SAFEisFAST INTRODUCES NEW LEGENDS SERIES

BOBBY RAHAL ON WINNING THE INDIANAPOLIS 500                                   

Fellow racers, while we largely welcome the advice of current drivers, we also want to give you the input of some of the RRDC’s long-standing members.

With that, I’m excited to present to you our new RRDC Legends series, where our members share stories from their careers and offer their guidance for today’s young drivers.

In this first video, I recall my 1986 Indianapolis 500 victory, my relationship with Jim Trueman and how I overcame the urge to quit racing despite the ups and downs of my career.

Check it out!

Bobby Rahal
SAFEisFAST.com

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JIM HALL TELLS HIS STORY

“TEXAS LEGEND: Jim Hall and his Chaparrals,” by George Levy, with Jim Hall, is now available. Jim Hall tells his entire story – his life and his cars – for the first time to award-winning author George Levy in this authorized biography. 

One of the greatest drivers of his generation, Jim Hall is even better known as an innovator. From tiny Chaparral Cars in Midland, Texas, emerged a series of vehicles that changed the face of racing. His high-winged Chaparral 2E Can-Am car and 2F World Sportscar Championship contender may be the most influential race vehicles of the 20th century. Today, every Formula 1 car uses net downforce, driver-adjustable wings, composite chassis, side-mounted radiators, semi-automatic gearboxes and advanced telemetry to optimize vehicle performance — all things Chaparral pioneered in the mid-1960s. 

He talks about his relationship with Chevrolet, his partnership with Hap Sharp, and his battles with sanctioning body bureaucracies.

Key Topics:

  • First-ever book in which Hall tells his own story.
  • The massive influence of his introduction of net downforce to racing, which is now incorporated into the design of every major type of four-wheel competition vehicle.
  • How Hall shocked the world with innovative designs that won in every series in which they competed, including Can-Am, Trans-Am, the World Sportscar Championship, Formula 5000, United States Road Racing Championship, Canadian Sports Car Championship and the Indianapolis 500.
  • How Jim and John Barnard created the Chaparral 2K “Yellow Submarine” that won the Indianapolis 500 and USAC national championship, setting the template for the modern Indy car.
  • The massive resistance Jim faced from teams and sanctioning bodies intent on outlawing his legal but game-changing innovations. 
  • The connection to Chevrolet and the crucial role Chaparral Cars played in the defense of GM during the Corvair trials of the mid-1960s.
  • How Hall became a national celebrity, with Newsweekand Sports Illustrated covers, Coca-Cola commercials, and millions of “Jim Hall Authorized” slot cars and model kits.
  • Text based on the author’s extensive interviews with over 100 racing standouts, including Jim and Sandy Hall, Roger Penske, Jackie Stewart, Dan Gurney, Sam Posey, Brian Redman, Phil Hill, Al and Bobby Unser, Bernie Ecclestone, Johnny Rutherford, Gordon Murray, Adrian Newey, Gil de Ferran, Mario Andretti, Bob Lutz and Tony Southgate.
  • Big, beautiful and packed with facts and anecdotes, the book is lavishly illustrated with period photographs by many of the world’s best motorsports photographers, including Pete Biro, Bernard Cahier, Hal Crocker, Dave Friedman, Pete Lyons, Dan Boyd, Lionel Birnbom and Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Jackson.

About the Author:

After a distinguished career as a motorsports author, speaker and historian, George Levy is now President of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, based at Daytona Beach, Florida, which honored Jim Hall as an inductee in 1994. He began his journalism career in 1980 at Autoweek, where he rose to editor at 27. He has also contributed to RACERCar and Driver and Vintage Motorsport. Latterly he has turned to writing books and is best known for Can-Am 50th Anniversary: Flat Out with North America’s Greatest Race Series (2016), which earned a Gold Medal in the 2017 International Automotive Media Competition, and F1 Mavericks: The Men and Machines that Revolutionized Formula 1 Racing (2019). He lives in Ormond Beach, Florida.

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RRDC AT SARATOGA AUTO MUSEUM ANNUAL GALA

RRDC member Derek Hill will join Pam Yates, renowned Ferrari expert Joe Colasacco and Luigi Chinetti, Jr., son of the legendary U.S. Ferrari importer and NART founder in a panel discussion at the Saratoga Auto Museum’s Annual Gala featuring the iconic Ferrari marque on July 26.

Hill is the son of Phil Hill who became the first American F1 World Champion driving for Ferrari in 1961. Yates, executive producer of Michael Mann’s movie “Ferrari”, will be signing copies of late-husband Brock Yates’ seminal book, “Enzo Ferrari: The Man and the Machine” on which the Mann film is based. Hill plays the part of Jean Behra in “Ferrari”.

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PARNELLI JONES: 1933-2024

Our sport has lost one of the greatest talents ever to sit behind the wheel of a racing car and one of the kindest and most humble of individuals. Rufus “Parnelli” Jones passed away peacefully Tuesday at the Torrance (CA) Medical Center at the age of 90 after years of suffering from Parkinson’s disease. His wife and family were by his side.

Race fan or not, most people hearing the name Parnelli immediately know who is being mentioned. As such, his lifetime of achievements is today chronicled in major news outlets around the nation and the world: CBS Sports, the New York Times, the Indianapolis Star, Autoweek, Autosport and IndyCar.com. Perhaps the most personal and touching is David Malsher-Lopez’s remembrance on Racer.com.

Parnelli with car owner J.C. Agajanian in the 1963 Indy 500 winning #98 Watson=Offenhauser

Parnelli has been an honoree at the RRDC annual banquet at Long Beach and is a legacy member of the club. His passing leaves a void in so many hearts and lives. Our sincere condolences to his wife Judy, sons P.J. and Page and six grandchildren.

RRDC President Bobby Rahal issued this statement: “All of us at the Road Racing Drivers Club mourn the passing of Parnelli Jones, an American racing icon. His successes and reputation as a hard-driving racer are legendary. He made his mark in a number of racing series, competing and winning against the best in the world. He was one of a kind and will always be remembered for his talent and determination.”

MORE TRIBUTES

Parnelli Jones was one of the most accomplished racers in history, and his determination and will to win made him one of the toughest competitors I have ever seen. From racing against him on track to competing against him as a fellow team owner, I always respected Parnelli’s passion and commitment to the sport he loved. I was proud to call Parnelli a good friend for many years, and our thoughts are with his family as we remember one of the true legends of motorsports. – Roger Penske

 

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NUMBER 20 FOR THE CAPTAIN

Josef Newgarden nipped past Pato O’Ward starting the white flag lap and held off the Arrow-McLaren driver to win the 108th Indianapolis 500, his second consecu8tive victory in the Memorial Day classic and the record-extending 20th win for Team Penske. Owner and chairman of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Roger Penske launched the 500 with the iconic “Drivers start your engines!” and then had the proverbial last word when Newgarden took the checkered flag some three hours later.

 

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DEMENTIA ACTION WEEK’S ONLINE AUCTION

In support of Dementia Action Week, the organization has launched an online Silent Auction which includes VIP Paddock passes to 2025 Monaco GP, plus a number of other sought-after experiences and signed memorabilia from Sir Jackie Stewart, Michael Schumacher, Charles LeClerc, George Russell, Lionel Messi, Usain Bolt and many more sports stars. Stewart founded The Race has been instrumental in championing this cause – The Race Against Dementia.

Please feel free to share this with friends and family. The bidding closes Oct. 24, 2024. Here’s the link to the auction site.

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BRUMOS COLLECTION PRESENTS AN EXCLUSIVE EVENING WITH BRIAN REDMAN

Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, McLaren, BMW and Aston Martin – racing champion Brian Redman lent his talents to many of the greats and built an impressive track record, with dozens of victories at legendary circuits like the Nürburgring, Sebring, Daytona, Spa and Targa Florio. Now, Brian joins us for an exclusive celebration of his storied career. The evening will open with a cocktail reception with an open bar and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a conversation with Brian moderated by Bill Warner, and the unveiling of our newest car.

Tickets for this event are extremely limited. Attire: sports coats recommended. The Brumos Collection is located at 5159 San Pablo Road South, Jacksonville, FL

 

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DAVID HOBBS HONORARY RACE DIRCTOR AND MC FOR PITTSBURGH HISTORICS

The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP) hosts the 60th GT40 Reunion during the July 25-28 PVGP Historics at Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum. We are excited to announce that David Hobbs will attend and serve in dual capacities as the Honorary Race Director for the PVGP Historic Races and the Master of Ceremonies for the GT40 60th Reunion.

In a 31-year driving career, David Hobbs raced in almost every imaginable category: endurance sports racers, touring cars, Formula 1, Formula 5000, Indycars, IMSA, Trans-Am, Can-Am and even NASCAR. As a former GT40 racer for Gulf Oil, he will be right at home this July in Pittsburgh, where there is plenty of GT40 history.

