Wayward Wafting Fog

While the fog blanketed Highway #68 leading to WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca, inside the track it was all sunny and bright. Except for a brief fog delay in the second session when a wayward belt of fog hit the Corkscrew, it was all systems go for the first of the two-day Pre-Reunion, gathering of vintage and historic race cars. More than 300 cars are gathered here for the run-up to next weekend’s four-day Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The race groups run the gamut, from cars dating back to 1947 through cars racing in 1984.

John Morton

This year the featured marque for the Rolex Reunion is Nissan and its illustrious racing history that dates back to its Datsun heritage. No one personifies this more than the venerable John Morton. He is racing No. 46CP 1970 Datsun 240Z in Group 5 for 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, and GTU cars, alongside 38 other cars. His car has a place of honor in the paddock, all by itself near the gas pumps. It displays the race car, with the trailer insides set up as a mini-museum containing Morton Memorabilia – posters, helmets, driver suit, and more posters. The Stainless Steel Carrot written by Sylvia Wilkinson years ago, recently updated and reprinted, chronicles Morton’s racing odyssey.

Morton Helmets

John Morton #46 Datsun 240Z

Morton Memorabilia

Morton is also listed as the driver in No.51A 1973 March F5000 in Group 4. But, as those two races are back to back, he had to decline the F5000 ride. To his dismay. Although he is often thought of a sedan driver, Morton raced a F5000/Can Am car in the mid 1970’s.

F5000 Paddock

In the middle paddock there is a large gathering of F5000 cars, from all over the US as well as a large contingent flown and shipped from Down Under – New Zealand and Australia. There are 41 cars entered to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Here to help them celebrate is Ken Smith from New Zealand, long-time F5000 driver. Though his race career spans 60 years and he’s been to the track before, Smith has never raced it. He has an unbroken record of competing at a national level since the 1960’s. The only other driver with that distinction is West Coast driver, Eric Haga/No.8 1970 Lol R140. Smith’s last visit was in 2004 with then Indy Lights driver and fellow Kiwi, Scott Dixon.

Ken Smith
Ken Smith

Smith is racing No. 11 1975 Lola T332. After the Saturday morning session, Smith said he found the course interesting, and it will take him a bit of time to learn it. Some drivers have been here before and one of them pinged the radar gun in Turn 1 at 145 mph. Smith laughed that it wasn’t him.

Ken Smith's 1975  Lola T332  F5000

Michael Collins from New Zealand piloted his No.94 1972 GM McRae to victory, taking the lead on the penultimate lap of the 8-lap race. He bested fellow Kiwi, Steve Ross/No.5B in No.1972 Macrae GM1, who led the first six laps. A field of 35 took the green flag, and 29 finished the race.

During the Saturday afternoon F5000 race, Seb Coppola/No.12 1970 Lola T192 had an unfortunate meeting with Martin M. Fogel Jr/No.11T 1969 MCLaren M10A, and hit the Turn 11 exit wall, necessitating assistance from the SFR Emergency Crew. The drivers are alright, but Coppola’s Lola will need some TLC.

The Safety Car won more than one race Saturday afternoon. In Group 7 for FIA Manufacturers Championship Cars, Neil Alexander/No.1964 Porsche Platypus spun out in Turn 1 hitting the tire wall hard, dislodging the tires and rubber banding. Roger Cassin/No.256 1964 Elva Mk7S spun out evasive. That effectively ended that race. The drivers are alright. Heavy duty track equipment helped the SFR Course Marshals repair the damage.

The drivers were definitely eager to show their stuff this weekend. More than one group started racing before the green flag, sometimes three wide.

William Connor No.15 1971 Ford Mustang
William Connor No.15 1971 Ford Mustang

Group 6 for 1966-1972 Historic Trans-Am cars was lively, with three different leaders, with Chris Liebenberg/No.16 (116) 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 the winner of the nine-lap race. Other leaders were Jim Hague/No.16T (16) 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 John Hildebrand/No.49 1964 Pontiac Tempest/GTO and No.16T. This was a small field – only 14 of the 20 entries competed. It was a bit confusing as the two butterscotch-colored Mustangs had identical numbers. The only difference was the color of their wheels. A third butterscotch 1970 Mustang was No.15 raced by William Connor, who finished third in the race.

Sunday’s schedule calls for morning practice and afternoon races for al ten race groups.

F5000 Pack



It’s Finally Friday! Day One of a low-key two-day Verizon IndyCar race weekend at Phoenix International Weekend. The schedule is about as different from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach as can be. There are two other groups of cars on the schedule this weekend, with generous breaks in between sessions. And there will be autograph sessions for all three groups.

The weather is warm – low to high eighties, with the breeze alternating between desultory and brisk. the morning heavy overcast long gone.

Dennis Firestone's 1981 AAR Gurney Eagle
Dennis Firestone’s 1981 AAR Gurney Eagle

The feature for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix is Round Four of the sixteen weekend IndyCar schedule. Also this weekend are the USAC Silver Crown Champ Cars with 17 drivers, and Quarter Midgets running outside the grandstands; and the Vintage Desert Classics, which are IndyCar Legends car – 43 of them on display and mostly on track. And from those 43 are two which will have a ‘shootout’ of sorts, called the Speed Calibration, which will pit former IndyCar driver Dennis Firestone in one of his old race cars, and Desert Classics promotor, Gary Mondschein.

Indy Legends

Gene Nolan Racing Chevy Beasts

Indy Legends

The IndyCar garage is relatively quiet and going about its business, with teams picking up tires, prepping cars, going through Scrutineering, and setting up Pit Boxes in the very wide Pit Lane. Quite a contrast from the narrow street-circuit pits of Long Beach.
No.19 in Scrutineering Bay

Tire Pickup

No.12 in Scrutineering Bay

Elevator Construction

Take a good look at the front straight grandstands, the RV lots and the garages. They are on their way out. The track is undergoing a massive renovation, which will take two years to complete. After this weekend’s race, the garages and front straight grandstands go. Everything which was there will be moved 90 degrees to the left. The Start-Finish Line will move to the left. The infield will be a new fan zone area. New garages will go up where was the RV lot – three covered garage areas. The Bobby allison Grandstand benches will be upgraded to individual wider seats, with cup holders. Access in the grandstands will be via four new escalators and five new elevators in addition to the five existing elevators. Structures for two elevators are under construction already. And something dear to the heart of all race fans – multiple new restrooms, including ADA facilities. Capacity will be 45,000. There will be a new Media Center and buildings to accommodate Race Control, Timing & Scoring, Medical Center which will house a new First Aid station and EMS location, and Guest Services Area. New concession areas are coming. The DC Solar Fan Midway will provide more visual fan access to the Drivers, in their meetings, for autograph sessions, of the garages, and of the Gatorade Victory Lane celebrations. There’s a lot of work scheduled between now and the November NASCAR race.

