer Nash owners for a two-week tour of New England. The club has its own website – http://www.frazernash.co.uk and one of the drivers is blogging about his Laguna weekend experience, aptly called California Dreaming.

One of the very few female drivers this weekend is LORRAINE GRUYS. She’s driving a 1958 Miller FJ in Group 2B for Formula Junior cars 1958-1963. Her car is one of a kind now – the only open wheel Don Miller front engine car left in America. It has Topolino gears, Crossle brakes and hubs, and of course the GoPro Camera.

1942 Ford Hot Rod

1942 Ford Hot Rod

Her husband, CHRIS GRUYS, owns one of those cool cars that gets to hang out in the paddock looking good – a 1942 Ford Hot Rod. It’s a show car, with flames, special cutouts and a louvered hood, prepared by GENE WINFIELD, now of Mojave CA.. Gruys is probably the fifth owner, and he had it completely restored inside and out when he acquired it in 2003. One part of the restoration included plumbing hoses, which were six different sizes, stuck inside each other.

GORDON ENGLAND, aptly named as he’s from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, England, pals around with Parsons and the Gruys and is a great historian for the vehicles.

Grid sign

CLASSY CLASSICS AND CORVETTES

Corvette Parking Lot

Thursday, the first of four days of the 2013 Rolex Motorsports Monterey Reunion, dawned sunny and bright and only got better during the day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. While the environs outside the track started out with a thick fog layer, Laguna’s microclimate was a perfect day for the sixteen Race Groups, as well as the Pebble Beach Tour D’Elegance Groups Parade Laps.

In the morning all of the eight A Race Groups had their twenty-minute Practice/Qualifying sessions. Interspersed in the A groups were two Parade Laps for the Pebble Beach Concours Tour groups. The Parade was open only to cars entered in the Concours, and was part of the annual run which includes part of the 17-Mile drive, Carmel Valley and other Monterey Peninsula scenic areas. The Concours rules dictate that if there is a judging tie at the Sunday Concours, the tie-breaker would be participation in the Parade Lap.

In the afternoon the eight B Race Groups ran, along with some special Porsche exhibition laps.

The day went fairly smoothly. There were some spins and offs, but no real drama. Several cars had mechanical problems. R.GRAY GREGORY, who had the big car fire last weekend in his 1974 Chevron B26 at the Pre-Reunion, was back with another Chevron, a 1969 B-16 and he was second fastest of 34 cars in Group 4A for 1960-1968 Sports Racing USRRC Cars. His burned car was still entered in Group 4B for 1970-1979 Sports Racing Cars under 200cc, but it didn’t run. DAN COWDREY’s 1966 Lola T70 MkII was fastest in 4A.

There were several well-known Guest drivers including BRIAN REDMAN in a IMSA Mustang and MEMO GIDLEY driving a 1973 Lola T-282; and probably some others not identified. JAY LENO was spotted as a passenger in one of the Concours Touring Cars. Actor ADAM CARROLA entered his 1988 Nissan 300 ZX in Group 6B for 1981-1989 FIA Mfg, Champ Cars and IMSA 1982-1991 GTO, GTP Cars (what a mouthful), but didn’t run Thursday.

Although JOHN MORTON was listed as the driver in the tricked-out wired 1963 Chevrolet Grand Sport, it was BRUCE CANEPA at the wheel in Group 5A for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc. Morton drove the car last weekend. This is the third year of the car – part of the Collier Collection – being used for an ongoing research project electronically tracking driver’s vitals/health in racing situations. Morton and Canepa, as well as Redman, have been the wired drivers – literally, with all manner and fashion of data acquisition attached to them. And they still manage to go fast or fastest in the large group. Canepa was second fastest, behind TOMMY STEUER/1965 Corvette. Last weekend Morton won his race. This weekend Morton is driving a Sunbeam Tiger.

The traditional Welcome Party capped off the fine day, out on Stingray Island. The theme was The Fifties – and the Sixty years of Corvettes. SCRAMP President/CEO, GILL CAMPBELL was resplendent in her Pink Ladies jacket and peddle pushers, straight out of ‘Grease’ and the SCRAMP female directors were dressed in Fifties outfits, including poodle skirts, pony tails and roller skates serving Root Bear Floats.

