RACING SAFETY SEMINAR PLUS BILL WUESTHOFF’S NEW BOOK

“RACING GOES SAFER” WEBINAR SET FOR MONDAY, NOV. 30

The “Racing Goes Safer” motorsport safety foundation, EPARTRADE and Racer Magazine are teaming up to present a safety webinar during the Online Race Industry Week, November 30 – December 4.

A Crash Course in the History of IndyCar Racing Safety” is the title of the webinar to be presented on Monday, Nov. 30th, at 8:00 AM Pacific, 11:00 AM Eastern.

Race professionals looking to step up their expertise in driver safety won’t want to miss this webinar featuring top race safety experts Dr. Steve Olvey, Dr. Terry Trammell and Yves Morizot (left to right below).

Dr. Steve Olvey, M.D., authored the book, “Rapid Response,” a compelling look at his time working in IndyCar as a doctor, and the frustrations he had to overcome while trying to make motorsport safer. The book was later turned into a film. Dr. Olvey is an associate professor of clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He graduated from Indiana University Medical School in 1969, and soon became the Assistant Medical Director of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Three years later, he developed the first U.S. traveling motorsports medical team for the United States Auto Club (USAC). When Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) separated from USAC, he became CART’s Director of Medical Affairs until 2003, when the original series became Champ Car. In 1982, Dr. Terry Trammell joined Olvey at CART and they have worked closely together ever since. Additionally, Olvey developed the medical program for the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, as Chief Medical Officer for four years. Dr. Olvey has also been the first recipient of the “Racing Goes Safer” Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Terry Trammell, M.D., serves as a safety consultant to IndyCar and is a longtime member of the IndyCar Safety Team. Dr. Trammell has been active in providing trackside medical care since 1973, including serving as orthopedic consultant to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and director of medical services for CART. He is a founding member of the International Council of Motorsport Sciences and a founding fellow of the FIA Institute for Motorsport Safety. Dr. Trammell is a sought-after lecturer on spinal injuries and conditions, and has authored numerous articles published in professional journals.

Yves Morizot founded Stand 21 in 1970, and has continuously delivered technical innovations and safety improvements in the company’s driver safety products to make them exceptionally efficient and comfortable. With 150 employees worldwide, Stand 21 products are hand crafted within Stand 21’s own factories, exceeding the most rigorous safety and medical standards required by the FIA, SFI and the Snell foundation. Stand 21 offers its products to race car drivers through its exclusive network, delivering Stand 21 products in over 50 countries and supplies safety equipment to top racing teams in very different series around the world. Its quality has allowed it to be official supplier for Porsche Motorsport racewear for almost 15 years of continued collaboration.

“This is certainly an all-star cast when it comes to discussing driver safety!” exclaimed Francisque Savinien, founder of EPARTRADE, the digital sourcing platform for the worldwide racing industry. “The value of the perspective to be gained on driver safety from this webinar cannot be overstated.”

“I have worked with both Steve and Terry over the years on improving driver safety. They are friends, and there is no one more dedicated to safety than they are.” said Stand 21 President Yves Morizot.

“These two men are such great heroes of the sport, and have such great stories to tell about their work over the years.” adds Stand 21 Safety Foundation Director Don Taylor.

The Stand 21 Safety Foundation’s Racing Goes Safer seminars began ten years ago, and continue to be dedicated to providing all racers with useful information from internationally known motorsports safety experts. For more info go to RacingGoesSafer.org

Online Race Industry Week, Monday – Friday, Nov. 30 – Dec. 4, is a business-to-business event for members of the worldwide racing industry. Hundreds of companies will be showing off their new racing product lines for 2021 on EPARTRADE, while RACER and EPARTRADE provide 55 hours of technical and business webinars.

One Zoom link provides access to the entire week of webinars. GO to the link below to register and get the Zoom log-in. No charge to attend.
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TdoGM04ZRxq6Ze3MPeInbQ

Racing industry leaders who have committed to participate in state-of-the-industry webinars during Online Race Industry Week include Chip Ganassi, Bryan Herta, Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Doug Boles, Daytona International Speedway’s Chip Wile, SCCA’s Michael Cobb, USAC’s Kevin Miller, Formula D’s Jim Liaw, SRO Motorsports America’s Greg Gill, SVRA’s Tony Parella, Virginia International Raceway’s Connie Nyholm, IMSA’s John Doonan, SCORE’s Jim Ryan, and many more!

 

 

BILL WUESTHOFF’S NEW BOOK: SMOOTH AND FAST, NUFF SAID!

Bill Wuesthoff was among America’s best sports car racers beginning in the mid-1950s and culminating in 1964 after winning the United States Road Racing Championship, USRRC Under 2-liter title. Throughout his ten years competing, Bill kept a low profile as could be expected from someone who enjoyed the battle but shunned the spotlight.   

Robert Birmingham’s personal relationship with Bill Wuesthoff dates back to 1959 and as much as anyone today, recalls Bill’s “smooth and fast” competitions from Sebring and Pensacola, Florida, Watkins Glen and Bridgehampton in the east, to Riverside, Laguna Seca, California and Continental Divide in Colorado out west and countless road-racing venues in between. Internationally, he competed at Mosport, Canada, at Nürburgring in Germany, and in Nassau for the popular yearend Speed Week series.

Bill enjoyed success co-driving with his long-time close personal friend Augie Pabst who penned the book’s foreword, and also with Harry Heuer, Chuck Dietrich, Jim Jeffords, Fred Gamble, Bruce Jennings, Frank Rand, and Joe Buzzetta, all nationally ranked competitors of that era. Team car owners included Heuer’s Meister Bräuser Scarab team, Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team, Ollie Schmidt, Carl Haas, Camarodi USA and Eddie Weschler.

A brief history of Bill’s relationship with automobiles began at a very early age, stemming from his father who was an early Milwaukee Region SCCA member. Post-racing activities centered on automobiles, his professional business, and sons’ Karl and Lee’s ten years of highly competitive off-road racing.

Book features many never-before-published photographs, together with numerous documents and other race-related mementos, total over 150, along with Bill’s 10-year race history. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the recovery of long-forgotten sports car events, tracks and of course, competitors of the 1950s and 1960s. Smooth and Fast, Nuff Said! Will be a wonderful addition to any early motorsports collection.

Ordering information: full color, hardcover, retail $49.95 (plus shipping & handling, WI sales tax where applicable). Order from the publisher: www.henschelHAUSbooks.com or call (608) 576-9747 (credit cards and PayPal accepted) or from the author Bob Birmingham. Email: spiderbob@wi.rr.com or call (262) 238-8773.

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FRIENDS REMEMBER JIM PACE AND GENE FELTON

JIM PACE (1961-2020) remembered by his friend and business partner Byron DeFoor

On July 25, 2020, I stood on the front straight at Road America in Wisconsin and witnessed the most terrifying crash that I had seen in many years. Jim Pace flipped over driving a historic Shadow Can-Am race car, and thousands of people watching were relieved to see him walk away unhurt. Many race-car drivers have had these types of crashes. It is hard to imagine that, after living the perilous life of a race-car driver with all its dangers, a healthy man like Jim could be taken away by a virus called COVID-19.

I awoke last night at 3 a.m. from a dream, hearing Jim’s patient voice in my headset, “Relax, take a deep breath, wiggle your toes, wiggle your fingers, check your mirrors. Get your bearings on where the field is.” Thinking about those reassuring words, I felt special on those late nights, but I learned later in life, when talking to other racers, that Jim was just as calm and nurturing to all of them as well.

Byron DeFoor (right) with his friend and business partner Jim Pace.

While we traveled around the country, recruiting people to attend the inaugural Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, we visited many racing garages, car collectors and their museums. Everyone we met was immediately drawn to Jim’s kindness and Southern charm. One minute he would be under the car talking to the mechanics trying to solve a problem, the next minute he could be in the mayor’s office in a room full of city commissioners convincing them to allow us to do racing in the middle of their city. Everyone felt immediately comfortable with Jim’s kind and genuine personality. They trusted him, just as we always did.

Jim was so proud of his upbringing in Mississippi. He loved to tell stories of his family and his childhood years. In the summers, Jim worked for his grandfather who was a brick mason. Jim learned many things from him. When we were working on a project in recent years Jim was attempting to nurture someone that we were working with. I had already given up on the guy, but Jim continued to try to make the situation work. Finally one day, Jim walked into my office and informed me that our friend was no longer working with us. I asked him what had happened and Jim said he finally had told the fellow what he had heard his grandfather say many times, “Here’s your check, pack up your tools and go home.” Those of you who knew him well know that this did not happen very often with Jim. He just wasn’t that type of guy. 

I loved the story of Jim’s 1994 trip to France to race at Le Mans. When their car, No. 19, rolled to a stop, Jim checked his watch. It was 3 a.m. straight up. He was four miles from the pits and light years away from his hometown in Mississippi. The gearbox had failed on the Mulsanne Straight. Jim got out of the car and leaned up against a guardrail. He watched Porsches, Ferraris and McLarens blowing by over 200 mph. Discouraged, he felt pretty down for a moment. Then he looked at his car and saw his name, Jim Pace, on the window. At that moment, he decided things were not so bad.

Pace holds the 1996 Daytona 24 trophy between his victorious teammates Wayne Taylor (left) and Scott Sharp.

This year’s racing season ends soon. COVID-19 has cancelled many automobile events around the world. I know I am wondering what it will be like next year without Jim. The normal scene would be Jim in his little office packed with computers that contain all the data for his racing clients. Racers would be lined up to meet with him for their sessions. I can hear Jim’s nurturing and patient voice talking to them, “You are getting on the brakes too early, you accelerated too late, don’t pinch the car off, you are losing too much time, etc.”

We all feel that we wish we had more time, more instruction, more of life’s racing adventures with him. Without Jim, we are all going to feel light years away from Mississippi. 

