Another beautiful day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Day Two of the inaugural Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. After the really drippy fog lifted, it was blue skies and warm temperatures. Whoo Hoo!

Friday was Qualifying for all nineteen race groups. Saturday morning will be Qualifying races for Group A, and in the afternoon Group 7L – Under Two-Liter Trans-Am has the first race, followed by Rolex Races for all nine A Groups. Sunday it’s more of the same for the B Group cars.

Justin Bell and Stock Car
Justin Bell and No.29 Grand National Car. Photo by Lynne Huntting
SPEED TV is filming this weekend, trying to edit down all the wonderful story lines into an hour-long show to air 17 September 2010. The hosts for the show will be JUSTIN BELL and MIKE JOY. The format will be a bit different this year, said Bell. The show wants to convey the passion, the cars, and the people. Among the segments will be a feature on DAN GURNEY, Bugatti’s (Joy), a time warp showing how race cars have evolved from the thirties to now, maybe a feature on the Trans-Ams, driver safety, and a feature on JAY LENO, who is flying in Friday night. Bell works on Leno’s website. Bell will be be able to give a real hands-on perspective as he’s racing in Group 6B. Bell’s ride is No.29 1996 Ford Galaxie owned by KEN EPSMAN of Saratoga CA. Epsman, in turn, will be racing No.16 1964 Mercury Marauder, which he also owns.

Bell has raced and done well at Laguna Seca, saying “the track has been very good to me.” Bell won in World Sports Car in 2007 and the 2001 Trans-Am race with JIM DERHAAG Racing. In 2009 Bell set a production car record at the track, which held a whole month before it was eclipsed.

Bell said that stock cars are SO different from sports cars. The Grand National car weighs 4000 pounds, has nice power, and the car has more lock. Bell said he’s really using the steering wheel a lot.

Speaking of driver safety, Bell will be wearing his HANS device. “I wear it in the most modern machines, why would I not in an older car, if it’s available.”

BERNARD JUCHLI is the General Manager for the Jay Leno Garage in lovely downtown Burbank. It houses 130 or more cars. Juchli joked that is not sure of the number because he’s been away from The Garage for a few days. Leno also owns about one hundred motorcycles. The Garage is a private collection, not a museum, and is not open to the public.

Leno started collecting cars a long time back, and when he got the Tonight Show gig in 1991, he bought a building and started collecting in earnest. 

Juchli, who has worked the past ten years for Leno, has four mechanics who work on the vehicles, in addition to other staff. Juchli said Leno’s philosophy is to acquire cars which can be street driven, rather than race cars. He drives the cars to and from work and around town. At the end of the day Leno parks the car at The Garage and takes another one for the next day.

Leno likes to meet the owners, get the car’s history, and get a feel for the car. For that reason, Leno may attend car auctions, but doesn’t purchase cars. He gets about 200 letters a week from people wanting to sell him cars. Most aren’t cars of interest to Leno. 

Jaguar Hagemann Special
Jaguar Hagemann Special. Photo by Lynne Huntting
This weekend Juchli is racing, the 1955 Jaguar Hagemann Special owned by RON LAURIE, in Group 3A for Sports Cars over  2000 cc, years 1955-1961. Juchli’s racing resume includes club racing with SFR SCCA (San Francisco Region – Sports Car Club of America.)