Several distinguished Corvettes were on view, and the parking lot was filled with all kinds of Corvettes as well as many other expensive and exotic cars. Just touring the parking lots – at the track and in the local lodges – was a treat.

Laguna Seca’s official artist, BILL PATTERSON, painted one of his famous on-the-spot works of art, this time the Corvette of famed Corvette driver, DICK GUILSTRAND – who was on hand to autograph the finished painting.

Gill Campbell

Root Beer Floats Anyone?

2003 Corvette Prototype 1962 Conversion

1963 Delmo Johnson Corvette Z06

Zora Duntov's autograph on Corvette SR-2

Corvette

Bill Patterson painting Dick Guilstrand's Corvette

Dick Guilstrand

Dick Guilstrand

Finished painting of Dick Guilstrand's Corvette

COOL CLASSIC CARS

One of the many great things about wandering through the paddock at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Pre-Reunion events is the growing number of cool, classic cars (and motorcycles, bicycles, etc.) that are filling in the nooks and crannies. Originally started by STEVE EARLE, the grandfather of American historic races, as he thought it was cool to see the vehicles drivers and entrants drove/brought to the classic car events. Little by little he allowed more of them to be parked in the paddock, and now it’s customary at Northern California historic events to have a special category and parking pass for them.

Enjoy!

1933 Lincoln V12

McLaren GT

Mini Cooper Wagon

Chevrolet Pickup

Talbot

Apel

Lancia

Fiat & Monsterati

Dino Ferrari

Mercedes Bus

Classic Clash & Mongoose bicycles & red wagon

Mercedes Bus

RACY PRE-REUNION – DAY ONE

The first of the two-day Rolex Monterey Motorsports Pre-Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca started out Saturday with typical morning fog, but it burned off before 9am and the rest of the day was sunny and bright.

Entries for the 12 race groups for the weekend numbered 260, with a wide diversity. There were 17 drivers from ten countries, and more than 240 drivers coming from 21 states.

The featured marque is Chevrolet Corvette, and there were 22 Corvettes spread among three race groups.

2003 LeMans Winner

1964 Corvette

1963 Second Generation Split Window Corvette

Saturday’s Run Groups were One through Ten, plus Group 12. Sunday’s Run Groups will again be One through Ten, plus Group 11.

The morning practice sessions were twenty-minutes, followed by 20 minute races in the afternoon. The race results set the grid for Sunday’s races. For the most part, Saturday went very smoothly with little drama … until late afternoon.

R.GRAY GREGORY of Houston TX will have a long tow home with his toasted yellow 1974 Chevron B26. Race Ten for 1970-1979 Sports Racing Cars under 2000cc was about half-over when the car just flamed out the back side. He pulled off course in Turn Four and quickly scrambled out unhurt, while flames enveloped the car. The air was filled with thick black smoke, causing a smokescreen which hid the action. The Emergency Crews quickly responded, and the fire was squelched and kept to the back half of the car. The cause is yet unknown.

The field was put behind the Safety Car and brought into the Pit Lane to stop. When the race was restarted, it was comparable to NASCAR’s Green-White-Checker finish. Four-time Motorcycle 500cc World Champion, EDDIE LAWSON had led the race from the pole until the restart, driving a 1975 Osella PA 3/5. The cars were given the Green Flag in Pit Lane, but seemingly didn’t get the memo, so proceeded around the 2.238-mile circuit as if still under the Pace Car – without the Pace Car, snaking the course and scrubbing tires. It wasn’t until the top of the Corkscrew that some of the drivers figured it out – after being shown Green Flags from the corners. Lawson, who turned the fastest Group 10 race lap of 1:34.0 was caught out and ultimately finished fourth. ERIC JOINER/1977 Chevron B36 won. Second and third were JOHN HILL/1974 Lola T-282 and TOM MINNICH/1977 Lola T-297.

