Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett are returning to the stage with their “Inside F1 2022 Year in Review” at back-to-back events in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, November 28 and 29. The popular trio with be joined by “The GOAT” Ricky Carmichael, 7-time AMA motorcross national champion. They will be at the Ridgefield (Conn) Playhouse the 28th, then on the 29th at the Sellersville (Pa) Theater 1894.
Carmichael, who holds the all-time record for wins and championships, will provide his thoughts on the mind of a champion, elite athletes in motorsport and the 2022 racing season along with Diffey, Hobbs and Matchett who’ll discuss all racing series for the year with emphasis on Formula 1.
“Ricky love all forms of motorsport,” said Diffey, “and will be talking about the mindset of a champion and elite athletes, especially given what Max Verstappen has achieved at such a young age – very reminiscent of what Ricky achieved himself at such a young age.”
The Ridgefield show is presented by Lime Rock Park and sponsored by Porsche Danbury & Audi Danbury. Tickets are available at this link.
Tickets for the Sellersville program are available at this link.
EPARTRADE, RACER and SPEED SPORT are providing 55 hours, over 5 days, of Live webinars from race industry leaders, race sanctioning organizations and key industry suppliers from around the world.
No charge to attend.
The live webinars will run from 6:00am to 5:00pm PST, November 28 through December 2, 2022. To view the full schedule please go to: www.epartrade.com
RACE INDUSTRY WEEK is Business-to-Business. Attendees will receive complimentary registration for access to the EPARTRADE Platform.Monday through Friday, Nov 28 – Dec 2, 2022. Register now to receive the link. No charge to attend. Register now and receive a link that will give you access for the entire week.
With Joey Lagono’s NASCAR Cup Series title Sunday, Team Penske notched its second major championship of 2022, matching Will Power’s NIT IndyCar title clinching drive at Laguna Seca in September. It was the team’s first dual title effort in 31 seasons of competing in both series.
Lagano prevailed in a four-driver shootout at Phoenix International Raceway by winning the race. It was the second career championship for both Lagano and Power.
2022 was a banner Cup season for Team Penske with the series title, the opening day Memorial Coliseum victory for Lagano and team manager’s son Austin Cindric winning the Daytona 500.
“It’s about time,” Roger Penske said. “Joey did a great job, and for me to have two championships in the same year, that’s what we’re here for. That’s the goal we have every year. I think we’ve been close, but we got it this year.”
One year ago, Max Esterson carried Team USA Scholarship colors to second place in the 50th BRSCC Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, with teammate Andre Castro taking third. This afternoon, Esterson, from New York, N.Y., went one better, making a step back from his GB3 campaign and emerging with the victory spoils, including the coveted Neil Shanahan Memorial Trophy, for Ammonite Motorsport after the Grand Final was red-flagged after just three laps following a torrential downpour. Esterson became only the second American to claim a Festival Final victory after Josef Newgarden carried Team USA’s patriotic red, white and blue livery to top Kent honors in 2008.
This year’s Team USA Scholarship winners, Thomas Schrage and William Ferguson, also produced memorable performances. Schrage, 17, from Bethel, Ohio, finished third in his Semi Final race earlier this afternoon and was classified fourth in the Grand Final. Ferguson bounced back brilliantly from his incident on Saturday to dominate his Progression race, then overcame a poor start in his Semi Final to climb from 30th to 10th and secure a place in the Final.
The third Team USA driver, Elliott Budzinski, 20, from Ann Arbor, Mich., was in a position to advance to the Final before another untimely red-flag stoppage dropped him out of contention.
Another spectacular day of Formula Ford action began with a pair of Progression Races this morning for those drivers who were unable to qualify directly for the Semi Final round of the traditional knock-out competition. And the track conditions were completely different to Saturday following heavy rain. Ferguson lined up ninth on the grid after his Saturday incident, but began his charge to the front immediately. The Californian rose to second place by the completion of the opening lap before romping away to a clear victory over Team Canada Scholarship winner Jake Cowden, who narrowly beat Ferguson to this year’s Canadian Formula Ford Championship.
“I managed to pull a gap to Jake and then maintained it for the remainder of the race and grabbed the win,” recounted Ferguson. “Huge thanks to the Ammonite boys for getting the car back together after an unfortunate incident yesterday that put us in the barriers on the exit of Druids. We’re looking very strong for the Semi Final. Time to make up some more spots!”
Ferguson was good to his word. Despite a poor start which saw him plummet from 25th on the grid to 30th and last at the first corner, Paddock Hill Bend, Ferguson fought back magnificently, passing seven cars on the first lap and ending up a fine 10th to ensure direct qualification for the Final. The race was won by Michael Eastwell’s Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum 011C.
“Super comeback so far after an unlucky day yesterday,” said Ferguson, who posted the second fastest lap. “This means I made it into the Final, and I will start 20th. It’s a 20-lap race so there’s plenty of time to make it happen.”
Schrage and Budzinski contested the other Semi Final, lining up in fifth and 16th positions respectively on a still wet – but drying – track. An excellent first lap enabled Schrage to leapfrog to third place, after which he was embroiled in an entertaining battle with Jordan Dempsey (Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum) and veteran Joey Foster (Don Hardman Racing Firman) as Esterson romped clear in the lead.
Foster used his experience to dive inside Schrage at Paddock Hill Bend on the seventh lap, then battled past Dempsey and closed rapidly on the leader, Esterson, who held on for a narrow victory as the track rapidly began to dry. Schrage was equally impressive in fourth.
“I had a much better start than yesterday,” said Schrage, who set the third fastest lap of the race, fractionally slower than the race winner. “After an intense battle with Joey Foster, I brought home a fourth-place finish in a stacked lineup.”
Budzinski was less fortunate, being inadvertently tipped into a spin at the first corner as he attempted to pass veteran Roberto Moreno’s Ray. Budzinski resumed at the tail of the field and drove well to rise up to 17th by the completion, which ensured him a place on the grid for the Last Chance Race.
Unfortunately, after rising from ninth to fifth on the first lap, a red flag was displayed, and the race restarted from the original grid positions. This time he made up only one place before the red flag flew again, leaving him two shy of a Final transfer.
“The Formula Ford Festival is over and it was definitely an experience,” said Budzinski. “I learned a lot and ended feeling quite good in the car. Unfortunately, I just made a few costly mistakes which took me out of contention for the Final, and a decent position at that. Overall though a lot of fun battles were had and the amount I have learned over the week was tremendous. Now it’s onto the Walter Hayes Trophy where hopefully I can clean up the mistakes and show what young American drivers have to offer with some hardware.”
The Final began on a largely dry track but with threatening rain clouds looming ever closer. Schrage, from seventh on the grid, made up a couple of positions on the first lap and was right in contention when he tangled with Eastwell under braking for the Druid’s hairpin. Schrage somehow recovered from a major “moment”, but the red flags flew shortly afterward when the heavens opened, and with darkness not far away and the rain still falling heavily, the officials had little option other than to conclude the race early.
“I wish I had more laps to show my true pace with the leaders,” said Schrage. “A fourth-place finish at the 51st Formula Festival Festival still met my expectations for sure. Great job to Max Esterson on the clean sweep and amazing win. The Ammonite Motorsport crew has done amazing job with all the cars, I can’t thank them enough. Thank you to Jeremy Shaw and all the Team USA Scholarship supporters for allowing us three Americans to represent our nation in these great races.”
Ferguson lost a place during a hectic opening lap but had charged his way up to 16th when the race was stopped and was eventually classified 15th when the final results were declared after two laps.
“Well, not the greatest way to end a weekend,” said Ferguson. “It was going to be a good race for us, having put a rain setup on the car. We were prepared for the weather. Even before it started raining I was able to make up four spots and we knew that we had pace in the rain.
“Overall, it was a great weekend. To make it to the Final after being taken out in the first race was a win in itself. Huge congrats to Max for getting the win, awesome result for Ammonite. The team worked really hard all week and I’m very proud to be a part of it. None of this would be possible without their hard work as well from Team USA and all of our supporters.”
About Team USA Scholarship:
The program has been providing opportunities for talented American race car drivers at an early stage in their careers since 1990. Supporters include AERO ™ Sustainable Paint Technology, Doug Mockett & Company, the Road Racing Drivers Club and SAFEisFAST.com, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Chip Ganassi Racing, The Stellrecht Company, Chris Locke, CoForce, Polecat Training Academy, Pratt Miller, Dyson Racing, PitFit Training, RaceCraft1, Sparco USA, Speedstar Management and Styled Aesthetic. Previous scholarship winners include Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Jerry Nadeau, Buddy Rice, Andy Lally, Phil Giebler, A.J. Allmendinger, J.R. Hildebrand, Dane Cameron, Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly, Connor De Phillippi, Spencer Pigot, Trent Hindman, Tristan Nunez, Oliver Askew and Kyle Kirkwood.
All images please credit Gary Hawkins Photography.
The three members of the 2022 Team USA Scholarship squad – Elliott Budzinski, (below center) 20, from Ann Arbor, Mich., William Ferguson (below left), 18, from Pacifica, Calif., and Thomas Schrage (below right), 17, from Bethel, Ohio – have been in and around England for the past several weeks in preparation for the 51st BRSCC Formula Ford Festival this weekend (Oct. 22-23) at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit and the Walter Hayes Trophy in two weeks (Nov. 5-6) at Silverstone Circuit. You can read blog entries by Budzinski and Schrage at the Team USA Scholarship website.
The trio will join a strong U.S. contingent in the traditional end-of-season event at the short but challenging 1.2079-mile circuit situated an hour or so southeast of London. Seven former winners are among an entry of over 80 drivers representing at least a dozen nations. Joey Foster, Ivor McCullough, Niall Murray, Rory Smith and Jamie Sharp have accounted for eight victories between them, and will be joined by returning legends Roberto Moreno, from Brazil, who took the honors back in 1980, and 1991 winner, Belgium’s Marc Goossens.
In addition to the Team USA Scholarship trio, similar programs from Australia, Brazil, Canada and New Zealand are supporting promising young talents in this prestigious event which has been won in the past by Johnny Herbert (1985), Mark Webber (1996) and Jenson Button (1998), all of whom went on to win Formula 1 races, as well as two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden, who carried the distinctive and patriotic Team USA Scholarship colors to victory in 2008.
American hopes also will be carried by 2021 Team USA Scholarship winner Max Esterson, from New York, N.Y., who finished a close second last year and continued to hone his skills this year after stepping up to GB3, plus Jeremy Fairbairn, from Wellington, Fla., Shaun Rashid, from Atlanta, Ga., and cancer survivor Gabe Tesch, from Mica, Wash.