His racing career includes competing in Formula One for BRM, Honda, and McLaren. He has also achieved significant victories in other motorsports disciplines. He raced the Ford GT40, the Ferrari 512M, Porsche 917s and 956/962s. He competed in IMSA Camel GT for BMW, finished fifth in the Indy 500 for McLaren, won championships in Formula 5000 and Trans Am, and led the Daytona 500 in NASCAR. He is most closely associated with the Le Mans 24 Hours, where he raced 20 times.

Following his racing career, Hobbs entered broadcasting, becoming a revered figure on SpeedTV, CBS, ESPN and NBCSN, providing insightful commentary for NASCAR, Formula One, and the IndyCar series. His deep understanding of automotive history and racing dynamics, coupled with his engaging storytelling ability, have earned him numerous accolades in the broadcasting realm. David Hobbs’s involvement is set to significantly elevate the atmosphere of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix for all attendees.

“We are thrilled to have David Hobbs join us in these pivotal roles. Our collaboration with the PVGP allows us to produce an event that truly honors the GT40’s significant heritage and its impact on motorsports,” said Rick Muck, Managing Director of AutoventureUSA and the GT40 Reunion. This reunion commemorates the GT40’s 60 years of racing legacy and aligns perfectly with the PVGP commitment to celebrating automotive history”.

 

 

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LIME ROCK ANNOUNCES ITS 67TH SEASON TO BE THE “YEAR OF SKIP BARBER”

Lime Rock Park is set to kick off its 67th season this month as the Connecticut circuit welcomes back the roar of American horsepower for the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic (May 24-27). 

Beyond the anticipation of high-speed thrills lies a dual celebration on Saturday, May 25, marking a moment in The Park’s history that has been decades in the making. As part of Lime Rock Park’s “Year of Skip Barber” festivities, racing legend Skip Barber will see his name carry even more significance in the sport as the track will dedicate the Timing & Scoring Tower in his name, ensuring that his legacy is immortalized in both action and monument at Lime Rock Park. Barber will also serve as the Grand Marshal for the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic.

The dedication ceremony will take place on the Sam Posey Straight during pre-race ceremonies on Saturday. Directly after, Barber will fulfill his duties as Grand Marshal by giving the start command for the highly competitive Trans Am CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series.

“The unveiling of the Skip Barber Tower stands as a testament to Skip Barber’s enduring legacy in motorsports,” said Lime Rock Park CEO Dicky Riegel. “While Skip’s’ role as Grand Marshal adds prestige to the event, it’s the dedication of the Timing & Scoring tower to him that truly captures the essence of his legacy at Lime Rock Park. The decision to name the tower after Skip is more than just a tribute, it’s a celebration of his lifelong commitment to the sport and to The Park. For decades, Skip has been a guiding force, instilling a passion for racing in countless individuals and leaving an indelible mark on the racing community. Now the Skip Barber name will live on in perpetuity, ensuring that he continues to overlook Lime Rock Park for decades to come.”

Barber’s journey in racing began long before he became a household name. From his early days as a competitive racer to his later years as a respected mentor, his career has been defined by a relentless pursuit of greatness. His eponymous Skip Barber Racing School, founded in 1975, became a mecca for aspiring racers, providing them with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed on and off the track.

As a versatile driver, Barber had a brief racing history in the Trans Am Series. Barber competed in three career races, scoring a pair of top-five finishes in the over 2-Liter category in 1966 and 1968, and had one additional Trans Am start in 1974.

Lime Rock Park named 2024 as “The Year of Skip Barber” and will pay tribute to Barber’s contributions to motorsport and Lime Rock Park through special events, exhibitions and commemorative merchandise throughout the season. Also it was announced last month that Barber has been named a member of the Class of 2025 of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

 

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NEW FROM SAFEisFAST: LEARNING A NEW TRACK

Fellow racers, when you arrive at a race track for the first time, how do you know whether you’re flat through that next corner or you need to slam it down to first 

Every driver will learn a circuit that’s new to them as they climb the ranks, but the good news is there are now so many tools to help you not spear off the track on your first flying lap!

In our latest video, our pro drivers Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Jordan Taylor, Marcus Ericsson, Scott McLaughlin, Paul di Resta and Felipe Massa talk you through how to learn a new track.

Check it out!

Bobby Rahal

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ZAK BROWN TO BE HONORED BY IMRRC WITH ARGETSINGER AWARD

Zak Brown, Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing, will receive the 10th annual IMRRC Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for his contributions to help advance and improve the sport of motor racing. Brown will be honored at a gala presented by Sahlen’s, NASCAR, Watkins Glen International and IMSA, on Thursday, September 12, 2024. The dinner and presentation will be held prior to the running of the NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen event, September 11-15, at Watkins Glen International.

The award memorializes Cameron R. Argetsinger, often referred to as the father of American road racing. He was a visionary who, in 1948, conceived, organized, and drove in the first port-war road race in America through the roads of Watkins Glen. He brought Formula 1 to WGI in 1969 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.

Bobby Rahal, the 1986 Indy 500 winner and current NTT INDYCAR SERIES team owner, will introduce Brown at the gala and will interview the honoree on stage. 

As CEO of McLaren Racing, Zak Brown has overall responsibility for the business, including strategic direction, operational performance, marketing and commercial development. Since joining the team in 2016, he has led the transformation of the brand and culture of the McLaren Formula 1 team and put in place the people, resources, infrastructure and mindset that has enabled McLaren to return to racing at the front of the F1 grid. Brown has taken McLaren Racing onto a global motorsport stage, with McLaren teams now racing in IndyCar, Formula E, Extreme E, Esports, F1 Academy, with the World Endurance Championship joining the line up in 2024.

Born and raised in California, Brown raced professionally around the world for 10 years before developing his skills in motorsport’s business and commercial worlds. In 1995, he founded JMI, which grew to become the largest and most successful motorsport marketing agency in the world. JMI was acquired in 2013 by CSM, a division of Chime Communications.

Brown is a racer and renowned for his energy, his relentless work ethic and his knowledge of the business and history of motorsport. He’s been unafraid to publicly address some of the issues facing the world of motorsport and has been the lead protagonist around the budget cap, sustainability and diversity in the sport, as well as champion of fans interests. He has demonstrated the ability to take the tough decisions needed to make an F1 team successful, most recently winning the Grand Prix of Miami.

Brown co-founded and co-owns United Autosports, a leading racing team competing in international sportscar racing, the Supercars Championship in Australia, and various historic racing events around the world. Outside of work, Zak is an avid collector of historical documents, baseball and ice hockey memorabilia, and both road and racing cars. He lives in Surrey in the U.K.

The International Motor Racing Research Center returns to the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, to present the award to Brown, in recognition of his universal contributions to help advance and improve the sport of motor racing.

Established in 2014, the CRA Award had been presented at gala events at the CMOG through 2019, honoring such legends of the sport as Chip Ganassi, Roger Penske, Mario Andretti, Richard Petty, the France Family and Bobby Rahal. When the pandemic hit, the event moved first to Watkins Glen International, then to the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen, recognizing Lyn St. James, Mike Helton and Richard Childress through 2023.

“We are thrilled to be returning to the Corning Museum of Glass, where the IMRRC launched the CRA Award galas in 2014, initially honoring Chip Ganassi,” said Mark Steigerwald, Executive Director of the IMRRC. “We expect a significant turnout for this year’s event, based on the huge growth of popularity of Formula 1 racing in recent years, and McLaren’s progress in performance since Brown came on board with the team. The CMOG’s facility can easily accommodate a large number of attendees.”

The gala is open to the public. Tickets may be purchased at https://imrrc-1948.square.site/product/argetsinger-award-ticket/124?cp=true&sa=true&sbp=false&q=false.

 All proceeds benefit the IMRRC, a 501(c)(3 organization.

 

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MEMBER NEWS: PARETTA FORMULA E SPORTING VP; BARBER, HAAS INTO MSHFA

Beth Paretta is the new Vice President of Sporting for Formula E. In that position, she will function as liaison between the Formula E teams, the FIA and the automotive manufacturers. In an extensive interview with racer.com, Paretta outlined her duties, emphasizing her experience in the automotive and motorsports arena with Volkswagen and Aston Martin Lagonda as a launching pad for the future success of Formula E.

 

SKIP BARBER AND CARL HAAS IN 2025 HALL OF FAME CLASS

The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America has announced its Class of ’25, which includes a pair of RRDC members, Skip Barber and Carl Haas. The 37th MSHFA Induction Ceremony is set for March 10-11, 2025 at its Daytona International Speedway home.

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INDY 500 “WREATH LADY” HONORED

As Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s official ‘Wreath Lady’, Julie Vance is usually accustomed to making things to be presented to other people. But after 33 years and counting of making the BorgWarner Victory Lane Wreath for the Indianapolis 500, she found herself on the receiving end on Tuesday when her contributions were recognized with a special signed and framed poster.

With Vance having created the Victory Lane Wreath for the first time in 1992, it fell to that year’s winner, Al Unser Jr, to do the honors.