Kody Swanson, Bobby Santos and Davey Hamilton
Kody Swanson, Bobby Santos and Davey Hamilton

The Silver Crowns had a practice in the early afternoon, and points leader Chris Windom in No.92 Gene Kazmark/Remin Kat-A-Bag-Project Healing Waters/Beast Ford. blew an engine. The car has been withdrawn, but as Kody Swanson said – “Just because Chris doesn’t have a car, don’t count him out.” Kody is tied for second in the current standings, in No.63 DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital-Hampshire Racing Engines/Beast/Hampshire. In Qualifying, fastest was Bobby Santos/No.22 DJRacing-Simpson Race Products/Beast/VDS Chevy. Second was Kody Swanson, and third was veteran Davey Hamilton (Sr) in No.99 RPM-Fred Gormly/Guts Wear-Hoosier Tire/Beast/Chevy. They all agreed that the wind wasn’t a problem for their cars, described by Hamilton as “a brick.” To a T, all the USAC drivers are thrilled to be back racing at PIR, so much so that Kody Swanson’s brother, Tanner Swanson, went looking for a ride and he’s in No.201 Gene Nolen Racing/KECO Coatings/Beast/Tranter Chevy.

Symmetry-Ganassi Tool Boxes

Symmetry. Firestone Tires

Symmetry. Team Penske Wings


The fog wreaked a little havoc Sunday morning for the tight schedule of Day Four of the Role Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Each day the fog was thicker until Sunday when the schedule fell an hour behind due to lack of track visibility. But all’s well that ends well. By 11 am, the sun broke through – as it did every day, and the long lunch break helped ease up the schedule … and only seven groups were slated to run Sunday.

Ed Archer and 1920 Transporter

Ed Archer of Hayward epitomizes the spirit of the Tin Pan Alley Gang which has its own lane in the paddock. The spritely senior is always dressed in his period outfit, including dust coat and cap when it’s chilly. For years he drove his Group 1A 1915 Ford T to and from the races on the Bay Area freeways. In 1989 he bought an authentic Chevrolet transporter which he now uses – on the freeways. He gets all kinds of cheers and thumbs up from fellow commuters stuck in the post-race traffic.Group 1A is for Pre 1940 Sports Racing/Touring Cars & 1927-1951 Racing Cars. It’s all Archer says he can do to stay out of the way of the faster cars, but he certainly has fun. He was lapped three times, but still finished twenty-fifth of 41 racers, with everything intact.

Chevy Transporter

No.4 1914 Mercer 45

Pre War Car


At the other end of the spectrum are Sunday’s Historic Formula One Cars. They have a race within a race, as many of the competitors are part of the FIA Masters Series, which has its own set of gleaming trophies. For Sunday’s morning race, Charles Nearburg of TX has the pole in his No.27 1980 Williams FW007 B. There is another 1980 Williams FW07, driven by Zak Brown (the business mogul, not the musician). As the F1 cars retain their original livery and numbers, one has to be keen-eyed to see the miniscule 1 in front of Brown’s car number. The experienced flaggers – and even their crews – use their helmet designs to distinguish the two in traffic. Nearburg has a mostly yellow helmet, while Brown’s has reds and blues.

Charles Nearburg's Helmet

Zak Brown's No.27 1980 Williams FW07 F1 Car

Zak Brown's helmet

Nearburg won the morning race. Dan Marvin of Berkeley CA finished second after starting fifth, driving No.82 1974 Brabham BT44. The Zoom Zoom monitor clocked him at 140 mph going into Turn One.

Dan Marvin in No.82 1974 Brabham BT44
Dan Marvin in No.82 1974 Brabham BT44

The Reunion brings out all kinds of fans including celebrities and professional/retired racers. Among the crowds this weekend taking in the event live and in person are Scott Pruett, Tom Gloy, Dario Franchitti, and Marino Franchitti. And that includes the TV crew as well. Among the talent for the TV show which will air later this fall are Fox Sports TV broadcaster Mike Joy, who raced Saturday in the Historic Trans-Am Race in No.89 1966 Ford Mustang; Justin Bell, retired sports car driver, who did the Pit Lane commentary on Joy’s Trans-Am race; and Ralph Shaheen. The Reunion broadcast will be in 22 September 2016 on CBS Sports at 8pm. Meanwhile, it is being streamed live on

Mike Joy
Mike Joy
Justin Bell
Justin Bell

Dario Franchitti

Scott Pruett

Dario & Marino Franchitti

1999 BMW V12 LMR
1999 BMW V12 LMR, which won 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans


David Hobbs, Murray Smith, and Jackie Stewart
David Hobbs, Murray Smith, and Jackie Stewart

The A groups had their Rolex Races Saturday afternoon on Day Three of the 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The iconic road course hosted eight groups of widely disparate sizes, styles and colors. And in case you didn’t know, well-known motorsport TV commentator and raconteur, Murray Smith, reminded us at the lunchtime Paddock Picnic Palaver – Vintage means before 1930.

Murray ‘hosted’ two well known British humorists, cum A-List racers – David Hobbs and Jackie Stewart. Much of the funny conversation was off the record. But both Hobbs and Stewart were serious on the subject of America and its role in Formula One. Both stressed the need for an American driver to be in Formula One. Stewart said it’s needed to promote Formula 1 in the United States. Formula 1 still is big, colorful and global. There are more driving (racing) licenses in China and India than in America. F1 has the biggest TV audience in the world. Developing countries are putting major investments into racing. “We Need an American driver.” Hobbs said for an American to succeed in Formula One, he (or she) has to move to Europe at age 14-15 to get inured, because that’s where one learns. That’s a major investment for a family. Then the driver has to get into the right car, not just a Manor. That’s the difficult part. Hobbs didn’t see Formula 1 failing, but said it has issues which need resolving. It’s too technological. And he stressed “We Need an American driver.”

Both drivers felt that America, be it state or local municipality, needs to get behind racing. In all of Europe (except Britain) there is state supported racing resources. They promote Formula One teams and circuits and everyone benefits. In America locals or governments build stadiums and arenas for ball games. Why not racing?

The two agreed on something else. Neither wanted to race vintage. The cars are too old. Stewart said the best day of his life was racing a 1929 Nouvelari Ferrari at Laguna Seca with Juan Manuel Fangio.