Esterson and Rashid will run under the same Ammonite Motorsport banner as Budzinski, Ferguson and Schrage, who have gained experience of their Ray GR cars at a variety of venues in the UK, including Castle Combe, where they completed a successful exploratory race event three weeks ago, Pembrey and Snetterton. They also benefited from simulator tuition with RaceCraft1 Motorsport Training’s Kelly Jones before their UK trip, in addition to pounding out laps at Brands Hatch for the past three days, during which they have sampled a wide array of weather and track conditions.
“We’re so thrilled to welcome back Team USA for another year,” said Andy Low, who worked as a crew chief with Cliff and Michelle Dempsey for several years before taking over the organization upon the Dempseys’ retirement a few years ago and then rebranding the team as Ammonite Motorsport for the 2022 season. “Elliott, William and Thomas have settled in very well with the team. They’ve really got to grips with the cars and have done a great job on track so far.
“It’s great to see the guys experience the UK too. It’s been a fantastic cultural experience for them and I’m really impressed with how they’ve embraced the whole package of what the scholarship can offer.”
Needless to say, the drivers themselves are equally enthusiastic about their prospects.
“I’m very excited to get underway for the Formula Ford Festival,” said Elliott Budzinski, who has impressed despite minimal car racing experience prior to his UK trip. “To do well at this race everything has to come together.
“The team continues to do an amazing job and I believe I have made big strides in the car that will allow us to fight for the top spot on the podium.
“Brands Hatch is a truly special track, the elevation and character it has is unlike anywhere I’ve ever driven… but testing is one thing, I cannot wait to see how 80+ cars race here!
“I also cannot go without thanking Jeremy Shaw and the long list of Team USA Scholarship sponsors that allow us to compete in such an amazing event.”
“I have been waiting to race on such a historic track like Brands Hatch Circuit for all of my life,” added Thomas Schrage, who last weekend traveled back to the U.S. to clinch the FRP F1600 Championship at Pittsburgh
International Raceway with a convincing 11-second victory from pole. “This track is absolutely insane in wet conditions and has taught me a new driving style. I feel that I have a true chance to chase the gold this weekend, and I will be trying to do just that!”
“I’ve had an amazing couple weeks of testing with the 2022 Team USA crew thanks to Ammonite Motorsport,” said Ferguson (above), who finished second in this year’s Canadian F1600 Championship. “We’ve been to multiple tracks and experienced many different types of
conditions. Because of this, I feel well acclimated to this Formula Ford car and prepared for whatever obstacles and conditions that will be thrown at me this weekend. Having three days of testing at Brands Hatch already in the books, I’ve really gotten a feel for this amazing circuit.
“I really want to thank everyone involved in the Team USA program for putting together such an amazing opportunity for Elliot, Thomas and me. With two other Americans under the tent, and all five of us showing promising speed so far, we’re looking to put the stars and stripes on the top step of the podium come Sunday.”
The huge entry will be split into four 12-lap Heat races which will be held on Saturday afternoon after qualifying earlier in the day. The top 12 drivers from each Heat will qualify directly into the pair of 14-lap Semi Final races on Sunday. The 20-lap Final, set for 5:06 local time (five hours forward from EDT) will comprise 30 cars.
Click here for the event Final Instructions and here for the weekend schedule, although bear in mind times are subject to change. Live timing will be available at https://www.tsl-timing.com/
The entirety of the racing action will be live streamed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?
About Team USA Scholarship:
The program has been providing opportunities for talented American race car drivers at an early stage in their careers since 1990. Supporters include AERO ™ Sustainable Paint Technology, Doug Mockett & Company, the Road Racing Drivers Club and SAFEisFAST.com, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Chip Ganassi Racing, The Stellrecht Company, Chris Locke, CoForce, Polecat Training Academy, Pratt Miller, Dyson Racing, PitFit Training, RaceCraft1, Sparco USA, Speedstar Management and Styled Aesthetic. Previous scholarship winners include Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Jerry Nadeau, Buddy Rice, Andy Lally, Phil Giebler, A.J. Allmendinger, J.R. Hildebrand, Dane Cameron, Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly, Connor De Phillippi, Spencer Pigot, Trent Hindman, Tristan Nunez, Oliver Askew and Kyle Kirkwood.
[All images please credit Gary Hawkins Photography]
Ever hear yourself saying, “It feels like I’m driving the wheels off the car; how come my lap times don’t show it?”
We’ve all been guilty of it: You push the car harder and harder, only to find yourself going slower and slower.
In our latest video, a group of top drivers from IndyCar and IMSA explain why this happens and what to do about it.
The great race drivers are minimalists, providing only as much steering and braking input as needed, and asking no more of the car than it can deliver.
Our online instructors – Simon Pagenaud, John Edwards, Earl Bamber, Jordan Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Kyle Kirkwood – preach the same sermon: “Smooth really is fast.”
Thanks to Zack Brown, Mario Andretti recently tried out a 2013 McLaren MP4-28a at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Mario’s thoughts were captured by RACER for a UTube clip.
The Team USA Scholarship has confirmed that three young American drivers will represent their nation in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy events in England this fall. Elliott Budzinski (center, below), 20, from Ann Arbor, Mich., William Ferguson (left), 18, from Pacifica, Calif., and Thomas Schrage (right), 17, from Bethel, Ohio, have been selected following an intense two-day shootout among six participants at the Polecat Training Center facility in Lynchburg, Tenn.
The trio will follow in the footsteps of an array of former winners including Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Jerry Nadeau, Buddy Rice, Andy Lally, Josef Newgarden and Connor De Phillippi in sporting the program’s distinctive red, white and blue livery during the formative stage of their careers.
Nadeau, who earned scholarships in 1993 and ’96, Lally (‘99), and fellow former scholarship winners Aaron Jeansonne (2017) and Bryce Aron (‘20) were all present for the two-day shootout. They were joined on the judging panel by Team USA Scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw, Polecat Training Center principals Paul Arnold, Keith Watts and J.R. Speight; Kelly Jones, proprietor of RaceCraft1 Motorsports Training; Honda/Acura Public Relations representative Dan Layton; author and RACER Marketing and Media Editor Steve Nickless; former racer Bernard Rhee; and Jim Leo of PitFit Training, who conducted a fitness seminar and evaluation with the candidates.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the quality of drivers invited to take part in the shootout seems to improve with every passing year,” said Shaw. “The standard this time was incredibly high. All six finalists impressed our judging panel, and we had an extremely difficult task to choose between them. In the end, thanks to the burgeoning enthusiasm of our loyal group of supporters, we have been able to stretch ourselves beyond the original intention which was to select just two winners. I know I speak on behalf of our entire panel when I say that all six have the necessary skill sets to make a mark as they establish themselves on the motorsport ladder.”
Alessandro De Tullio, 16, from Miami, Fla., Ayrton Houk, 19, from McCordsville, Ind., and Colin Queen, 17, from Palm City, Fla., also were part of the selection process.
Budzinski, Ferguson and Schrage have already arrived in the UK to begin preparations for the Formula Ford Festival, which will take place at Brands Hatch on the weekend of October 22/23 and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone on November 5/6. All three will drive identically prepared Ray Formula Ford cars under the Ammonite Motorsport (formerly Low Dempsey Racing) banner.
“I feel honored to represent the United States, and to be part of the ever-expanding list of alumni coming out of the Team USA Scholarship is something truly special,” said Budzinski, a former kart racer who burst onto the car racing scene by winning a Formula F title at the famed SCCA June Sprints at Road America earlier this summer. “This will be my first time away from home for more than a week at a time, so I view it as an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and soak in as much information as possible from the many years of experience and knowledge that will be available to me.
“I can’t thank Jeremy Shaw, the whole crew of judges, and program partners enough for all the hard work they put in making this happen every year.”
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity,” added Ferguson, who finished a close second in the recently concluded Toyo Tires Formula 1600 Championship in Canada. “I believe we have a very strong group of drivers and will definitely pose a challenge to all the veterans of Formula Ford. Obviously, the goal is to win but besides that there will be so much new information to take in.
“The racing will be brutal and I know I will learn a lot about driving, but I will also be spending six weeks in another country so that’s very exciting in itself. Being surrounded by such talented and successful people, I hope to bring back new and better ideas for marketing myself and to make the next big step in my career, keeping up the recently strong momentum.”
“It’s such an honor to join the long list of successful drivers who were given this opportunity to further their careers,” said Schrage, who currently leads the FRP F1600 Championship Series by 31 points with three races remaining and also recently won a Kenyon Midget Series race on the high-banked Anderson Speedway oval in Indiana. “The trip to England will be an eye-opener for me as I explore the world of Formula Ford racing. I expect a great experience on and off track, gaining more racing connections along with an incredible amount of seat time during this adventure.
“My focus has been shifted toward building a brand for myself overseas as well as bringing home some hardware from the iconic events I will participate in. Thank you to Jeremy Shaw, the full panel of judges, sponsors and everyone involved in making the Team USA Scholarship program possible.”
About Team USA Scholarship:
The program has been providing opportunities for talented American race car drivers at an early stage in their careers since 1990. Supporters include AERO ™ Sustainable Paint Technology, Doug Mockett & Company, the Road Racing Drivers Club and SAFEisFAST.com, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Chip Ganassi Racing, The Stellrecht Company, Chris Locke, CoForce, Polecat Training Academy, Pratt Miller, PitFit Training, RaceCraft1, Sparco USA, Speedstar Management and Styled Aesthetic. Previous scholarship winners include Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Jerry Nadeau, Buddy Rice, Andy Lally, Phil Giebler, A.J. Allmendinger, J.R. Hildebrand, Dane Cameron, Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly, Connor De Phillippi, Spencer Pigot, Trent Hindman, Tristan Nunez, Oliver Askew and Kyle Kirkwood.
Skip Barber Racing School announced this week that Townsend Bell is joining the organization as Brand Ambassador. He is a graduate of the school and a former instructor.
Bell is the 2001 Indy Lights Champion, the winner of the 2014 Daytona 24, the 2015 IMSA GTD Champion, the 2016 LeMans 24 winner and a 10-time starter in the Indianapolis 500 with a best finish of fourth in 2009.
He competed in the 1997 SBRS Formula Dodge School Championship and the Barber Pro Series Championship in 1998 and 1999. In his new role as Brand Ambassador, Bell will help promote the school and act as a key advisor to future SBRS growth initiatives.
“My professional career in motorsports would simply not be possible without the Skip Barber Racing School,” Bell said. “They are the gold standard in race car driver education, and I am really excited to support them with their growth. The school’s all-new fleet of Formula 4 cars provides an ideal platform for teaching the techniques that Skip Barber established over 40 years ago. While the proven core curriculum remains, the implementation of advanced telemetry analysis and onboard video systems has taken the school to levels on par with the world’s best race teams. I’m a proud SBRS graduate and even prouder to return to the program in this new role.”