Farewell, my friend. We all hope to see you on the other side. 

With love and respect,

Byron 

[Jim Pace was felled by COVID-19 on Nov. 13 at age 59. He was President and COO of the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival and a member of the RRDC since 2014.]

 

GENE FELTON (1936-2020) remembered by his friend Jonathan Ingram (racintoday.com)

You have to hand it to Gene Felton. He rarely, if ever, lost his cool while winning more production-based races in IMSA than any of his peers, a considerable lot including Peter Gregg, Hurley Haywood and Al Holbert.

Felton, who had 45 career victories in IMSA, died on Friday (Nov. 6) at age 84 after a long bout with emphysema. He was one of the drivers who helped establish IMSA as America’s leading professional road racing series, scoring an over-all victory at Daytona in his first season in 1972 on board a Camaro he built in Atlanta, near his home in Marietta. He returned to win the first IMSA-sanctioned Paul Revere 250 at Daytona the following year. 

A winner of four straight Kelly American Challenge Series championships, Felton’s IMSA career spanned 21 seasons, ending in 1992. At that time, he had won more production-based victories than any other driver.

Felton won a GT-class pole at Le Mans in 1982 on board a Hagan-entered Camaro and the following year won an over-all victory at the Miami Grand Prix in the Camaro. That same 1983 season, he was also victorious in the SCCA Trans-Am Series at the Palm Beach International Raceway driving a Pontiac for Gordie Oftedahl. The following year, he shared the GTO-class winning Camaro at the Rolex 24 at Daytona with two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Terry Labonte and car owner Billy Hagan.

Felton was a five-time starter in NASCAR’s Grand American Series races, finishing second at Road Atlanta to Tiny Lund in 1971. He competed three times at Daytona in NASCAR’s Permatex 200 for Modified entries at Daytona, finishing third in 1976. That same year, Felton drove in his only NASCAR Cup series 500-mile race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for Junie Donleavy and was running at the finish in 16th place. 

Felton’s first professional victory, to take one example of his equilibrium, was a stunning tour-de-Daytona in the rain behind the wheel of a Camaro powered by a 427-cubic-inch Chevy V8. He won what could be regarded as one of the most significant races in IMSA history in 1972 by driving on street tires in the wet to beat a slew of Porsches and Corvettes.

Yet, Felton found himself having to walk into Victory Lane to inform those anointing the wrong man that he had just won the 250-mile season finale. “I was polite and didn’t make a big deal about it,” recalled Felton. “I told them that I believed I had won the race.”  Felton was vindicated by IMSA’s official scorers, but word of his victory did not arrive from the scoring stand in Turn 1 soon enough to take his extraordinary No. 96 Camaro into Victory Lane.

Felton’s remarkable Camaro. [Mark Windecker image]

That first win eventually led to a total of 45 production-based victories in a career that coincided with the “original era” of IMSA under John Bishop. Felton was one of the early and much needed heroes when Bishop created the GT category of IMSA in by a set of rules that allowed GTO (over 2.5-liter engines) and GTU (under 2.5-liters) to race each other competitively.

Having established his credentials, Felton came back in 1973 to the next big sprint at Daytona, the Paul Revere 250, the first IMSA race held on the night before NASCAR’s Firecracker 400. This time, he went straight from a record pole speed to Victory Lane in a ceremony featuring good old No. 96 and his three sons as well as a fashionably decked-out blonde who went by the name of Miss Camel GT.

One of Felton’s rewards the next day was less celebratory. An Associate Press wire service story was headlined, “Greasy Cosmetic Salesman Wins Paul Revere.” But as usual, the man with so much balance behind the wheel took it in stride. “It took more than that to embarrass me at that time,” said Felton. “Just give me the $3,000 winner’s purse and I’ll be fine.

If not very gracious, the headline was accurate. Felton, who owned a cosmetics supply company, sold beauty products by day and worked on his race car by night and on weekends. Since he was the only employee on his team, his hands tended to be grease-stained, especially when he was setting up his car at the race track before driving it.

Felton’s story was as real as it gets, which captured the attention of more than just headline writers who may have thought motor racing belonged to the lower orders. Hall of fame Atlanta sportswriter Furman Bisher set the record straight on the difference between a driver who brought game by building his own cars and those who bought speed and then proceeded to go fast.

Pit stop during 1976 Fall NASCAR Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Junie Donlavy’s Ford. Felton finished 16th.

“The romanticist of racing literature did their best to make Peter Revson an heir of a cosmetics baron, much as he denied it,” wrote Bisher. “Closest he ever got to cosmetics was when he kissed. And of course, there’s a wide gap between being an heir and working at it. Gene Felton goes to the office regularly …” 

Road racing drivers, particularly in IMSA, are often connected to certain manufacturers or cars. For Felton, it was all about General Motors and usually a Camaro. There was a slew of versions that Felton drove and thereby brought to bad-ass status. But it was the good old No. 96 Camaro that put Felton into the limelight in a way that captured the attention of other racers, including the brass in charge at General Motors’ back door racing program, where performance parts were handed over to drivers and teams who knew what to do with them.

The current crop of production-based machinery that showed up at Daytona’s World Center of Speed for this year’s Rolex 24 are fine machines featuring spotless, computer-driven preparation made possible by a cast of thousands back at the shop/factory and a “back door” that hands out millions. In Felton’s earliest days, the only help he got was from an engine builder after scavenging all the parts. Then, to his good fortune, he met a country-bred, high priest of chassis dynamics and the rest became history.

Felton’s NASCAR “Modified”.

While trying to locate a path to becoming a full-time professional, Felton raced in everything from SCCA events to short track ovals on dirt and asphalt, plus NASCAR road races in the Grand American Series. He owned and sometimes wrecked several Camaros along the way. When it came to good old No. 96, the story worked the other way. The car originated in the R&R Salvage yard and after five seasons was sold to another competitor. (The car’s resume also included several Permatex 200 races for NASCAR Modified cars at Daytona, where it was “modified” by removing the front fenders.)

This breakthrough Camaro was race-prepped in a space rented at Peachtree DeKalb Airport, a commuter airport on the northern edge of Atlanta. Several other racers wererenting space there at the time, including the much-accomplished Pete Hamilton, a former Daytona 500 winner, and future V-6 Buick engine guru Jim Ruggles.

Another guy at Peachtree DeKalb was a veteran driver of 178 NASCAR Grand National races (now known as the Cup series). When Felton met him, E.J. Trivette was competing in NASCAR’s Grand American series that featured pony cars on road circuits. Trivette had seen first-hand how Felton could hang with the good ol’ drivers of the Grand American, finishing second to Tiny Lund at Road Atlanta on board one of his earlier Camaros. With an eye on starting a chassis business for circle track and road racers, Trivette began helping Felton put together what became his Camel GT race-winning Camaro. 

“I was learning how to do this from scratch,” said Felton, who used brochures on race set-ups that could be bought from Chevrolet along with performance parts. Trivette, due to his NASCAR experience, taught Felton how to install the high-performance parts produced by Ford’s “back door” operation at Holman-Moody, the quintessential and famed factory NASCAR team. “Technical things, like how to do the springs, a lot of information like that I learned when E.J. got involved. It was all from Holman-Moody and NASCAR.”

Felton scored 46 class victories in IMSA sports car racing in 173 career starts. [IMS Archive image from Getty Images]

While the car itself could not be altered according to IMSA rules, substitution of performance racing parts was standard. So, on the opposite end of Felton’s 427 Chevy V8 was a nine-inch Ford rear end and solid axle, salvaged from a junkyard station wagon.

Before moving along further into the legend of this Camaro, it’s important to note where this car shined was in the shorter events at Daytona in the earliest days of IMSA in 1972 and 1973. These were the fledging years when Bishop was trying to demonstrate there was a market for professional GT racing in the U.S. by attracting fields of cars that featured such entries as the Lotus Europa, Porsche’s 911 S and Carrera, big block Corvettes and Camaros.

Under this format, there were regular sprints on the infield and oval circuit at Daytona, which was owned by Bishop’s partner Bill France, a firm believer in road racing. The Daytona sprints were arguably far more hair-raising than an event that lasted 24 hours. After all, when it came to endurance races at Daytona the IMSA GT cars initially played “field fillers” in the World Championship of Makes events, which were sanctioned by the FIA and featured prototypes.

The stand-alone IMSA sprint races of 1971 and 1972 became an integral part of the acid test for whether Bishop could attract enough GT cars and drivers to actually declare himself to be in charge of professional racing series. It was before Sebring found its way onto the IMSA schedule in 1973. That’s why the season finale in November of 1972 and a 61-car field made such a big impression. John Rodasta, who covered the race for The New York Times, declared IMSA had turned a corner. “For most people, there was little chance John Bishop would be able to put together a viable racing series,” he wrote in his story, noting that the 61-car turnout proved those naysayers wrong.  

After racing at Mid-Ohio and Talladega earlier in 1972, Felton showed up in north Florida for the November finale with what turned out to be a Porsche slayer as well as a Corvette killer. The driver had something to do with it, too. When he asked Trivette’s advice on how to get through Turn 3 at the end of Daytona’s long back straight, the veteran NASCAR wheelman replied, “Put your left foot over your right foot and keep the accelerator mashed to the floor.” Needless to say, this was long before the sports cars began using the bus-stop chicane originally installed at Daytona’s daunting Turn 3 for motorcycles.

Once the Presidential 250 was under way, Felton caught a break when rain began to fall on lap 34, midway in the 66-lap event. After bolting on recapped street tires on street rims, Felton proceeded to run down the leaders in the rain before catching another break. Leader Dave Heinz’s Corvette and the Porsche of another contender, Hurley Haywood (co-driving with Peter Gregg), came together with four laps to go, dropping those two cars one lap off the pace. IMSA officials at the flag stand thought Tony DeLorenzo’s Corvette took the lead, when in fact he was almost a half a lap behind the belatedly declared winner Felton.