Chad Parrish, Glen Seton, and Don Dimitriadis
Chad Parrish, Glen Seton, and Don Dimitriadis

Group Eight A is the Historic Trans-Am Group – a tightly knit and well-organized group of drivers and cars. They’re celebrating Fifty Years of Trans-Am with their own Tour, which includes Laguna Seca along with four other well-known circuits – Sebring, Lime Rock, Sears Point and Watkins Glen. The love of Trans-Am spreads beyond our shores. There is a contingent of loyal Aussies who not only love the cars and like to race them in the US, they own them and keep them here. There are three Australian owner-drivers in this year’s Trans-Am race and all have raced here before: Don Dimitriadis in No.21 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 formerly raced by Dan Gurney; Chad Parrish in No.28T 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302; and Terry Lawlor in No.63 1967 Shelby Mustang. There will be Aussie drivers at all Tour venues this year.

No.21 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

No.28T 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

No.63 1967 Shelby Mustang

No.15 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe

Trans-Am T Shirt

Another Aussie, 1993 and 1997 Australian Touring Car Champion, Glen Seton, is racing No.15 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe in Group SixB for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc. That car is owned by Dimitriadis. This is Seton’s first time at Laguna Seca. He really enjoys the circuit, finding it challenging. He likened it to Australia’s Bathurst circuit and Phillip Island, with its blind corners. Seton would like to race more American races and likes the Trans-Am Group, as do all the Aussies.

More Aussies, in non-muscle cars: Ron Goodman is driving No.23 1954 Porsche in Group 3A for 1055-1962 GT Cars; Chris Bowden is driving No.21 1979 BMW M1 Procar in Group 4A for FIA & IMSA Cars, and Duncan MacKellar is driving one of the two No.29 1971 McLarens, a M8E in Group 7a for 1968-1974 Can-Am Car. In the B Groups, Chris Farrell is driving No.18 1982 March 821 in Group 7B for Historic F1 Cars.

Derek Hill, son of American F1 World Champion Phil Hill, won Rolex Race 1A for Pre 1940 Sports Racing & 1927-1951 Racing Cars, driving No36 1927 Delage ERA, and he turned the fastest lap time of 1:52.434 on Lap 11 at 71.658 mph. The Margin of Victory was 78.047 seconds ahead of Charles McCane in No.6a 1936 ERA R6B. The top BMW was Thomas Feierabend of Bavaria in No.328A 1937 BMW 328, finishing sixth. There were 41 cars in the 13-lap race, of the 49 entries.

David Swig of Sausalito won Rolex Race 2A for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars over 2000cc. Young Swig drove No.16 1958 Scarab Mk1, and beat runner-up Dyke Ridgley of IL by 01.930 seconds. Ridgley drove No.66 1960 Maserati Tipo 61 and turned the fastest lap time of 1:46.488 on Lap 7 at 75.659 mph. It was a nine-lap race. Fourteen of the 19 entries raced.

Chris Cox of NC drove his No.112 1962 Ferrari 250GTO to victory in Rolex Race 3A for 1955-1962 GT Cars, and turned the fastest lap time of 1:49.042 on Lap Three at 73.887 mph. His Margin of victory was 13.972 seconds ahead of Jeffrey Abramson of CA in his 1959 Morgan Babydoll IV in the 10-lap race. Thirty-five of the 41 entrants raced.

Gunnar Jeanette of FL won the Rolex 4A Race for 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT, and GTU Cars He drove No.0 1980 Porsche 935, and his Margin of Victory was only 00.484 seconds ahead of Ken Epsman of CA in his No.20 1976 Dekon Monza. Epsman also turned the fastest lap time of 1:33.495 on Lap Three at 86.174 mph. Thirty-seven of the 50 entries raced. The top BMW was Chris Bowden of Queensland, Australia in No.21 1979 BMW M1 Procar, finishing fifth.

Marc Devis of Schoten Schoten won Rolex Race 5A for 1963-1968 USRRC & Can-Am Cars. Davis drove No.47 1967 Lola T 70 Mk3B Spyder, finishing a mere 00.044 seconds ahead of Johan Woerheide of SC, driving No.7 1965 Lola T70 Mk II. Byron DeFoor turned the fastest lap time of 1:37.297 on Lap Five at 82.806 mph, driving No.8 1965 Lola T70 Mk 1, finishing fifth. Thirty-two of 38 entries raced in the 11-lap race. Finishing third in the race was the top BMW, Harindra de Silva, father of young Tim de Silva, driving No.196 1965 Elva-BMW Mk8. Like his son, he too races SCCA in the San Francisco Region.

Wade Carter of WA won Rolex Race 6A for 1970-1984 Sports Racing Cars under 2100cc in No.74 Lola 2-liter, and turned the fastest lap time of 1:26.345 on Lap 11 of the 12-lap race. His speed was 93.309 mph. His Margin of Victory was 05.445 seconds ahead of Cal Meeker of British Columbia, Canada in No.115 1973 Lola T294. Pole sitter Tim de Silva had mechanical issues with his No.25 1978 Osella-BMW PA8, and finished 16th with two laps. On the upside, it gave him more time to get back up to the grid for his next race in 7A. Seventeen of the 22 6A entries raced.

Kirt Bennett of Monterey CA won the Rolex 7A race in No.101A 1974 Shadow DN4, and turned the fastest lap time of 1:25.499 on the penultimate lap at 94.233 mph. I watched the Zoom Zoom radar gun speed trap sign and top speeds going up into Turn One reached 160 mph. The Margin of Victory was 05.534 seconds ahead of Dave Handy in No.102 1974 Shadow DN4. There were four black Shadows in that race and even more in the paddock. Shadow designer, Don Nichols of Carmel CA, was in the paddock overseeing the cars. Twenty-four of the 27 entries raced in the 13-lap race. De Silva, the son finished eighteenth in No.22 1974 Sting Can-Am.

101 and 102 Shadows

Shadow Eyes

Shadow 1

Pole sitter Ken Epsman of CA won the Rolex 8A Race for 1966-1972 Historic TransAm Cars in his No.2 1971 Javelin. He turned the fastest lap time of 1:43.015 on Lap Four at 78.21 mph. His Margin of Victory over Aussie runner-up Terry Lawlor was 00.353 seconds. Lawlor was driving No.63 1967 Shelby Mustang.Thirty-four drivers of 38 entries raced in the 11-lap race. Unofficially, the Zoom Zoom speed trap showed a couple of cars reaching 120 mph going into Turn One.

Sunday’s schedule calls for seven races and the Prize Giving Ceremonies.