Bell currently competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Lexus Racing. When not behind the wheel, Bell is a broadcast analyst for NBC Sports covering the NTT IndyCar Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“To be able to bring Townsend Bell back into the fold at SBRS is both exciting and gratifying. His knowledge, success, experience, and present role in the industry will serve our team and our students extraordinarily well”, said Dan DeMonte, SBRS Chief Marketing Officer.
It was a triumphant weekend for Will Power at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Sep 9-12. On Saturday, Power took his 68th career pole, eclipsing Mario Andretti’s all-time IndyCar record by one with Mario witnessing the feat from the pitlane.
Then on Sunday, Power drove his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to third overall in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, clinching his second NTT IndyCar Series Championship having been runner-up on four previous occasions. Power’s Penske teammate Josef Newgarden secured his third straight Championship runner-up position with a second-overall finish in the race.
It was the 17th IndyCar Series title for Team Penske and the 42nd championship for Penske in its motorsport’s history.
Adrian Newey was spotlighted on Sky Sports Grand Prix Sunday in the run-up to the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. The subject was the RB18 Red Bull F1 car and why it has been so dominant this 2022 season. The consensus is that chief aerodynamicist Newey has made the difference. Responsible for many championship race cars over the years, Newey is the only current designer with extensive experience with ground effects which feature prominently on the current F1 car. Unlike the other F1 designs, the RB18 has not suffered from pitch control or “porpoising”.
A clip showed Newey at his drafting table, essentially the only current aerodynamicist to not rely on CAD. Nico Rosberg rightly placed Newey in the company of Colin Chapman and Ross Brawn. One could also include Rory Byrne and John Barnhard in that group. If you have any questions about Adrian Newey, just ask our president Bobby Rahal who earlier in his career benefited greatly from Newey’s genius.
Fellow Racers, the old saying goes, “No race has ever been won in the first corner, but many have been lost there.”
Well if that’s true, then why do so many drivers go for it at the start?
The answer is simple: With today’s race cars, passing is very difficult, and starts and re-starts present the best opportunities for overtaking – along with the greatest risks.
In our latest video, a group of top IMSA and IndyCar drivers – including Filipe Albuquerque, Simon Pagenaud, Jordan Taylor, John Edwards, Kyle Kirkwood, Earl Bamber and Callum IIlott – reveal their secrets of making fast, but safe getaways.
P.S.: Be sure to check out the latest Ask A Pro Q&A session with online instructor Pato O’Ward.
For the 33rd consecutive year, the Team USA Scholarship will provide opportunities for talented young American race car drivers to gain some international recognition at an early stage in their careers. Next week at the challenging Polecat Training Center facility in Lynchburg, Tenn., six finalists will participate in two days of assessments which will include driving on the technical 2.1-mile road course aboard the Polecat Racing Academy’s well proven 2.0-liter formula cars as well as a fitness evaluation with industry expert Jim Leo, president of Indianapolis, Ind.-based PitFit Training.
Ultimately, a pair of winners will be invited to contest the 51st Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, England, on October 22/23, and the equally prestigious Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone, held in honor of the founding father of Formula Ford, on the first weekend in November.
The finalists have been chosen from a group of 12 candidates, each of whom was invited to submit a variety of assignments which were evaluated by more than 35 auto racing insiders representing virtually every aspect of the sport.
The six finalists are:
• Elliott Budzinski, 19, from Ann Arbor, Mich. – partial season in the FRP F1600 Championship Series
• Alessandro De Tullio, 16, from Miami, Fla. – currently second in USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires
• William Ferguson, 18, from Pacifica, Calif. – currently leads the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship (Canada)
• Ayrton Houk, 19, from McCordsville, Ind. – currently second in the FRP F1600 Championship Series
• Colin Queen, 17, from Palm City, Fla. – currently second in the BRSCC National Formula Ford 1600 Championship (UK)
• Thomas Schrage, 17, from Bethel, Ohio – currently leads the FRP F1600 Championship Series
Thomas Annunziata, 16, from Colts Neck, N.J.; Matt Christensen, 17, from Orlando, Fla.,; Nicholas Rivers, 18, from Wheatley Heights, N.Y.; Timothy Steele, 18, from Westfield, Ind.; Jack Sullivan, 16, from Hamilton, Ohio; and Westin Workman, 17, from Charlotte, N.C., also were part of the original selection process.The final decision will be made by a panel of judges which will include former Team USA Scholarship winners Jerry Nadeau (1993/’96), Andy Lally (‘99), Aaron Jeansonne (2017) and Bryce Aron (‘20), as well as Kelly Jones, proprietor of RaceCraft1 Motorsports Training, Honda/Acura Public Relations representative Dan Layton, author and RACER Marketing and Media editor Steve Nickless, and Team USA Scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw.
“Racing at the Brands Hatch Formula Ford Festival in 1993 and then the Nations Cup a few years later with Tony Renna were two of the greatest experiences in my career,” said Nadeau, a former NASCAR Cup Series race winner who has not competed since sustaining a serious head injury in an accident at Richmond International Raceway in 2003. “I learned a whole lot during my time with the Team USA Scholarship and am very grateful for the opportunities I was given. I’m really pleased that Jeremy has kept the program going for all these years and I’m excited to be part of it again.”
LAST YEAR’S SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS HAVE EXCELED IN 2022
2021 Team USA Scholarship winners, Andre Castro (left) and Max Esterson, are well into their 2022 professional racing programs, boosted by stellar performances in England last fall. In the 21st Annual Walter Hayes Trophy Grand Final at Silverston, Esterson became the fourth Team USA Scholarship driver to win top honors, following in the wheel tracks of Conor Daly (2008), Connor De Phillippi (2009) and Tristan Nunez (2012). Castro bowed out early with a balky shifter. Earlier, both Esterson (second) and Castro (third) finished on the podium in the 50th BRSCC Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.
2022 has proved productive for both drivers as they advance their careers. Castro is competing in inaugural USF Juniors season for International Motorsport and Doug Mockett & Company and is running consistently in the top five. Esterson is driving this season for Douglas Motorsport in the GB3 Championship, formerly the BRDC British F3 series. In three races at Donington Park in late May/early June, Esterson scored his first pole, his first podium, his first victory and two fastest laps. The lads are rolling.
DIXON OVERHAULS ANDRETTI
Scott Dixon’s come-from-behind victory in what proved a messy Music City Grand Prix in Nashville last weekend was the 53rd of his stellar Indy Car racing career and moved the New Zealander one win ahead of Mario Andretti on the all-time list, now behind only A. J. Foyt, Jr. still comfortably ahead with 67.
Chris Cord, an investment banker who took up sports car racing as a hobby and closed his career in the center of Dan Gurney’s All American Racers factory Toyota GTO program, died on Thursday at the age of 82. Katrina Cord, his wife of 64 years, was with him when he passed at their home in Sun Valley, Idaho. Read Marshall Pruett’s remembrance of Cord at Racer.com.
ROGER BAILEY IS SUBJECT OF GORDON KIRBY’S LATEST BIOGRAPHY – “BOOST!”; DONOHUE AT PIKES PEAK; RECENT PASSAGES, DR. FREDERICK SIMEONE AND ALAIN de CADENET
Racemaker Press has announced that “Boost! Roger Bailey’s Extraordinary Motor Racing Career” – the latest biography from author Gordon Kirby – is now available at Racemaker.com.
Perhaps nobody in the history of automobile racing enjoyed a career of wider reach and diversity than Roger Bailey. Over the course of 52 years, from 1959-2012, Bailey competed as a mechanic, engine builder, crew chief, sanctioning body technical inspector and, finally, co-founder and administrator of the Indy Lights series.
“Boost!” details Bailey’s life and career, documenting the many skills that made him so successful. “Roger was such a great guy,” said Roger Penske, founder and chairman of Penske Corporation and decades-long owner of multiple race teams. “He worked with us in the SCCA Can-Am Series in 1967 and you could see that his passion for racing was as strong as anyone’s. He brought a lot of good ideas to us and was one of the hardest workers we ever had in our organization.
“You could see that when he took over running the Indy Lights series. He had a wide wing span of what he could do and people liked him as a person to be their leader. If you can lead people like Roger has done over the years you build real momentum and he was at the top of that list.”
“In ‘Boost!’ I’ve tried to capture not only Roger Bailey’s talents but his ability to work with a variety of different personalities in this sport to achieve success and maintain lifetime relationships based on his tactful straightforwardness. He made it work, and it worked well,” said Kirby, who now counts eight books that he’s authored for Racemaker Press of the 17 of his career.
Bailey started his career in 1960 with the Jim Russell School in England. He then worked for the Cooper Car Company, winning the 1961 British Saloon Car Championship with Sir John Whitmore’s Mini-Cooper and the 1964 British Formula 3 Championship with Jackie Stewart’s Ken Tyrrell Cooper. He worked on Bruce McLaren’s F1 Cooper in 1965, then worked on Ford’s Le Mans program, building Ford GT mk 2s for the 1966 and ’67 Le Mans 24 Hours. After a season in the Can-Am with George Follmer’s Penske/Lola T70, Bailey spent two years at Ferrari preparing Chris Amon’s Formula 1, Tasman, sports cars and Can-Am cars. He was the first non-Italian to work for Ferrari’s race team.
In 1970 Bailey worked on George Eaton’s BRM Can-Am cars then spent five years with McLaren Engines in Detroit building turbo Offenhausers for Johnny Rutherford’s McLaren Indy cars, twice winning the Indy 500 with Rutherford. He moved on to run at McLaren turbo BMW 320i in IMSA for David Hobbs before spending four years with IMSA as the sanctioning body’s technical director.
His career as a mechanic came to its culmination in 1986 when he co-founded the American Racing Series with Pat Patrick. In 1991, the ARS became the Indy Lights series with Bailey at the helm of the category through its heydays until his retirement in 2012.
“Boost!” Is a large format, hard-backed book filling 210 pages with 120 photographs. The book retails for $60 plus shipping and is available from Racemaker Press at 39 Church St., Boston, MA 02116. The book may be ordered at Racemaker.com.
DR FREDERICK SIMEONE PASSES
Dr. Frederick Simeone, founder of Philadelphia’s Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum housing one of the world’s more eclectic automobile collections, passed away June 11, three days after his 86th birthday. The museum’s frequent Demo Days highlight events, people and machinery from across the motoring spectrum. RRDC members have been honored over the years during the Museum’s annual festival. Dr. Simeone will be sorely missed.