Peter Giddings & 1926 Delage

Peter Giddings & 1926 Delage

Race One for Pre 1952 Sports Racing and Touring Cars was ultimately won by PADDINS DOWLING/1939 Maserati 4CL, but not without a lively battle with PETER GIDDINGS/1926 Delage 15-S-8. The two swapped the lead more than once. Giddings often wins in one or another of his vintage cars, especially his 1930 Alfa Romeo Tipo B “P3″, which he will run next weekend at the Rolex Reunion in Group IA. But this weekend, Giddings was over the moon about how well his Delage ran. He spent eight years restoring it, and this was its first outing.

ROB MANSON of Barcelona Spain won Race Two for 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars, driving a 1952 Manning Special Mercury. A had not run the morning practice, he started last and worked his way through the field, which included some veteran historic races such as TOM CLARIDGE/1953 Kurtis 500S and DON PEPPERDINE/1949 Baldwin Special Roadster.

Race Three for 1955-1962 GT Cars was won by JEFF ABRAMSON/1959 Morgan Babydoll IV, who started third. He beat polesitter CHRIS OROSCO/1959 Lola Mark I and LEONARD TURNBEAUCH/1958 Porsche 356A Convertible D. There were five Corvettes in the group.

Pole Sitter ANDRE LARA of Sao Paula, Brazil drove a 1965 Lotus 26R to victory in Group Four for 1961-1966 GT Cars under 2500 cc. He bested a field of 26 cars.

No.14

No.56

No.7

NICHOLAS COLYVAS/1953 Lotus 27 won the Group Five Race for 1958-1963 Formula Junior Cars. He started the race on the outside of the front row, next to pole sitter JIMMY DOMINGOS/1962 Cooper T59 Formula Junior. Domingos led most of the race, but the car couldn’t quite finish the race and he retired. Colyvas went on to win. It’s nice to see that the Formula Junior ranks are growing so that they can have their own race group.

Race Six for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500 cc had the second largest field, with 40 cars. Veteran racer JOHN MORTON started third in a 1963 Corvette Grand Sport, behind Pole Sitter JOHN MULLER/1970 Porsche 911S and LOME LEIBEL/1964 Shelby Cobra. But it only took half a lap for Morton to charge ahead and lead to the finish. The group had 12 Corvettes.

Morton was entered in another car in Group Six, a 1974 Sunbeam Tiger, but obviously didn’t race it.

ERICKSON SHIRLEY/1950 Lister Costin won Race Seven for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars, after starting second behind Pole Sitter HERBERT WETANSON/1960 Lola Mk 1A. Shirley led most of the race.

The largest field was Race Eight for all the IMSA cars, 1973-1989 (GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU/GTO/GTP), with 42 entries including five Corvettes. It was also the fastest and loudest of the races. Pole sitter WELDON MUNSEY/1992 Mazda RX7-92P won the race. This is one of the three factory IMSA cars owned by Mazda North America, where Munsey is President and CEO, Dealer Affairs.

Chris MacAllister & 1973 Gulf Mirage

Chris MacAllister & 1973 Gulf Mirage

Race Nine was interesting. This 24-car field for 1960-1968 Sports Racing USRRC Cars was almost two races in one. Pole Sitter CHRIS MacALLISTER ran away and hid from the pack in his 1973 Gulf Mirage – with the famous Le Mans livery. He lapped at least seventy-five percent of the field. On what was the White Flag Lap, he slowed and went into the paddock. It was almost as though he thought he’d won, ran his cool-off lap and pitted. The race was won by JOSHUA FELBER/1962 Lotus 23B.

However, afterwards, MacAllister said that he pitted early as he thought it was unfair for his car to be in that group, and wanted to let someone else win the race. He said it wasn’t good for the fans not to see a race. MacAllister was moved to Group Ten for Sunday’s events, and as he didn’t race in that group Saturday, he will start the Sunday race from the back of the pack. He will be racing against his brother, ALEX, who will race No.5 (red) 1971 Chevron B19. Alex finished tenth in Saturday’s race.