At the Paul Revere 250 the following summer, Felton didn’t need a break, although qualifying did not get off to a good start. With perfectionist Trivette running late on his qualifying set-up, Felton missed the beginning of time trials, then complained afterward to his de facto crew chief. “This car just ain’t right,” he said. “Well,” Trivette replied, “you’re on the pole.” Felton and No. 96 beat Bobby Allison’s Grand American record of 108.066 mph from the previous year with an average speed of 115.158 mph. He won the race, which included several entries of Porsche’s new 911 Carrera RS, going away. Compared to the GTU-class Porsches, the infield and road circuit admittedly best suited the V8-powered American muscle cars under IMSA’s rules. Riding on rear tires that looked like a couple of barrels turned sideways, Felton beat all of them, too.

But even with a winner’s purse of $3,000, Felton had to be selective about which races he entered due to the expense of travel, tires, fuel and entry fees. He competed on board the No. 96 Camaro in four more IMSA Camel GT races in 1973, then five events in 1974, when the budget shortfall could not be overcome by Felton and his teamwork with Trivette, who worked for a modest hourly wage. As a race winner, Felton could get deals on tires, race fuel and performance parts. He no longer had to buy his tires from Gene White’s Firestone store in Atlanta, then re-sell them to service stations after races. But the tires and fuel plus the cosmetics supply business and race purses could not underwrite the increasing cost of speed.

 In 1974, the Porsche teams selected by Jo Hoppen, the factory’s American racing director, were able to purchase the factory-built Porsche Carrera RSR cars, which were no longer being used in the International Race of Champions. With rear wings, the RSRs moved up to the GTO class, winning eight of ten races. BMW soon jumped into the fray with its CSL. John Greenwood, with the help of GM, built his eponymous, Bob Riley-designed Corvettes. The Dekon Monza customer cars soon began arriving as well in the newly created All-American GT category driven by Holbert, among others, after he temporarily ditched Porsche. “They got faster and I got slower,” said Felton.

A couple of Earnhardt restorations in Felton’s Roswell shop.

Determined to continue, Felton began racing in the RS series for compact cars on shaved street radial tires. He then came into his own in IMSA’s Kelly American Series, where he won four straight championships, including nine straight from the pole aboard a Chevy Nova in 1980. In all, he won 25 Kelly American races. Felton eventually completed his Daytona resume by winning the 24-hour in the GTO class with Billy Hagan and two-time NASCAR Cup champion Terry Labonte. After winning the class pole at Le Mans in 1982, Felton handed over the Camaro of Hagan to the car owner in first place after his last stint, only to watch from the pits as the victory slipped away. The following year, he scored his third overall Camel GT victory at Miami’s GTO race aboard a Hagan Camaro.

Despite a neck broken in a brutal crash at California’s high-speed Riverside in 1984 during practice for a Trans-Am race, Felton raced for eight more seasons in IMSA. He finished his career in the money after advancing to the vintage ranks. Working out of a garage behind his house in Marietta, he won regularly in cars that were then sold at a handsome price. He also received invitations to bring cars of NASCAR fame that he had acquired to Goodwood in England for the annual ceremonial hill climb, a sort of royal venue of speed, giving an indication of the level of esteem Gene Felton Restorations was held.

Looking back at IMSA in the 1970s, guys like Gregg, Haywood and Holbert carried the show. But given the fact Felton surpassed them all in terms of victories in production cars that totaled 45, you’d have to give a nod to the man from Marietta as one of the original founding stars of IMSA.

[Gene Felton lost his long battle with emphysema Nov. 6. He was 84 and had been a member of the RRDC since 1982.]

 

 

 

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TEAM USA SCHOLARSHIP AT BRANDS HATCH FOR 49TH FORMULA FORD FESTIVAL

TEAM USA SCHOLARSHIP AT BRANDS HATCH FOR 49TH FORMULA FORD FESTIVAL

BRANDS HATCH, DAY 1: Podium for Lee, Fourth and Fastest Race Lap for Aron

Bryce Aron (left) and Jackson Lee at Brands Hatch

WEST KINGSDOWN, England, Oct. 24 – Team USA Scholarship drivers Jackson Lee (below) and Bryce Aron were faced with some changeable conditions on the opening day of the 49th Formula Ford Festival & World Cup at Brands Hatch, but both came through with flying colors. Lee, 18, from Avon, Ind., finished a solid third in his Heat race, while Aron had to be content with fourth in what turned out to be by far the most competitive of the three 15-lap contests which will set the starting order for tomorrow’s pair of Semi Final rounds.

Qualifying in the morning was held in dry conditions. Aron was out first for Heat One, during which he posted the third quickest time behind last year’s Walter Hayes Trophy winner Jordan Dempsey (KMR Spectrum) and veteran Formula Ford ace Chris Middlehurst (Van Diemen LA10).

But the fickle English fall weather lived up its billing as a heavy rain shower left the 1.2079-mile Indy circuit soaking wet by the time the Heat races rolled around.

Dempsey, Middlehurst, Aron and Rory Smith (Medina JL18) were involved in a thrilling battle during the early stages before Smith, moving up impressively from fourth on the grid, edged away to take the victory over Dempsey and Middlehurst, with Aron taking fourth after posting the fastest lap.

Aaron and his trusty mount.

“Great first day of racing here for the Formula Ford Festival,” said Aron. “ The day started off dry in qualifying and ended in some torrential rain for the heat races. I managed to finish fourth in my race after some great battles with very experienced drivers in Jordan Dempsey, Chris Middlehurst and Rory Smith. I also managed to grab the fastest lap in the tricky conditions which made the result a bit sweeter as well. Overall a very good day and we will be looking for more tomorrow.”

Lee lined up fourth on the grid for his Heat race behind Low Dempsey Racing teammate and reigning Formula Festival champion Jonathan Browne, FF veteran (and former FRP F1600 Championship Series winner) Matt Cowley (Van Diemen JL15) and Horatio Fitz-Simon (KMR Spectrum). As expected, Browne romped to a clear victory over Cowley, and while Lee lost some ground on the opening lap, he quickly made his way back, overtaking Fitz-Simon on Lap Five with a strong move around the outside under braking for the notorious Paddock Hill Bend and remaining in third place for the duration.

Lee on his way to a podium finish.

“Another great day at Brands Hatch,” concluded Lee. “I was able to put all of the past week’s testing to good use. Thanks to the hard work of Low Dempsey Racing, I was very comfortable and I was able to put myself in a good position for tomorrow’s Semi Final.

“My lack of rain experience showed on the start where I got too much wheel spin and dropped back to P6. The conditions continued to get worse, but I put my head down and worked my way onto the podium. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s races! I’ve had the most fun and learned a lot this entire experience and I’m excited for the rest of the races.”

Fellow American Max Esterson also finished third in his Heat race aboard another Low Dempsey Racing Ray. The top 14 finishers from each Semi Final race progress through to the 20-lap Grand Final on Sunday afternoon.

 

BRANDS HATCH, DAY 2: Top-Five for Aron, Top-10 for Lee in Dramatic Formula Ford Festival

WEST KINGSDOWN, England, Oct. 25 – This weekend’s 49th annual BRSCC Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch truly lived up to expectations as a trio of young Americans played their part in providing some exceptional racing action in extremely tricky conditions.

Team USA Scholarship ready to roll for 49th Formula Ford Festival Grand Finale.

Bryce Aron, from Winnetka, Ill., looked set for at least a podium finish in his Team USA Scholarship/Low Dempsey Ray. The 17-year-old ran strongly in third place until being elbowed down to fifth following a late-race Safety Car interruption. Teammate Jackson Lee, 18, from Avon, Ind., finished 10th after starting the Grand Final from the 15th grid position.

Fellow American Max Esterson also took full advantage of having competed in a couple of Champion of Brands Formula Ford 1600 races earlier in the month, running extremely well in another Low Dempsey Ray to cross the line in sixth.

Englishman Rory Smith scored a hard-earned victory in the Grand Final aboard B-M Racing’s Medina JL18, narrowly edging the Low Dempsey Racing Ray of last year’s winner Jonathan Browne.

A memorable day began with Lee and Aron lining up fifth and sixth on the grid for the first of two Semi Final races. On an extremely wet track, Aron immediately moved up two positions and began to close in on Jordan Dempsey, last year’s Walter Hayes Trophy winner. On lap 11, Aron made a clean pass on Dempsey to finish third behind Browne and 2019 Avon Tires National Formula Ford 1600 champion Ross Martin.

Aron well positioned on opening lap.

A little farther back, Esterson, after starting fourth, finished a creditable sixth, two positions ahead of Lee who continued his steep learning curve to comfortably earn a direct qualifying position for the all-important Grand Final.

The second Semi Final was won by recently crowned National champion Neil Maclennan, who would line up alongside Irishman Browne on the front row of the grid for the 20-lap Grand Final. Martin and Smith shared row two, with Aron leading the American contingent in fifth.

The weather had brightened significantly in time for the climax to the weekend, although the track remained mainly wet – and promising to make life extremely tricky for anyone who strayed off the slowly drying racing line.

Browne took off into lead, chased by Smith and Maclennan as the trio soon put a little breathing space between themselves and their pursuers. Aron took a couple of laps to dispense with fast-starting Englishman Jack Wolfenden, but once into fourth place began to close quickly on the leaders. Aron even posted the fastest lap of all at one stage as the track slowly continued to dry.

Damp track, maximum adrenaline. Aron leads Lee.

By lap 11, Aron was right with the three leaders, having dragged Martin along for good measure to ensure a thrilling five-car scrap for the lead.