“You just don’t know what Indy means!” Unser joked. “It means very special things to different people, but Indy connects us all! It was great meeting Julie – history connects us forever and it’s through the Indianapolis 500. My first win was her first Victory Lane Wreath – something neither of us will ever forget. Julie’s work is so cool – she’s done a super job every single year. Photos of the BorgWarner Victory Lane wreath appear yearly on TV, and in newspapers and magazines, it’s something to be proud of, for sure.”

Read the full article compiled by the RACER staff on racer.com.

 

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ADRIAN NEWEY STIRS UP THE F1 SILLY SEASON

For once, a major driver move is not the current talk of the Formula 1 “silly season”. It’s the announcement last week that Adrian Newey is departing Red Bull after 17 seasons. For the short term, Newey will be overseeing the pre-production details of the Red Bull Advanced Technologies hypercar – his brainchild, the RB17, which will feature the full array of ground effects developed to perfection over the years by the master aerodynamicist.

Newey at his iconic drafting table.

 

 

Newey’s legacy of championship-winning designs at Williams (1991-96), McLaren (1997-2005) and Red Bull (2006-24) encompass to date a total of 13 World Driving Championships, a dozen Constructor’s titles, 217 grand prix victories and 253 pole positions.

His ultimate destination is the subject of a level of speculation unique to Formula 1. Names that have cropped up so far include Ferrari and Aston-Martin with hints about Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and Sauber. Right now, it’s all great fun; and Adrian is playing his cards close to the vest. After all, he’s got an extended period of “gardening leave” to complete.

The RB17

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PHILADELPHIA CONCOURS TO FEATURE JAGUAR HISTORY PANEL DISCUSSION

The 7th Annual Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance on June 23rd will present a star-studded panel discussion of the racing and production histories of Jaguar, the event’s featured marque. Former Jaguar race-car driver Chip Robinson, famed Jaguar restorer Dean Cusano and former Jaguar North America President Michael Dale comprise the live panel on the stage of the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. Joining the discussion on video will be Tom Walkinshaw Racing’s Tony Dowe, Group 44’s Bob Tullius and author Neil Smith.

These popular discussions are a highlight of the annual show that features car corrals, youth judging, and other family-friendly events at the famed museum.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Cool Cars for Kids and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, to deliver care and support to children and families who struggle with the medical complexities associated with rare diagnoses.

Additional information may be found at https://www.philadelphiaconcours.com/

Tickets may be purchased at https://www.philadelphiaconcours.com/event-details/2024-philadelphia-concours-delegance

 

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SIR JACKIE STEWART HONORED AT RRDC LONG BEACH BANQUET

The April 18 RRDC Evening with Sir Jackie Stewart Presented by Firestone drew a crowd of well over 400 guests that included champion racing drivers, industry leaders, sanctioning group representatives and other icons of the racing world. 

The 14th annual banquet celebrating the legends of motorsport honored the three-time Formula 1 World Champion at a banquet held at the Long Beach Hilton Hotel prior to the running of the 49th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. All proceeds from the evening, including from the live and silent auctions, will benefit Stewart’s Race Against Dementia, Team USA Scholarship, and The Mark Donohue Foundation, which supports the RRDC’s SAFEisFAST initiative.

The event honors auto racing’s most influential leaders, which have included Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian Redman, Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, George Follmer, Emerson Fittipaldi, Johnny Rutherford, David Hobbs, Rick Mears and Jacky Ickx.

A champagne toast celebrated the evening. [Albert Wong image]

“Tonight, we’re honoring Sir Jackie Stewart, dubbed the ‘Flying Scot’ for good reason,” said Road Racing Drivers Club president Bobby Rahal in his introduction. “His incredible list of accomplishments includes three Formula 1 World championships – where he held the record for the most wins by an F1 driver for 14 years – and Rookie of the Year honors at the Indianapolis 500 – a race he almost won but was denied by a mechanical failure with eight laps to go.

“Alongside his numerous career milestones, Sir Jackie was and is an outspoken advocate for safety in racing, as well as for those battling dyslexia and dementia – funding the global charity Race Against Dementia.”

Rahal recognized event sponsors Firestone, SRO Motorsports Group and Greg Gill; Lexus Racing, Jeff MacPherson; Checkered Past Productions and Chris Locke; Club Wheelhouse and Martin Lauber; Big Machine Spiked Coolers and Scott Borchetta; M1 Concourse; the SEMA Organization; Jimmy Vasser and his sister Vicki of V12 Vineyards; and Jeff O’Neill of O’Neill Wines. 

A short video written and voiced by NBC Sports TV commentator Leigh Diffey chronicled Stewart’s career, and a “vintage” clip from the Ed Sullivan Show featuring a staged slot-car race among early-era F1 drivers Stewart, Graham Hill, Dan Gurney and Stirling Moss entertained the racing royalty in the audience. Also shown was a dynamic music video featuring Stewart’s son Paul as well as accomplished musicians Eric Clapton, Nick Mason and Simon Le Bon providing a glimpse into the life of Sir Jackie Stewart, who was awarded the OBE in 1972 and knighted in 2001.

Mario Andretti and Sir Jackie Stewart traded barbs but displayed true respect for each other as not only on-track rivals but off-track friemds. [Albert Wong image]

Rahal then quizzed Stewart, who shared stories of his years with race teams such as BRM, Tyrrell, and others, and recounted tales of his many encounters with other internationally acclaimed racing drivers, in particular his friend Mario Andretti, who came to the stage.

The two bantered about their on- and off-track relationship, with Andretti finally responding with, “Well, Jackie is Jackie. We’ve known each other for eternity. He’s one of the individuals in my life that has inspired me to be a better driver. But our friendship was there from the beginning and it got stronger and stronger as individuals and we look back and reflect on our time together and it brings smiles to our faces. And he has a great sense of humor. He showed that tonight beautifully.

“Also, for him to come forward and spend so much time to try to address the dementia situation is a credit to him. We try to participate in our own way to help that aspect. Jackie is a mover and shaker. We talked about the safety aspect of the sport, and how important that was. And now he wants to battle something that’s affecting him personally. Good for him.”

Said Stewart,” I’m very proud that I was invited in the first place and I’m really so happy to have this financial commitment in our fight to Race Against Dementia. It’s such an important thing for my whole family, for the world. It’s very important. Very big. Thank you for the honor.”

Sir Jackie Stewart with acclaimed artist Bill Patterson. [Albert Wong image]

Sir Jackie Stewart signing the Bill Patterson “live” painting. [Albert Wong image]

A “live” painting created in the first two hours of the evening by renowned artist Bill Patterson depicting Stewart’s career from 1965 to 1973, featuring his 1965 BRM and 1973 Tyrrell F1 race cars, signed by Stewart, was auctioned off, fetching $26,000. As bidding between two individuals progressed, auctioneer Leigh Diffey offered up a second matching painting, with the approval of the artist, upping the bid for two paintings to $52,000. Top bidders? Mario Andretti! and Scott Borchetta!

A silent auction was also held of a number of racing images signed by Stewart.

The stage banner, displayed behind Stewart and Rahal. and the canvas prints of Stewart’s Tyrrell F1 car were created by Paul Laguette, whose mother-in-law suffers from dementia. This, and his love of the sport, inspired Laguette to produce these pieces.

About Race Against Dementia:
Race Against Dementia was founded by Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, after his wife Helen’s frontotemporal dementia diagnosis, funding early-career researchers to accelerate progress towards a cure for dementia. With over 55 million people affected globally and someone diagnosed every three seconds, Race Against Dementia is taking immediate action to drive significant breakthroughs and develop leaders in the field.

Supporting Race Against Dementia can help talented research scientists continue to seek preventative treatments and cures for dementia. https://www.raceagainstdementia.com/

“I now face one of the biggest challenges of my life. I will put all my efforts into finding a cure for this horrendous illness.” – Sir Jackie Stewart OBE

 

 

 

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LBGP EVENT PASSES FOR RRDC MEMBERS

RRDC members attending the April 18 RRDC Evening with Sir Jackie Stewart, have paid your 2024 dues, and would like to have event passes for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach for the weekend, please email Judy Stropus at jstropus@earthlink.net and let me know by April 10.

You may pick up the passes at the dinner registration at the Long Beach Hilton as you arrive for the dinner. Please be sure to pick up the envelope before the end of the evening.

Thank you to RRDC member Jim Michaelian for providing these passes to RRDC members in good standing attending the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the RRDC Evening with Sir Jackie Stewart on April 18.

Judy Stropus
RRDC
jstropus@earthlink.net

P.S. – The dinner’s proceeds will help support Race Against Dementia, founded by Stewart, as well as the RRDC’s young driver initiatives, including its groundbreaking SAFEisFAST.com program and the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997 and has been providing opportunities for talented young American race-car drivers since 1990. The Mark Donohue Foundation, a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt organization, was formed to further support the SAFEisFAST.com initiative. Information about the Foundation can be found here on the RRDC’s website.

About Race Against Dementia:
Race Against Dementia was founded by Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, after his wife Helen’s frontotemporal dementia diagnosis, funding early-career researchers to accelerate progress towards a cure for dementia. With over 55 million people affected globally and someone diagnosed every three seconds, Race Against Dementia is taking immediate action to drive significant breakthroughs and develop leaders in the field.