The last race of the day was Group 12 – Historic TransAm Cars 1966-1972. It was a loud field of 29 cars, with Pole Sitter KEN EPSMAN/1971 AMC Javelin winning, but it wasn’t a shoo-in. He raced hard to stave off his competitors. Epsman is the de facto head of the West Coast Historic Trans-Am contingent, and owns at least three of the cars in the field. Another of Epsman’s cars, the infamous No.77 Slime 1970 Dodge Challenger, ran well while it lasted, but eventually retired. This Group will not run Sunday.

It was a long day for everyone, especially the race officials and marshals from the San Francisco Region of the Sports Car Club of America (SFR SCCA), who worked for more than eight hours. And tomorrow is another day.

Sleeping Historic Race Cars

CORVETTE – 2013 ROLEX REUNION FEATURED MARQUE

Corvette Painting

Corvette On Stage
………………………………………………………………………………
Excuse this late-braking news coming out of order, but I like to be among the first with good news.

Corvette will be the featured marque for the 2013 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

GILL CAMPBELL, CEO of the famed racetrack, made the announcement Sunday night at the conclusion of the Awards Ceremony for the 2012 event.

Suspense was built up by watching Laguna Seca artist in residence, BILL PATTERSON, do one of his famous quick paintings. He slap-dashed the paint around, and had the remnants of a vehicle, which he then identified with a big ?. Then, he washed over that, and walked away. Just before the announcement was made – along with the throaty growl of a living counterpart – Patterson finished the painting, which turned out to be a Corvette.

Bill Patterson starting
Bill Patterson ?
Bill Patterson shaping up
Corvette Arriving on Stage
Corvette Emerging

SMILES ALL AROUND

Shelby! Sun! Sensory Satisfaction! And Lots of Happy vintage race fans Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. There were people everywhere, as far as the eye could see. The Turn Four grandstand was full.One of the unintended consequences of such a huge crowd was the time it took to get in the front gate midday. The smart ones took Reservation Road and came in the scenic back way through the Fort Ord property – the decommissioned Army Base which is now a county park.

The weekend was honoring the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Shelby Cobra and the life and spirit of the late CARROLL SHELBY.

Shelby Cobra
Shelby Cobra
Shelby Cobra 15
Shelby Cobra 98
Shelby Cobra 98
Shelby Cobra
Shelby Cobra
Shelby Cobra 1
Shelby Cobra Engine
Shelby Cobra Engine
………………………

Saturday’s feature race was Group Three – 1962-1967 Shelby Cobras, and it was won by JIM CLICK of Tucson AZ racing his 1964 Cobra 289. LORNE LEIBEL of Canada gave it a good go in his 1964 Cobra 289, which had two less cc. Third was JAMES FARLEY JR of Orchard Lake MI driving his 1965 Cobra 289, which had slightly more cc oomph.

Click also turned the race’s fastest lap of 79.323 mph, which translates to 1:41.570 minutes to get around the 2.238, 12-turn elevated road circuit.

Of the 41 entries in the Cobra group, thirty-five ran the race. The group knew it was something special and like floats in a parade giving recognition to the judges as they passed by, on the cool-off lap the Cobras waved and were cheered by the assemblage in the Rolex Drivers’ Lounge viewing stand between Turns Three and Four. On the opposite side of the track, parked right up close and personal was a large Shelby Cobra Car Corral, with all the owners glued to the fence for the race.

Atlantics Pre-Grid

Atlantics Pre-Grid

Wade Carter March FA

Wade Carter March FA

Dan Marvin March 76B

Dan Marvin March 76B

Danny Baker 1976 March 76B

Danny Baker 1976 March 76B

Jon Norman with Phil Reilly 1971 Lotus Formula

Jon Norman with Phil Reilly 1971 Lotus Formula

Art Hebert 1979 March 79B

Art Hebert 1979 March 79B

One race of special interest to me was the first-time group of its own – the appearance of the old/original Formula Atlantic cars from the hey-day of the popular open wheel series – 1971-1980. The series had its roots in the San Francisco Bay Area, and two of the early stalwarts and promoters of the series – JON NORMAN and DAN MARVIN of Berkeley CA – ran their original cars. Norman owned the two run this weekend, and he ran No.58 (his traditional number) 1971 Lotus Formula, and Marvin ran Norman’s 1976 March 76B.