A mistake on lap 14 saw Maclennan exit stage left into the gravel trap at Paddock Hill Bend. By then Smith had made a slight break, leaving Browne to fend off Aron and Martin, with the rest of the pack having been dropped far behind. But all that changed when the Safety Car was deployed to permit the removal of Maclennan’s KMR Spectrum from its precarious position.

The race was restarted with only three laps remaining. Unsurprisingly, the action only intensified from there. Aron, unfortunately, fell victim to a dive-bomb pass at Clearways by Martin, who edged the American wide and cost him valuable momentum. By the time Aron was back up to speed, he had slipped to sixth behind Martin and a pair of experienced Englishmen, Matt Cowley and Chris Middlehurst, although he regained one of those positions a lap later when Martin had a spin of his own.

“Bummed I got shoved off by Ross Martin, which cost me the podium, but all is fair in hard racing,” said Aron. “Overall it was an absolutely amazing experience running against the best in some very tricky conditions. I learned a lot about race craft and mixed conditions throughout the week and am excited to get back at it next week for the Walter Hayes Trophy.”

Esterson crossed the line hot on Aron’s heels in sixth, with Lee making up a couple of positions in the frantic final stages to claim 10th at the checkered flag.

“This past week has been an experience like none other,” said Lee. “I have been a part of big races before, but nothing like the Formula Ford Festival. The atmosphere of the event rivaled some of the biggest races in the world.

About that learning curve, Jackson?

“The amount I was able to learn this week was immeasurable. Racing against the toughest Formula Ford drivers in the world has already changed me as a driver. I am much more calculated when setting up passes and I have gotten more rain racing experience this week alone than in my entire racing career.

“I wish that we had another day or two of racing here at Brands Hatch. Now that I’ve made these strides as a driver, I feel I would be able to really challenge the leaders. I can’t wait to apply what I’ve learned next week at Silverstone.”

So a successful weekend for the Low Dempsey team saw all four cars finish among the top 10. But there will be no time to relax as on-track preparations for next weekend’s Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone begin on Wednesday.

“I’m so proud of how these young men acquitted themselves in very challenging conditions,” said Team USA Scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw. “This has been a difficult year in so many ways, but I am extremely grateful for our cadre of supporters who make this program possible. Thank you all very much.”

 [Action images by Gary Hawkins].

 

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TEAM USA SCHOLARSHIP AT BRRC NATIONAL FF CHAMPIONSHIP

TEAM USA SCHOLARSHIP GETS FEET WET AT SILVERSTONE

SILVERSTONE, ENGLAND, Oct. 10 – After two weeks of mandatory COVID-19 quarantine, Team USA Scholarship drivers Bryce Aron and Jackson Lee gained some valuable experience today in both wet and dry conditions during the final two rounds of the BRSCC Avon Tyres National Formula Ford 1600 Championship on the Silverstone International circuit.

Bryce Aron prepares to tackle Silverstone.

Aron, now 17, from Winnetka, Ill., claimed a best finish of fifth in Race Two following a race-long battle with last year’s Formula Ford Festival winner – and Low Dempsey Racing teammate – Jonathan Browne and three-time Walter Hayes Trophy winner Joey Foster, while Lee, 18, from Avon, Ind., worked his way from 18th on the initial grid to 12th, posting the seventh fastest lap of the race in the afternoon encounter.

“Wet and wild, that’s what sums up today,” said Aron, who has spent the entire summer in the UK. “Jackson and I got to sample some pretty tricky conditions. A wet race one and a damp race two proved to be a challenge especially due to our limited running on Friday.”

After just two brief test sessions on Friday, one of which was curtailed early due to an on-track incident, Lee, in particular, faced a dauntingly steep learning curve during this morning’s dry qualifying session. Under the circumstances, 18th place among an intensely competitive field of 29 cars – with the top 16 covered by just 1.1 seconds – represented a respectable effort. Aron, who had qualified on pole position for the previous National event at Brands Hatch, took sixth on the grid, with his vastly more experienced teammate Browne back in 15th.

The clouds opened in time for the opening race, which provided another new challenge for Lee – his first-ever wet-weather race. Aron had to be content with ninth, with Lee taking 17th at the checkered flag.

Jackson Lee leaves Silverstone paddock.

“It was a great opportunity to learn the different techniques used in rain racing and to learn how to adapt to the constantly changing conditions,” said Lee. “I’m very happy with how the race went. As the race progressed, I continued to find more speed and confidence. By the end of the race, I was able to battle for positions and turn lap times close to what the lead cars were doing.”

Indeed, Lee’s best lap was within a tenth of the pace set by Aron.

The track was dry in time for the second race of the day, whereupon both Team USA drivers settled into some intense battles. Aron immediately made up four positions from ninth on the grid but was unable to find a way past teammate Browne. At one stage both Low Dempsey Rays were overtaken by Foster before repassing the veteran again in the closing stages.

Lee also made up ground, rising to 11th before making a slight mistake on the final lap to slip behind veteran David MacArthur.

“Today I got my first taste of what racing in the UK is like,” said Lee. “I knew the competition was going to be very tough; but now that I have first-hand experience, I truly understand how competitive this type of racing is. I understand why the Team USA Scholarship chooses to send their drivers to race in the UK because racing against this tough competition will definitely improve me as a driver. This racing experience is unmatched by any series I’ve been a part of and I’m sure I will make big strides in my short time racing here.”

“Along with a top-five, I also got to enjoy a great battle with some very experienced drivers in Jonathan Browne and Joey Foster,” added Aron. “There’s still much to learn but a solid first weekend with the Team USA Scholarship. Lots of fun to say the least; especially in a large field this close which proved once again to be a great experience. I can’t thank Doug Mockett, AERO Paints, Cooper Tires, SAFEisFAST.com, Jeremy Shaw, and everyone involved with the Team USA Scholarship enough for making this experience happen.”

Aron at speed.

Low Dempsey Racing will now undertake final preparations in advance of the next race event for the two Team USA Scholarship drivers, the 49th running of the famed Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch on October 24/25.

[Images by Jakob Ebrey Photography]

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TEAM USA SCHOLARSHIP KICKS OFF 30TH YEAR

THREE TEAM USA SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS FOR 30TH YEAR

The Team USA Scholarship reaches an important milestone in 2020, celebrating 30 years since Jimmy Vasser was confirmed as the inaugural scholarship recipient in 1990. Despite the global pandemic, three young American racers nonetheless have been chosen to compete in England later this Fall – Bryce Aron, Jackson Lee and Simon Sikes.

2020 Team USA Scholarship winners (l-r): Bryce Aron, Jackson Lee and Simon Sikes.

“This has been a challenging year for everyone,” said Team USA Scholarship founder and noted auto racing writer/broadcaster Jeremy Shaw (front page image), “which is why I am even more grateful than usual to all of the wonderful supporters who make this program possible. The selection process this year has been especially complicated. There has been no way to hold our usual interview process during an NTT INDYCAR SERIES weekend, nor continue the excellent and enlightening shootout hosted for the past few years by the Lucas Oil School of Racing. But with the help and encouragement of so many people, we are delighted to confirm Bryce, Jackson and Simon as worthy recipients. I am confident they will learn a great deal from the experience and follow capably in the footsteps of so many talented American racers over the past 30 years.”

Aron, 16, from Winnetka, Ill., and Lee, 18, from Avon, Ind., will continue the recent tradition of carrying the scholarship’s patriotic red, white and blue livery for Low Dempsey Racing in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, England, on October 24/25, and the following weekend’s Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone. They will also contest the final round of the 2020 Avon National Formula Ford 1600 Championship at the Silverstone International circuit on October 10.

Photos courtesy of Matt McComish

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, Robertson Racing, PitFit Training, RaceCraft1, Sparco USA, Bell Racing Helmets, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic and Manifest Group.

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 and Oliver Askew.

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SAFEisFAST NEWS: TATIANA CALDERóN NEW ASK A PRO PLUS LATEST VIDEO

TATIANA CALDERóN IS LATEST SiF ASK A PRO

Tatiana Calderón, Test and Reserve driver for Alfa RoNEWmeo F1 team and driver for Richard Mille Racing Team, is the latest driving instructor for SAFEisFAST.com
 
Calderón was part of the first all-female LMP2 driver lineup to compete in Le Mans this year with Richard Mille Racing Team, finishing 13th overall. 

Her journey follows a successful career karting in Columbia and North America, where she became the first woman to be a champion of a national American karting series in 2008.
 
After strong seasons in Euro F3 and Formula Renault 2.0 she moved up to the F1 support bill to compete in GP3 series in 2016 and then subsequently Formula 2 in 2019. For the 2020 season she is competing in Super Formula alongside European Le Mans Series. 
 
Calderón tested an F1 car for the first time in 2017, going on to be named as the official test and reserve driver for Alfa Romeo for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 F1 seasons. 
 
Send your questions to Tatiana here

 

 

NEW VIDEO: HOW TO UP YOUR MENTAL GAME 

It’s interesting that so many drivers spend serious time in the gym working on physical training but spend very little time on mental training
 


Yet those very same drivers will also tell you that racing is more of a mental sport than a physical one.

So how do you go about improving your focus and concentration and gain that mental edge?

In our latest video, renowned Driver Coach Ross Bentley and SpeedSecrets guru, along with Indy-500 winners Juan Montoya, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud, explain just how to Up Your Mental Game.

