RRDC SITE GOING INTO HIBERNATION FOR A FEW WEEKS
The content management system - which facilitates the loading of stories and photos on rrdc.org - is broken. The webmaster is no longer able to place photographs with stories. That obviously is the case here.
Decisions will be made over the near term as to what can be done to continue the site which requires major content management upgrades. We'll resolve this situation as soon as possible. In short, the CMS is very old and is having serious problems communicating with the server.
SAFEisFAST.com is an entirely separate operation and is NOT, we repeat, NOT in any way affected by this bump in the road. So check SAFEisFAST at least once a week. The SiF staff has just posted an intriguing interview with Mario Andretti where the 1978 World Champion tells what it takes at the personal level to become a champion.
MEMBER NEWS: WIN STAND 21 SUIT; HONORING CHIP; VINTNER PRUETT; SMITH AT IMRRC
SAFEisFAST.com is offering the chance for young racing drivers around the world to win a custom-made, top-level racing suit from Stand 21 just be answering a few questions about racing safety.
Oriel Servia looking sharp and safe in his Stand 21.
The brand new “La Couture” model, launched in March 2014, is homologated to the very highest FIA 8856-2000 standard. Used by the likes of RRDC member Oriol Servia and all of the Porsche LMP1 drivers, including Mark Webber, the multi-layered suit features numerous stretchable comfort areas and pre-formed stretchable gussets along with the patented ‘Heat Stress Control’ technology.
An essential part of a driver’s safety equipment, Stand 21 suits are designed to protect in case of fire whilst offering comfort and mobility to enable peak performance during competition.
For a shot at winning the “La Couture”, click here and answer four questions about safety. The winner will be chosen randomly from all entrants submitting correct responses on or before July 18, 2014.
MURRAY SMITH SPEAKS AT IMRRC
Vintage race car driver Murray Smith spoke at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen last Saturday, June 21, as part of the center's monthly conversation series.
Murray Smith on the history of racing. [Connie Ann Kirk image]
Smith, organizer of the acclaimed Lime Rock Historic Festival on held annually on Labor Day, regaled the audience with tales of the magnificent cars he has driven over the years, as well as the significant vintage and historic motoring events he has organized.
SCOTT PRUETT LATEST RACING VINTNER
Scott Pruett is a relatively recent practitioner of winemaking, although he's been a student art of viticulture for at least a decade. It's a business that has attracted its share of motorsports folk like Richard Childress, Jeff Gordon and the late Benny Parsons. Pruett joins RRDC members Ben Pon and Kevin Buckler in the business.
Judy and Scott enjoying a tasting of Pruett Vinyard product.
A native of Roseville, CA, Pruett launched this enterprise on a 50-acre property in the Sierra foothills overlooking the American River near Auburn in Placer County, some 20 miles from his hometown. He partners with wife Judy in producing a world-class red – a blend of 75 pct. Syrah and 25 pct. Cabernet Sauvignon – from three acres of vines. Released a couple of years ago, the blend earned a 93 rating from Wine Spectator which said, "The Pruett Syrahs are among the most aromatic and expressive examples not just from the Sierra Foothills, but from anywhere in California."
High praise for sure.
CHIP GANASSI TO RECEIVE THE FIRST CAMERON R. ARGETSINGER AWARD
At an awards dinner Aug. 7 hosted by the International Motor Racing Research Center at the Corning (N.Y.) Museum of Glass, Chip Ganassi will receive the inaugural Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for his outstanding contributions to motorsports.
Often referred to as the father of American road racing, Argetsinger was a visionary who, in 1948, conceived, organized and drove in the first post-war road race in America through the roads of Watkins Glen. He brought Formula 1 to Watkins Glen International in 1961 and the circuit hosted the United States Grand Prix for 20 years. He was president of the IMRRC for five years, until his death in 2008.
NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation (parent company of Watkins Glen International), and WGI are the presenting sponsors of the first IMRRC Award Dinner, the proceeds of which will benefit the IMRRC, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to be the world-class leader in the collection of materials representing the documentary heritage of amateur and professional motor racing.
"We are privileged to have NASCAR, ISC and WGI support the IMRRC Award Dinner honoring Chip Ganassi," said IMRRC President J.C. Argetsinger. "NASCAR and its partners have done a tremendous job in promoting world-wide awareness of the sport we've loved for so long. And Chip himself has put his heart and soul into the success of every team he owns, and it shows."
