Sunny and cool, breezy weather was the story of the day Sunday at Infineon Raceway for the 23rd Annual Wine Country Classic historic car races. The featured car was Morgan, which is celebrating it’s hundredth anniversary this year.
The stiff wind was not a problem for any of the drivers I chatted up.
ROB WALTON of Paradise Valley AZ raced two cars this weekend – the winning Group Four 1958 Scarab MKI and the runner-up Group Ten 1978 Porsche 935. He won the overall trophy for sportsmanship, presentation and performance. In one of his two races, while leading he came up on a slower car going for the same piece of real estate. Walton backed off and let the slower car have the corner, and then passed when it was safe.
JEFF ABRAMSON of Danville CA raced his 1959 Morgan +4 to victory in the Group Three race for 1956-1962 Production Cars. It’s one of the four Baby Doll Morgans at the event, and was featured on the program cover and souvenir poster.
The Historic Trans-Ams are a very popular group at vintage and historic events. They will be racing again in late September at the Coronado Classic Speed Festival in San Diego CA, and end the season with a big dinner honoring the Trans-Am Cars and Stars 1966-1972 at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Pomona CA. They think of themselves as racers – fast, fierce, and feisty.
BRUCE CANEPA of Scotts Valley CA won the Trans-Am race in his 1970 Javelin, after starting third. The first four to six cars fiercely fought and swapped the lead six times among themselves. Meanwhile, in the Trans-Am Under Two Liter Class, it was David vs Goliath as JON NORMAN of Berkeley Ca drove his 2000 cc Alfa Romeo GTV to eleventh, after starting tenth. He ran as high as eighth before being passed by cars with more than twice his horsepower.
LINDA and MARK MOUNTANOS received the Historic Trans-Am Series Roy Woods Trophy, presented by GEORGE FOLLMER, for their support of the Historic Trans-Am Group, not just in running one or more of their three Trans-Am cars a weekend, but starting and supporting the website for the series, HistoricTransAm.com. Mark races a 1966 Chevy Nova originally raced by DAN SIEGEL. Linda races a 1970 Pontiac Firebird originally raced by JERRY TITUS, DAVID HOBBS and LARRY DENT. They also own another 1970 Pontiac Firebird originally raced by Titus.
The Mountanos couple also drove two of their cars in the Grand National Exhibition at noon – 1974 Dodge Charger for Mark and a 1996 Chevelle for Linda. They race them with the Historic Stock Cars group.
The RWR Reunion was cooked up just a month or so ago, and there were about a dozen of the old RWR crew, as well as several RWR cars including Javelins, and a McLaren.
While the Historic Trans-Ams were racing in Sonoma CA with a 34-car field, the reborn Trans-Am Series, called Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am raced at Mid-Ohio. That race was won by JORGE DIAZ Jr. of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who bested a field of sixteen cars in his Jaguar XKR.
JOHN HILDEBRAND of Sausalito started thirtieth in the Historic IMSA race, driving his 1970/78 Camaro, and finished sixth, after running fourth. His son, J.R. HILDEBRAND started and finished second in Sunday’s Indy Racing League’s Firestone Indy Lights race at The Milwaukee Mile, and continues to lead the Indy Lights standings.
Another racing family are the Swigs of Sausalito and San Francisco, who owns several vintage cars, three of which were raced this weekend. Father MARTIN SWIG raced a small boxy 1953 Fiat 1100 in Group Two; wife ESTA ran a Group Three 1959 Alfa Romeo Guilietta SZ, and son DAVID drove a 1957 Monsterati Special in Group Four. Quite possibly David was the youngest driver this weekend, and STEVE EARLE, founder of the Wine Country Classic, said at the Awards ceremony that Martin had done a good job in passing on the baton to David.
Martin continues to run the California Mille rally, with David’s help. The oldest of two Swig sons also puts on Japanese car events, such an upcoming vintage Japanese car concours, and Japanese car shows. On spare weekends he’s a leading competitor in the fast-growing 24 Hours of LeMons Series. Martin was a consultant on the origination of that fun-loving race, which now draws more than a hundred cars.
Other race winners were TOM PRICE of Larkspur/1932 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 in Group One – Pre-war Racing Cars and Sports Cars to 1952; Group Two/1948-1955 Sports Racing & Production Cars – ROBERT MANSON of Redwood City CA/1952 The Schaghiticoke; Group Four-1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars – ROB WALTON of Paradise Valley AZ/1958 Scarab MKI; Group Five-1958-1963 Formula Jr, F-2 and F-1 cars – NICHOLAS COLYVAS of San Francisco Ca/1963 Lotus 27; Group Six-1963-1966 Production Sports Cars – JOHN DELANE of Redondo Beach CA/1964 Lotus 26R; Group Seven-1961-1965 Sports Racing Cars – TOM NUXOLL of Medina WA/1964 Elva Mk8; Group Nine-1966-1972 Historic Can-Am Cars & FIA to 1978; and Group Ten-Historic IMSA GT & 1981-88 IMSA GTO cars.
The Schaghiticoke Manning Special is pretty much a one of a kind car. It was put together by JOHN BUDDENBAUM and JOHN STREETS, who acquired the few remaining parts of the original Manning Special (which had been destroyed on a local dirt track in 1959) and the original CHUCK MANNING blueprints. The restored car has been racing historics since 1991.
Delane has been racing a lot in Europe these past few years, winning seven FIA Historic Driving Championships – five with his 1971 Tyrrell 001 Formula One car originally raced by JACKIE STEWART, FRANCOIS CEVERT, and PATRICK DEPAILLER; and two with his 19 Lotus 18 Formula Junior.
The special Presentation and Performance Awards given to a special car in each class:
Group One – TERRY LARSON/1993 Winfield Ford
Group Two – JOHN SHIRLEY/1954 Austin Healey 100
Group Three – LEONARD TURNBEAUGH/1958 Porsche 3
Group Four – DAVID SWIG/1957 Monsterati Special
Group Six – KEITH AHLERS/1965 Morgan SLR
Group Seven – EDITH ARROWSMITH/1964 Brabham BT8
Group Eight – CHAD RAYNAL/1969 Camaro Z-28
Group Nine – BERT SKIDMORE/1976 Lola T-286
Group Ten A – PHIL GALLANT/JOHN MORTON/1985 Roush Mustang
Group Ten B – RANSON WEBSTER/1976 Porsche 935
Earle also puts on the Monterey Historic Automobile Races each August at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This year it will be the 36th annual event, and the featured car is Porsche. Earle promises that the entry list will be out at the end of this week.