Supporting Race Against Dementia can help talented research scientists continue to seek preventative treatments and cures for dementia. https://www.raceagainstdementia.com/

“I now face one of the biggest challenges of my life. I will put all my efforts into finding a cure for this horrendous illness.” – Sir Jackie Stewart OBE

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RAY EVERNHAM’S NEW BOOK – TROPHIES AND SCARS

Ray Evernham has plenty to say about his life and NASCAR career, and now everyone gets to hear it. Evernham, 2023 RRDC member class, has authored a new book, Trophies and Scars, where he opens up about his journey to NASCAR, the days building, leading, and leaving the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team, as well as his marriage, divorce, and second marriage. In a discussion with The Racing Writer’s Podcast, Evernham explains sharing those stories, digs into other memories from his career, fighting with Bill France Jr., and much more. Kelly Crandall, Racer.com

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SPEEDTOUR ALL-STARS COMING TO LIME ROCK IN JULY

Parella Motorsports Holdings (PMH) and Lime Rock Park are proud to announce the SpeedTour All-Star Race, which will bring together an unprecedented gathering of motorsports legends to race at the historic Connecticut circuit, July 19-20. Gathering icons from Formula 1, NASCAR, INDYCAR and IMSA, the SpeedTour All-Star Race will pair all-star drivers with competitors from the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series to compete as co-drivers in a 60-minute race that will air live on MAVTV.

“We’re really excited to debut the SpeedTour All-Star Race,” said Tony Parella, CEO of PMH. “The concept draws off the Vintage Race of Champions (VROC) format that we featured pre-COVID, but by using the spec TA2 cars and pairing the legend drivers with our current TA2 drivers, it will take this event to the next level. Lime Rock Park has been a fantastic partner for many years, and the fans in New England have been great supporters of our SpeedTour events, so I am excited to bring this show to them and look forward to seeing everyone in July.”

“Lime Rock Park is thrilled to continue to build its collaboration with PMH to bring this amazing new SpeedTour All-Star Race event to fans throughout the Northeast,” said Dicky Riegel, President and CEO of Lime Rock Park. “With our decades-long history of Trans Am racing here at The Park, the new All-Star format will shine an even brighter light on the cars and stars that make TA and TA2 racing such a fan favorite. We anticipate that this will be the biggest event of 2024 at Lime Rock.”

With 16 legends already committed to race, the field includes Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 champions, IROC winners and drivers who have stood atop the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nürburgring, and Daytona. The field represents nearly 6,000 NASCAR starts, 47 Indianapolis 500 starts, 50 F1 starts, 88 IROC starts, seven Rolex 24 at Daytona victories, four 24 Hours of Le Mans wins and two 24 Hours of Nürburgring triumphs. In total, they’re responsible for eight NASCAR championships, an INDYCAR championship, 11 road racing championships, an IROC champion, three USAC championships and four Rallycross championships. There are also six members of the RRDC among the legends: Geoff Brabham, Ron Fellows, Davy Jones, Max Papis, Boris Said and Danny Sulliovan. 

  • Greg Biffle – 2004 Daytona 500 Pole winner, 2002 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion, 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion
  • Geoff Brabham – Four-time IMSA GTP Champion, 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, 1981 Can-Am Champion, 1997 Bathurst 1000 winner, 10 Indianapolis 500 starts, two-time IROC winner and RRDC member
  • Ron Fellows – Three-time American Le Mans Series Champion, 2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona winner, two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner, 20 Trans Am Series race wins, RRDC member
  • Davey Hamilton – Two-time INDYCAR Vice Champion, 11-time Indianapolis 500 starter
  • Ron Hornaday – 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, four-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion
  • Davy Jones – 1996 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, 1990 Rolex 24 at Daytona winner, five-time Indianapolis 500 starter, RRDC member
  • Bobby Labonte – 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, 2000 NASCAR Cup Series Champion, 1991 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion, 2001 IROC Series Champion
  • Pippa Mann – 2021 24 Hours of Nürburgring winner, seven-time Indianapolis 500 starter
  • Paul Menard – 2011 Brickyard 400 winner, two-time Trans Am Series race winner
  • Ryan Newman – 2008 Daytona 500 winner, 2014 Brickyard 400 winner, 1999 USAC Silver Crown Series Champion, 2023 SRX Champion
  • Max Papis – 2004 Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Champion, two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner, five 24 Hours of Le Mans podiums, seven F1 starts, RRDC member
  • Boris Said – 2004 Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series GT Champion, two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner, 2005 24 Hours of Nürburgring winner, 2002 Trans Am TA Champion, 100+ Trans Am starts (18 wins) and RRDC member
  • Ken Schrader – Two-time USAC Champion, 984 starts in NASCAR’s top-three series, four NASCAR Cup Series wins, 18 ARCA wins
  • Mike Skinner – 1995 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion, 1997 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of The Year, 1997 Daytona 500 Pole winner
  • Scott Speed – 28 F1 starts (including a top-10 finish at Monaco), four-time Rallycross Champion, three-time X Games Gold Medalist
  • Danny Sullivan – 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner, 1988 CART Champion, 1998 Rolex 24 at Daytona class winner, 15 F1 starts (including a top-five finish at Monaco), RRDC member

Combining legendary all-star drivers with today’s stars of the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series, the duos will team up in the TA2 spec racecars for a 60-minute race. The all-star driver will qualify and start the race before a mid-race five-minute pit stop allows for a driver change, giving the wheel to today’s TA2 Series star. All cars will pass through standard tech to ensure a fair playing field in the spec racecar. Drivers will not only be racing for a trophy, as a $50,000 winner-takes-all prize will also be on the line for the race-winning team.

The action starts Friday, July 19, with all-star drivers taking to the track for a 30-minute practice session, followed by qualifying that afternoon. Saturday, July 20, will be all about the fans, as drivers will participate in a group autograph session at 10 a.m. ET, followed by a fan walk and pre-race ceremonies on pit road at 12 p.m. ET. The SpeedTour All-Star Race will go green at 12:30 p.m. ET.

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FIRESTONE RETURNS AS PRESENTING SPONSOR OF RRDC’S EVENING WITH SIR JACKIE STEWART AT LONG BEACH

Sir Jackie Stewart, three-time Formula 1 World Champion, will be honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club in Long Beach on Thursday April 18. The “RRDC Evening with Sir Jackie Stewart presented by Firestone” is the RRDC’s 14th banquet annual honoring auto racing’s most influential leaders and icons. It will be held prior to the 49th Annual Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The Firestone brand will return as presenting sponsor of the RRDC banquet for the 13th year.

Tickets may be purchased at here. All are welcome, but this event is expected to sell out, so early reservations are recommended.

“Having Firestone support the RRDC Long Beach dinner for more than a decade is a true privilege,” said RRDC President Bobby Rahal. “Firestone has an unrivaled heritage in motorsports dating back to the first Indy 500® in 1911. We always welcome Firestone’s support, and salute the brand’s long-standing success and contributions to the sport.”

Previous RRDC honorees were Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian Redman, Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, George Follmer, Emerson Fittipaldi, Johnny Rutherford. David Hobbs, Rick Mears and Jacky Ickx. These “RRDC Evenings” are acknowledged as highlights of the auto-racing social calendar, drawing fans and luminaries from all forms of motorsports.

The dinner’s proceeds will help support Race Against Dementia, founded by Stewart, as well as the RRDC’s young driver initiatives, including its groundbreaking SAFEisFAST.com program and the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997 and has been providing opportunities for talented young American race-car drivers since 1990. The Mark Donohue Foundation, a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt organization, was formed to further support the SAFEisFAST.com initiative. Information about the Foundation can be found on the RRDC’s website.

Image from the Stewart Collection.

Born in 1939, Stewart was involved with cars from an early age. Leaving school at age 15, (his dyslexia undiagnosed until much later), he found his personal voice in sport, first as an Olympic-class shot, then in motor racing.

In shooting, Stewart won the Coupe De Nations twice (British and Mediterranean Championships). He also won the Championships of Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, as well as the British Grand Prix of Shooting. Sir Jackie retired from shooting aged 23.

Stewart’s motor racing career took off internationally in 1965 when, at Monza, he scored the first of his 27 Grand Prix Championship victories. During his Formula One career, he was crowned World Champion three times and achieved a total of 27 victories, out of 99 races.

In 1988 he formed Paul Stewart Racing with his son Paul. Subsequently, in 1996, they formed Stewart Grand Prix, which was sold to the Ford Motor Company in 1999.

He has been a Rolex Testimonee since 1968 and an Ambassador for Moët Hennessy since 1969. Stewart also enjoyed 40 years with the Ford Motor Company and is currently engaged on a multi-year contract with Heineken.

Stewart is the founder of Race Against Dementia, President of Dyslexia Scotland, Founder and former Chairman of the Grand Prix Trust, President of the Springfield Youth Club, Vice-President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club and the British Dyslexia Association.