Group 4A FIA & IMSA Cars
Group 4A FIA & IMSA Cars

Saturday’s activities at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca had all eight of the A Groups on track for races. Two of the groups included BMW’s. Group 4A for the 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT and GTU Cars had 21 BMW’s from 1971 to 1980, which included well known drivers such as Al Arciero, Jim Busby, Bruce Canepa, and John Morton, among others. This was a fast group which also saw Porsches, Mustangs, Shelbys, Monza’s, Ferrari’s and Corvettes. In practice the unofficial radar gun in Turn One indicated top speeds upwards of 133 mph.

Group 4A is the Bonham’s 1793 Cup Race, and Cooper MaxNeil of Florida has pole position for the afternoon Rolex race based on his finish in Saturday morning’s race, driing his 1980 Porsche 935. The top BMW was Chris Bowden of Queensland, Australia driving No.21 1979 BMW M1 ProCar. The average race speed was 84.954 mph, and there were 41 cars in the 12-lap race.

Group 1 A for Pre 1940 Sports Racing/Touring Cars & 1927-1951 Racing Cars had five BMW’s – a 1935 315/1 Willis Special and four 1937 BMW 328’s. Paddins Dowling of nearby Carmel won this race in his 1934 ERA R2A, beating Derek Hill (son of the late Phil Hill) driving a 1927 Delage ERA by 04.985 seconds. The top BMW in this race was Thomas Feierabend of Bavaria driving No.328A 1937 BMW 328, to finish seventh. The average race speed was 56.011 mph. Forty-one cars ran the nine-lap race.

There are a wide variety of BMWs on display throughout the paddock. In the Display Tent is the Ralf Schumacher 2000 BMW Williams FW22-02 Formula One Car, bringing BMW back into F1 where it had been absent since the eighties. Schumacher finished fifth that season in the points, teaming with Jenson Button, who finished third for the year. At the other end of the spectrum is the quirky little BMW Town Car, outside but near the Display Tent.

BMW Town Car

Rals Schumacher BMW F1 car

BMW Town Car

Tim de Silva
Tim de Silva

It’s always a treat to see a young vintage driver, often younger than the car he’s driving. One such instance is Tim de Silva of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. He’s driving No.25 1978 Osella-BMW PA8 in Group 6A for 1970-1984 Sports Racing Cars under 2100cc. That BMW, by the way, revises upwards by one, my count of BMWs racing this weekend to 56. He’ll start Saturday’s Rolex race from the pole position, having finished first in his Saturday morning race. Tim is also racing back to back Saturday, as he is driving No.22 1974 Sting Can Am in Group 7A, where he will start sixth out of 27 cars. Tim is a San Francisco Region SCCA driver, competing in the Pacific F2000 Series, in which he just wrapped up the championship at the Sonoma race in July. The young lion is one of ten finalists in the Team USA Scholarship, which provides opportunities for talented American race drivers in the early stages of their careers. One of the long-time sponsors and supporters of Team USA is Doug Mockett, who is racing this weekend in the Historic Formula One Cars group (1967-1984.) Mockett, from Christiansted Virgin Islands, races his red, white and blue 1976 Penske PC4. Mockett’s races are Sunday so his car is getting its tune-up Saturday.

No.28 1976 Penske PC4

One of the joys of the Reunion is Paddock Strolling, taking in all the sights and enjoying the Eye Candy.

Led Zeppelin Sports Car

Green #24

No.17 Samson



The 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is celebrating the 100th anniversary of BMW, with the largest exhibit of BMW’s outside of Munich. A large well-appointed display is the centerpiece of the paddock at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In front of and along the sides is a revolving exhibit of famous racing BMWs – revolving as they are being raced in some of the fifteen classes of historic cars this four-day weekend.

Jeff Koons BMW Art Car
Jeff Koons BMW Art Car
Alexander Calder BMW Art Car
Alexander Calder BMW Art Car

Among the famous BMWs inside the display tent are two of the well-known BMW Art Cars – the first Art Car, created in 1975 by American Artist, Andrew Calder – mainly known for sculptures and mobiles; and the 17th BMW Art Car – the BMW M3 GT2 designed by Jeff Koons signed in 2010. The No.93 Calder car, a BMW 300 CSL, was one of his last art works. It was raced at the 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans by American Sam Posey and Frenchmen Jean Guichet and Herve Poulain; and has been on exhibit ever since. The No.79 Koons car was raced at the 2010 24 Hours of LeMans by Andy Priaulx, Dirk Werner, and Dirk Muller.

Other display cars include the No.25 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL which won the 12 Hours of Sebring with Sam Posey, Brian Redman, Allan Moffat, and Hans Stuck; the 1938 silver Mille Miglia class-winning BMW 328 – the last pre-war 1000-mile event. Only three of these 328’s were made.After the war, this display car was taken to Russia, and returned to Munich after the fall of the Berlin Wall, where it was restored by BMW.

1938 BMW Buegelfalte
1938 BMW Buegelfalte

The weekend schedule calls for practice Thursday and Friday for all fifteen classes on the 2.238-mile elevated road course. Saturday the eight A Classes will race, and Sunday there will be seven B class races, followed by the Prize-Giving Ceremonies.

There are 55 BMWs in five of the 15 classes: 1A for Pre 1940 Sports Racing/Touring Cars & 1927-1951 Racing Cars; lots in 4A for 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU Cars; 3B for 1963-1973 FIA Manufacturers Championship Cars; 4B for 1961-1966 GT Cars under 2500 cc; and 5B for 1981-1991 FIA Manufacturers Championship IMSA GTO/GTP Cars.

Thursday night in the paddock was the Oktoberfest Welcome Party complete with beer, costumed SCRAMP staff members, and typical German food – with an oom-pah-pah band and instant art painted by official track artist, Bill Patterson.

Bill Patterson
Bill Patterson

Among those attending and taking photos of the cars and drivers was world-famous driver, Brian Redman. The affable Brit took one of his old race cars out for a spin Friday morning – No.25 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL – one of five imported into the US. Redman ran the 1975-1976 IMSA Camel GT Series with Ronnie Peterson. It was one of the most successful BMW production race cars, and all those five race cars still exist. The car is entered by BMW North America and driven by Ludwig Willisch of New Jersey.

Brian Redman
Brian Redman

Saturday’s schedule calls for Qualifying Races in the morning and Rolex Races in the afternoon – for all eight of the A Groups.


Travelin' Ford Detroit to SF

Sunday was again hot at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the fourth and final day of the 2015 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The mysterious patchy clouds hung around – possibly a quirky wind change blowing down lingering forest fire smoke from Northern California.

The schedule was shorter, with only seven Race Groups – all in the B category. The crowds were more manageable, which usually happens on Sunday, while the early birds head to Pebble Beach for the spit and polish of the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance. They return back to the race world in the afternoon, and attend the Reunion Awards Ceremonies – which reward excellence, presentation and authenticity – not necessarily race winners or speed.

