During the RRDC's annual banquet preceding the 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, President Bobby Rahal made several momentous announcements regarding the future of The Club's breakthrough instructional Web site now has a worldwide presenting sponsor in American Honda and an international ambassador in Dario Franchitti.


SiF Dario

Dario Franchitti has graciously concented to be's worldwide ambasador. [RRDC Productions screen grab]


American Honda

Franchitti joined RRDC President Bobby Rahal in welcoming American Honda to the family as presenting sponsor.


With the help of American Honda, the SAFEisFAST production crew – Tom Davey and Jeff Tan – have put together a two-minute commercial promoting the Web site featuring Dario, Brian Redman, Dr. Steve Olvey, Scott Dixon, Jim Hall, Roger Penske, Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Mike Conway, Anthony Davidson, Jay O'Connell, Jim Leo and Mike Hull.


For those who have been patiently – or not so patiently – waiting to watch Mario's interview by club prez Bobby Rahal from the RRDC's Evening with Mario Andretti presented by Firestone during the club's annual banquet at Long Beach last week, here it is.


Mario interview

















If you were there, we're sure you'd love an instant replay to cover that moment when you turned to your tablemate and murmured "Eh, what'd he say?" And for those who were not present, you're in for a rare treat. These are moments for the ages.


mario composite

Anyone wishing to purchase Mario's socks... [RRDC Productions screen grabs]


The Fast Line is the subject of the 14th online instructional video in the Advanced Driving Techniques block of The paper solution to "What is the fast line through this corner?" is never quite the exact answer. So many real world conditions factor into finding that magic trajectory: track surface changes, bumps, grip, use of kerbs, your racecar and where the corner falls in relation to connecting corners and straightaways. Of course, the connecting of those fast lines is key to consistent quick laps, and the driver's precision is the ultimate key.

SiF the fast line























A dozen of the America's top road racers offer insight into determining and executing the fast line. In order of appearance they are Tommy Milner, Marino Franchitti, Jorg Bergmeister, Lucas Luhr, Anthony Davidson, Mike Conway, Patrick Long, Dario Franchitti, Sebastien Buemi, Jan Mangussen, John Martin and Andy Lally.


Before a capacity crowd of auto racing dignitaries, sanctioning group and series representatives, corporate executives and champion racecar drivers, Mario Andretti was honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club at the "RRDC Evening with Mario Andretti presented by Firestone" on Thursday night, April 10, prior to Sunday's 40th running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Mario Evening

















It was the RRDC's sixth consecutive annual banquet honoring auto racing's most influential leaders. Previous honorees were Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall and Brian Redman. Gurney, Jones and Penske were in the audience, as well as no less than 12 Indy 500 winners, which included Andretti, Jones and RRDC president Bobby Rahal, as well as Scott Dixon, Arie Luyendyk, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan, Gil de Ferran, Dario Franchitti and Helio Castroneves.

Indy 500 winners

Mario with Indy 500 winners, from left: Bobby Rahal, Arie Luyendyk, Andretti, Danny Sullivan, Parnelli Jones, Gil de Ferran and Dario Franchitti. [Dennis Ashlock image]

Opening the evening was a dazzling video tribute to Andretti written and narrated by RRDC member Sam Posey.

Rahal recognized event sponsors Firestone, Honda and TUDOR and interrogated Andretti on his legendary achievements in the style of "Late Night with David Letterman". Andretti's identical twin brother Aldo, a former USAC racer, also joined his brother on the "couch" during the Q&A session.

The dinner's proceeds will help support the RRDC’s young driver initiatives, including its groundbreaking program, of which Franchitti was named the ambassador, and the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997.

"This is the 62nd anniversary of the RRDC," said Rahal of the organization that was formed in 1952 to help mentor young racecar drivers. "We have been so blessed to have honored Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian Redman and, this year, Mario Andretti. He was named by the Associated Press as 'the driver of the century'. That's pretty heavy. We are really pleased to have Mario here with us.

"He's the winner of four Long Beach Grands Prix. The first one was the Formula 1 race in '77. I was here. I watched that race. I was in Formula Atlantic at the time and there was a hell of a fight between Mario, Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter," recalled Rahal. "The Long Beach Grand Prix needed Mario to win the race and Mario delivered."

That historic moment at the 1977 LBGP was depicted in a stunning 25-foot-wide print from artist Randy Owens which served as the stage backdrop.



Andretti and Rahal a la "Late Show with David Letterman". [Dennis Ashlock image / Randy Owens backdrop]

"And of course, much to my consternation, he won three indy Car races here in '84, '85 and '87," continued Rahal, a successful Indy Car team owner and driver. "I never forgot that in '85 I qualified on the front row with Mario and I hit the wall in the third corner on the first lap. And, that was it.

