SCCA RUNOFFS – MAZDA RACEWAY – MONTEREY, CALIF.
The annual SCCA Runoffs meeting of RRDC members was held on Oct. 7 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, at the site of the 2014 SCCA National Championship Runoffs. It was a beautiful California night at the Red Bull Energy Center overlooking the circuit, where members and guests viewed a full moon shining resplendently above the “corkscrew.” This was the first time since 1968 that the Runoffs have been held on the West Coast.
One purpose for the dinner was to review coordination needed to select the RRDC’s Mark Donohue Award winner, presented since 1971 and named for the iconic racer and former president of the RRDC.
Members in attendance and those watching the races on television voted for the award winner. This year, 16 RRDC members cast their votes. The recipient of the award will be announced in the next few weeks.
RRDC members attending the dinner, catered by Cruisin’ Cafe and supported by Hoosier Tires, were Don Knowles, Jim Goughary, Bruce Foss, Lisa Noble (president and CEO of SCCA), Rob Hines, Joe Aquilante, Andrew Aquilante, John Heinricy, Jon Norman, and Judy Stropus. Guests included Michael Varacin (2009 Donohue Award winner), SCCA stewards Dennis Dean and Jim Averette, and SCCA Directors Terry Hanushuk and Dan Helman. A big thanks goes to attendees Gill Campbell, CEO and General Manager of Mazda Raceway, and Ann Bixler, VP Event Operations at Mazda Raceway, for their help and support.
Members voting for the Donohue Award included the abovementioned members, along with Randy Pobst, Dave Weitzenhof, Joe Huffaker, Robert Clarke, new member Lawrence Loshak (and 2013 Donohue Award winner) and Kent Prather.
RRDC MEMBERS 2014 RACING CHAMPIONS
Three RRDC members won four gold medals at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs: Andrew Aquilante in T1 and GT2, Lawrence Loshak in HP and Joe Huffaker in GTL. Congratulations to them and all the RRDC members who qualified for and competed in this year’s Runoffs.
RRDC members finished 1-2-3-4 in the Verizon IndyCar championship, with Will Power taking the title, followed by fellow Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves, Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya. Longtime RRDC member Roger Penske’s drivers claimed three of the top four spots.
Congratulations to Joao Barbosa on co-winning the IMSA Prototype championship, and Colin Braun on sharing the Prototype Challenge Championship. http://racer.com/imsa/item/109838-imsa-tudor-night-of-champions-in-nyc-celebrates-inaugural-award-winners.
In Pirelli World Challenge, congratulations to GT champion Johnny O’Connell, and Jack Baldwin, who came in second in GTS. Congrats also to John Edwards, for his second-place finish in the Grand Sport class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
RAHAL AND GURNEY TO BE HONORED
RRDC president Bobby Rahal and longtime member Dan Gurney are being honored this month, both on the same day (Oct. 29) in two different cities! Rahal will receive the Spirit of Competition Award at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia. Click here for tickets. Gurney will be honored at the Henry Ford in Dearborn, Mich., with the Edison-Ford Medal for his ingenuity and innovative achievements. For information, contact Lola Rushin at LolaR@TheHenryFord.org.
NEW MEMBERS VOTED IN
After voting among the RRDC members was complete, 15 new members were voted in for 2014 and have accepted membership. They are: Regular Members Geoff Brabham, Howden Ganley, Simon Gregg, Gerard Larrousse, Katherine Legge, Lawrence Loshak, Jochen Mass, Jim Pace, Matt Plumb and Denny Wilson; Associate Members Connie Goudinoff Downing, Frank Honsowetz and Dave Klym; and Honorary Members Miles Collier and Adrian Newey. We will be sending out a press release announcing the new members in the next few weeks. (We ask the RRDC journalist members to hold off publishing these names until the “official” press release is issued.)
Over the past few years, the RRDC has made huge strides in reaffirming its leadership in driver competence and safety through the online SAFE is FAST program presented by Honda. SAFE is an acronym for Skilled, Assured, Fit and Empowered, allowing racers from our membership and the racing community to share their skills and knowledge via nearly 60 instructive video tutorials. Since September of 2011, over 150,000 unique visitors from 179 countries have viewed more than 820,000 expert tutorials in 71 different languages. The RRDC is making a difference in racing, worldwide. Please check out SafeIsFast.com.
LIME ROCK PARK LUNCHEON
Fifty members and their guests were in attendance at the third annual RRDC luncheon during the Historic Festival 32’s “Sunday in the Park” Concours at Lime Rock Park, Conn., on Aug. 31, at the Lime Rock Chalet. Thanks to Skip Barber and Historics organizer Murray Smith for their support. Members present were George Alderman, Bob Boig, Bobby Brown, Tom Cotter, Peter Giddings, John Gorsline, Larry Kessler, Oscar Koveleski, Roger Mandeville, Don Marsh, Peter Sachs, Fred Stevenson, Judy Stropus, Lee Talbot, Archie Urciuoli, and Bill Warner. We asked Bill Warner to speak on the subject of the history of vintage and historic racing in the U.S. and he delivered an interesting talk, which sparked a spirited discussion.