Group 1B-1927-1951 Racing Cars had the smallest field and an even smaller starting grid for the morning race. Paddins Dowling’s No.3 1939 Maserati 4CL won the race by 02.400 seconds over Jon Shirley’s No.12 1934 Alda Romeo Tipo B (P3). Perennial winner, Peter Giddings, finished third in his well-known No.31 1932 Alfa Romeo Monza. The average race lap was 67.471 mph. Thirteen of the 21-car field took the checkered flag for the nine-lap race.

The trio won again in that order for the afternoon’s Rolex Race. Dowling’s Margin this time was 06.693 seconds, and he turned the fastest race lap of 2.00.507/66.858 mph on Lap 7. The average race lap was 66.157. The same 13 cars ran the nine-lap race.

Group 2B-1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars morning race was won by Cameron Healy of Portland OR in his No.55 1953 Porsche Cooper Pooper. His MOV was 03.256 seconds ahead of Dave Zurlinden’s No.15 Tatum GMC Special. Robert Manson’s No.7 1949 Baldwin Mercury Special. The average race lap was 63.567 mph. All but three of the 30-car field ran the eight-lap race.

Healey won the afternoon Group 2B Rolex Race, this time by only 01.646 seconds ahead of Marcus Bicknell of the UK in his No.15 1952 Streets Manning Special. Third was John Buddenbaum in the No.3 1949 Jaguar Parkinson Special owned by Terry Buffum. Healey turned the fastest race lap of 1;51.374/72.34 mph on Lap 7. The field numbered 24 cars for the seven-lap race.

Local driver Donald Orosco won Group 3B-1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars under 2000cc, racing his No.59 1958 Lotus 15. He beat runner up, Gregory Campbell of Canada in his No.356 1955 Devin Porsche 356 PreA by 05.805 seconds. The average race lap was 75.473 mph, for the ten-lap race. Thirty-four of the 36-car field ran the race.

The afternoon Group 3B Rolex Race was again won by Don Orosco in his Lotus 15. It was a local family sweep Runner-up was Brian Orosco in his No.36 1959 Lola Mk1 and third was Chris Orosco in his No.90 1959 Lola Mk1. The Margin of victory for Don Orosco was 00.711 seconds, the second closest of the afternoon. Brian Orosco turned the fastest race lap of 1:45.737/76.197 mph on Lap 4. The average race lap was 65.951 mph. Thirty-one of thirty-five cars ran the race.

Fred Della Noce No.18 1966 Ginetta G12

The Group 4B Race for 1961-1966 GT Cars had the largest field of the day – 49 cars. Fred Della Noce of Brazil won in his No.18 1966 Ginetta G12, 04.326 seconds ahead of his Brazilian compadre, Dalmo De Vasconcelos’s Nol.l85 1965 Lotus Elan 26R. Third place went to Michael Malone in his No.37 1965 Lotus 26R. The average race lap was 70.917 mph.

Timothy De Silva No.30 1962 Austin Mini Cooper

Thirty-eight cars ran the morning race. Young Timothy De Silva only was able to run four laps in the only Mini Cooper this weekend-No.30 1962 Austin Mini Cooper. He is the son of vintage racer Harinda Da Silva, who raced his 1974 Shadow DN3 F1 car in Group 8A.

It was Deja Vu for the afternoon Group 4B Rolex Race – same top three finishers in the same order. Della Noce’s MOV was 05.070 seconds. He turned the fastest race lap of 1:44.685/76.962 mph on the last lap of the eight-lap race. The average race lap was 63.297 mph.

Mike McGovern won the colorful Group 5B morning race for 1963-1968 GT Cars over 2500cc, driving his No.19 1964 Shelby Cobra, a scant 00.709 seconds ahead of runnerup Jeffrey Abronsom’s No.15 1964 Chevrolet Corvtte Roadster. Finishing third was Jim Click’s No.89 1965 Shelby Cobra. The Average Lap was 72.92 mph. The grid comprised 31 cars in a 39-car field for the ten-lap race.

Ironman McGovern did it again in the afternoon Rolex race, finishing 01.278 ahead of Abramson, who was followed by Click – who turned the fastest race lap of 1:42.702/78.448 mph on Lap 7. The average race lap was 77.456 mph.

Not finishing as high in either the morning or after races was Greg Umphenour in his No.81 1964 Mercury Comet, but it certainly was a stylin’ car. It has run the South African Rallye.

The Group 6B Historic Trans-Am Cars-1966-1972 is always a favorite group.The morning race was won by Jim Halsey of Los Angeles in his No.61 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302, finishing 01.359 seconds ahead of veteran vintage racer, Ken Epsman in his No.2 red-white-blue 1971 AMC Javelin. The average race lap was 53.097 mph.

Mike McGovern No.16T 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Third was Mike McGovern in his No.16T 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302. Can you imagine how McGovern felt after running those two races back to back in that heat – nearly 90 degrees. He won the morning 5B race.Hope he had a cool suit.

And to show how tough he is, he ran both of his Rolex races (5B/6B) back to back in the hot afternoon and won both!

For the Trans-Am race, McGovern won, Epsman was second and Halsey was third. The MOV was 00.130 seconds – the closest of the afternoon. McGovern had to work for that victory. Halsey ran the fastest race lap of 1:45.998/76.009 mph on Lap 2.

Richard Dean of the UK won the morning Group 7B Race for 1968-1978 Formula 5000 Cars in Zak Brown’s No.6 1974 Lola T332. His Margin of Victory was 11.750 seconds ahead of Paul Zazryn of Australia, racing his No.24 1974 Lola T332. Third was Steven Ross of New Zealand in is No.5A 1973 McRae GM-1. Those blokes from Down Under know their F5000’s.

The Average race lap, in the 12-lap race, was 90.506 mph, the fastest for the morning races.

New Zealand F5000 Shipping Container

The visitors from Down Under took the top three finishing positions for the afternoon Rolex Race. Dean won the race with a 01.726 seconds MOV. Second was Alan Dunkley of New Zealand in his No.42 1968 Lola T140. Paul Zazryn of Australia was relegated to third position by the Chief Steward for Passing under a standing Yellow flag.

Zazryn turned the fastest race lap of 1:27.352/92.234 mph, the fastest of the afternoon Rolex Races. The average race lap was 52.477 mph on the last lap.

During the lunch break the Paddock Stage Presentation was “Legends of the F5000” with a panel of famous Formula 5000 drivers moderated by Casey Annis, Publisher/Editor of Vintage Racecar/Vintage Roadcar. The drivers included Howden Ganley, John Morton and Brian Redman, along with Shadow Team Owner, Don Nichols. They spoke of the heyday of F5000 racing. The enthused crowd stuck around for an hour in the blazing sun. To my knowledge, at least three of the participants have written books on their racing: Ganley, Morton and Redman.