ALAIN de CADENET (1945-2022)
Alain de Cadenet, racer, constructor and television commentator, passed away July 2 at age 76. As a telecaster, de Cadanet did stints with Speedvision, Speed Channel, ESPN and Velocity, hosting such iconic shows as Legends of Motorsport and Victory By Design for Speed where he drove vintage racing cars and discussed their history. One of his last productions was Velocity’s Renaissance Man covering cars, motorcycles and racing at Monaco. A fascinating man and a zany character, his obituary appeared in The Guardian.
Rob Walton and the Walton-Penner Group have purchased the Denver Broncos for a reported $4.65 billion, a record for the sale of an American professional sports franchise, far surpassing the $2.4 billion paid for the New York Mets in 2020.
Walton-Penner is headed up by Walton’s daughter Carrie Walton Penner and son-in-law Greg Penner. The sale is subject to approval by the NFL finance committee and team owners.
“We are thrilled to be selected to move forward with the purchase of the Denver Broncos!” Walton read in a statement. “Carrie, Greg and I are inspired by the opportunity to steward this great organization in a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans. Having lived and worked in Colorado, we’ve always admired the Broncos. Our enthusiasm has only grown as we’ve learned more about the team, staff and Broncos Country over the last few months.”
Walton, a member of RRDC since 2006, has one of the world’s most valuable and eclectic post-1950 automobile collections consisting mostly of racing cars, many uniquely famous like Lance Reventlow’s Scarab MKI.
BILL AUBERLEN WINS BMW M LEGENDS RACE AT THE NURBURBRING
To celebrate the golden anniversary of BMW M Motorsport, a very special 30-minute invitational race was held to kick off the annual 24-Hours of Nurburgring race weekend. Twelve legendary BMW pilots, both car and motorcycle, from the past five decades competed in identically prepared BMW M2 CS race cars.
Bill Auberlen led qualifying and started last in the inverted grid which included a second American, Eddie Cheever. In addition, there were German drivers Jochen Mass, Dirk Adorf, Harald Grohs, Olaf Manthey and HRH Prince Leopold of Barvaria; Venezuelan Johnny Cecotto; Italian Arturo Merzario; Brit Steve Soper; Dutchman Franciscus van Meel; and Belgian Eric van de Poele.
Auberlen battled to the front, taking the checkered flag from FIA President Jean Todt who helped van Meel and Jochen Neerspasch hand out the trophies to Auberlen and runners up Cecotto and Soper.
“That was so much fun,” enthused Auberlen. “I had a superb time on the track with these guys. I knew Johnny Cecotto would be the toughest nut to crack – and he did shove me into the gravel once. Once I passed him, I simply enjoyed watching his duel with Steve Soper in the rear-view mirror. Overall, a fantastic event from BMW M. Thanks for letting me be part of it.”
Hagerty has named the RRDC’s Judy Stropus as Grand Marshal for the 2022 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, held at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park overlooking Greenwich Harbor on June 3-5, 2022.
Judy Stropus’ talent, passion, precision and creativity have been a pivotal part of American and international motorsports for over half a century, she literally wrote the book on race timing and scoring. In an era before computers were tasked with the job, race timing and scoring would require doctoral thesis-level intellectual poise under extreme and unrelenting pressure in a noisy and often dangerous environment. Her text “The STROPUS GUIDE to Auto Race Timing & Scoring: Modern Sports Car Series” is often recognized as the standard on the disciplined and cerebral art.
“Judy’s accomplishments are only overshadowed by her incredible spirit,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “She has been a key player, often behind the scenes, at the Greenwich concours for many years. We can’t think of a more fitting occasion to celebrate her inspiring motorsports story and life-long passion for driving.”
Most recently honored by selection to the Motor Sports Hall of Fame of America, Stropus’ storied career is summed up in the RRDC’s membership directory.
Lyn St. James – 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, member of the ACCUS board on the FIA Women Motorsports Commission, RRDC member and most recently inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame – has been named Grand Marshal of the third annual Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, to be held this October 14-16 in the heart of the city, aka Gig City.St. James becomes the third Grand Marshal since the Festival was established in 2019, following former RRDC President Brian Redman and Corky Coker in those roles, respectively. The Festival was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Redman returns this year as Grand Ambassador, and Coker has been named Grand Marshal Emeritus.
“We at the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival are proud to have Lyn St. James as Grand Marshal of our third annual Festival,” said Byron DeFoor, founder of the event. “She is a great ambassador to the sport and an outstanding spokesperson for the Festival. Her racing achievements and contributions to the sport are recognized around the world.”
DeFoor added: “We’re also privileged to have Brian Redman continue to support the Festival. He’s been an integral part of the operation since the beginning, and his input is invaluable. And, what can I say about Corky Coker? He’s our local hero whose knowledge about the business of collector cars is unsurpassed. He’s one of us, and we’re honored to have him on board.”
Anyone reading St. James’ resume would be awed by her accomplishments since starting her career in 1973 as an amateur Sports Car Club of America competitor while living and working in Florida. Today she resides in Arizona.
She eventually turned pro and went on to race in 53 SCCA Trans-Am races, scoring seven top-five finishes; 62 IMSA GT races, earning seven wins; and became the only woman to win an IMSA GT race driving solo (Watkins Glen in 1985). St. James found her niche in Indy Car competition, racing in the Indy 500 seven times in nine years, claiming the 1992 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honors in her first Indy Car race.
The former piano teacher and business owner (Dynasales of Florida and Autodyne) held 21 international and national closed circuit speed records over a 20-year period. She’s competed at the 24 Hours of LeMans, the Bonneville Salt Flats, Goodwood Revival, among other major events, and has been recognized by Sports Illustrated and numerous publications throughout her career.
Highlighting St. James’ career were her three invitations to the White House to meet with Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and William Clinton.
“After attending the 2021 Chattanooga Motorcar Festiva,l I was so impressed with how many different activities and events they had going on for anyone and everyone!,” said St. James, a celebrity guest at last year’s Festival. “It’s difficult to do that, and they did it well.
“It was my first time in Chattanooga, and I’m looking forward to being back as the 2022 Grand Marshal. Byron DeFoor is passionate about the event and having it make a positive impact on the community, and those are the things that make for a successful event,” adding, “I was also quite impressed with the mega-screens located throughout the Festival venues last year.”Redman, born in England and now residing in Florida, has claimed nine sports-car road-racing championships in his 60 years of competition, retiring as a pro driver following the 1989 season. He continues to race in vintage/historic events and is the owner of Targa 66, a club for owners of high-performance road and race cars, organizing competitive events around the country. He was inducted into the 2002 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the 2011 International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
“I am delighted to return as Grand Ambassador to the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, a truly amazing event,” said Redman. “In a short space of time Byron DeFoor and his team have created a world-class event bringing thousands of people to beautiful Chattanooga.”
Hershel McGriff will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame next January 20. McGriff joins Matt Kenseth and Kirk Shelmerdine in the 13th HoF class.
McGriff met Bill France Sr. while competing in the Carrera Panamericana in 1950. McGriff won that inaugural Mexican Road Race while France and co-driver Curtis Turner crashed. France was impressed with the Oregon lumberman and talked him into running the inaugural Southern 500 later that year where McGriff finished 9th.
It took a lot of more France persuasion to get McGriff over east for a partial NASCAR Grand National season – 1954 where he won four of the last nine races of the season. Offered a fulltime ride by Carl Kiekhaefer the following season, McGriff declined, returning to the West Coast to be closer to his family. Tim Flock took the seat with Kiekhaefer, winning 18 races and the Grand National Championship.
McGriff’s presence in NASCAR West Coast stock car racing has been long and successful. He competed in parts of 35 seasons, winning 37 races, third all-time, was the 1986 NASCAR Winston West Champion, the oldest driver at 61 to win a NASCAR-sanctioned race, and the oldest at 90 to compete in a NASCAR-sanctioned race.Prior to his entering the NASCAR Hall of Fame, McGriff was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame (2002) and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (2006). He has been a frequent panelist at Bill Warner’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
GORDON MacKENZIE PASSES
Long time member Gordon C. MacKenzie, Sr. recently passed. He was 96 and lived in Millbrook, N.Y. He organized one of the first SCCA driver’s schools back in 1953. MacKenzie had competed in vintage racing well into his 80s.
The RRDC’s SAFE Is Fast program (safeisfast.com) needs your guidance and assistance.
Please help us find our next Presenting Partner by reaching out to your friends in motor sports and introducing safeisfast.com by sharing our 2022 sponsorship pitch with them: https://bit.ly/sif-sponsor-deck.
Over the last ten years, the RRDC’s Daytona and Long Beach banquets have featured films celebrating the club’s success in building safeisfast.com into the most influential online driver development program in the world. The program’s tutorial videos receive 30,000 to 50,000 views the first day each new film is released. There are obvious Presenter benefits to gaining the loyalty of millions of kart, SIM and adult amateur racers when they are just getting started.
What will help us most are personal introductions to companies who know you and might consider us. If you simply prime the pump, we will take it from there.
These new presenters would join two distinguished racing supporters: the FIA that funded SIF’s launch and first next three years, and Honda America that stepped in for another five. As Honda’s John Mendel put it, “The RRDC is a leadership organization, safeisfast.com is a leadership initiative, and Honda is a leadership automotive and motor sports racing company.”
We are deeply grateful to the FIA and Honda but those relationships have run their natural course. Safeisfast.com needs a new leadership company to help promote our sport.
A Presenting sponsorship is under $200,000 a year with participating sponsors represented for $50,000 a year. The funding flows through the Mark Donohue Foundation, a 501( C)(3) organization, providing charitable deductions to commercial and private contributors.
The attached PowerPoint presentation documents the invaluable time and expertise donated by nearly 300 championship drivers and industry luminaries who teach our tutorials and, together, constitute “The Faculty That Money Can’t Buy.” Now, they and we need your help in spreading their message and growing racing instruction that is free to all throughout the world.
Contacts needing further information can get in touch with me directly: email@example.com. Thank you for considering this critical request.
Jim Mullen, Executive Director, SafeIsFast.com
Long Beach, Calif. (April 9, 2022) – The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) announced its 2023 Induction Class during the Stand 21 Racing Goes Safer seminar at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Class of ’23 includes two honorary members of the RRDC – Drs. Stephen Olvey and Terry Trammell. The pair revolutionized racetrack emergency services, in doing so setting new standards for every form of motor racing, resulting countless lives saved.
In the 1970s, Olvey developed the first US traveling motorsports medical team for what is today’s IndyCar Series. During their tenure in open-wheel racing, the only deaths were from non-survivable injuries. No driver was paralyzed or failed to return to competition. Many were saved from amputation. Both remain consultants to IndyCar. Trammell won the 2021 Louis Schwitzer Award for biomedical engineering advances for driver safety.