He was awarded the OBE in 1972 and was knighted in 2001. He earned an Honorary Professorship from the University of Stirling and received eight Honorary Doctorates from US, Scottish and English Universities.

The RRDC Evening with Sir Jackie Stewart, Presented by Firestone will be held on Thursday, April 18, at the Hilton Hotel, 701 West Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, Calif., with cocktails at 6 p.m., and dinner at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $325 per person ($275 for RRDC members) and space is limited. Tickets purchased after April 1 will cost $350 per person ($300 for RRDC members). Sponsor packages are also available. Please contact Tim McGrane at tmcgrane4@gmail.com.

Tickets may be purchased here.

About Firestone Racing:
The Firestone brand has participated in world-class motorsports events for more than a century, and racing has played an integral role in building and shaping Firestone into the time-tested, iconic brand it is today. Harvey Firestone, the brand’s founder and a pioneer of sports marketing, was one of the first to use racing as the ultimate proving ground for his tires. Ever since Ray Harroun’s Firestone-equipped Marmon Wasp won the inaugural Indianapolis 500® in 1911, Firestone has worked to constantly evolve and advance race tire technology. Overall, Firestone tires have carried the winner of the Indy 500 to victory circle 74 times – more than double all other tire manufacturers combined. Firestone has served as INDYCAR’s sole tire supplier since 2000, and the brand’s on-track success translates to durable, dependable performance and uncompromising quality on the open road.

About Race Against Dementia:
Race Against Dementia was founded by Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, after his wife Helen’s frontotemporal dementia diagnosis, funding early-career researchers to accelerate progress towards a cure for dementia. With over 55 million people affected globally and someone diagnosed every three seconds, Race Against Dementia is taking immediate action to drive significant breakthroughs and develop leaders in the field.

Supporting Race Against Dementia can help talented research scientists continue to seek preventative treatments and cures for dementia. https://www.raceagainstdementia.com/

“I now face one of the biggest challenges of my life. I will put all my efforts into finding a cure for this horrendous illness.” – Sir Jackie Stewart OBE

About the RRDC:
The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 as a way to give champion drivers a say in their sport, particularly in the areas of safety, and has evolved to serve the future of road racing by mentoring new drivers on both amateur and professional levels. The Club’s membership includes leading industry professionals, race officials and motorsports journalists, in addition to prominent racing names.

In 2011, the RRDC launched a free on-line training seminar – SAFEisFAST.com – featuring RRDC members and other industry experts in high-quality videos covering subjects from physical and mental preparation to driving techniques, driver safety to car setup and sponsorship. The videos are updated regularly. Each week, a professional from the world of motor racing answers readers’ questions on the site in a feature called ‘Ask a Pro.’

Bobby Rahal is President, John Fergus is Vice President/Treasurer, and John Clagett is Secretary.

The RRDC presents three annual awards: the Phil Hill Award, the Mark Donohue Award, and the Bob Akin Award, and supports the Team USA Scholarship, which has been assisting young Americans in the early stages of their careers since 1990.

Membership in the RRDC is by invitation only. Additional information on the organization may be found at RRDC.org.

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SAFEisFAST LATEST VIDEO: CHANGE SET-UP OR DRIVING STYLE?

Fellow Racers, We’ve all been in the scenario where the lap times just aren’t coming and you need to make a change. In those moments, how do you know when to change the car set-up or your driving style?
 
It can seem like an easy fix to just tweak the set-up, but it might not always be the right solution – especially for the youngsters who don’t get hours upon hours of testing to make everything perfect.

In our latest video, our professional drivers – Mikkel Jensen, Katherine Legge, Connor De Phillippi, Jack Aitken, Matt Bell and Ben Barnicoat – give us the signs of when to change something on the car and when to change something in yourself.

Check it out!

Bobby Rahal
SAFEisFAST.com

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WILSON FITTIPALDI – 1943-2024

Wilson Fittipaldi, Jr., the older brother and father of RRDC members Emerson and Christian, passed away following an illness precipitated by an eating incident over the holidays. A piece of meat lodged in this throat, and he suffered a cardiac arrest. He had been in poor health ever since.

The Brothers Fittipaldi – Wilson and Emerson

RACER.com was one of dozens of outlets that posted a remembrance.

 

Wilson with his son Christian at the 1995 Indy 500 where he was runner-up to Jacques Villeneuve.

 

 

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TICKETS FOR AN EVENING WITH SIR JACKIE STEWART

 
Road Racing Drivers Club President Bobby Rahal 
cordially invites you to attend
 
 
Thursday, April 18, 2024
 
Long Beach Hilton
701 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90831   
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
 
In advance of the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
 
Tickets $275.00 each for RRDC members who have paid 
their 2024 dues – $300.00 after April 1
 
($325.00 for non-members – $350.00 after April 1)
 
Advance purchase required
Click Here to Purchase Tickets

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HARRY INGLE – 1943-2024

Harry Ingle, an open-wheel champion and racecar manufacturer in the early 1970s, passed away in late January in an advanced healthcare center in his hometown of Charlotte, NC. Ingle, 80, had suffered from dementia for several years.

Harry Ingle at VIR in 1967 early in his career. [Roger Blanchard image]

Ingle started racing SCCA production cars in the late 1960s but soon moved to Formula Vee, winning the SCCA Formula Vee National championship in 1970. The following year Ingle tackled Formula Super V with great success, having purchased the Zink Super V company. He was FSV National champion and President’s Cup recipient in ’73; took FSV runoffs poles ’71 & ’74; was runner-up in the Pro Super V series championship to Bill Scott in ’72, Bertil Roos in ’73 and EFR in ’74.  Scored five Pro Super V poles and seven podiums in ’74. Ingle retired from fulltime racing following the ’74 season. 

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IMSA ANNOUNCES 2024 HALL OF FAME CLASS

The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced today the second class of inductees for the IMSA Hall of Fame, and like the inaugural class it features an intriguing lineup of both competitors and cars that helped define North America’s premier sports car organization.

The IMSA Hall of Fame lives digitally at www.imsahalloffame.comwith inductees chosen from a larger group determined by a nominating committee comprised of past and present IMSA executives and members of the media. BDO, a corporate partner of IMSA, validates the HOF voting. The 2024 class will be showcased during the WeatherTech Night of Champions on Oct. 13 at Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia.

Today’s announcement comes during IMSA’s season-opening weekend at Daytona International Speedway for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“Our second round of inductees is a fantastic follow-up to last year’s debuting class,” IMSA President John Doonan said. “We feel like we’ve landed on a great formula for determining inductees; in IMSA both the drivers and the cars are the stars. Always has been, always will be. And that makes for an amazing hall of fame.”

 

IMSA Hall of Fame Class of 2024

Derek Bell

A star internationally in endurance sports car racing, Englishman Derek Bell became one of IMSA’s marquee names in the 1980s and ‘90s, primarily behind the wheel of another HOF inductee – the Porsche 962. One of those 962s, sponsored by Lowenbrau, remains one of the most popular cars in IMSA history. Bell had 19 overall victories in IMSA, three in the Rolex 24 (1986, ’87, ’89). He also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans five times.

 

Geoff Brabham


If you wanted sports car excellence in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, Australian Geoff Brabham provided: the son of three-time Formula One World Champion Jack Brabham won four consecutive IMSA GTP titles from 1988-91, driving a car that is also inducted this year – the Nissan GTP. A 24 Hours of Le Mans champion in 1983, he won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring twice (1989, ’91), two of his 25 IMSA race victories.

 

Jim Downing

Downing’s racing success – and his influence on safety initiatives – form an impressive resume. On track, he was a force in the Radial Sedan class and then dominated in GTU production cars and Camel Lights prototypes; he posted 24 IMSA victories in his driving career. And in his “spare” time he co-invented the HANS (Head and Neck Restraint System) which revolutionized auto racing and has saved many lives. Emphasis on the word “many.”

 

Gianpiero Moretti

They rightfully called the late Moretti “Mr. MOMO”: he was the man who brought the Ferrari 333SP to IMSA, a car that won 56 races worldwide from 1994-2003, including three victories at Sebring (1995, ’97, ‘98) and one at the Rolex 24 (1998). Moretti was one of IMSA’s most successful “gentleman” drivers, co-driving to 10 overall victories.

 

Bob Riley

This is a case where the inductee’s name speaks for itself. Riley designed numerous IMSA cars over the years, most notably the Riley & Scott open-cockpit prototypes and later, the Riley Daytona Prototypes. Riley chassis have won seven Rolex 24 championships, all with different engines. Riley founded Riley Technologies in 2001 with his son, Bill, who continues to be a championship winning IMSA team owner and operator today.

 

Jack Roush

Before he became one of NASCAR’s most prolific team owners, the “Cat in the Hat” prowled the IMSA garage, with most success coming with Ford Mustangs. The Roush Racing team, with NASCAR legend Mark Martin a key driver, captured five Rolex 24 class victories between 1989-95 – concurrent with Roush’s rise in NASCAR’s Cup Series. Fittingly, the Roush Ford Mustang is also a 2024 HOF inductee.