To date, Ganassi's teams have won 17 championships in his 24 years of ownership, including four Indy 500 titles. In 2012, the Duquesne University graduate and former part owner of his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, was named one of the "50 most influential people in the Auto Industry" by Complex Magazine.
"Chip Ganassi's accomplishments and successes as a car owner have transcended across a wide spectrum of motorsports," said Mike Helton, NASCAR President. "His contributions have positively impacted NASCAR, IndyCar, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and beyond. Chip is an outstanding competitor, savvy team owner and is passionate about his work. The France Family and all of NASCAR congratulate Chip on being the first recipient of the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for outstanding contributions to motorsports."
"Chip Ganassi is a titan in the racing community. His leadership and business acumen have grown Chip Ganassi Racing from a one-car team to a powerhouse in the industry," said John Saunders, President, International Speedway Corporation. "Owning multiple teams across different racing series is no small task, yet he continues to find success at the upper echelons of professional motorsports. Congratulations to Chip on this prestigious honor and on behalf of International Speedway Corporation, I wish him many more years of continued success."
Added Michael Printup, President, Watkins Glen International, "Chip Ganassi is a competitor in the truest sense of the word. You always know that Ganassi teams will be a factor in any race and in any series in which they compete. It’s remarkable to think of the success they’ve found at some of the most historic and prestigious venues in the world. Yet, Chip has done more than just build winners, he has also built professionals. His teams and employees are among the best in the garage to work with and we’re always excited to see them compete at Watkins Glen International. On behalf of the entire team at Watkins Glen International, I’d like to congratulate Chip on this most deserving honor."
The IMRRC Award Dinner will be held on Aug. 7, the Thursday prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Watkins Glen International, at the Corning Museum of Glass, One Museum Way, Corning, N.Y. 14830. Cocktails are at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $250 per person. To purchase tickets, tables, sponsorship packages, click here or call to or call 607-535-9044. Seats are limited, so it is recommended that reservations be made soon.
KARUN CHANDHOK NEW SAFEisFAST ONLINE INSTRUCTOR
Ex-Formula One racer Karun Chandhok will be the next Online Driving Instructor for the RRDC's SAFEisFAST instructional web site. Chandhok will be competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this week and will be teamed with Bruno Senna to drive for Mahindra Racing in the new FIA Formula E championship, starting in September.
Karun Chandhok waiting for your questions at "Ask a Pro".
One of only two Indian drivers to compete in Formula One, Chandhok has been a pioneering force in Asian motor sport throughout his career.
Son of former Indian rally champion Vicky Chandhok, he graduated to single-seater racing in 2000, becoming Indian National Racing Champion in his first season by winning the Formula Maruti series.
He moved to Europe to continue his racing education by competing in the British Formula Three and World Series by Nissan championships. He gained a reputation as a mature driver and highlighted this by claiming the inaugural Formula Asia V6 by Renault title in 2006, winning seven of the 12 races.
His progress up the motor sport ladder continued and he spent three successful years in GP2, winning two races. He became the second ever Indian Formula One driver, after Narain Karthikeyan, as he competed for the Hispania Racing Team in 2010. He became Test Driver for Team Lotus in 2011 where he demonstrated his impressive motor sport knowledge with commentary appearances for British broadcasters.
Chandhok in the HRT at Barcelona in 2010.
He has contributed for various publications, including Autosport and ESPN, becoming a respected analyst as he continues to compete in the European Le Mans Series and gets ready to race in the first ever Formula E season.
Young drivers and fans can pose questions to Chandhok on any subject from career development and technical skill to marketing and race craft. Submit your questions here.
John Bishop, perhaps the most influential person in the history of American professional road racing, passed away Thursday in San Rafael, Calif., of complications from a recent illness.
John Bishop dies at 87.
Bishop was, in the most complimentary sense, an egregious opportunist – a visionary who could spot marketable trends and formulate the pathways to successful products. His products were professional road racing series. The New England native discovered road racing at Watkins Glen in the early 1950s and soon took a job in Westport, Conn., with the Sports Car Club of America's Contest Board to develop technical criteria for professional road racing – a concept that was as much despised as loved in those days when the wealthy amateur racer dominated the sport.
John Bishop did his pro racing due diligence early. Here he picks the great Walt Hansgen's brain at Watkins Glen in 1959.