Bobby Rahal

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MEMBER NEWS – TILL, BUNDY, VARSHA MEDICAL UPDATES; WEINBERGER PASSES

Brian Till and his sons

BRIAN TILL Oct. 11 – “Hard to believe it’s been a year. One year ago, I experienced my last radiation treatment at the Taussig Cancer Center at the Cleveland Clinic (I pray!). The folks there gave me a diagnosis, a plan, hope and ultimately my life back. And while I know that I will always carry the scars, the experience and potentially the reoccurrence risk with me, I learned to love and live life one day at a time. I learned how precious every single day, every single minute is. And I think I also learned a little more about friends, love and life. There is so much in this life to be thankful for, to celebrate and to adore. I will strive to repay all who gave so much to me with my smile, my attitude and my gratitude. To those I do not know personally and to even those that I do, I will never be able to repay you for your support. But I’ve learned that that is the point. Repayment is not part of the deal. And I am humbled by the outpouring of love that I’ve received.
“My journey through this disease may not be over and it may sound strange to say that I’m thankful for the lessons that I have learned on this path. But I truly am thankful. And I know that I am a better person for the trials put before me and the love that you all poured out that saw me through.
“Thank you…from a very full heart…”

 

DOC BUNDY Oct. 10 – Greetings! I will post something from Doc very soon, but just wanted everyone to know that he had his first race today at the HSR at Road Atlanta and WON. I’m going to brag on a friend, but I think he’s due. To come back from open heart surgery AND Covid is nothing short of a miracle. I can tell you that your support helped in every way. Paul Rego and the race team stood behind Doc through thick and I’d say thin, but it was all pretty thick in my opinion. I’ll get Doc’s thoughts on here soon, but just wanted ya’ll to know some good news. Janet Upchurch

 

 

BOB VARSHA Sep. 16 – “Yesterday was a milestone: the last of 28 radiation treatments,” reports Varsha. “Truthfully, they weren’t much of a burden: quick, painless, and administered by a cheerful staff. They hit the tumor from the outside of the prostate. Still to come are the placement of radioactive “seeds” that will hopefully help kill the cancer cells from inside the organ. There will also likely be more chemotherapy, but easier than the earlier, misprescribed one that demolished my fitness. There’s still a long road ahead, but thankfully I can get back to the track and work a bit to earn some income; thanks to all the Ferrari Challenge folks for their support at CoTA a couple of weeks ago. Next up: the SCCA Runoffs at Road America the second weekend of October. Old partner David Hobbs has a new knee, so maybe we can limp around to Siebken’s together! Cancer patients refer to ‘the journey’; thanks to everyone for the help as we go along.”

 

 

JOHN WEINBERGER – 1932-2020

John F. Weinberger, Naperville, Illinois and Austin, Texas, passed away September 12, 2020 at his home in Austin at the age of 88. John was born in Illinois April 18, 1932 in the backseat of a Chevy, which set the stage for his lifelong passion for cars. John was the consummate car guy.

Cars would also chart the course of his career, as he progressed from his humble beginnings as an apprentice garage mechanic to becoming the founder and CEO of one of the largest privately held companies in the Chicago area and one of the Top 150 dealership groups in the nation. John and his younger brother Herm established Continental Motors in 1962 to specialize in the sales and service of imported cars, first as an authorized Triumph dealer, then Jaguar, MG and Toyota plus later franchises for Honda, Datsun/Nissan and Ferrari.

As a young man, John enjoyed motorsports and earned numerous podium finishes during the 1960’s in SCCA Club Racing. He continued racing vintage cars to age 84 and was voted into the RRDC in 2007.

John at the Monterey Hisorics, [Motorsport.com imagee]

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to The Footprints Foundation, c/o Continental AutoSports, 420 E. Ogden Ave., Hinsdale, IL 60521. The foundation funds high school graduates to further their education in vintage automotive preservation and restoration and technical training along with supporting a variety of charities in both Illinois, Texas, as well as internationally.

Services were held at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) on Sept. 21 followed by a private burial in Hinsdale, IL.  A celebration of John’s life will be held at a later date.

 

 

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RLL’S TAKUMA SATO SCORES HIS SECOND INDY 500 VICTORY

Sunday, August 23, was an historic day in motorsports – the 104th Indianapolis 500 was run without spectators. New IMS owner Roger Penske had to dig deep to pull this off with no gate. The television and sponsorship revenue were the only real income. But then, that’s Roger. Even though he’s all about the fan experience, no corners were cut. It was another memorable event with several other RRDC members featuring.

Who are those masked men? They’re RLL owners and main shoe (l-r) Michael Lannigan, Takuma Sato, David Letterman and Bobby Rahal. [IndyCar image]

Chip Ganassi’s great champion Scott Dixon dominated for most of the race, giving way to RLL’s Takuma Sato down the stretch. The inevitable battle to the finish ended when Spencer Pigot crashed heavily with five laps to go, Sato holding the lead. That began the controversy over whether or not to red flag the race or finish under caution – a conversation that may go on for years.

All that aside, Sato’s visage goes on the Borg Warner Trophy for the second time in three years with 2008 winner and five-time IndyCar champion Dixon scoring his third runner-up. RLL’s Graham Rahal was a solid third.

For full coverage, check out the NTT IndyCar site; plus our President Bobby Rahal was featured on Marshall Pruett’s podcast Wednesday on Racer.com.

 

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ROSS BENTLEY’S SPEED SECRETS; MORTON’S BOOK; MEDICAL UPDATES; YOUNG REDMAN

SiF – ROSS BENTLEY’S SPEED SECRETS – PART 3

We conclude our very well-received Ross Bentley “Speed Secrets” series with some obvious tips that often elude us all.

BEING COMFORTABLE WITH FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE
If the car feels really comfortable to drive, it’s probably not fast

DRIVE THE CAR, NOT THE TRACK
Chasing that perfect line may not always be the fastest way to get your car around the track, sometimes you have to listen to what the car tells you.

BE FAST IN THE FAST CORNERS
The secret is getting everything done early, that’s where you can really make time. 

Watch the full film here

Bobby Rahal
SAFEisFAST.com

 

INSIDE JOHN MORTON’S “INSIDE SHELBY AMERICAN”

Several people including myself have made the mistake of assuming that John Morton’s wife Sylvia Wilkinson ghost wrote “Inside Shelby American”. WRONG! That Wilkinson is the author of a number of acclaimed volumes including “The Stainless Steel Carrot” and “Dirt Tracks to Glory” helped get the shoe on the wrong foot. According to Sylvia, John wrote the whole thing the old-fashioned way – on numerous legal pads with a pencil. Her only contribution was typing it up.

“It’s really a compliment to me that my hacking is confused with that of a true writer,” Morton said. About the only thing separating Morton from being a “true writer” is learning to compose on a keyboard.

“Inside Shelby American” is a must read. Morton is a master story teller with many RRDC members sprinkled throughout the narrative. John says you can still get the soft cover from him at johnmortonracing.net 20 bucks plus $8.40 priority shipping. If you want a hard cover, try Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Bill King, Ed.

 

MEDICAL UPDATES – VARSHA, BUNDY, LEGGE

Bob Varsha – “We’ve come a long way since my last update. Hormone suppression shrunk my tumor a bit, as hoped. Just finished my second week of radiation, I’m feeling good and happy to say that I’ll be in the booth for the Ferrari Challenge weekend in Austin the 29th-30th, and then the IGTC 8-hour at Indy in October. First live race calls (and paychecks) in more than a year! As always, thanks so much for all the support.”

Doc Bundy – “Of the two appointments I had on Monday, I only actually had one…. my ablation doctor however didn’t call so I spoke with my regular doctor. I gave her all of my concerns about blood pressure, and after listening to my heart and lungs etc, she said “you’re doing good, you’re coming alone well, don’t worry.” That made me really feel great, but my cough is coming back which I totally don’t understand, so I want to get that checked out. I’m a little short of breath when bending over, and I’m just not used to that, my doctor says I just need to find more patience. I’m still having problems with my big toe but hopefully that will settle down soon. Overall I feel like I’m sssllooowwlyy recovering, and while I wanted to go to Watkins and that was my goal, because of all the New York state restrictions, I’m not sure that myself or the team will be able to make that race. I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends and racing family, I miss everyone dearly and can’t wait to get back to the track.”

Katherine Legge is continuing treatment at a French rehabilitation center with the goal of rejoining her Richard Mille Racing teammates Tatiana Calderon and Sophia Floersch for next month’s rescheduled 24 Hours of Le Mans. Legge underwent successful surgery at a Toulon hospital to repair breaks in her lower left leg sustained in a testing crash at Circuit Paul Ricard. She also suffered a broken bone in her right wrist.

 

FROM BRIAN REDMAN’S SORDID PAST…

 

 

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KATHERINE LEGGE INJURED; VARSHA AND BUNDY MEDICAL UPDATES; ELECTRAMOTIVE BOOK

KATHERINE LEGGE INJURED IN TESTING CRASH

Katherine Legge was injured Wednesday in a high-speed testing crash in the Signes corner at Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France, breaking her lower left leg and damaging her right wrist. Legge was driving an LMP2 ORECA 07-Gibson which she shared with Richard Mille Racing co-drivers Tatiana Calderón and Sophia Flöersch in the European Le Mans Series.

Legge is reported to have remained conscious the whole time she was being extracted from the car. She was treated at the circuit medical center before being transported by helicopter to a hospital in Toulon. Her leg was surgically repaired Thursday, and she was up and about Friday.

Legge expressed gratitude at the medical care she’s received and at the outpouring of good wishes from compatriots and fans. Finishing out the 2020 racing season will hinge on her recovery, but the Indianapolis 500 may be out.

 

BOB VARSHA AND DOC BUNDY MEDICAL UPDATES

Bob Varsha has encouraging news: “After the issue with the diagnosis we seem to be on a good path. I’m on hormone-suppression drugs in preparation for a radiation program that should last about six weeks. The doctors are optimistic, and so am I, especially after an MRI last week showed that the drugs are shrinking the tumor, as hoped. Meanwhile, I feel good, and hope to start working again once the radiation is over. Hell, if Notorious RBG can do this as elegantly as she does at her age, I sure can at mine!