Don Nichols

Brian Redman

Howden Ganley

Left to Right: Don Nichols, Brian Redman and Howden Ganley. Apologies to John Morton for no portrait. Maybe this will do.

John Morton No.1 1971 Porsche 908/3
John Morton No.1 1971 Porsche 908/3
Don Nichols, Brian Redman, Howden Ganley and John Morton
Don Nichols, Brian Redman, Howden Ganley and John Morton


SFR Starters Bruce Brunner & Marcia Ulise

Audio Visual 2.0

Saturday afternoon the sights and sounds of the Rolex Races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca were everywhere and intensified by the crowds, racing and displays. The crowds were hug and water was the drink of choice in heat which rose to 91 degrees mid afternoon. Shade was treasured.

It was good people watching, with all the beautiful people and cars.

Bobby Rahal

SCRAMP Gas Pump Vendor in Dunlop Suit

The afternoon schedule called for the Official Rolex Races – twenty minutes long. Saturday’s schedule was the longer of the two days as there were eight race groups and the day went until 6pm. Sunday’s race groups number seven, and the day ends earlier to accommodate the afternoon Awards Ceremony.

The feature Bonham’s Cup Rolex Race was first off – Group 3A for the featured marque – 1965-1970 Shelby 350GT’s.
Winner Tommy Steuer of Colombia started second but won in the No.1 1965 Shelby owned by Bert Skidmore, beating Pole Sitter Terry Lawlor of Australia by 20.327 seconds. Steuer turned the fastest lap of 1:44.124/77.377 mph on Lap 2 of the ten-lap race. Finishing third was Jeffrey Abramson in his No.165 1965 Shelby.

Howard Swig's License Plate No.1931 Chrysler CD-8 Le Mans

Conrad Stevensen of Berkeley CA drove his No.39 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Special to victory in Group 1A race for Pre 1940 Sports Racing and Touring Cars. His Margin of Victory was 01.093 seconds ahead of Joe Harding’s No.111 1939 Lagonda V12 Le Mans and he also turned the fastest race lap time of 2:12.461/60.824 mph on Lap 3. Finishing third was Richard Morrison’s No.12 1939 Lagonda V12. The average race speed was 59.49mph for the eight-lap race. Twenty-four drivers raced from the 29-car field. Early contender, Howard Swig’s 1931 Chrysler CD-8 Le Mans retired early.

Group 2A for 1955-1962 GT Cars was won by Pole Sitter Joe Colasacco of CT racing the 1963 Alfa Romeo TZ-1 owned by Lawrence Auriana. His Margin of Victory was 11.812 seconds ahead of Ron Goodman of Australia racing his No.21 1954 Porsche 356. Mark Colbert’s No.10 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Competizione was third. Colasacco turned the fastest race lap of 1:51.108/72.513 mph on Lap 4 of the nine-lap race. The average lap was 71.748 mph. Forty-one of the 46 entrants raced.

Bruce Canepa pulled one out of his helmet for Race Group 4A-1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT-GTX, AAGT, GTU Cars. He only ran one lap before retiring in the morning race in his No.12 1979 Porsche 935, but he won the afternoon’s Rolex Race by 05.663 seconds ahead of Pole Sitter Didier Andr of France in his No.76 1977 Greenwood Corvette. Local driver and veteran vintage racer, Ken Epsman finished third in his No.20 1976 Dekon Monza and also turned the fastest lap of 1:32.847/86.775 mph on Lap Eight of the 11-lap race. The average lap was 83.611 mph. Thirty-three of 41-car field ran the race.

The top three finishers in Group 5A-1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars over 2000cc finished where they started and ended in the morning race. Pole Sitter Derek Hill continued his winning streak Saturday afternoon racing the No.3 1962 Maserati Tipo 151 owned by Laurence Auriana, making it the second win of the afternoon for the car owner. Hill’s Margin of Victory was 04.293 seconds ahead of Greg Meyer’s No.41 1962 Dailu MK2. Joseph Diloreto finished third in his No.33 1961 Dolphin SportsRacer. Hill turned the fastest race lap of 1:44.378 mph/77.189 mp on the first lap. The average race lap was 76.027 mph. Hill raced Saturday only. Sunday he headed off to Pebble Beach to host the annual Concours D’Elegance.

Wade Carter of WA drove his No. l74 1974 Lola T294 to victory in Rolex Race Group 6A-FIA Manufacturers Championship Cars. He beat Pole Sitter Keither Frieser’s No.27 1972 Lola T290 by 00.319 seconds, the closest Margin of Victory all afternoon, and turned the fastest lap of 1:25.851/93.846 mph on Lap 2. Finishing third was Chris MacAllister’s No.5 1973 Gulf Mirage. Twenty-six of the 40-car field took the Green Flag for the 12-lap race.

John Delane No.50 1971 Lola T212

Timothy De Silva No.22 1978 Osella PA8

Two of the drivers in this group – John Delane No.50 1971 Lola T212 and Timothy De Silva No.22 1978 Osella PA8, are also racing in other groups. Delane races his 2 1971 Tyrrell in Group 8A for F1 Cars, and De Silva races perhaps the only Mini Cooper this weekend in Group 4B 1961 -1966 GT Cars under 2500cc.

Bruce Canepa won his second race of the afternoon driving his No.100 1990 Porsche 962C in Group 7A-1981-1991 FIA/IMSA GTP, GTO Cars. His Margin of Victory was 08.901 seconds ahead of Parker Johnstone in the No.49 factory/Museum 1991 Acura Spice GTP Light car. Dieter Baljet of Canada drove his No.3 1990 Chevrolet Beretta to third place. Canepa turned the fast lap of 1:26.049/93.63 mph on Lap 3. The average race lap was 92.629 mph.

Steve Millen No.751990 Nissan 300Z

Championship Rally and Drifting driver, Steve Millen started twenty-fifth after having mechanical problems in the morning race, but ran through the pack to finish seventh overall.

Actor and film producer of the new Paul Newman Documentary, “Winning,” Adam Carolla, brought his No.75T 1990 Peerless Oldsmobile, but didn’t run either of the Saturday races.