The induction ceremonies for the 2023 MSHFA Class are set for March 6-7, 2023, at the Hall’s home in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Current RRDC members in the MSHFA include: Mario and Michael Andretti, Derek Bell, Geoff Brabham, Emerson Fittipaldi, George Follmer, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Dario Franchitti, Chip Ganassi, Janet Guthrie, Jim Hall, Hurley Haywood, David Hobbs, Jacky Ickx, Parnelli Jones, Tommy Kendall, Arie Luyendyk, Hershel McGriff, Rick Mears, Leo Mehl, Augie Pabst, Roger Penske, Ed Pink, Sam Posey, Scott Pruett, Bobby Rahal, Brian Redman, Johnny Rutherford, Ken Squier, Judy Stropus, Danny Sullivan, Bob Tullius and Al Unser Jr.
A number of deceased RRDC members are also among the MSHFA honorees: John Bishop, Bob Bondurant, Briggs Cunningham, Mark Donohue, Chris Economaki, John Fitch, Richie Ginther, Peter Gregg, Masten Gregory, Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, Al Holbert, Bruce McLaren, Peter Revson, Carroll Shelby, Al Unser, Bobby Unser and Brock Yates.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 8, 2022) – Four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears was honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club in front of a capacity crowd at the April 7 RRDC Evening with Rick Mears Presented by Firestone. The audience included auto racing dignitaries, corporate executives and champion race-car drivers, and was held prior to the running of the 47th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach at the Hilton Hotel.
Also in attendance were representatives from the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship and other vintage, amateur and semi-professional series.
It was the RRDC’s 12th annual banquet honoring auto racing’s most influential leaders, and the organization is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
Originally scheduled for 2020, the event was postponed for two years due to the pandemic.
Previous honorees were Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian Redman, Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, George Follmer, Emerson Fittipaldi, Johnny Rutherford and David Hobbs. Andretti, Penske and Hall were in the audience to help recognize the newest member of this elite group.
On behalf of Firestone Racing, which has been the presenting sponsor of the RRDC “Evenings” for 11 years, Lisa Boggs, Director, Bridgestone Americas Motorsports, said, “I guess the third time is really the charm. Rick is legendary. One of the best to ever pilot an Indy Car. But it’s really his grace and kindness to the fans and to everybody in the sport that sets him apart. That’s what a legend really is.”
RRDC President Bobby Rahal recognized event sponsors Firestone, INDYCAR, Lexus Racing, Arrow McLaren SP, Doug Mockett & Company, Jimmy Vasser’s V12 Vineyards, Jeff O’Neill’s Robert Hall Winery, and Chris Locke’s Checkered Past Productions.
A short video written and voiced by Sam Posey, chronicled Mears’ career and personality. “Outside the cockpit the quiet Californian drew little attention to himself and then in victory he was subdued – as if for him it was nothing exceptional. And it wasn’t,” Posey narrated. “Roger Penske’s confidence in Rick was a testament to the kind of driver he was. All go and no show. After their first season together, Rick never drove for anyone else.”
“We tried to have this event two years ago, then one year ago,” said Rahal. “And now we’re here and I want to thank you all for staying the course, not just to come together tonight to honor Rick but also to have a great time amongst friends in the industry that we love so much and care so much about.
“I’m really pleased and appreciative that Rick didn’t get bored over the last three years and decide not to come. So, thanks, Rick.”
Rahal continued, “There’s no question that Rick, aside from being a four-time Indy 500 champion, was clearly one of the greatest drivers in INDYCAR history. I am privileged to have counted Rick as one of my fellow competitors at the time and I’m really pleased that he’s here tonight to talk racing with all of us.”
Rahal then “interrogated” Mears on his dynamic career in the style of “Late Night with David Letterman,” covering the gamut of Mears’ racing history, including the challenges of switching from ovals to road courses, his recovery from his 1984 and 1992 crashes, his longtime and continuing association with Roger Penske, his life-changing decision to finally retire from racing, and ‘life lesson’s learned’ from Bobby Unser.
Roger Penske, for whom Mears drove from 1978-1992 and with whom he continues to this day as a member of Team Penske, joined Mears and Rahal on stage, talking about their successes, failures and enduring respect for each other.On receiving this recognition, Mears said, “I’m just honored, honored, honored. This is a great event for a great cause. Just to have all your friends, race friends and peers come together like this is just a great opportunity for me. I don’t know how to explain it; it’s just a great feeling.”
As for the RRDC’s third attempt to honor him, “The third time’s the charm,” he said. “I’m glad everybody was persistent and came back. It’s a real racer’s deal all the way through.”
Featured on the patio during the cocktail reception sponsored by INDYCAR was the 1977 Porsche 934.5 which Bruce Canepa, Mears and Monte Shelton took to a podium finish in the 1979 Daytona 24 Hours. The Porsche resides in the Canepa Motorsports Museum in Scotts Valley, California.Auctioned off at the dinner was a selection of photos contributed by some of racing’s leading photographers — all autographed by Mears — as well as the massive Randy Owens stage banner, depicting the Gould Charge Special that Mears took to the first of his four Indy 500 wins in 1979 — and the original artwork that Owens produced for the evening. Also included was a new hard-back edition of the Racemaker Press book, “Rick Mears — Thanks,” signed by the author, Gordon Kirby, as well as Mears and Penske, a 1:18-scale collectable die-cast model of Mears’ Indy 500 winner from 1979, plus original artwork from RACER Magazine’s in-house artist Paul Laguette.
The dinner’s proceeds help support the RRDC’s young driver initiatives, including its groundbreaking SAFEisFAST.com program, and the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997.
Cloaked in immense respect from those who competed under his command, the sight of Marty Kaufman at an American Le Mans Series or IMSA event brought a sense of calm and confidence. The veteran race director, whose steady hand and warm character ensured the spotlight stayed on the stars of the sport, died Thursday night at the age of 82 after myriad health issues.
Brought home from hospice during the recent 12 Hours of Sebring, the native of Fresno, California, died at peace with his wife Jan and other family members at his side.
The son of a performance auto parts store owner, Kaufman was an avid drag racer in his youth before turning his attention to volunteering at Sports Car Club of America events as a race steward. By 1962, he joined USARM — the United States Auto Race Marshals organization – while contributing as a member of the San Francisco SCCA region’s board of directors.
Through the SCCA, Kaufman was appointed as race director for its pro racing Trans Am series in the mid-1980s, and in 1986 he was courted by IMSA to oversee its wildly popular championship. Before retiring in 2010, Kaufman would ascend to considerable heights, spending 25 years as the race director for IMSA and the ALMS, and in an honor for an American at a distinctly French event, he earned the trust of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest — organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – and was installed as its assistant race director for a decade.
Kaufman’s approach to presiding over a motor race was decidedly ‘old school.’ He held firm to remaining in the background and making calls without the intrusion of cameras and microphones being inserted into the process. He also embraced another time-proven method of governance by limiting his time in race control to only the periods where the cars were on track. As endurance racing’s top referee, Kaufman spent the majority of his days in the paddock, fellowshipping with the drivers and mechanics and team owners to form strong bonds that ensured his decisions — often to their detriment — came from someone they knew and understood on a personal level.
Despite wielding considerable power to judge and penalize, Kaufman was well-received by the paddock as a result of his continual efforts to erase any notion that he was different or more important than the men and women competing in the races.
“Marty was the face of IMSA way back when I began,” said Bill Auberlen, whose Hall of Fame driving career began around the same time Kaufman arrived in the series. “He was a quiet supporter of mine and would always send a congratulations after an event. I’m sure he did that for the majority and that gives you an idea of how always thoughtful a person he was. The world has lost a great man.”
Rob Dyson’s teams were a fixture in IMSA and the ALMS where the championship-winning Dyson Racing program became part of both series’ lore.
“Marty Kaufman was a man who was always consistent, paid attention to detail and was fair–key ingredients to being a race director,” Dyson said. “He was always available and was easy to discuss issues that occur every racing day. I have to admit, however, I don’t think I won one argument over the decades of his stewardship, which for me and my fellow competitors, was probably a good thing. He was unflappable under the pressures any race director experiences. Never lost his cool. And was a dear friend for the rest of his life. We share our deepest condolences to his family and all of our mutual racing friends. Rest in peace, Mr. Kaufman.”
Doug Fehan led the iconic Corvette Racing institution in the ALMS, and beforehand, he was involved with other efforts dating back to Trans Am and the glory days of IMSA GTP where Kaufman’s touch was felt across hundreds of events. It was a disagreement between the program manager and race director that revealed another important aspect of Kaufman’s character.
“We butted heads on more than one occasion and we had one big issue where Marty made a ruling that adversely affected the program on which I was working; it was a serious issue,” Fehan said. “And as time went forward, he found out that he was incorrect and that my position was actually the correct position on the matter. He could have just said, ‘OK,’ and left it there, but he didn’t. He came to me and apologized profusely and said, ‘You know, I’ve got to learn to listen better.’
“From that point forward, we had a great friendship. Our bond grew after that to the point where I can tell you this right up until his retirement, we communicated after every race. Every race that Corvette raced, we would communicate and we remained friends after he retired. That’s how our relationship deepened, and that’s the respect that that that we had for each other. It came from the respect he had for competitors.”
Renowned crew chief and race engineer Brad Kettler was a big part of the ALMS with the Champion Audi and Audi Sport prototype efforts. Like Dyson and Fehan, he got to know Kaufman from semi-frequent visits for reckonings with the person running the show.
“I was still pretty young in the business when I made crew chief and engineer status,” Kettler said. “This included going to the tower to see the race director. The walk to the tower was the right amount of time to compose oneself and prepare your argument. Marty always met me with civility and reason. This can come off wrong to someone who is mad as a hornet. Nevertheless, I always appreciated his manner and even though I seldom got what I came for, I was usually satisfied with the outcome, or had to be. My appreciation for him grew during the formative time of the ALMS.
“Introducing a whole new set of rules and actions was quite a transition for sports car racing here in the States, and our wild pair of drivers in 2003 were Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto, which brought frequent trips to the tower for myself or Mike Peters. These would occasionally end up in some spirited discussions with the race director and stewards. This led to the invention of the ‘anger management’ program as we called it at Champion. Patches were made for the drivers suits and the back of their gloves. The logo was a clenched fist in a racing glove.
“This was a symbol to the drivers to temper their actions just a little and to everyone else to make sure they were aware of the scrutiny we’d receive. The drivers had some fun with it practicing their deep breathing exercises, and in the end, it was all a reaction to a strong set of rules fairly applied. Marty Kaufman was a big part of that.”
Adding to the thoughts from those in the paddock, Kaufman was steeped in respect and appreciation by those who worked alongside him, including the man he succeeded.