“Last month I wrote that all the rough chemotherapy I went through apparently had no effect on the small-cell cancer the pathologists at Duke said I had. Immediate surgery was recommended, including removal of my prostate, bladder, and other organs. At the same time a cancer doc here in Atlanta suggested the failure of the chemo could mean only one of two things: either the nasty small-cell cancer was drug-resistant, which it was not known to be, or it was simply not there at all. So we sent my biopsy tissue to two additional labs, including highly-regarded Johns Hopkins. The verdict was unanimous: no small-cell cancer present after all. The chemo, with all the nasty side effects, including a coronavirus infection, was for nothing.

“I cannot stress it enough: get second and even third opinions when it comes to potentially life-altering medical decisions.”

Doc Bundy today: “I had an electrocardiogram done today and went in without my defibrillator which I haven’t worn for 5 days. Well, I’m not dead yet but I’m sure my doctor wouldn’t be happy about me not wearing it. My dog really appreciates me not wearing it because he doesn’t get hit in the head with it any more.

“I want to get another COVID antibody test to make certain that I’m negative. Food however still doesn’t taste the same but I don’t know if that’s the left over COVID or the drugs I take.

“On the fitness front, for those interested, I’m walking a mile and a half a day. And I’m motivated to get back in the race car before the end of the year.

“I really, really, really appreciate everyone who has contributed to my medical fund. The bills are starting to roll in now and you have NO IDEA how much of a relief these donations have brought me.”

 

DEVELOPING A CHAMPION – THE ELECTRAMOTIVE NISSAN GTP STORY

Chris Willes, an Electramotive engineer in the 1980s, has chronicled the history of the team that Don Devendorf assembled over 15 years to campaign Nissans from SCCA B Sedan to IMSA GTP. Here’s Willes’ description of the book:

“I was a young engineer hired right out of college in 1986 by Electramotive. I experienced the innovation, creativity, and passion the team used to successfully transform this car into a multi-time champion. 

“Going back to the drawings and files I saved from that time, and collaborating with many of the people who worked at Electramotive, I have chronicled the challenges we faced and the solutions we used to go from a mangled heap of metal to champagne-soaked celebrations in one of the most incredible periods of time in motorsports.” 

This book contains:

  • The beginning of Electramotive’s racing history in 1975 with the Datsun B210 and 280ZX race cars.
  • The design and development of one of the first Electronic Engine Control Processors.
  • The full description of the 1/7th-scale moving ground plane wind tunnel.
  • The design and build of the Nissan 300ZX V-6 race engine.
  • All the IMSA race storylines from 1985 to 1989.
  • Professional photos and never seen before in-shop photos compliment this 12-chapter, 400+ page, 9″ x 12″ coffee-table style book.

Click here to order.

 

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SiF – Ross Bentley’s Speed Secrets, Part 2; plus Remembering Rod Campbell

Fellow Racers,

The response to Part One of Ross Bentley’s Speed Secrets has been fantastic – check out the comments on our YouTube Channel.

Now we present Part Two.

In this video, Ross explains the advanced skills that separate the very best from the rest. He also covers visualization and learning to manage your change of speed. It’s good stuff.

Hope to see you at the track – soon.

Bobby Rahal
SAFEisFAST.com

 

ON-TRACK TRIBUTES TO ROD CAMPBELL THIS WEEKEND

Rod Campbell, a giant in the motorsport PR and Marketing industry, passed away March 30 at age 88. His son-in-law Townsend Bill has alerted us that Rod’s memory will be honored this weekend by teams in four major races around the world:

Rod Campbell [Pete Lyons image]

The initiative was started by Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal for Racing Point F1 Team owned by Lawrence Stroll. Special decals honoring Campbell will be carried by the following teams/drivers at this weekend’s races:

Formula 1: Racing Point and drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll (Austrian GP on Sky Sports and ESPN plus TSN in Canada)

NASCAR: Roush Racing and drivers Ryan Newman #6 and Chris Buescher #17 (Brickyard 400 from Indianapolis on NBC)

IndyCar: Andretti Autosport and driver Colton Herta #88 (Indy GP from Indianapolis on NBC)

IMSA: AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus and drivers Townsend Bell #12 and Jack Hawksworth #14 (Weathertech 240 at Daytona on NBCSN)

“This is racing’s biggest weekend of the year; and it seemed fitting that we should celebrate Rod’s life and contribution to motorsports in grand style,” said Bell. “I know he would be proud. As you can imagine, it didn’t take much to get teams to opt in and participate. He has such a lasting impact… on so many.”

Pete and Lorna Lyons said that never publicized himself. “It was al about presenting and promoting the sport he loved. Like the multitude of racers, teams, sponsors, media and fans that he helped and guided over many decades, we feel privileged to have been his friend.”

Doug Stokes added: “Rod Campbell was a true hero of the sport, always championing others and bringing a wonderfully inclusive style to the party. His contributions were many, but his lasting value if in the way that he treated people and in the way that he helped guide their work. He’s missed greatly, but his warm personal style and his gentle mentoring will always be a part of his remarkable legacy.”

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MEMBER NEWS: SiF SPEED SECRETS, GANASSI’S 30TH, BINKS RETIRES, PTD BACK IN AUGUST, IMAGE OF THE WEEK

ROSS BENTLEY REVEALS HIS SPEED SECRETS FOR SAFEisFAST – PART 1

What sort of secret tips do Driving Coaches really whisper into drivers’ ears to help them go faster?

To find out we turned to Ross Bentley, one of the most sought-after Driving Coaches in North America. Ross has coached many of today’s top drivers and has authored a host of books and videos on how to go fast.

We brought Ross to the race track and grilled him for hours to see if we could find those final tenths.

I think our multi-part series will open your eyes as to what it takes to really go fast.  

 

CHIP GANASSI LAUNCHES 30th ANNIVERSARY CAMPAIGN

Chip Ganassi Racing, celebrating its 30th Anniversary this season, kicked off the truncated NTT IndyCar Series with a victory at Texas Motor Speedway. Ganassi’s five-time series champion Scott Dixon scored his 47th career victory, third behind A.J. Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52).

Ganassi is currently fielding five cars across the NASCAR Cup Series and the IndyCar Series. CGR, which began in 1990, is recognized as one of the most successful teams in the motorsports industry with 19 championships and more than 220 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400, eight Rolex 24 At Daytonas, the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Scott Dixon takes the checkered flag to win the delayed IndyCar season opener at Texas Motor Speedway. The race marked the successful competition introduction of the new aeroscreen enclosed cockpit. [AP Image]

 

DAN BINKS RETIRES FROM PRATT & MILLER

After 38 years, Dan Binks is retiring from racing to devote his time to the automotive performance and restoration shop he runs, plus support Camp Anokijig which he attended as a youth in Wisconsin near Road America.

Binks has been one of the most successful crew chiefs in road racing for nearly four decades, first having guided numerous championship efforts in the 1980s and ‘90s with Tommy Kendall in Mazdas and Roush Racing Fords. Dan and Tommy cut a swath through IMSA GTU, SCCA Trans-Am and IMSA GTP.

In 2002, Binks joined Pratt & Miller in a relationship that lasted until last week when he rolled his tool box out shop door, check On the site toolbox.com there is a wide range of various tool boxes for Tacoma, which are produced by major specialized companies – Intertool, Stanley, Makita, Yato, Bosch and others.. In lock-step with team principal Gary Pratt and program manager Doug Fehan, Binks made stellar contributions in the garage and the racing pits that were integral in the rise of Corvette as the most successful American team in international road racing.

Dan Binks waves from LeMans podium 2009. [Kevin Wood/LAT Image]

 

PERFORMANCE TRACK REOPENING AUGUST 13

As North America continues to reopen following a several month shutdown, Performance Track Day is back in business, beginning with a one-day program at Sebring International Raceway, August 13. Factory Acura Team Penske drivers Dane Cameron and Ricky Taylor will join PTD founders Darren Law and Johnny O’Connell as instructors at the unique on-track experience.

 

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Associated Press Image

 

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NEW DAYTONA COBRA COUPE BOOK/FILM + LATEST FROM SAFEisFAST

SHELBY COBRA DAYTONA COUPE RETROSPECTIVE

With the launch of Rinsey Mills’ new book Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe–The autobiography of CSX2300, UK publisher Porter Press has released a filmed retrospective of the iconic car – America’s first International GT champion. The car’s justifiably proud designer Peter Brock says, “It’s still pretty cool looking after 55 years!” Brock, who narrates the film, thanks the Ellerbrocks, the car’s present owners in Germany.

 

SAFEisFAST – THE RACECRAFT SERIES

Speed may get you the pole, but what wins races is Racecraft – that ability to keep your cool and make the right moves – despite a snarling pack of competitors breathing down your neck.

In the seventh and final edition of our Race Ready series we explore how to master Racecraft, assembling an all-star panel of champion drivers to explain just how they do it.

Join Lando Norris, Jean Eric-Vergne, Takuma Sato, James Hinchcliffe, Mike Rockenfeller and more as they guide you through topics such as Racing in the Rain, Corner One: Risk versus Reward, Late Braking, and Defending versus Blocking.

Watch the series here.

Bobby Rahal
SAFEisFAST.com

 

 

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DOC BUNDY’S GoFundMe; SiF FINDING EXTRA 10ths; MARIO REDUX

GoFundMe FOR DOC BUNDY RECOVERING FROM OPEN HEART SURGERY

Doc Bundy is recovering from open heart surgery from Covid-19 complications. Doc had stents installed a number of years ago, so he was/is in a tough situation. The May 15 surgery was successful, and he is home having been booted out of the ICU because of pandemic-induced bed-space issues. The day of the surgery, Doc’s longtime friend Janet Upchurch launched a GoFundMe page to help pay for his extensive medical bills before and after surgery. He is currently unable to work and must hire professional help during recovery, although Janet says that Doc is determined to be as self-sufficient as he is able. Be sure to check out Mark Vaughn’s story in Autoweek and Marshall Pruett’s post at RACER.com.