While establishing his credentials as a practical organizer, Bishop managed to stay on the right side of SCCA's internal politics long enough to be appointed executive director in 1958, tasked with giving a federal structure to the club's confederation of local regions. Bishop now had the clout to seriously pursue Pro Racing, the job he'd come on board for originally. In 1962, the SCCA managed the World Championship of Makes for its four races in the U.S., giving Bishop hands-on experience with the world's car manufacturers and top professional drivers.
During his watch, four bellweather professional series were launched – the United States Road Racing Championship for Group 7 sports cars, the Can-Am, the Trans-Am and Formula 5000. He led the way for Club Racing class reconstruction with cars now classified on the basis of performance rather than simply engine displacement which led to the launching of the National Championship Runoffs – the perpetual mainstay of SCCA Club Racing.
But change – even change for the better – always has its detractors. Bishop's way of guarding his litter like a mother lion made him enemies. In early '69 under smothering pressure, he resigned his leadership position with the SCCA and shortly received a cold call from Bill France, Sr. Seems NASCAR's founder wanted a professional-only road racing sanctioning body to establish a toe-hold in that form of racing and perhaps to run his 24 Hours of Daytona. After a lot of discussion and, according to Bishop, more than a few rounds of scotch, the deal was done. John and Peggy Bishop would own and operate the International Motor Sports Association. “Peggy and I didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into,” Bishop recently reflected.
Bishop with wife Peggy launched arguably the strongest American road racing series in 1969 with the help of Bill France, Sr.
IMSA started as a beginner pro series featuring pony cars, lightly modified sedans and small open-wheeled racers. In a few short years, the sanctioning body was fully established with a growing international reputation. By the mid-'80s, IMSA was on an equal footing with the FIA and the ACO. That era was led by IMSA's GTP category, featuring some of the most awe-inspiring prototypes ever built. John Bishop had gone from a promising executive at the SCCA to one of the world's motorsports kingpins.
Factory prototypes like this GTP Nissan were the premier category in sports car racing in the 1980s and early '90s.
RRDC President Bobby Rahal told RACER.com how he developed his credentials racing in IMSA: “When I came back from racing in Europe, I did a lot of sports car racing before my Indy car career took off and its where, frankly, I really had a chance to show what I could do against some of the biggest names of the day," said Rahal, who scored six IMSA wins, including the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, from 1981 to 1988. "John was a guy who, from the first day I met him as a driver, he and Peggy welcomed you like family. They ran a tight ship, but it was really like you were a member of the Bishop family. He was one of the good guys – one of the last ones left who were there from the 1960s who built the foundation we stand on today.
"What I respected about John,” Rahal continued, “is you never heard any criticism or sniping about him. He could discipline folks quietly. It was never mean-spirited, and he always did what was best for racing. And when he said something, people went along with it. I don't recall a single person denigrating him because there was such respect for him and the organization he created.”
Bobby Rahal and Rob Dyson were great friends of IMSA.
RRDC member Rob Dyson told RACER.com: “John had a vision of IMSA that took the best of international sportscar regulations and optimized them for the spectacle and for the fan experience. It was for this reason that IMSA set the bar for worldwide sports car racing in the '80s and early '90s.”
And he went out on top, selling his interest in IMSA in 1989 due in part of health issues. Since, he has served as a commissioner of the Grand-Am Road Racing Series.
Earlier this year, Bishop was chosen for membership in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Detroit and will be inducted posthumously in August.
He is survived by his son Mitch, daughter-in-law Julia, four granddaughters, brother Peter Bishop and sister Ruth Rodger. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Peggy last August and sons Mark and Marshall. The family asks that donations in Bishop’s honor be made to the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
[Special thanks to RACER.com and National Speed Sports News online.]
MAY CLAIMS LUCIE CUNNINGHAM-McKINNEY AND COL. JOE HAUSER
The RRDC lost two members and the daughter of one of the Club's founding members in May. Of course the whole world learned of the passing of Sir Jack Brabham, May 19. A smaller circle of friends are mourning the loss May 10 of Lucie Cunningham-McKinney, a daughter of Briggs Cunningham, and Col. Joe Hauser on May 23.
A bright-eyed Lucie Cunningham-McKinney (upper left), and Col. Joe Hauser gold medal center stage at 1982 Runoffs with Richard Davis (left, silver) and Col. Joe's good friend Roberto Lorenzutti (right, bronze).