Thirty-one of the 34 entries ran the race.

WADE CARTER III of Woodinville WA won in his 1976 March FA but not for the lack of trying on the part of Marvin, who was also battling DANNY BAKER of San Francisco driving a his 1979 Ralt RT-1.

ART HEBERT of Larkspur CA bought his 1979 March 79B this spring and hasn’t had much seat time in the car, but he was all stoked about running with this highly competitive group. Thursday he was twentieth fastest in the practice session and in the Friday Free-For-All Atlantics session, he ran seventh of 27 cars. Saturday morning for the Preliminary Race, his car stalled on the Pre-Grid with mechanical problems – possibly a rear wing mount. For the Saturday afternoon race, Hebert got in two laps before retiring. He gained some redemption Sunday when he won the Sunday morning Group 2B race for 1958-1963 Formula Juniors, racing his 1963 Lola Mk5A.

In the other Saturday races:

JOHN FITZPATRICK of Redding CA won Group 1A for Pre-1940 Sports Racing & Touring Cars. He turned the fastest race lap of 57.254 mph in his 1939 BMW 328. Twenty-four of the 26 entries ran the race.

PADDINS DOWLING of Sausalito CA won Group 2A for 1927-1951 Racing Cars, driving his 1939 Maserati 4CL. Pole sitter, PETER GIDDINGS of Danville CA led for several laps in his 1930 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3, and then ran for second with JEFFREY O’NEILL of Larkspur CA, who ended up in the runner-up position and Giddings in third. It was a good race! Twenty-six cars drove, of the 32 entries.

ROB WALTON of Scottsdale AZ drove his 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB to victory in Group 4A for 1955-1962 GT Cars. it was another exciting race for the fans, who waatched LEONARD TURNBEAUGH of Markleeville CA turn the fastest lap of 71.286 mph and give chase. Turnbeaugh finished second in his 1958 Porsche 356A. There was a large field of 36 cars of the 38 entries.

ROBERT RYAN/Avila Beach CA turned the fastest race lap of 83.856 mph and won the Group 5A race for 1960 Sports Racing USRRC Cars. He drove his 1968 McLaren M6-B, edging BYRON DEFOOR/Ooltewah TN in his 1965 Lola T70. Thirty cars ground-pounded, out of the 39 entries.

BRUCE CANEPA/Scotts Valley CA won Group 6A and turned the fastest race lap of 87.841 mph. He drove his 1979 Porsche 935 for 1973-1982 IMSA Alphabet Group – GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU and GTO cars. FRED KAIMER of Austin Texas finished second in his 1980 Porsche 935 K3.

An exciting race was put on for the fans in Group 7A for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc. TERRY GOUGH of Reno NV won racing his 1965 Chevrolet Corvette, but had to fend off Pole Sitter ROB WALTON/Scottsdale AZ in his 1964 Ferrari 250 LM. Finishing third was JOHN BOWE of Australia, driving the 1965 Chevrolet Corvette owned by JOE CALLEJA. Bowe and Walton had swapped for the lead in the morning preliminary race.

John Bowe

John Bowe

Bowe was ear to ear grins for the weekend. It was his first time ever racing in America and he was over the top about the experience. Bowe had raced the car before in Australia. Other drivers on the Bathurst car were JOHN FITZPATRICK, JOHN YOUNG and the late, great PETER BROCK, who drove his last full race in that car before he was tragically killed in another race meeting.

JIM HAGUE of Santa Clara CA won the Group 9A Race for 1966-1972 Historic Trans-Am Cars. The Margin of Victory between Hague and runner-up CHAD RAYNAL/San Jose CA was .047 seconds, the closest of the day. Raynal was driving his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, and Hague drove his 1972 AMC Javelin. BRUCE CANEPA of Scotts Valley CA turned the fastest race lap of 78.13 mph in his 1970 AMC Javelin Trans Am, and finished sixth overall in a group of 36 cars on track. Not having such good luck was BUZZ DYER of Corte Madera CA in his 1970 AMC Javelin. He had a massive oil leak in Turn Two and the race ended with both the checkered flag and the colorful yellow and red striped surface flag for oil on course.