ART EVANS BOOK
Author and RRDC member Art Evans has published a new book about iconic RRDC member John Fitch. “The Amazing Life of John Cooper Fitch” is a complete biography recognizing Fitch’s life from his birth in 1917 to his death at age 95 in 2012. It’s available in soft cover in trade-paper format for $29.95. For more information, call 800-289-3504 or go online at enthusiastbooks.com.
Evans has discounted the price to $25 for RRDC members. Please send your order/request and check, made out to Art Evans, directly to him at 800 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach, CA 90277.
Members may order any number of books with or without autographs for themselves or as gifts. Art will ship directly to gift recipients.
“You should read [this book] because it’s a good book about the early days of road racing in America and the men who made it happen. Stuff that every enthusiast should know, but probably doesn’t. And a lot of it just happens to involve this guy named John Fitch” — Don Klein, author, automotive journalist and frequent contributor to Car and Driver, AutoWeek and Sports Car Market.
“Fascinating racing stories of days long gone about one of America’s greatest road racing drivers and characters.” — Brian Redman.
JOHN MORTON BOOK
RRDC member John Morton has also penned a book, following in the footsteps of his longtime partner, author Sylvia Wilkinson (“The Stainless Steel Carrot,” among others). “Inside Shelby American…Wrenching and Racing with Carroll Shelby in the 1960s” is a fun, engaging and informative read. As a sports-car racing fan, Morton asked Shelby if he could work for him in 1962. Shelby responded, “Yes; here’s a broom.” Thus ended Morton’s college career and began his long racing career. He eventually traded that broom for a steering wheel, racing Cobras as well as his own cars until he left Shelby in 1965. Although they parted ways, Morton’s and Shelby’s relationship endured. This book covers that early path.
“His stories along the way remind of a little brother tagging along who saw everything, said little and forgot nothing. And he was around the greats or soon to be greats, including Bruce McLaren, Bob Bondurant, Dave Anderson, Ken Miles, Dan Gurney, Phil Hill and so many other now-revered drivers,” reported Mark Maynard in U-T San Diego.
“Inside Shelby American” is available at MotorBooks.com.
IMRRC OFFERS FIAT ABARTH AND TRIP TO ITALY IN FUNDRAISING RAFFLE
The International Motor Racing Research Center, in Watkins Glen, N.Y., where much of the RRDC’s archives are being preserved and shared and of which RRDC president Bobby Rahal is Chairman of the Governing Council, is raffling off a Fiat 500 Abarth Hatchback Turbo, and a trip to Italy. This is a fundraiser for the 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The drawing will take place on Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. at the Center, 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen, N.Y. The winner does not need to be present. Tickets are $40 for one or $100 for three. Only 3500 tickets will be sold. Tickets may be purchased by mailing in a form available at the website www.racingarchives.org; by calling the Center at (607) 535-9044; or by sending the necessary information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Online orders are not an option. Tickets are selling fast.
CHIP GANASSI HONORED AT IMRRC
On Aug. 7, multi-team owner and RRDC member Chip Ganassi was honored with the inaugural Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for his contributions to motorsports. It was a gala evening at the Corning (N.Y.) Museum of Glass, emceed by Dr. Jerry Punch, which raised funds to help keep the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, N.Y., continuing to preserve and share the history of motorsports through its vast archives. Check it out on http://www.racingarchives.org/.
DICK THOMPSON – 1920-2014
We lost legendary American road racer Dr. Dick Thompson on Sept. 14 at the age of 94. Known for generations as “The Flying Dentist,” he had driven some of the greatest production and sports racing cars ever created, won class or overall wins in many of the world’s major racing venues, and earned an impressive nine SCCA national championships. Five of those championships were garnered racing Corvettes, the nameplate with which he is most closely associated. He retired in 1968 after 19 years of competition. Though he always exhibited the unbridled courage and fantastic stamina of a fierce competitor, he was known as the consummate gentleman both on and off the track. After he moved to Florida he remained an avid golfer and Corvette enthusiast, enjoying a C6 and a C7 together with his wife of 47 years, Eve Lloyd Thompson.
CLASSIC 24 HOUR RACE IN DAYTONA
The week of Nov. 12-16, 2014, at Daytona International Speedway will see the traditions of the classic 24 Hours of Daytona revived and relived when Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) puts historic and vintage race cars to the test in the “longest and toughest” competition for these cars in North America. Drivers will race on the full nine-turn, 3.56-mile course. Each of six groups will race for one hour, four times, day and night, beginning at 1 p.m. on Nov. 15, and ending at 1 p.m. on Nov. 16.
RRDC members expected to compete include Hurley Haywood, Patrick Long, Jochen Mass, Brian Bredman, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Leh Keen, Rob Dyson and Chris Dyson, among others. For more info, go to www.Classic24Hour.com.
On Oct. 13 IMSA announced the creation of the Bishop-France Award to honor the class champions in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championhip – and the legacy of IMSA founders (and longtime RRDC member) John Bishop ad Bill France Sr. Click here to see the announcement.