LUCIE CUNNINGHAM-McKINNEY, 1934 - 2014
Lucie, known as Lulu to relatives and close friends, was known as a daughter, wife, mother, tireless volunteer, philanthropist and ball-of-fire to everyone else. Raised in a family of privilege, her grandfather on her father's side was an early investor in Proctor and Gamble, and on her mother's side of the family, her great-grandfather (Edward T. Bedford) was co-founder of Standard Oil. The eldest daughter of road racer and constructor Briggs Cunningham II, Cunningham-McKinney spent much time around cars and racing in her early life. She accompanied her father to races at LeMans, Sebring, Watkins Glen and others.
During the Cunningham Gathering at Lime Rock Park last September, Cunningham-McKinney reflected on a couple of after-hours antics she participated in at the famed Kenilworth Lodge in Sebring, the early 1950s: "One night, the bar was getting ready to close. So, because I was small, I hid behind the curtains. After everyone left and the bartender locked up and went home, I snuck out and opened the doors. Soon, the place was filled with racers again." Reflecting on another Kenilworth story: "One night after everyone went to bed, a few racers and I went to a local farm and gathered some chickens. Then we ran through the hotel, throwing chickens in the open transoms above the hotel room doors. When my father found out, he was not amused," she said.
Lucie with her Cunningham C-3 Vignale.
She married Stewart McKinney, a tire dealer who eventually became a nine-term U.S. Congressman, and raised five children. Once during an election debate, Stewart was criticized by an opponent for being out of touch with the common man because of his wealth. Hearing that, Cunningham-McKinney stood up in the audience and shouted "It's my f---ing money, not his!" When her husband died of AIDS in 1987, Cunningham-McKinney became an outspoken AIDS activist, establishing a foundation in her husband's name that sought housing, jobs and health care for those afflicted.
Cunningham Gathering 2013 at Lime Rock.
In recent years, Cunningham-McKinney again became involved in the cars her father manufactured and raced. She owned a beautiful black Cunningham C-3 Vignale Coupe (one of 20 built) that had been in her family since new, and had recently purchased a C-3 Vignale convertible (one of five built). She also enjoyed attending classic car shows in the southern Connecticut area. After last year's Lime Rock Cunningham Gathering, a tribute to her father's racing successes, Cunningham-McKinney said, "This has been the best weekend of my life."
Cunningham-McKinney, 80, took the checkered flag on May 10, 2014 at her home in Green's Farms, Connecticut. A memorial service was held in St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Fairfield, which was built on land her family had donated. Tom Cotter
COLONEL JOSEPH A. HAUSER, 1919-2014
Known to all of his racing friends as Colonel Joe, Hauser took up racing just before his retirement from the U. S. Air Force in 1965. He'd served during WWII as a Pathfinder, leading bombers in Europe to their targets. This propensity for leading carried over to his racing career, as he won more than 130 races between 1964 and 1997 when he hung up his helmet at age 78. He loved small production racing, driving to G Prod National Championships in a Sprite (1974) and a Datsun 1600 Fairlady ('76, '81 and '82).
Col. Joe shares a national championship victory lap with his wife Lois and crew chief Bob Ward.
Although Col. Joe did the bulk of the mechanical and suspension work on his racecars, he had a cadre of dedicated crew, most often Bob Ward and Joe's beloved wife Lois who after 62 years of marriage passed away in 2004. Lois took care of all Joe's timing and race paperwork and was a real pro with the wrenches, according to her husband. She was also a pretty stout autocrosser, winning several championships.
Col. Joe was the senior member of a formidable squadron of Summit-Point-centric small production car racers – Randy Canfield, Jim Miller and Ray Stone – all four being RRDC members who among them have captured 14 national championships and a President's Cup.
A great team for 62 years - Lois and Joe (left). Bob Ward helps buckle in the Runoffs G-Prod pole sitter (right).
Hauser passed away quietly May 23rd at his home in Odenton, MD. He is survived by four children, Joseph A. Hauser II of Naples, FL, William E. Hauser of Detroit, MI, Carol Ann Zimmerman of Springfield, VA and Judith M. Hauser of Hillsborough, NC; two sisters; nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Rod Beddington maintains a thorough blog page on Col. Joe at the Classic Fairlady Roadster Register with many fascinating links. Check it out.