Charles Nearburg of Texas has been on a roll all weekend with his No.27A 1980 Williams FW07 – figuratively, not literally. He was the Pole Sitter for Group 8A-1967-1984d Formula One Cars. He again won, the afternoon Rolex Race by 00.944 seconds, the second closest MOV of the day. He again beat Erich Joiner’s No.101 1983 Williams FW08/C. Finishing third was Dr. Nicholas Colyvas of San Francisco driving his No.3 1974 Tyrrell 007. Colyvas was one of two local vintage F1 drivers who raced his F1 car in the movie “Rush.” The other was Chris Locke of San Anselmo, who finished ninth Saturday afternoon in his o.5 1976 Lotus 77, which he raced in the movie.

After the race, the group convened to the FIA F1 Masters Cup Hospitality Suite for their prize giving. They have four classes and award loving cups to the top three in class.

FIA F1 Masters Trophies


Shelby 350GT Group 3A Start

Saturday morning it was a scorcher at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the first day of racing at the 2015 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The weather was downright hot – 81 degrees F by 10:30am … and climbing. The skies had odd thin wisps and veils of transparent clouds scattered about. People were absolutely everywhere, taking photos, gawking and gaping in the paddock and around the course at the eight Groups of A cars. It was difficult at times to get a clear shot of any car or driver. The morning schedule called for fifteen minute, timed races, followed by afternoon races of 20 minutes each.

The grids for the morning races were set by combining the two practice session times and those race results set the grids for the afternoon races. However, the only times shown on any of the results sheets were those of average and fastest race lap in each race. This vintage weekend is not considered “a competition event.”

Shelby 350GT Start-a

Shelby 350GT Start-b

Shelby 350GT Start-c

This year’s Reunion is honoring The 50th Anniversary of the Shelby 350GT, and they were show cased in the Bonhams 1793 Cup Races for Group 3A – 1965-1970 Shelby Mustang Cars.

Thirty-two of the 38 entries took the Green Flag in the morning race. Terry Lawlor of Australia won in his No.8 1966 Shelby, beating pole sitter Tommy Steuer of Colombia in his No.1 1966 Shelby. Third place was Jim Hague’s No.211 1966 Shelby.

The Margin of Victory was 00.570 seconds, with the average race lap of 70.866 mph. The Mazda Zoom-Zoom radar screen on the Start-Finish bridge clocked a fast lap of 121 mph, but just once.

Although the Group 3A time span was listed as 1965-1970, all the cars were 1965-1966. Twenty-five of the 40 entrants were 1966 cars, and the rest were 1965.

Conrad Stevenson of Berkeley Ca won the Group 1A Race for Pre 1940 Sports Racing and Touring Cars. And it was a good year for 1939. Stevenson drove his No.39 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C2500 Super Sport to victory 19.767 seconds ahead of runner up Joe Harding/s No.11 1939 Lagonda V12 Le Mans. Howard Swig finished third in his No.19 1931 Chrysler CD-8 Le Mans. Only 15 of the 29 entries ran the race. Missing from the field was pole sitter Richard Morrison of KS in his No.12 1939 Lagonda V12.

A large field ran the Group 2A race or 1955-1962 GT Cars. Pole sitter Joe Colasacco of CT won in his 1963 Alfa Romeo TZ-1, 02.466 seconds ahead of Ron goodman of Australia in his 1954 Porsche 356. Mark Colbert was third driving his 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Competizione.

Pole sitter Bruce Canepa pulled his No.12 1979 Porsche 935 into the pits with mechanical problems after the first lap of the morning Group 4A Race for 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT-GTX, AAGT, GTU Cars. Didier Andr from France won the race in his No.76 1977 Greenwood Corvette, after starting third. He was 24.885 seconds ahead of runner-up Chris Liebenberg’s No.22 1982 Ford Mustang. Finishing third was Ranson Webster’s No.42 1976 Porsche 935 K3. The average lap was 83.979 mph. The top speed recorded – just once – on the Zoom-Zoom screen was 140 mph.

Patrick Long, Leh Keen and Erich Joiner
Patrick Long, Leh Keen and Erich Joiner

Thirty five of the 41 entrants ran the 11-lap 4A race. Among the drivers were Pro Porsche drivers, Patrick Long – the only American Porsche factory driver running in the FIA World Endurance Cup and Leh Keen, who runs the USCC Series. Also multi-talented veteran driver, John Morton. Long drove Alan Benjamin’s No.61 Porsche 3.0 Carrera RSR, Keen drove David Mac’s No.28 1977 Porsche 934.5; and Morton ran Rob Fuller’s No.49 1972 Datsun 240Z

Derek Hill No.3 1962 Maserati Tipo 151

Pole sitter Derek Hill of CT, son of the late F1 World Champion Phil Hill, won the Group 5A Race for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars over 2000cc, racing No.3 1962 Maserati Tripo 161 owned by Lawrence Auriana. His lead ahead of Greg Meyer’s No.41 1962 Dailu Mk2 was 01.190 seconds. Third overall in the 25-car field was Joseph Diloreto’s No.33 1961 Dolphin SportsRacer. The average race speed was 68.344 mph.

Derek Bell No.96 1959 Maserati Tipo 61

Derek Bell

Derek Bell No.96 1959 Maserati Tipo 61

Another well-known driver in the field was long-time veteran sports car driver, Derek Bell of England. He raced the No.96 1959 Maserati T-61 owned by Jack Croul. The car was qualified by Jon Norman Thursday and Friday as Bell had other commitments. Bell started and finished tenth.

Marino Franchitti No.10 1975 Gulf Mirage GR8

The Group 6A FIA Manufacturers Championship Cars race was won by Pole Sitter Keith Frieser of Canada, racing his No.27 1972 Lola T290. He finished 01.724 seconds ahead of fellow Canadian, Cal Meeker’s No.116 1973 Lola T294. Wade Carter’s No.74 Lola T294 finished third. The average lap was 78.201 mph for the ten-lap race. Twenty-seven of the forty-car field took the Green Flag. Professional sports car driver, Marino Franchitti started and finished sixth in that race, driving Harley Cluxton’s No.10 1975 Gulf Mirage GR8.

Local vintage driver/car enthusiast, Bruce Canepa won Group 7A for 1981-1991 FIA/IMSA GTP, GTO Cars, racing his No.100 1990 Porsche 962C. He aced the start from second place and had a good race with Pole Sitter Parker Johnston, racing the factory No.49 1991 Acura Spice GTP Light. That car has been sitting in the Acura Museum for the past 23 years, since Johnstone last won a race with it. Weldon Munsey finished third in the factory No.77 Mazda RX7-92P. There were three factory Mazda’s in the race, all from a museum, which were driven and worked on by Mazda executives, doing everything on their own time. Jeremy Barnes in No.62 1991 Mazda RX-7 finished sixth and Robert Davis finished seventh in No.56 1990 Mazda RX-7.