“In the late 1980s, John Bishop, George Silbermann and I chose Marty to take George and my place as IMSA’s race director in race control, allowing us the opportunity to grow into larger roles within IMSA,” said Mark Raffauf, IMSA’s senior director of competition.
“Marty had worked with us for many years already supporting us at West Coast events and we knew he had the right stuff. In a time where the race director made all of the calls by himself, and directed all of IMSA’s series at each event, Marty met that challenge seamlessly by maintaining IMSA’s ‘racing with a difference’ philosophy. For over a decade, he steered IMSA through all of the events with integrity, consistency and calmness. Even those who may have been on the wrong side of a decision would admit after the fact that Marty was fair, which is the highest compliment one can give a race official with that high level of responsibility. He always knew what the ‘right thing to do’ was. May he rest in peace.”
And before he became the president of IMSA in its modern guise, John Doonan ran Mazda’s factory ALMS prototype campaigns and credits the Army veteran’s philosophy and style of race management that carries on today in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“He always had a reverent tone on the radio, which earned respect – respect that he deserved,” Doonan said. “I thought that he was very common sense in his decisions and the way he managed the races, and I think he was the ultimate teacher on what we do and why we do it the way we do it.
“I know maybe specific regulations have changed over the years, but for the most part, we’re still using and applying many of the lessons we learned from him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Jan, his family and his many friends and colleagues throughout the IMSA paddock.”
INDYCAR will support the RRDC Evening with Rick Mears presented by Firestone by hosting the pre-dinner reception at the Road Racing Drivers Club’s annual West Coast banquet, held prior to the 47th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.) on April 7, 2022.
Rick Mears, four-time Indianapolis 500 champion, winner of 29 INDYCAR SERIES races in his career, and an enduring member of Team Penske following his retirement, will be honored by his peers at the RRDC’s 12th annual legends dinner.
“The members of the RRDC are honored to have INDYCAR host the reception at this year’s RRDC Evening with Rick Mears,” said RRDC president Bobby Rahal.
“With RRDC member Roger Penske’s new role with INDYCAR, the level of awareness of such a dynamic racing series and organization has been raised,” added Rahal. “We at the RRDC are proud to have INDYCAR support our RRDC Evening with Rick Mears, and we look forward to a continuing productive association.”
“Rick Mears was simply magical on the racetrack,” said Penske Entertainment President and CEO Mark Miles. “His first of three INDYCAR SERIES championships in 1979 set the stage for what would become a stellar career. At Indianapolis, Rick’s record-tying four victories in the Indianapolis 500, record six pole positions and 11 front row starts are iconic accomplishments. Additionally, his popularity during his annual return to Indianapolis is a shining example of how he remains a rich part of the fabric of the Brickyard. We are pleased to support the RRDC and their much-deserved recognition of a true legend in our sport.”
The RRDC Evening with Rick Mears Presented by Firestone will be held on Thursday, April 7, 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 $300 per person ($280 for RRDC members), although there are very few available seats remaining. No walk-ups. Please contact Jeremy Shaw for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The dinner’s proceeds will help support the RRDC’s young driver initiatives, including its groundbreaking www.SAFEisFAST.com presented by Honda program and the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997. Previous banquets have honored Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian Redman, Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Unser, George Follmer, Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford and David Hobbs, drawing fans and luminaries from all forms of motorsports.
Patricio O’Ward, driver for Arrow McLaren SP in IndyCar, is the latest online driving instructor for SAFEisFAST.com.
In 2017 he made the jump to Indy Lights and in his second season he won the championship with Andretti Autosport in 2018. He made his IndyCar debut with Harding Steinbrenner Racing at the end of 2018, before joining for half the season with Carlin in 2019.
Alongside his IndyCar commitments, he raced in Super Formula in Japan and raced in a one-off round in the FIA Formula 2 Championship at the Red Bull Ring after signing as a Red Bull Junior Driver.
In 2020 he joined Arrow McLaren SP and achieved a top three finish in the championship in 2021, which earned him a test drive of their Formula One car at the end-of-season rookie test at Abu Dhabi.
For the 2022 season he continues to race for Arrow McLaren SP alongside LMP2 team Dragon Motorsport in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.
Send your questions to Pato here.
Fellow Racers, for years Karting has been considered the best path to becoming a race driver.
But recently top iRacer Max Esterson showed there’s another route. Switching to cars, he won a Team USA Scholarship and then finished first and second in the world’s two most prestigious Formula Ford races.
Has Sim Racing now become the best way to break into the sport?
In our latest video, Max explains why he thinks so.
And a group of top drivers including IndyCar’s Pato O’Ward and Le Mans winner Loic Duval express their doubts. Plus Conor Daly, Spencer Pigot, Nick Tandy and Zak Brown offer their perspectives.
Vic Elford, among the world’s most versatile race drivers ever, passed away Sunday (March 13) after a long bout with cancer. He was 86. Elford excelled in every form of motorsport he attempted from pavement to dirt to sand and gravel. Marshall Pruett penned a wonderful remembrance of the Londoner on Racer.com – a must read with the heartfelt recollections of Patrick Long, Dario Franchitti and Juan Pablo Montoya.
STATEMENT FROM RRDC PRESIDENT BOBBY RAHAL ON THE PASSING OF VIC ELFORD:
I, like so many people worldwide, was saddened to learn of Vic Elford’s passing earlier this week. Vic, perhaps alone amongst his peers, took on any challenge, from Formula 1 to Can-Am; from sports cars to rallying, from Trans-Am to NASCAR!
“The RRDC had the honor and privilege to award Vic the Phil Hill Award at Daytona in 2015 and, as expected, he entertained us all that evening with tales of conquering the Porsche 917 and other driving experiences.
“In 1970-71 I had the personal experience to see Vic practice his craft at Sebring, culminating in his great victory alongside his partner Gerard Larrousse…and then going on to wheel Jim Hall’s Chaparral 2J. And who could forget Vic bravely wrestling the AVS Shadow? Vic impressed everyone with his courage, bravery and skill.
“On behalf of all of us at the RRDC, we extend our deepest sympathies to Vic’s family.”
Road Racing Drivers Club
Road Racing Drivers Club President Bobby Rahal cordially invites you to attend the RRDC Evening with Rick Mears Presented by Firestone:
Long Beach Hilton, Thursday, April 7
Seats $280 ($250 for paid-up RRDC members only) in advance (or $300/$270 after March 28)
Reservations Required (to email@example.com)
RICK MEARS – THANKS!
Google “Rick Mears” and, by rights, you should be directed to multiple Wikipedia entries: Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner of course, but also racer and gentleman. For his singular fusion of scrupulously clean racing and modest grace made Rick not just a racer’s racer, but one of motorsports’ finest ambassadors; one who autographed countless hats and tee shirts “Rick Mears – Thanks!” And meant it.
Although he didn’t make the show in his first go-round at Indianapolis, Rick caught the eye of Roger Penske who offered him a part-time ride the following season. All the kid from Bakersfield did was qualify on the front row at Indianapolis and collect the first three of his 29 IndyCar wins later that season, securing a job with The Captain.
The next year Mears captured his first Indy 500 and National Championship. Two more Indy wins, a pair of national titles, even a promising F1 test followed. But all was not milk and champagne. In ’84 a crash resulted in terrible lower extremity injuries. Following an agonizing rehabilitation, he returned to action, winning the Pocono 500 less than a year after his accident.
Victorious from Phoenix to Brands Hatch, Milwaukee to Laguna Seca, Rick had a special affinity for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When a defective wheel nut sent him into the wall during practice in ’91, it was the first time he had so much as spun at The Brickyard. Undaunted, he rebounded to secure a record sixth pole before besting Michael Andretti in an heroic duel to join A.J. Foyt and Al Unser in one of racing’s most exclusive clubs.
While Rick Mears the driver retired after the following season, Rick Mears the racer and gentleman did not. As spotter/advisor he has contributed mightily to the eight championships and 10 Indianapolis 500 wins earned by Team Penske since ’92 – not to mention mentoring Helio Castroneves, the newest member of the four-time Indy winner club – as he has continued signing ever more hats and tee shirts “Rick Mears – Thanks.”
When we first decided to honor Rick in 2020, little could anyone have known he was destined to become the first (and we hope, only) member of the thrice-delayed RRDC dinner honoree club.
I’m sure you’ll agree it’s been worth the wait, and I hope you’ll join me at the RRDC dinner for our turn to say “Thank you – Rick Mears.”
Outdoor cocktails will commence at 6:00 p.m. Dinner is at 7:15 p.m. sharp.
Tickets for our 12th Annual Legends Dinner are expected to sell out quickly, so don’t get left behind.
RRDC President Bobby Rahal
RSVP to Jeremy Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org, then complete the attached form and mail it, along with a check made out to RRDC, to:
John C. Fergus, RRDC Treasurer, 8377 Green Meadows Drive N, Suite A, Lewis Center, OH 43035.
Our thanks to Dan R. Boyd, Racemaker Press, Gordon Kirby, David Phillips and Paul Laguette.
The Feb. 18, 2022 issue of Autosport National featured a five-page cover story on Team USA Scholarship, Jeremy Shaw’s on-going venture to introduce promising young American talent to the caldron that’s the European open-wheel ladder. This year, 19-year-old New Yorker Max Esterson dominated 21st Annual Walter Hayes Trophy Grand Final at Silverstone. Team USA also competes in the annual Formula Ford Festival, usually at Brands Hatch.
Shaw, the 2020 recipient of the RRDC’s Bob Aiken Award, has spent the past 32 years developing Team USA Scholarship with participants including Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Memo Gidley, Jerry Nadeau, Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly, Connor De Phillippi, Tristan Nunez. Oliver Askew and Kyle Kirkwood.
The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving lost its venue with the passing last November of its founder and namesake. The remaining core of the organization has been working tirelessly since to secure a new facility and plans to make a major announcement in that regard in the near future.
IMSA President John Doonan (right) and SCCA VP of Road Racing Eric Prill were guests on Brian Bielanski’s RacingWire Network Podcast, Feb. 4. They discussed how the two organizations are working together and how that partnership can expand. The two have worked together for many years when Doonan was head of Mazda’s motorsports department, the company was a stout supporter of the SCCA’s competition programs. Click here and then click on the Feb. 4 podcast: “Inside the SCCA – IMSA and the Future of Motorsports”.
JUSTIN BELL LAUNCHES “LIFE. WITH LEGENDS” PODCAST
Justin Bell, who has spent a lifetime in motor racing either behind the wheel winning, the 1997 FIA GT2 Championship and a class victory at the 24 Hour of Le Mans, and as a broadcaster from the world’s largest races over the past 12 years, today announced the launch of “Life. With Legends,” a bi-weekly podcast premiering in February on Patreon.