 

SiF – FINDING THOSE EXTRA TENTHS

A couple of tenths can be the difference between starting on the pole or starting in the middle of the pack.

But where do you find those tenths?

Alexander Albon the Red Bull Racing RB16 during Winter Testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya [Mark Thompson photo/Getty Images)

In this sixth installment of our Race Ready series a group of top drivers and engineers from IndyCar, IMSA, WEC, and Formula 1 cover everything from hitting apexes, maximizing kerbs, and using changes in track surfaces to your advantage tin order to find those final tenths. 

Watch the series here

Bobby Rahal
SAFEisFAST.com

 

 

MARIO ANDRETTI AT LONG BEACH BANQUET – REPLAY

Mario Andretti was the honoree at the RRDC’s Long Beach festivities in April 2014. He kicked off his sit-down with Bobby Rahal by showing off his checkered flag socks: “You like the socks? They’re for sale.” It started funny and stayed funny, punctuated by some poignant moments, as Mario reminisced about one of the most brilliant careers in motor racing history. His twin brother Aldo joined him toward the end of the evening. Rahal asked, “Okay, who was the fastest.” Mario nodded and pointed at Aldo. Check it out.

 

 

 

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SiF ENGINEER THE RACECAR; ALLEN BERG RACING; ROAD RUNNER TECH TALK; BUXTON ON “MY GREATEST DEFEAT”

SAFEisFAST – ENGINEER THE RACECAR

We all know the feeling, your car’s handling like a piece of s***, and you have no idea why. That’s where the race engineer comes in.

In the fifth installment of our Race Ready series we are focusing on how a driver and engineer can best work together to find that sweet spot.

And we’ve put together a group of top IndyCar and sports car drivers to explain just how drivers and engineers develop a relationship that delivers results. 

The cars were transport thanks to an in a capable tow truck dublin that offers nationwide vehicle transport services 24/7

Chip Ganassi engineers huddle with their driver.

Legendary driver, engineer and designer Jim Hall also features in the trilogy of videos with his guide on race car systems and dynamics, as does 12-time SCCA National Champion and famed Corvette engineer John Hienricy.

Watch the series here.

Bobby Rahal
SAFEisFAST.com

 

 

FLAT OUT WITH CHARLES E. MENDEZ, JR.

This Saturday, May 23, join Roadrunner TechTalk nr1 on Zoom. Photojournalist Sean Cridland, co-author and publisher of HURLEY: From the Beginning, is presenting taped interviews with three of Charles E. Mendez Jr’s co-drivers: Dave Cowart, Brian Redman and Hurley Haywood.

You can access the Zoom TechTalk on your computer, tablet or phone using this link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85029056469?pwd=UXo5aXVZZGUyaS9STkRWWTJpVTRZUT09

Meeting ID: 850 2905 6469

Password: 151942

Click the live Zoom meeting link above at 2:45pm EDT to enter the waiting room. Participants will be allowed to join the Roadrunner event at 3:00pm EDT

 

 

WILL BUXTON ON HIS NEW BOOK, “MY GREATEST DEFEAT”

Available at bookstores, Amazon and Evro Publishing

 

Evro Publishing: You cover this in your introduction. How did you get the inspiration to interview drivers about their worst moments and not the usual celebratory moments?

Buxton: The idea came while watching the fabulous “24 Hour War” documentary, which focuses on the Ford and Ferrari battles at Le Mans, which was so recently turned into the “Ford v Ferrari” motion picture. The more I reflected on all I’d learned in 20 years in the sport, the more I realized that the greatest inspiration and motivation for racers came not necessarily in victory, but in defeat. I wanted to find out which were the moments of hardship which the greats of our sport had most toiled with, and how it had positively influenced the direction of their careers or their lives.

The selection of drivers you interviewed is very eclectic, from a variety of disciplines – NASCAR, INDYCAR, F1, Rallying, Sports Cars. How did you choose your subjects?

I made a list of the drivers I wanted to talk to. For the most part, champions or multiple champions. They numbered far in excess of 50. So I divided them into championships or categories and tried to, in each category, circle at least two that were must haves. From there, a list of hopefuls, and I would then approach them in order.

How long did it take to round up all these prominent drivers to get their stories?

To get everyone to agree and to then find the opportunity to talk to them took, all in all, around 18 months. I also wanted to ensure that once I had transcribed their words, that they had ample time to go back over them and to agree that they were happy with the telling of their stories. Incredibly, I found that most wanted to add, rather than to remove anything.

Did any driver refuse or decline to talk about his worst moment?

Yes. I had desperately wanted to talk to Sir Stirling Moss, but sadly in his last years and after he ceased public appearances he simply wasn’t able to. I wish I’d had the idea earlier and had been able to talk to him on the subject as he was such a hero of mine and time in his presence was never anything less than inspirational.

There were also some current drivers who refused, believing that to have opened up about such potentially raw emotions might have either dulled their sharpness in reflecting on things they’d managed to bury, or that in admitting weakness their rivals might have found a way to use it against them.

Most disappointingly I was halfway through one interview when, very sadly, the team for whom this particular racer was driving called time on the conversation. I have the most incredibly honest, insightful and emotional half a chapter just sitting there, waiting to be finished. With one of the most fascinating and polarizing current multiple champions.

I hope, having seen how the book turned out, they might reconsider for a next volume, should there be one.

Were there any emotional moments during the interviews? Bringing up their defeats could stir up regrets in their careers.

So many. Honestly I didn’t expect the rawness of many of the interviews nor how truthful these guys were going to be. I think I’d only been talking to dear Emerson for a few minutes before he was in pieces, Uncle Bobby got very emotional and breakfast with Dario in London turned into a tremendously tearful few hours over poached eggs and toast. We had a massive hug afterwards and he admitted he hadn’t realized how much he’d needed to let it out. I felt tremendously honored he’d been so open and grateful he had faith enough in me to be able to tell his story and reflect his emotion as to be so raw.

What parts of yourself did you confront while interviewing these legends?

Like many of us, I have struggled for large parts of my life with elements of my mental health and well being. Despite the public persona of the permanently happy, bouncy person, I can be a dreadful rollercoaster. With the effervescent highs, there are crushing lows. I’m not sure I have a middle ground and that makes me a difficult person to be around sometimes. I’ve struggled to find my place in the world. I think the introduction to the book is perhaps where I found my voice in talking about that to a small extent, and in relating my hope for the book which is that it might allow those who do struggle to see that even our great heroes have battled the same demons that we do.

Whose story or stories inspired you the most?

Honestly, they all did. Because each of us is unique, each story is unique and the lessons learned transpose in a different setting.

Did you ever regret choosing to ask the negative question of these drivers, during the interview process?

Not once. And it was always my first question. Almost pulling off the band aid. What was your worst moment? In life. And then we’d discuss the build up to it, how it came to pass and what happened after. It was always the start of the discussion and once we’d got that out of the way, talking about the rest came quite naturally.

Interestingly, one of the greatest moments of honesty came as a surprise. With Rick Mears we were supposed to be talking about his crash at Sanair. Now Rick and I had never met and we were doing the interview over the phone…. But, after more than an hour talking about the crash and me just listening and asking questions and genuinely being concerned and interested, he opened up about his alcoholism. I remember at the time asking if he wanted to talk about it further and he just completely opened up.

That meant a lot. Because it had clearly been there, but only after getting the “rub of me” did he know he could trust me with it.

Who was the most difficult, if at all, to draw out to tell his true story?

Honestly, none were. I think when they knew who else was involved and they realized what I was hoping the book would be and why I wanted to tell these stories, they all knew it was going to be a different kind of interview and one that might not necessarily have been easy. But they all came with something they wanted to share, or they wouldn’t have agreed to talk.

Is there one driver (or more), living or dead, whom you wish you had been able to interview?

Well, I’ve already mentioned Sir Stirling Moss. I grew up as a great fan of Ayrton Senna and hearing from colleagues and friends how his mind operated and what a thoughtful interview subject he was, I’d have been fascinated to have learned what, as an almost 60-year-old man he’d have considered the lowest moment of his life and what it had taught him.

I was disappointed that the timing didn’t allow me to talk to A.J. Foyt and I really wanted to get Parnelli Jones in there too! And [Jacky] Ickx! Actually, now I think of it, I’d love to include Jean Eric Vergne too. Boy, he got chewed up and spit out of the system, but as a multiple Formula E champion he’s got an incredible story to tell. The more I think about some of the greats I’d have loved to have included, the more I’m hopeful of starting a second volume.

Do you plan to write a sequel?

As I think some of the previous answers have alluded, I’d absolutely love to. This time, though, I’ll be sure to film the interviews and ensure better quality audio recordings so we can make an audiobook and even some visuals too.

What is Will Buxton’s Greatest Defeat?

I’ve been very lucky in that I haven’t had to face too many great tragedies or truly difficult moments as many people in life do. I lost two of my best friends in separate accidents four days apart when I was in my very early 20s. That was a pretty rough period. My divorce was also an incredibly difficult part of my life and the past 10 years have not been easy as a result. I have many regrets about the way in which I went about certain things, things I’d do differently if I had my time again. Losing my father hit me incredibly hard, and still does. But these are the moments that shape us. They were defeats at the time, yet elements of life that created the building blocks, I hope, to the steps that create the path to the future. And a better man at the end of it all. And that’s the key. Because everything, every part of that, adds up to me wanting to be the best Dad I can be for my little girl.

This is a difficult time in the world, which clearly affects motorsports. Would you consider the COVID-19 crisis to be the sport’s “Greatest Defeat”?

The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced and affected all of us. It has taken loved ones and changed much of the world we know. It has, in turn, caused many of us to question our place in the world and our purpose. As with all the stories in the book, I hope that this hardship can be turned into a positive when we come out the other side.