 

Nissan GTP

Here’s your imagery: bright blue, Nos. 83 and 84, becoming one of the winningest cars in IMSA history. Geoff Brabham, also being inducted this year, was the official main wheelman but he had first-rate help in the form of co-drivers like Chip Robinson. As already referenced, Brabham drove Nissans to four consecutive IMSA GTP championships.

 

Porsche 935
This car was an absolute staple in IMSA from the late 1970s to the early 1980s before the exotic GTP category was unveiled. Drivers in those cockpits included HOF inductees Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood. Porsche 935s won the Rolex 24 and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring six times each.

 

Roush Mustangs
These remarkable production-based hot rods dominated IMSA’s GTO class for most of the 1980s. The ever-evolving driver lineup was likewise remarkable, including Tommy Kendall, Mark Martin, Dorsey Schroeder, Lyn St. James and IMSA HOF inductee Scott Pruett.

 

Toyota GTP

All-American Racers, a company founded by the late, great Dan Gurney, one-upped Nissan’s IMSA success by winning 21 of 27 races the team entered from 1991-93 with the Eagle MkIII prototype. That includes 17 consecutive victories. Juan Manuel Fangio II – nephew of the great Formula One champion – led the driver lineup.

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TEAM PENSKE TAKES FIRST OVERALL DAYTONA 24 VICTORY SINCE 1969

Team Penske prevailed down the stretch of the Rolex 24 at Daytona to score its first overall victory in the annual round-the-clock marathon since 1969. Felipe Nasr, the last of the four Penske drivers, nipped two-time defending 24 Champion Tom Blomqvist by a scant 2.112sec. Five GTP cars finished on the lead lap, including the second Penske Porsche 963.

After a decades-long hiatus, Roger Penske reentered endurance racing in 2018 with Acura, evolving into a two-car factory Porsche effort last season. The first and only other Daytona 24 overall win for Penske was 55 years ago when Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons – a last-minute replacement for Ronnie Bucknum who had broken a finger in a pre-race motorcycle crash – piloted a beefed-up Lola T70 to victory lane.

It just never gets old. [NBC Sports image]

Penske was effusive: “To come back here and have both cars run for 24 hours, and then win the race, it’s hard for me to believe. This goes down as one of the biggest wins we’ve had.

“When we won in 1969 with a Lola, it was a lot different in those days,” Penske said. “But to think about today, the biggest crowd they’ve had here for a sports car race, just to see the competitiveness, a win by tenths of a second, that’s unbelievable. That’s what I’ll say.”

 

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NASCAR HONORS JANET GUTHRIE; LIEBENGOOD FOUNDATION LAUNCHING MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM FOR STRESSED POLICE OFFICERS

During the NASCAR Hall of Fame 2024 Induction Ceremonies Friday, Janet Guthrie was named recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Guthrie, 85, did not attend as she has not flown since the onset of COVID in 2020. However, she spoke by telephone to the Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler, who asked what drove her to race cars in the 1960s and ‘70s.

“I was born adventurous,” she replied. As to the award, “I am surprised and delighted. Obviously, it has to do with the ‘first woman’ thing. But it has caused me to remember that first NASCAR Cup race I ever drove Charlotte in the 600-mile race on Memorial Day in 1976. That was quite an adventure.”

That was right up Guthrie’s alley, because she loved adventures. Her father was a pilot for Eastern Airlines and several other members of her family flew airplanes as well. Flying was her first passion, and her desire to tackle potentially perilous experiences was in evidence early.

“I started out flying planes and soloed when I was 16,” Guthrie said. “I made a freefall parachute jump when I was 16, too.”

“I started out flying planes and soloed when I was 16,” Guthrie said. “I made a freefall parachute jump when I was 16, too.”

Eventually, Guthrie went to college, earned a degree in physics from the University of Michigan and worked as a research and development engineer. But after she bought a Jaguar and “saw what it could do,” she began racing that car in the minor leagues. By the mid-1970s she had worked her way up to running some of the most famous races in the world, including the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500.

Over the course of four part-time seasons in NASCAR Cup racing from 1976-80, Guthrie competed in 33 races. She had no top-5 finishes, but did finish in the Top 10 on five occasions, including a career-best sixth at Bristol in 1977. She would have raced more often, but then as now, sponsorships were extremely difficult to come by.

“Lack of sponsorship,” Guthrie said, “was what forced me out in the end.”

Guthrie also believes it is harder for women to get Cup sponsorships than men, and that it always has been.

Said Guthrie: “It is a very, very expensive sport. And I believe that women still have a more difficult time finding sponsorship than men do. I have always said that what the sport needs is a woman with all the stuff that it takes — desire, concentration, judgment, emotional detachment — plus her own fortune as well.”

Guthrie said she loved Cup racing, and that the experience itself of driving very fast each weekend was wonderful. The other thing she liked? When she had earned respect in the garage from the men she battled.

Guthrie said originally the other Cup drivers thought like this: “This driver is a woman and therefore this driver can’t be any good.”

When she beat some of them every week, though — sometimes the majority of them — that changed.

“Because when the no-good driver blows your doors off, what does that make you?” Guthrie said with a laugh. “So seeing attitudes change as they realized I knew what I was doing, that I knew my track manners and that I could give them some good competition — that was my biggest pleasure.”

©2024 The Charlotte Observer. 

 

A CELEBRATION OF HOPE: THE HOWARD C. LIEBENGOOD FOUNDATION LAUNCH EVENT TO BE LIVESTREAMED JAN. 25

 

 

 

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“SEBRING 1983 – THE WARHORSE AND THE HITCHHIKER” NOW AVAILABLE

“Sebring 1983 – The Warhorse and the Hitchhiker” – the latest book by all-around motorsports enthusiast, author and the recognized expert on the history of the 12 Hours of Sebring, Ken Breslauer – is now available for immediate orders. As the oldest active sports car race and one of the most revered motorsports events in America, the 12 Hours of Sebring has produced some of the most exciting moments in international sports car endurance racing over the past seven decades. 

The legendary circuit, which originated from a World War II B-17 combat crew training base, has produced thrilling and sometimes bizarre races, but nothing can top the 1983 edition of the 12-Hour classic. Both on and off the track, Sebring 1983 would be unforgettable.

After 23 lead changes among eight cars, a well-worn GTO class Porsche 934 that was 11 laps behind at one point ended up winning the race. When driver and car owner Wayne Baker crossed the finish line, he didn’t even know he had won overall. Co-drivers Jim Mullen and Kees Nierop drove brilliantly, but Baker’s road to victory was nearly derailed during his final stint in the dark when a hitchhiker suddenly appeared on the racing circuit.

The Warhorse – Porsche 934, nee 935, [Breslauer Collection]

The 144-page softcover book with 80 color photos chronicles the unique history of Sebring Florida and it’s 12-hour race, leading up to the 1983 IMSA season. An hour-by-hour description of that year’s Sebring 12-Hour chronicles the Warhorse’s unlikely route to victory and the numerous competitors that fell victim to the brutal Sebring circuit.

The winning Porsche 934 originated from a Porsche 935 that finished second at Le Mans four years earlier. Dubbed the “Warhorse,” the chassis ended its career in 1987 after 70 races covering over 40,000 competition miles, but it was the 1,097 miles it covered at Sebring that forever earned a place in endurance racing lore. 

A stolen pace car, the circuit nearly running out of fuel, cars getting lost on the runways and alligators on the track only added to the drama of Sebring 1983.

Breslauer served as Media Director and Track Historian at Sebring International Raceway 1986-2021. His 1996 book on Sebring’s history won the Automotive Book of the Year Award in 1996. Breslauer specializes in commercial archeology and roadside attractions and has written several topics on Florida tourism history and the material culture of Florida travel.

The Sebring 1983 book is available beginning today on eBay.com – please click here for orders. It will also be available at this month’s season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona at the Roger Warrick Automotive Art display.

 

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THE ART OF DEFENSIVE DRIVING – LATEST FROM SAFEisFAST

Fellow racers,

When only a few laps remain and you’re being pressured from behind for the win, you need to know The Art of Defensive Driving.
 
It’s not as simple as covering the inside or parking it on the apex, there’s a fine line between defending well and doing something that could land you in trouble with the stewards.

In our latest video, our professional drivers – Connor de Phillippi, Katherine Legge, Ben Barnicoat, Matt Bell and Jack Aitken – explain how to walk that line and get the best out of driving defensively.

Check it out!

Bobby Rahal
SAFEisFAST.com

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GIL DE FERRAN, 1967-2023

Gil de Ferran suffered a fatal heart attack Friday while practicing with his son at The Concours Club race track in Opa-locka, Florida.

RRDC President Bobby Rahal said, “All of us at the Road Racing Drivers Club are saddened by the passing of racing great and RRDC member Gil de Ferran.

“Gil was a tremendous competitor but, more importantly, a gentleman on and off the track, and a dear friend to many.