Kicking off the “Life. With Legends” series, JB sits down with his father Derek Bell, five-time Le Mans Winner and two-time world sportscar Champion. They cover everything from Derek’s relationship with Enzo Ferrari to how he really felt about Justin’s racing career. Also this month, Justin got to spend time with former Ferrari and McLaren driver Stefan Johansson in his beautiful art studio in Santa Monica.
Over the years, Justin’s friendships with some of the biggest names in the sport, has given him many memories of great conversations that sadly, will never be heard by most of us. For example, Jacky Ickx and his father Derek Bell at dinner during Le Mans in 2021, sharing stories about the behind-the-scenes moments of their Le Mans wins together (some funny, some rude, some sad).
“The inspiration for ‘Life. With Legends,’ is for me to capture the stories of these motor racing legends, through an intimate conversation, talking about the moments that occurred (often) between the big race wins,” said Bell. “The podcast will bring a unique perspective to some of the most famous (and sometimes hilarious) moments in motor sports and share with a wider audience just how incredible these men and women really are”.
Justin is also using the opportunity to sit down with his heroes to indulge his passion for portrait photography, the results of which will be for sale on a new photography website as a series of limited edition signed prints. (Details coming soon)
Life. With Legends will be launching in early February on Patreon with two guests per month, for a nominal subscription of $4 for the audio version only, and $5 for the video version.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 26, 2022) – Spencer Brockman and Scott Twomey were named the 50th and 51st recipients of the RRDC Mark Donohue Award. This unique award is presented annually by the Road Racing Drivers Club for outstanding performance, competitiveness and sportsmanship during the Sports Car Club of America National Championship Runoffs®. It is voted on by RRDC members attending the Runoffs and/or viewing them live online.
There was no RRDC members’ dinner held in 2021, due to the pandemic, so both awards were presented at this year’s event at the 500 Club at Daytona International Speedway on January 26, prior to the running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season opener of the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Brockman, of Westport, Connecticut, was first up to receive the honor from Calvin Stewart, the 2015 Mark Donohue Award winner and award committee chairman. Driving the No. 34 Mazda of Milford/Hoosier Swift 014a Mazda at the 2020 Runoffs, Brockman had started from the Formula Atlantic class pole and after a spirited 13-lap race swapping the lead with two other drivers, he claimed his first Runoffs win by a 2.216-second margin on Road America’s 4.048-mile circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Brockman recognized his father, Mike Brockman, an RRDC member who died in 2019, in the winner’s circle. “This win is for my dad,” he said.
“With my father having a career in racing and his personal relationship with Mark, I grew up knowing about Mark, reading about him. He was one of those drivers who seemed to be a step above everyone else in the field. He was achieving things that others weren’t. It was something I could always look up to. Just to be mentioned in the same conversation with him and to receive the Mark Donohue Award, I can’t even explain what it means to me. It’s a very special award for me tonight, absolutely,” said Brockman.Twomey’s victory, from second place on the GT-Lite grid, came at the 2021 SCCA Runoffs held on the 2.592-mile road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Twomey, from Tacoma, Washington, earned his first career gold medal driving the No. 11 Poulsbo RV/Pat’s Autosport/Top Tech Nissan Tercel. He and pole sitter Chris Bovis were side by side entering the final turn following a race-long battle, with Twomey taking the win after 19 laps by a 1.033-second margin.
“I follow a lot of racing history and I know what Mark Donohue meant to the sport and so it’s a really big honor to have my name affiliated with his on the award. Very, very special,” said Twomey.
RRDC president Bobby Rahal, a Runoffs champion (1975 Formula B) long before he won the 1986 Indianapolis 500, emphasized the RRDC Mark Donohue Award is “about personal spirit and performance behind the wheel. Those qualities are more important for this award than winning the race,” he said. “The RRDC honors Spencer and Scott not only for their outstanding drives to win, but for their passion for the sport they’ve embraced and for being so cool under pressure.”
Every year, the RRDC Mark Donohue trophy is an engraved glass top mounted on a special, racing-experienced wheel, provided by an RRDC member. The wheels for the 2020 and 2021 awards were donated by RRDC member Wayne Taylor.
One of the wheels was from the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05, driven by Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves, the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech DPi champions and race winners that year at Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio and twice at Road America.
The other wheel was from the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05, driven to victory by Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi and Helio Castroneves at the 2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona and at Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca. They also became the 2021 Michelin Endurance champions.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2022) – Jeremy Shaw, motorsports writer, commentator and founder of the Team USA Scholarship, was named the 2020 recipient of the RRDC Bob Akin Award. He was honored at the annual Road Racing Drivers Club members’ dinner on January 26, prior to the running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season opener of the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
A recipient of the Bob Akin Award was not selected for 2021. The next presentation will be made in 2023 recognizing the 2022 honoree.
Each recipient of this honor, considered the top prize in motorsports for amateur, vintage/historic or semi-professional drivers, is selected by Akin’s son Bobby, RRDC members Brian Redman and Judy Stropus, and approved by RRDC president Bobby Rahal.
The distinctive trophy was conceived by the RRDC in 2003 to honor the memory of longtime RRDC member and past president Bob Akin, who lost his life following a testing accident in 2002.
It was designed by Steuben Glass in Corning, N.Y., and is given to a driver who best exemplifies the extraordinary qualities and characteristics that Akin represented, including a passion for motorsports and automobiles, a high level of sportsmanship and fair play, and who has contributed to the sport of motor racing and the community at large.
The primary award, etched with the names of the recipients, is displayed at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Each honoree receives a smaller replica.Jeremy Shaw has been writing and commentating about motorsports since the early 1970s, developing a passion in his native England while attending school just a few miles from the Silverstone circuit. He began as a contributor to Motoring News, and, after several years on the staff at Autosport, moved to California in 1985 to be editorial director at On Track Magazine.
He later branched out into commentary, initially on the Indy Car Radio Network. After the demise of CART/Champ Car in 2008 he joined IMSA Radio.
Shaw co-authored “Nigel Mansell’s Indy Car Racing” in 1993 and was the editor of the Autocourse Champ Car Yearbook from 1993 until 2006. He continues to provide editorial content for the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires driver development.
He’s competed in a variety of cars and races since the late 1970s, scoring two wins and a lap record in English saloon car races, a class victory in the Snetterton 24 Hours, and an ice racing class win at Eau Claire, Wis. He also enjoyed success in SCCA Racetruck, Sports 2000, American City Racing League, vintage Formula Ford, and claimed over 50 awards in the “Masters” class in the Pacific F2000 Championship in 2006 and 2008.
Seeing an opportunity to give back to the sport, Shaw launched the highly acclaimed Team USA Scholarship program in 1990 to assist young American drivers during the early stages of their careers. To date, more than 50 drivers have been Team USA Scholarship recipients, including Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly, Kyle Kirkwood, Andy Lally and Oliver Askew. The RRDC supports the Team USA Scholarship.Although unable to attend the dinner, Shaw was presented the award by Committee Chairman Judy Stropus. and a video was shown of Shaw’s acceptance.
Stropus read comments from Bobby Akin, also not in attendance, during the presentation. “One of my dad’s big things was helping young people. Both in racing, like getting tires at Lime Rock for a young Sam Posey, or his tireless work for Hackley School in Tarrytown, N.Y., where he had attended as a kid and wanted to give others a chance,” said Akin.
“Our winner exemplifies those traits. He is also a world-class motorsports writer, and I had the pleasure of watching him develop as an on-air talent at SPEED Channel.
“His work with young drivers is the stuff of legend. Many of the talent in this room owe our winner a huge debt of gratitude. The Team USA Scholarship has been bringing some of the best young American drivers to Europe for many years and none of that would have been possible without Jeremy Shaw.
“As a driver, well, he was modest, but the one thing he can say, which not many can, is that he beat David Hobbs!”
“Wow, what an honor!” said Shaw. “Bob Akin was a proper old-school gentleman, someone I always looked up to and enjoyed seeing around the racing paddocks. It’s hard to believe almost 20 years have flown by since his passing.
“He was truly a class act and even to be mentioned in the same sentence as him means the world to me.
“I know he would approve of what we have done with the Team USA Scholarship over the past three decades. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a great many people in the racing community for making it possible and for sustaining it over all these years. It has been a great pleasure to point some very talented youngsters in the right direction.
“In particular, I would like to thank Bobby Akin, Judy Stropus and Brian Redman for this tremendous honor, and thanks also to the many members of the Road Racing Drivers Club for their continued support and encouragement.”
Shaw resides in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.
Past RRDC Bob Akin Award honorees:
2003 – Sam Posey
2004 – Charlie Gibson
2005 – John Fitch
2006 – Jim Haynes
2007 – Cameron Argetsinger
2008 – Jim Downing
2009 – Steven J. Earle
2010 – Augie Pabst
2011 – Don Knowles
2012 – Miles Collier
2013 – Peter Sachs
2014 – Bill Warner
2015 – Judy Stropus
2016 – Murray Smith
2017 – Archie Urciuoli
2018 – Jeff Zwart
2019 – Rob Dyson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2022) – Scott Atherton, former President of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), was honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club with the 2021 Phil Hill Award. The 2019 award recipient, RRDC President Bobby Rahal, made the presentation at the annual RRDC members’ dinner on January 26 prior to the running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season opener of the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.The Phil Hill Award has been presented annually since 1993 to the person who the RRDC feels has rendered outstanding service to road racing. The recipient may be a driver, entrant or outstanding member of a sanctioning body.
It is named in honor of America’s first Formula 1 World Champion (in 1961), and is not only a tribute to his masterful accomplishments on the race track, it also recognizes his contributions as a great ambassador for the sport. Hill passed away in 2008.
Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Scott Atherton was best described by the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, Bob Varsha, as “a four-decade veteran of motorsports with a unique perspective on the entirety of road racing: as a race-car driver, track General Manager, CEO at Panoz Motor Sports Group overseeing the creation of championship-winning race cars, building the American Le Mans Series, spending two decades as President of the International Motor Sport Association, and so much more.”
The “so much more” includes racing go-karts and Formula Fords, working with Tom Gloy’s three-car Formula Atlantic team, and taking on CART team and event title sponsorship responsibilities for Domino’s Pizza, “where I first met Bobby Rahal, among others, in 1985,” he said.
“I spent a total of nine years with Domino’s Pizza, but my real passion was not the pizza business, it was road racing,” Atherton said. He soon became President and General Manager of Laguna Seca Raceway until “Roger Penske called and I left to become President/General Manager of Nazareth (Pa,) Speedway, a part of Penske Motorsports, and eventually ended up as President of California Speedway in Fontana.”