"Fittingly, Mario is the Grand Marshal for this weekend's race. Thanks to Mario for being here. Thank you all for being here."

"When I arrived at the cocktail party and saw all the familiar faces I hadn't seen for so many years, I said this is really special," said Andretti. "I can see why this event has been the event of the year.

"I want to thank the sponsors Firestone, Honda, TUDOR and others that are involved. I owe a lot of gratitude to them because this is what is going to give life to this event for years to come. And we all know that as we love the sport we need to have systems in place to give opportunities to the young lads," he added, referring to the success of RRDC's SAFEisFAST program and the Team USA Scholarship. "I get mail every other day from either parents or young kids who are aspiring to be racers. And these are vehicles that can give them a direction and could help create some financial help, which is all so badly needed at times. We're all working for this main purpose.

"I feel so honored to have been invited to this. It was a long time coming and everyone has been telling me just how great this event is. Thank you so, so much."

A special thanks to Jeremy Shaw for making so many of the arrangements for this most special event. A video by the guys - Tom Davey and Jeff Tan - who produce SAFEisFAST will be posted soon on YouTube. Watch this space for the link.


Lisa Noble has been selected president and chief executive officer of the Sports Car Club of America by its board of directors, effective immediately. Noble has held these posts on an interim basis since October 2013, around the time she was selected to membership in the RRDC.


noble scca

Lisa Noble new number 1 at SCCA. [SCCA image]

"We had a number of outstanding candidates for the position, and in the end, we unequivocally concluded that Lisa was the ideal selection," said John Walsh, chairman of the SCCA board. "She has the right mix of vision, leadership, understanding and passion to drive our organization forward."

"As I look back on my decades of membership and service to the SCCA, and the joy this has brought me, I'm humbled at the opportunity to lead the best amateur motorsports organization in the country," said Noble. "I'm proud to have had the opportunity over the last few months to work with a great staff and base of volunteers to develop dynamic programs that will grow our organization."

Under Noble's leadership while chairman and interim president, the club has launched new initiatives including the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour and MSX – North American MotorSports Expo. Additionally, SCCA experienced a level of membership growth not seen in more than 10 years.

"I see three primary keys to building on our current momentum: member engagement, participation and leadership," Noble said. "First, we must continue to work on providing the right mix of programs to engage our membership. Second is redefining how we invite enthusiasts into our sport. This includes being more welcoming, with easier entry points for participation that embrace technology. Finally, we need to continue to find the right support for our members. They make the SCCA the great club that it is and we need to leverage that spirit and passion to improve SCCA."

Noble's SCCA career started as a teenager, spanning several decades as a volunteer and driver. Voted to serve SCCA's board of directors in 2008, she held a variety of positions, including chairman of the board in 2013. As a road racing driver, Noble has been a fixture in the Formula Vee community for years. She received the prestigious Kimberly Cup award for the most improved SCCA Club Racing driver in 1999 and was voted into the Road Racing Drivers Club in 2013. Noble has achieved professional success as owner and CEO in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures including retail jewelry, commercial real estate and motorsports. [Thanks to]


Long-time Bentley Boy Guy Smith will contest all five rounds of the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series in the new Bentley Continental GT3 for M-Sport Bentley beginning April 12 at Monza.


guy smith

Guy Smith - Bentley Boy once again. [Bentley image]

Smith has been involved with the development of the new GT3 from the outset and was first to test the prototype, participating in car’s first test race last December, the Gulf 12-Hours at Abu Dhabi. Smith and co-drivers  Andy Meyrick and Steven Kane finished a solid fourth in the car's competition debut.

Smith is returning to Europe after nine years with Dyson Racing where he co-drove with Chris Dyson. Smith has been an RRDC member since 2011.


There's joy in Indianapolis, at least on Woodland Drive after Chip Ganassi Racing's Telcel/TELMEX Ford Riley rolled into victory lane following the 12-Hours of Sebring. It wasn't long before Marino Franchitti was dancing on the Riley's roof.


fiddler on the roof
Wee Bro dancing on the roof - Marino Franchitti after Sebring.

After the race, Harvey Cluxton sent this e-note to Franchitti's big brother Dario.

"BeBro, Awesome and massively deserved!!

"Hmmm... I'm just thinking, if Wee Bro decides he really likes doing his Rut Dancing after every win, this could mean curtains to all of our roofs, not to mention McKeel Hagerty's insurance."


Always with camera handy, Judy Stropus sent along these candid images from Bill Warner's 2014 Amelia Island Coucours d'Elegance the second weekend in March.


amelia snaps



























































Start planning for next year's fete – March 13-15, 2015.


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