“His many on-track successes led to key positions within Honda F1 and most recently with McLaren Racing.

“The RRDC extends its deepest sympathies to Gil’s wife Angela, son Luke and daughter Anna. RIP Gil de Ferran.”

[Steven Tee, Motorsport Images posted on RACER.com]

The reports from Indianapolis Motor Speedway and RACER summed up de Ferran’s too short life. Motorsport.com gathered dozens of remembrances posted by a few of his many friends in the motorsport world. Here are a few segments of those thoughts:

Derrick Walker told RACER: “He made an impression in this short life, that’s for sure. And he still had a lot of living left to do.”

Leigh Diffey: “Along with our mate, Justin Bell, we had a lot of laughs over the years. Gil, can’t believe you’re gone, Rest easy brother. You’re already missed.”

Mario Andretti: “Thinking of him now and savoring every conversation. He will be missed by so many. A wonderful man and a dear and loyal friend.”

Tony Kanaan, “Champion, friend, rival, mentor at the track and outside of it. I have no words to describe this loss. May you rest in peace, my friend.”

Simon Pagenaud: “I will miss you in my moments of joy, and my moments of doubts, and all the moments in between. You have been my model in life and it feels really empty right here right now.”

Fernando Alonso: “Thank you for the moments we shared, for wholeheartedly teaching me how to race on ovals, and for the countless memories we created together.”

Roger Penske summed it up: “Gil defined class as a driver and as a gentleman.”

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RRDC ANNUAL DAYTONA MEMBERS DINNER A MONTH AWAY

Thanks to the organizational skills of RRDC member Lisa Noble, the RRDC will hold its annual members’ dinner at the Daytona 500 Club in advance of the 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The RRDC members’ dinner has become the perfect venue for members and their guests to bench race, meet, and enjoy an evening filled with camaraderie, nostalgia and awards presentations.

The featured award of the evening will be the 30th Phil Hill Award (for rendering outstanding service to road racing).

Also, the 22nd RRDC Bob Akin Award and the 53rd RRDC Mark Donohue Awards will be presented. 

The program is scheduled to end before 9 p.m., so that those participating in the Rolex 24 will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for morning practice. 

Please make your reservations by January 18, 2024, as seats will be filling quickly. We regret that no late reservations can be accepted.

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Noble at noblerace@aol.com.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Thank you,

Bobby Rahal

President

 

NOTE: The RRDC.org web site now accepts credit cards for payments!

In order to register for the dinner, please log in on the web site at https://rrdc.org/member-login/#myaccount, and pay your 2024 dues.

Once dues are paid, you may go to “Events” on the web site to register for the dinner.

Details below:

 

WHERE:

Daytona 500 Club (infield)

Daytona International Speedway

1801 W. International Speedway Blvd.

Daytona Beach, Fla. 32114

WHEN: 

Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024 – in advance of the Rolex 24 At Daytona

5:00 p.m. cocktails

6:15 p.m. RRDC member photo

6:30 p.m. dinner

INVITEES: 

All RRDC members in good standing and personal guests ONLY. 

Please make sure you’ve paid your 2024 dues!

DRESS: 

Business casual

COST:

$175 per person (members and guests). $200 after January 10.

Tables of 10 are available for $1750 each, and $2000 each after January 10.

PARKING and TRACK ENTRY:

We will provide parking and entry details soon. 

EVENT PASSES:

We will advise soon regarding availability of event passes.

 

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BILL WARNER GRAND MARSHAL FOR SEBRING’S SPEEDTOUR OPENER

Racer, collector, photographer and founder of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Bill Warner will serve as grand marshal for the season-opening Sebring SpeedTour, February 22-25, 2024.

“We’re honored to welcome Bill Warner as the grand marshal of the Sebring SpeedTour,” said Tony Parella, CEO of SpeedTour. “A devoted motorsports and automotive enthusiast, Bill is a true racer who perfectly embodies the spirit of SpeedTour.”

Warner with his 1934 Edsel Ford Model 40 Special Speedster. [Bill Warner Collection image]

An annual tradition at Sebring International Raceway, the Sebring SpeedTour will feature racing from Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli and others, and will also feature several hundred additional cars in the Hagerty Cars and Caffeine Car Show.

Trained as an electrical engineer, it was automobiles and motorsports that were Warner’s true passions. He was just 16 years old when he started working at the local Volkswagen dealership and helping with their racing team on the weekends. By his mid-20s, he started contributing to Sports Car Graphic and Road & Track, and by his mid-30s, he attended his first racing school. In fact, Warner drove his first race car, a Brabham BT-8, which was a Denny Hulme Tourist Trophy winner, during the earliest vintage events at Sebring.

In the years that followed, Warner continued racing, competing in SCCA, IMSA and various vintage events from coast to coast. He continued his passion of restoring and collecting interesting cars, with his current collection at a dozen cars. In 1996, he founded The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, which has raised $3.7 million for charity in its 25-year history.

Warner in his Group 44 Triumph TR-6. originally campaigned by Bob Tullius and John McComb. [Bill Warner Collection image]

He’s authored, co-authored and published books, acted as an honorary chairman and judge at various Concours events across the country, and has been selected to steering committees for automotive museums and selection committees for marquee racing events. With countless awards and recognitions, he’s been honored for his charitable efforts and dedication to both motorsports and the automotive industry.

In addition to waving the green flag for SVRA and Trans Am races, Warner will be the keynote speaker at Saturday’s SVRA Awards Banquet. Fans at home will also get to enjoy his automotive expertise as a guest commentator during select SVRA races on SpeedTour TV’s live stream coverage.

SpeedTour will kick off its 2024 season with the Sebring SpeedTour, February 22-25. Registration for racers is open now on each of the series’ respective websites and spectator tickets are on sale at SpeedTour.net.

 

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SAFEisFAST – HOW TO DEAL WITH TOUGH TIMES IN RACING

This is a very special film for us, as it’s the first in a new series where the topic has been chosen by a guest driver editor!

We are delighted that our first driver editor is Indy 500 winner and 2016 IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud, who has chosen the topic ‘How To Deal With Tough Times In Racing’

Picture the scene: you’ve just lost an easy race win by putting the car in the wall due to your own mistake. How do you bounce back from that?  

Here is why Simon thinks this is an important topic for young, aspiring drivers: 

In racing, we lose more than we win. Only a strong well-built head can recover the path of winning. I was curious for myself, as well as for my fellow competitors, to hear how other drivers have dealt with this.”

The front-page picture shows Simon destroying his Meyer-Shank IndyCar during practice at Mid-Ohio last July. His injuries forced him out for the remainder of the season, so “dealing with tough times” has been foremost in his recent career.

Like Pagenaud, it happens to the best. Here’s Fernando Alonzo in his wadded-up McLaren at the 2016 Australian GP in Melbourne.

In this film, the drivers offering their insight include Jack Aitken, Connor De Phillippi, Katherine Legge, Ben Barnicoat, Matt Ball and Mikkel Jensen.

Check it out.

Bobby Rahal

SAFEisFAST.com

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KEN SQUIER BELOVED BROADCASTER PASSES AT 88

Ken Squier, the legendary broadcaster, passed away Wednesday night in Waterbury, VT, at age 88. Co-founder of Motor Racing Network, Squier set the highest marks for journalistic excellence in both the broadcast booth and the printed page. He was an astute observer of motorsports and a kind and caring friend to many in the racing world. He was a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Road Racing Drivers Club.

Ryan McGee of ESPN posted this remembrance of the man noted for his storytelling:

Storyteller.

That term has become a bit overused. From social media influencers to suburban Substackers, everyone loves to declare themselves a storyteller. The great ones never need to wear that name tag, though. You know them as soon as you hear them.

Ken Squier was, above all else, a storyteller.

“Like bullets they propel themselves out of the corner!”

“He’s getting some air … gobbling it up in that car, No. 88, keeping it cool to get ready for that final assault …”

“Johnny Utsman hand grenades the engine! It detonates right at the start-finish line!”

Squier’s own remarkable life story ended Wednesday night, passing away at the age 88. But the sound of his perfectly balanced hard-yet-gentle New England voice and the stories it told us all, from the public address speakers of Vermont and MRN Radio to CBS and TBS television, will never stop echoing off the walls and halls of racetracks and the broadcast booths that look over them.

“Look at that Oklahoma land rush on the backstretch!”

“He fireballs his way into the lead!”

Squier’s story is equal parts Howard Cosell and Johnny Appleseed. He was a New Englander, born and raised in Waterbury, Vermont, the son of a radio station owner. He’d listen to auto races carried by WDEV and became enamored with the urgent, gallant descriptions of the men who piloted hurtling pieces of machinery around places such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, devouring and studying those broadcasts like a literature professor delving into Shakespeare and Chaucer. He took what he learned to the PA microphones of short tracks throughout race-car-obsessed New England. The talent that oozed from those speakers caught the ear of NASCAR president Bill France, who was kicking around the idea of a radio network that could bring his stock car races to a broader audience.