Weldon Munsey No.77 1992 Mazda RX-7

Jeremy Barnes No.62 1991 Mazda RX-7

Robert Davis No.56 1990 Mazda 787

Veteran IMSA driver, David Donohue drove his 1991 Championship winning BMW M5 IMSA, which is now owned by BMW of North America.

The Margin of Victory was 02.408 seconds, the average race lap was 75.094 mph and 28 of the 35 entrants ran the race.

The morning Group 8A race for 1967-1984 Formula One cars finished under Caution as the track had been severely oiled by a ailing car. Taking the checkered flag was pole sitter Charles Nearburg in his No.27 1980 Williams FW07. His Margin of Victory ahead of Erich Joiner’s No.101 1983 Williams Fw08/C was 02.090 seconds. Finishing third was Motorcycle World Champion Eddie Lawson in No.20 1977 Wolf WR4. The top three finished where they started. The average race lap was 86.904 mph. Thirty-four of the thirty-seven entrants ran the 12-lap race.

After the morning races there was a nice long lunch break which allowed people to partake and/or participate in a variety of activities. Out on the Island Sir Jackie Stewart and multi championship driver, Scott Pruett held forth for Picnic tales and lores from their respective lengthy careers.

Also, in the paddock was a Haggerty Education Program presentation on Automotive Restoration and Preservation: “Young People and Old Cars – The Future of Restoration”. Diane Fizgerald, National Director of the HEP program geared towards recruiting and involving young people in the automotive restoration field, oversaw the presentation, which was moderated by McKeel Haggerty. The presenters included veteran racer Lyn St. James – also a HEP Ambassador; and longtime racer, Dominic Dobson – who is also National Director of Club Auto, ACM, the largest automotive museum in North America. Others were Josh Baum, private collector conservationist and former HEP intern; Tim Chambers, Laguna Hills High School Auto Tech Instructor; Stacy Puckett, McPherson College graduate and current employee at RM Sotheby’s auction house; and Stephen Murphy, curator and restoration specialist at Chicago Vintage Motor Carriage.

The presentation was recorded and broadcast live.

The panelists had pearls of wisdom for the audience, parents and kids. Parents-expose your kids, and kids chase your passion. Foster curiosity, and be excellent at what you. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Kids who work on cars are the future. Community Colleges are picking up the slack on Auto Shop and Industry classes being cut out of the public schools. Invite kids for rides in your vintage car, at Car Corrals and events. Spark their passion. One driver said there needs to be a smart phone App that kids can use to scan and work on cars. Get a mentor. Vintage cars are rolling pieces of art.

Haggerty Restoration Presentation


Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Flag

Friday the weather at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was even more beautiful for the second day of the 2015 Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion. Nice warm weather, clear blue skies, and a nice breeze to keep it tolerable.

The Friday schedule was practice for all fifteen classes, 1-8A and 1-7B. The practice times for Thursday and Friday are combined to make the race grids. But no times are on the result sheets as this weekend is not a “competition event.”

Parker Johnstone

Parker Johnstone was once the winningest driver in IMSA, winning 54 races and had the record for 14 consecutive pole positions. This weekend he is driving his old IMSA car – No.49 1991 Acura Spice GTP Light. It’s been in the Acura Museum just as Johnstone left it after the car retired 23 years ago. He got into it this weekend and said it felt like he just raced it last week.

Doug Peterson

Johnstone’s old CompTech partner, Doug Peterson, worked on and set up the car, and Johnson was the fastest car Friday morning in Group 7A for 1981-1991 FIA/IMSA GTP, GTO Cars, and based on his aggregate times for both practice sessions, he has the pole position for Saturday afternoon’s race in a field of 35 cars. This weekend is the 30th year Anniversary of Honda racing.

No.48 1991 Acura Spice GTP Light

Johnstone has been keeping busy with SCCA Club Racing his H Prod 1964 Huffaker Midget in Oregon Region and also vintage racing. This weekend is his seventh race weekend in nine weeks, and the fourteenth race this season so far. He rotates vintage racing among some of the cars he has in Oregon including two of his old IndyCars, a 1977 March Formula Atlantic and a 1967 Austin Healey Sprite.

Tomas Mezzera & Parker Johnstone

Johnstone and Peterson are ensconced in the Accura Garage on Pit Lane. Stopping by for a reunion chat was Tomas Lopez Rocha of Mexico, who raced IMSA with Johnstone back in the day. Lopez retired from professional racing, but has come back to the sport recently, running the Panamericana Carrera-a Mexican sports car race with fields of 75 or more cars from around the world. In five races Lopez had five top-five finishes, including two victories. He races a 600 hp, tube-frame Studebaker, a la OSCA.

Another driver who ran and won the Panamericana Carrera, in 2002, is Doug Mockett of the US Virgin Islands. This weekend he’s racing his 1976 Penske PC4 in Group 8A for 1967-1984 Formula One Cars. Another thing Mockett does is strongly supporting young up and coming race drivers, including the Team USA Scholarship.


Veteran and now retired road racer and car builder, Irv Hoerr was visiting his old No.6 1991 Oldsmobile Trans-Am Cutlass Supreme Trans-Am race car, now being driven for the first time by Gordon Johnson in Group 7A for FIA/IMSA Cars. Hoerr was asked by car owner Jere Clark to drive his white No.67 1968 Chevrolet Camaro in Group 6B Friday afternoon – the 1966-1972 Historic Trans-AM cars. However, Hoerr declined, citing it’s been too long since he’s been in a race car. When last seen, Lyn St. James was trying the car on for size. Stay tuned.

Dominic Dobson

1961 Cooper Monaco Mk III

Another race driver/team owner coming back, so to speak, is Dominic Dobson, who had a rich and varied career in indy cars, IMSA and NASCAR. This weekend he’s racing (for the first time) the No.61 1961 Cooper Monaco Mk III owned by Jeffrey Heller, originally raced by Bruce McLaren. The car runs in Group 5A for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars over 2000cc.

Dobson recently raced a Radical V8 at Pike’s Peak and won the Unlimited Class. He also won Rookie of the Year for the event.

Jon Norman

1959 Maserati T-61

1959 Maserati T-61

Also running in Group 5A is Derek Hill in a 1962 Maserati Tipo 151, who has the pole position for Saturday’s race. Derek Bell is entered to run the No.96 1959 Maserati T-61 owned by Jack Croul, but so far he’s been busy elsewhere in the area with other commitments including The Quail. Veteran Alfa Romeo driver, Jon Norman, has been filling in and qualified the car tenth of 25 cars.

So Many Cars … So Little Time!

No.93 Andial Whitting Brothers Porsche

1978 Osella

No.94 Crossle

David Swig's 1931 Chrysler CD-8 Le Mans