Penske Motorsports Inc. was soon acquired by International Speedway Corporation. “After Penske Motorsports was acquired by ISC I left California Speedway in 2000 to join Don Panoz.” Atherton added. He became President and CEO of Panoz Motor Sports Group, which consisted of IMSA, the American Le Mans Series, Road Atlanta, Sebring Raceway, Mosport, GForce (an IRL constructor), Van Diemen, Elan Composites and Elan Power.“The ALMS became the premier professional sports-car racing championship in North America, the tracks thrived and we earned multiple Indy 500 wins and IRL Championships with Chip Ganassi, Rahal Letterman and Team Penske.
“In 2012 I worked directly with Jim France and Ed Bennett to negotiate the sale of Panoz Motor Sports Group to NASCAR, merging the ALMS and Grand-Am Series into the IMSA Tudor (Now WeatherTech) SportsCar Championship. It was the most difficult process I’ve ever experienced, but it was the catalyst that enabled sports-car racing to be where it is today – stronger than ever.”
Finally, after 38 years in professional motorsports and 20 years as President of IMSA, Atherton retired in 2019. He remains on the Board of Directors of IMSA, is on the Board of Directors of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, and has a motorsports consulting business currently involved in several projects.
He lives in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, with Nancy, his wife of 35 years.
“I can’t put into words how thrilled I am to have been chosen to receive the Phil Hill Award,” he said. “I was literally shaking when Bobby called me with the news. While I consider myself a race fan across many genres, road racing has always been at my core and my only true passion. And to be recognized by my peers for making a contribution to the betterment of road racing is truly a dream come true for me.”
“When you think of class and of accomplishment, you think of Phill Hill. He was a fantastic person who gave a lot back to the sport we love,” said Rahal.
“I don’t know how many trophies you have in your cabinet, Scott, but they’re going to be second to this one. This is the coolest award going.
“When we discussed who’s really deserving of this award, it really became clear to us that Scott was the guy. We’ve been friends since the early ’80s. He went to work at Nazareth for Roger (Penske), then he went to Fontana to work for Roger, and then he came here with ALMS. Every step of the way he’s had tremendous positions of responsibility, and he did a great job.
“Scott, this is a very well-deserved award. I thank you for all you’ve done.”
Past RRDC Phil Hill Award Winners include:
1993 John Bishop
1994 Juan Manuel Fangio II
1995 Leo Mehl
1996 Charlie Slater
1997 Danny Sullivan
1998 Rob Dyson
1999 Bob Fergus
2000 Elliott Forbes Robinson
2001 Bill France
2002 Jim Downing
2003 Derek Bell
2004 Brian Redman
2005 Jim France
2006 Roger Werner
2007 Skip Barber
2008 Roger Penske
2009 Bob Bondurant
2010 Nick Craw
2011 Rick Mears
2012 George Follmer
2013 Peter Brock
2014 Hurley Haywood
2015 Vic Elford
2016 Scott Pruett
2017 Chip Ganassi
2018 David Hobbs
2019 Bobby Rahal
2020 Jack Roush
Fellow Racers, I’ll bet you that every Team Manager in this weekend’s Rolex 24-Hours at Daytona will tell their drivers the same thing before the race: “Go fast, but don’t wreck the car”.
But how do you do that?
In our latest video, a very elite group of champion endurance drivers (Patrick Long, Tommy Milner, Loic Duval, Nick Tandy, Filipe Albuquerque and Spencer Pigot) reveal their secrets of getting through traffic quickly – and safely.
And I think their “secrets” might surprise you a bit.
PARKING INFORMATION FOR RRDC DINNER WEDNESDAY EVENING
- Please enter at Gate 40 off Williamson Blvd. Security/guest services will have a list with your name on it.
- Let them know you are attending the Annual RRDC Dinner in the Daytona 500 Club.
- There will be directional signage to lot 2A and parking staff with golf carts to assist you before and after the event.
- The 500 Club is in the infield tower building located at Victory Circle.
Hagerty announced this week that racing legend Chip Ganassi will serve as Honoree of The 27th Annual Amelia on March 3-6, 2022. Tickets for the 2022 event are available online now through the recently launched ameliaconclours.com website.
Ganassi has touched every major form of North American motorsport plus the ultimate international road race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ganassi’s legacy extends far beyond being an accomplished driver, he is a decorated race team owner that has fielded highly successful teams in INDYCAR, NASCAR, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Extreme E.
Ganassi made his racing debut in the 1981 Robert Bosch Super Vee Championship. In 1982, Ganassi graduated with a finance degree from Duquesne University and started his first Indianapolis 500 in Mario Andretti’s year-old 1981 Wildcat/Cosworth. He was the fastest of a star-studded rookie class qualifying ahead of future “500” winners Bobby Rahal and Danny Sullivan. A year later Ganassi logged two podium finishes and was voted Most Improved Driver, ultimately ranking ninth in the INDYCAR Championship.
Ganassi retired from the Indy car cockpit following a brutal high-speed accident at Michigan International Raceway in 1984. His final race in the cockpit would be at the 1987 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In 1990, Chip Ganassi founded Chip Ganassi Racing, the only team to win the crown jewels of North American racing: the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 and the 24 Hours of Daytona in a 12-month span. Chip Ganassi Racing’s incredible success on the track includes eight victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona (2006-2008, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018), four consecutive INDYCAR Championships twice (1996 through 1999 and 2008 through 2011) and four Indianapolis 500 victories (2000, 2008, 2010, 2012) including a one-two finish in 2012.
Ganassi would return to Le Mans in 2016, this time as an owner flying the Stars and Stripes. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing did not disappoint, scoring another historic Le Mans Ford victory, first, third and fourth in GTE LM Pro, leading all but 26 laps from the pole on the team’s first Le Mans attempt. The landmark victory came on the 50th anniversary of Ford’s historic first overall Le Mans victory in 1966.
Ganassi is also well known for his transformational charitable work for St Jude Children’s Hospital. In 2011 Chip received an honorary Doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University in his hometown Pittsburgh. In 2016, the year of the Le Mans victory for Ford, Chip was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
“Honoring a hero from the racing community is an important component of The Amelia DNA. From the inaugural honoree, Sir Stirling Moss, to the recent celebration of Lyn St. James, The Amelia has anchored the celebration of the automobile to the incredible people who have devoted their lives as ambassadors for driving,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “We are thrilled that Chip Ganassi accepted our invitation. His racing legacy represents Hagerty’s love of driving and passion for the wellness of others.”
CUNNINGHAM FEATURED AT SIMEONE MUSEUM, JAN. 22
In 1950, Briggs Cunningham became the first American since the ’20s to field cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Newspapers of the day called him the leader of “the brave little band of millionaires who carry America’s sports car hopes abroad.” Join us as we take a closer look at one of our nation’s most historically significant “gentleman sportsmen” and examine his life and impact on the world.
Featuring the following Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum (6825 Norwitch Drive, Philadelphia) collection automobiles:
* 1948 Cadillac Series 61
* 1952 Cunningham C-4R Roadster
* 1956 Jaguar D-Type
Tickets are $10-$12 dollars and are free for all Simeone Museum members and children under 18.
The 31st annual Targa 66 gathering for high-performance sports cars and race cars returns to Palm Beach (Fla.) International Raceway on February 11-13, 2022.
Founder and host Brian Redman has extended an invitation to owners of modern high-performance road cars and racing cars of all ages to exercise their cars on the 10-turn, 2.2-mile state-of-the art road course featuring some of the fastest and most challenging corners and straightaways.
Three days of track use are offered, and entrants can expect 6-8 hours of track time on the weekend. “Targa 66 is a relaxed event to get race cars ready for the 2022 racing season or to just exercise them at an interesting track,” said Redman, the world-renowned racing champion who founded Targa 66 in 1991.
“For those in the colder climates, it is a nice time of year to visit Florida, with temperatures expected to be in the high 70s for Palm Beach in February.” Redman added.
The event’s host hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn in PGA Gardens, Florida.
For more information and to register, go to www.gorace.com.
BOB BOIG, 1946-2022
Bob Boig, a four-time SCCA National Champion and 1990 President’s Cup recipient, passed away January 7th at age 75. Boig was proprietor of Boig Motorsports, LLC, specializing in competition parts for a variety of small-displacement race cars, and was a direct supplier of Miata racing parts to Mazda Competition. An engineer by education and experience, Boig developed and marketed muffler systems (Quiet Tubes) and cooling system aids (Cool Tubes). He was a Certified Quality Engineer.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held on Wednesday January 26th from 1-3 pm with a service at 3 pm at the Davis Life Celebration Funeral Home, 619 State Rd. Plymouth (Manomet). In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.
Thanks to the organizational skills of member Lisa Noble, the RRDC will hold its “annual” members’ dinner at the Daytona 500 Club in advance of the 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona. Although we missed having a dinner in 2020 because of the pandemic, we’re back this year in full sway, with awards and recognitions.
The featured award of the evening will be the 28th Phil Hill Award (for rendering outstanding service to road racing).
Also, the 20th Bob Akin Award and the 50th and 51st RRDC Mark Donohue Awards will be presented.
We will also welcome a number of the Rolex 24 At Daytona Grand Marshals, thanks to IMSA, all of whom are RRDC members.
The program is scheduled to end before 10 p.m., so that those participating in the Rolex 24 will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for morning practice.
If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Noble at email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you there!
JEFF O’NEILL MMR 2021 PERSON OF THE YEAR
Vintage racer and vintner Jeff O’Neill has been named 2021 “Person of the Year” by Motorsports Marketing Resources. O’Neill’s 2019 Sonoma Speed Festival featured original vintage racecars, effectively upgrading the quality of the field while reducing the number of entries. The event was well received by the vintage community. After COVID-19 prevented holding the 2020 event, O’Neill moved the 2021 running to Laguna Seca, renaming the festival The Velocity Invitational, again receiving kudos from participants and supporters of vintage racing.
It’s been a good year for O’Neill who also was named 2021 “Person of the Year” by Wine Star Magazine, recognizing his efforts in sustainability in the wine industry with a new groundbreaking waste water treatment system for his Fresno winery and installation of solar panels at his warehouses.
O’Neill is an associate member of the RRDC.
Thomas Eugene McHale, T.E. to all who knew him, died Monday, Dec. 21, from the ravages of colon cancer. He was 68. Marshall Pruett remembered him fondly as “our anchor – our center – in a loud and noisy paddock filled with wanton self-importance.
“Honda’s longtime manager of motorsports communications, the personification of calm and class, was the closest thing we had to a village elder. T.E., with a face that was made to smile, was among the most human and relatable figures in the sport. His keen observations on racing, and life, and music, shared on pit lane, in media centers, or at his beloved Honda hospitality bus, connected us in communal ways.”
Pruett’s remembrance of McHale is at racer.com.