Squier with MRN co-founder Barney Hall. [NASCAR image]

“I think, at least I hope, that what Bill heard was something different,” Squier recalled in a 2013 conversation following his election to the NASCAR Hall of Fame as the recipient of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Yes, that’s his name on the award. “When we first started discussing what we could do that was perhaps a little different was focusing on the drivers. There would always be a place to discuss the mechanical aspects of the cars and the race strategy, all of that. But in the end, it had to be about those heroes behind the wheel and the death-defying stuntmen who went over the wall to pit those cars. It’s not about metal and engines and tires; it’s about the people and the stories behind those people, because they are remarkable people.”

So was he.

With France’s blessing, it was Squier who constructed the Motor Racing Network in 1970, with races carried by a collection of radio stations that grew from a smattering of southern outposts to a nationwide chain that reached into the hundreds. He assembled a team of fellow local racing broadcasters and PA announcers, including the man who shares top billing on the Squier-Hall Award, the pride of Elkin, North Carolina, Barney Hall.

“So, you took a Vermont Yankee and a North Carolina hillbilly and you put them on the radio together to talk about race cars,” Hall recalled in 2013 with a chuckle. “But it worked. And it worked because Ken believed that if you could tell a story in a unique way, use different words, really take the listener down into the infield, make them feel like they were there, then it didn’t matter where you were from. Just look at our teams at MRN and what he had on TV. Broadcasters from all over the place. That made listeners from all over the place feel welcome on a Sunday afternoon.”

Squier with longtime friend and cohort David Hobbs. [CBS photo from Getty Images]

It was never enough for Squier to simply broadcast NASCAR races and be done. He was always working on a deal somewhere. He was instrumental in helping the sanctioning body ink its landmark deal with CBS, a partnership that lasted two decades and began with what is inarguably Squier’s most famous moment: the finish of the very first CBS flag-to-flag live broadcast, the 1979 Daytona 500.

“And there’s a fight! Between Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison, their tempers overflowing. They’re angry. They know they have lost. And what a bitter defeat.”

Squier never stopped running WDEV and its regional network, which his family still owns, and for decades, even as he jetted off to commentate Olympic speedskating or to shoot movie scenes with Burt Reynolds, he still found time to cohost a weekly WDEV show titled “Music to Go to the Dump By.” He never stopped doing whatever he could to keep up the health of grassroots racing in New England, even when he had become larger than racing life, especially his beloved Thunder Road Speedbowl, a quarter-mile hilltop oval in Barre, Vermont, that he founded more than 60 years ago.

“You would watch him on TV doing a race from Talladega on CBS with Dale Earnhardt battling Richard Petty and then three nights later he’d be with us doing public address at Thunder Road,” two-time Xfinity Series champ Randy Lajoie recalled at the NASCAR Hall of Fame standing next to Squier in 2013. “I would say, ‘Ken, you know you don’t have to slum it with us anymore,’ and he’d say, ‘I love it here. And you’ll be racing at Talladega with us soon enough.’ Damn if that wasn’t true. And I think he had a lot to do with people down there even knowing who I was.”

Squier was always scouting for and coaching up young talent, both on the racetrack and those talking about the racetrack. An endless roster of former and current motorsports broadcasters, from broadcast and cable TV to terrestrial and satellite radio, got their first breaks at one of his racetracks or radio stations. And no matter where any NASCAR media member comes from, anyone of a certain age with a media center credential has at least a few stories to tell about Ken Squier calling, writing a letter or pulling them behind a stack of tires in the garage with suggestions, advice and a bit of razor-edged New England criticism.

“Don’t settle for ordinary words of description when extraordinary words are available.”

“Connect the everyman with Superman and Superman with everyman.”

“Never forget, no matter how big it gets, above all else this sport is about common men doing uncommon things.”

From the movie “Stroker Ace”, Squier is flanked by Stroker (Burt Reynolds. left) and Lugs (Jim Nabors). [Hal Needham film image]

The last time I chatted with Squier in person, we talked about a column of mine he had just read and didn’t like. He told me that he didn’t agree with my premise, but he appreciated my passion. Then he noticed my ring, emblazoned with the red, white and blue shield of Captain America. He grabbed my hand and pointed at the emblem.

“Well, of course you like superheroes. We are surrounded by them every weekend at the racetrack.”

Yes, we are. And Ken Squier was one of them. The superhero of motorsports storytellers.

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ARUTUNOFF, FOSS, O’CONNOR INTO SCCA HALL OF FAME

RRDC members Anatoly Arutunoff, Bruce Foss and Vicki O’Connor are among the five-person 2024 SCCA Hall of Fame class which also includes Terry Ozment and Fred Wacker, Jr. The Induction Ceremony will be held Jan. 19, 2024, as part of the SCCA National Convention and will be streamed on the SCCA’s official Facebook page and YouTube channel.

 

TOLY ARUTUNOFF

To say Anatoly “Toly” Arutunoff is a racing renaissance man would be an understatement.

His exploits began with the SCCA membership he purchased for $25 when he bought his Porsche Carrera Speedster GS in 1958. He was in for life after purchasing a lifetime membership in late 1958 when the price went up to $120. The history from then is as amazing as it is crazy and includes everything from SCCA grids in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s (including 19 Runoffs starts between his first Runoffs appearance in 1967 and his final Runoffs race in 1996), a couple Cannonball Runs, Pikes Peak Hill Climbs, and the very first One Lap of America, plus multiple stints in Italy’s Targa Florio, owning a Ferrari dealership, and so much more.

While Arutunoff earned SCCA’s H Production National Championship title and the Club’s President’s Cup in 1981 (that award likely coming due to his run from 11th on the grid to win the championship by more than eight seconds), his real impact to the SCCA comes in the form of a racetrack in Oklahoma – a 1.8-mile, 11-turn road course named Hallett Motor Racing Circuit. Arutunoff built the circuit with very little landscaping, which resulted in a course boasting 80 feet of elevation changes that could be run in both directions.

Hallett has become a mainstay of racing in the middle of America, hosting everything from IMSA, Trans Am, and the final Can-Am race in 1986. But mostly, Hallett is a club track designed for the amateur driver, and features as one of the mid-season races on the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour schedule.

Arutunoff once said: “I’ve always told inquisitive folks that it’s the people the cars have brought that makes the Club; seeing people every several months at a race that would’ve been close friends if we lived, well, closer.”

 

BRUCE FOSS

The commitment Bruce Foss has to the SCCA is undeniable and has been ongoing for decades. Since 1984 when he initiated the development of Hoosier Tire’s sports car tire program, Foss has been an unwavering supporter of the Club, building both personal relationships with competitors across the United States and business relationships with the SCCA itself.

Thousands of SCCA drivers may not have achieved such a level of success without his dedication to developing tires to meet the requirements of their SCCA classes. It’s easy to say that SCCA competition programs from all levels would not have realized the strong growth they have enjoyed without Foss’s unwavering commitment.

Through the years, Foss has been instrumental in funding hundreds of thousands of dollars in contingency awards and free tire programs for SCCA members, making it possible for Club members to compete in even more events. He has also established a long-term partnership with SCCA in some of the Club’s most important programs, such as the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour and a myriad of programs and classes like Spec Miata, Spec Racer Ford, and Formula Vee.

Foss is also on the Road Racing Drivers Club’s (RRDC) Mark Donohue Award selection committee, taking on the role of Membership Chairman, continuing to give back to the sport he loves.

 

VICKI O’CONNOR

Victoria “Vicki” O’Connor became involved in the SCCA in the 1960s when her husband, Bill, raced in Formula B. Hers was not an unusual introduction to the sport, but what she did next most certainly was.

Her motorsports career began with working for Carl Haas as his personal secretary. She was so effective that she became the natural choice to head up the Sports 2000 Racing Series. Based on that success, in the mid-1980s, SCCA Pro Racing asked her to organize and run a new series for Formula Atlantic on the East Coast to enhance the West Coast Atlantic Race series (WCAR), so O’Connor established the ProMotion Agency Ltd to run SCCA’s East Coast Atlantic Racing (ECAR) series.

Under O’Connor’s guidance, the ECAR series grew and prospered, attracting Toyota as the series sponsor and engine provider in 1989. This was the start of the hugely successful Toyota Atlantic Series. In 1991, WCAR was merged into ECAR, creating a national championship series – and O’Connor was tapped to head the organization. Also that year, Gerry Forsythe, one of CART’s founding members, bought ProMotion Agency Ltd., placing O’Connor and her staff into the CART organization.

From its SCCA roots, the series now gained prominence on a national stage.

In accepting the challenge, O’Connor helped design a hugely successful series that would launch drivers like Scott Goodyear, Dan Wheldon, James Hinchcliff, Danica Patrick, Graham Rahal, Simona de Silvestro, and more, into prominence.

There is so much that happens behind the scenes of a successful series that is integral to its success, from hiring staff, procuring insurance and contracts, arranging publicity, getting sponsors, developing schedules, securing contracts, overseeing advertising – the list is endless, and O’Connor did it all.

 

 

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