Sunday’s sunshine at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca sprouted early, after a dry foggy morning. No windshield wipers on the way to the track today. The fourth day of the inaugural Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion seemed to be more low-key than a busier Saturday. The crowd count seemed smaller, no doubt due to the draw of the nearby Pebble Beach Concourse. Friday the draw had been the Concorso Italiano, but the other events were of interest to the race crowd. Rolex provided shuttles from/to the track to each event. No doubt the Sunday crowds will swell as people make their way back from the famed Seventeen-Mile event in time for some of the afternoon Rolex Races and the Awards Ceremony.

Sunday morning Group B Qualifying Races were five laps. In Group 6 B for Grand National Stock Cars 1959-1975, there was a photo finish, and SPEEDTV broadcaster, JUSTIN BELL, got out of his 1966 Ford Galaxie (owned by KENNY EPSMAN of Saratoga) thinking he’d won the race. However, CURT KALLBERG of Oregon won by eight thousands of a second in his 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle. Epsman sat out the race, and SCOTT RUBIN of Sonoma CA raced his 1964 Mercury Marauder, finishing fourth behind LANCE SMITH of San Diego CA running his 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle.

Bell said he had fun, and really enjoyed the Stock Car group experience. What he raved about was while being surrounded by hundreds of mega bucks lovingly restored beautiful old cars from here and abroad, the stock cars struck a chord with the fans. Being an American series which reminded the fans what their parents and grandparents enjoyed, and being able to get up close and personal was something special to the folks. They were cars with which the spectators could relate.

Bell’s reaction to the stock car was that he’d drive it the way it was meant to be driven. “I love the challenge.”

Shaun Coleman's 1965 Chevrolet
Shaun Coleman's 1965 Chevrolet Impala Grand National Stock Car 1958-1975. Photo by Lynne Huntting
A notable car in the group didn’t make the Qualifying Race, as it had just installed a new engine which hadn’t yet been broken in properly and there were cam problems. It was an extraordinary story leading up to Sunday. Two months ago SHAUN COLEMAN of Saratoga entered another stock car which he was preparing for the race; but it was not progressing as well as desired. Coleman, a fan of NASCAR message boards, started reading about a stock car available on eBay. He checked it out and started bidding, outbidding Epsman for the 1965 Chevrolet Impala, paying under $16,000. ROY MAYNE raced the car in 1965-1967, and then put it in the bar in 1968. A collector named WAYNE SMITH bought it from the owner, TOM HUNTER with the thought of restoration, but it never happened and the car fell into a sad state of disrepair. Coleman bought the car 48 days ago, and had it shipped from Georgia, which took two weeks over the July 4th holidays. The car was a basket case, but was complete with all the parts. It has the original seat leather and a skinny steering wheel.

Coleman put up a website ( and has a binder full of day to day photos of the restoration. The car was literally a shell, rusted out and decrepit. Epsman was a daily visitor to Coleman’s shop – which also houses four Kelly American Challenge Series cars and the other stock car.

Coleman was determined to make everything authentic on the car, down to the special paint, graphics and lettering. Once he posted his project on the Internet, asking for help with information and/or photos of the original car, he got many thoughtful, helpful responses. Coleman was able to replicate all the stickers, most of which were in tatters and shreds and/or rusted into the paint. Coleman found an old-time painter in San Jose who worked on Fire Engines with their beautiful gold lettering, and the original driver’s name – ROY MAYNE – was painted on the car in the original script.

The car was finished Thursday, the first day of the Rolex Reunion. So far, it’s only been on track for one session – Friday afternoon’s qualifying session.

In his spare time, Coleman is trying to start a series group for the IMSA Kelly Challenge cars and is working with CONNIE DOWNING who managed the original series. She is married to HANS originator, JIM DOWNING. Coleman always wears his HANS device in vintage racing.