NOTE:  Listen to Part One of three segments of Kurt Hansen’s interview with Will Buxton, author of “My Greatest Defeat,” on his Race Central Radio Show, “The Drive,” on Friday, May 22, from 4 p.m.to 6 p.m. Mountain Time (6-8 p.m. Eastern Time). It will also air locally in Denver on ESPN Radio Denver AM 1600.

The remaining two segments will run during the show over the next two weeks.
 
Buxton and Hansen discuss how Will came up with the idea for this book, all subjects Formula 1, his personal involvement in the media world of motorsports, and a number of topics covering all of motorsports. 

 

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LATEST FROM SAFEisFAST; JIM MILLER PASSES

NEW FROM SAFEisFAST – GEORGE RUSSELL AND LATEST RACE READY INSTALLMENT

Williams F1 Driver George Russell is Latest Ask a Pro.

George Russell, driver for the Williams F1 team and 2018 FIA F2 champion, is the latest online driving instructor for SAFEisFAST.com
 
Russell’s debut F1 season in 2019 saw him out-qualify experienced teammate Robert Kubica at every race weekend, becoming one of the few rookie drivers to achieve this.

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing in the FIA Press Conference. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Wednesday 19th February 2020. Barcelona, Spain. [FIA image]

His journey to F1 follows a successful career in karting and strong seasons in FIA Euro F3, after which Russell won the 2017 GP3 championship and was signed on to the Mercedes F1 Young Driver Programme. 
 
In 2018 he stepped up to FIA F2 against karting rivals Alex Albon and Lando Norris who he managed to beat and, in the process, earned a seat with Williams in F1.  

Send your questions to George here

 

The fourth installment of our Race Ready series focuses on understeer vs oversteer.
 
The four-part series features insight from a group of top drivers including former F1 driver Rubens Barrichello and two-time Le Mans winner Alex Wurz.

You can watch the videos in a playlist here

 

 

 

SAFEisFAST CALLED BEFORE THE STEWARDS

Ken Blackburn, the SCCA Executive Steward of the Southeast Division, asked Jim Mullen and Tom Davey to give a SIF presentation to a tele-conference of SCCA Stewards (“Not the first time we have been called before the Stewards,” Davey confessed). Blackburn has been using SiF as a training device at drivers schools with great success in the SE Division and wanted to share his experiences with his fellow Stewards.

Jim went over the background of how SiF came about, while Tom covered the creative side and why he chose to use mostly young, active drivers as the SiF online driver instructors.

“Many years ago,” Davey relates, “I ran into World champion Keke Rosberg at a Go Kart race in Canada where his son – a very young Nico – was racing in a junior category. I said to Keke, ‘It must be great for Nico to have you around so he can learn from all your experience’.

“He pulled the cigar from his mouth and laughed, ‘Are you kidding, that kid doesn’t listen to anything I tell him; he says ‘all that stuff from way back when you drove doesn’t mean anything anymore’. He’d rather listen to some 15 year-old karting phenom than me.’

“I made a note of that. And when we started Safe is Fast, we decided to use only active top pros as our instructors. No old farts. These are the guys kids listen to.”

Many RRDC members have been involved in driver training to some extent. Fronting SCCA drivers’ schools was a top priority for the club when it was originally founded, Mark Donohue being a great believer in early driver instruction.

Donohue’s legacy was a prime motivator for Mullen and Davey when they conceived SAFEisFAST.

“We were trying to rediscover the Club’s roots,” said Mullen.

 

JIM MILLER PASSES

Jim Miller in 2010. [Image courtesy of Ray Stone]

Jim Miller of Woodbridge, VA, passed away last week from the effects of Alzeheimers. Miller was one of a coterie of small production car racers – Randy Canfield, Col. Joe Hauser and Ray Stone – that dominated the northeast for three decades from the 1960s. Miller made 17 SCCA National Championship Runoffs appearances between 1974 and ’99, winning three H-Production titles in his dark blue Mark II Sprite. In ’75 and ’84, Miller won flag-to-flag from pole. He took four Runoffs pole positions. He also won in ’83 from the outside pole, one of his 10 front row starts. Miller was inducted into the RRDC in 1985.

 

 

 

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MEMBER NEWS: SiF CHASSIS SERIES; iRACING; VARSHA UPDATE; JIM HALL LB REPRISE; DEREK BELL LUNCH; TORQUE SHOW; MSHoF ARTWORK

SAFEisFAST: REFRESHER COURSES ON CHASSIS SET-UP

Fellow racers, 

Basic chassis set-up is required knowledge in every form of racing. And you can’t fake it.

In this third installment of our Race Ready series we are focusing on the technical side of racing with IndyCar engineer Jay O’Connell. 

This three-part series focuses on the basics of chassis setup, with the first covering everything you need to know about camber, toe, caster, bump-steer and Ackerman.

The second section explains how springs, shocks, anti-roll bars and bump rubbers work, with tips on curing understeer and oversteer problems.

The final part covers some of the overlooked secrets of speed including ride height, rake and weight-jacking.

Watch the trilogy here

Bobby Rahal

 

 

BOB VARSHA MEDICAL UPDATE

Here’s the very latest from our friend, Bob Varsha: “Without question the phrase I hear most often from the friends and family who are supporting me in this journey is ‘stay positive.’ Some days doing so is easier than others. Today is one of the latter. After the toll on my body from weeks of chemotherapy, followed by a positive Coronavirus diagnosis (you can’t make this stuff up), I finally got the all-clear for the scans and lab work that would reveal what the chemo had accomplished. Sadly, the answer was “not much.” The tumor is still there, and will need to be attacked with a new therapy. What that is remains to be seen. There will be better days.”

 

LONG BEACH DINNER GUEST REDUX – JIM HALL

A much-anticipated highlight of the Long Beach Grand Prix week is the annual RRDC Banquet sponsored by Firestone. The main attraction is always the Letterman-style interview with the year’s honoree conducted by RRDC President Bobby Rahal. The 2020 honoree Rick Mears would have been in the guest chair for this year’s version had not the celebration fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic along with the LBGP. As a sample of just what members and guests missed in April, producer Tom Davey has provided this link to the 2012 interview with Jim Hall. Last month we reprised Brian Redman’s evening in the spotlight.

 

THE TORQUE SHOW #wherethewinnershang

Tommy Kendall (R) and Justin Bell on The Torque Show set.

If you haven’t checked in on The Torque Show, do yourself a favor. RRDC members Justin Bell and Tommy Kendall travel the IMSA circuit and more producing a thoroughly entertaining paddock podcast that rivals anything on television. With travel on hiatus these days, you can still check out archived shows from earlier in the year. It’s a treat.

 

GREAT READS: LUNCH WITH DEREK BELL

Motorsport Magazine is reprising its fascinating series “Great Reads: Lunch with…”. The first achieved piece is Simon Taylor’s Sept. 2009 interview with RRDC member Derek Bell near the family farm in Sussex, England. Taylor admits covering a career such as Bell’s in a single day is a daunting task. Taylor admits: “After almost half a century of racing, a life chock-full of different tracks, teams, personalities and happenings good and bad – any chat with Derek can only scratch the surface. We spend more than four hours over lunch, walk back to his house, sit in the late afternoon sunshine by his swimming pool, and the stories keep coming. Finally I have to take my leave and, driving back to London, I remember more dramas, more people, more races we didn’t get to.” What there is makes for a “Great Read”.

 

 

A few years ago, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America commissioned acclaimed motorsports artist Arthur Benjamins to create the poster for our Class of 2018 induction.                    

Now Arthur is offering this stunning original artwork for sale, signed by 19 Hall of Famers and the surviving family of three more Hall of Famers, and generously donating half the proceeds to the Hall of Fame.

Entitled “The Brave Few”, this acrylic painting is on a 2-foot by 3-foot slab of wood, two inches thick.

The signers (in order of MSHoFA class) are Mario Andretti (1990), Bobby Allison (‘92), Peter Revson signed by his sister Jennifer (’96), Tom D’Eath (2000), Emerson Fittipaldi (’01), Freddie Spencer (’01), Bill Simpson (’03), Johnnie Parsons signed by his daughter Patricia ((’04), Jay Springsteen (’05), Hurley Haywood (’05), Hershel McGriff (’06), Elliott Forbes-Robinson (‘06), David Hobbs (’09), Donnie Allison (’11), Arie Luyendyk (’14), Rusty Wallace (’15), Jeff Gordon (’18), Fred Merkel (’18), Pat Patrick (’18), Bob Tullius (’18), John Buttera signed by his daughter Leigh (’18), and Linda Vaughn (’19).

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a terrific piece of motorsports history, signed by a group that can never again be assembled. Contact the artist: arthur.benjamins@aol.com or 480-747-8903.

Please share this information with friends who might be interested. Let’s make sure this historic piece of art finds a good home.

 

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DAVE AMMEN – 1925-2020

“It is with great regret that the RRDC has once again lost an important member of the racing community with the passing of Dave Ammen.

“A Board Director for the SCCA at critical times, a former RRDC president, and for many years a successful SCCA racer in his own right, Dave exemplified the term ‘gentleman racer’ with his grace and fellowship on and off the track.

“All of us at the RRDC extend our deepest sympathies to the Ammen family.” – Bobby Rahal, RRDC President

 

David Lee Ammen, 94, passed away over the weekend after an extended illness. He was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2019. Here is his official HoF citation:

“David Ammen was a leader among leaders at a time when the SCCA needed it most. At the track and from his home, David was known for his courteous treatment of young volunteers and new members, lending a hand or advice to Region leaders or drivers, and each decision he made was clearly thought out and researched.

“Formally, Ammen served more years on the Board of Governors than any other person, filling a previous term before being elected to two more in the late 70s and early 80s. In that role, Ammen came prepared to every Board meeting. He was proven right time and again, most notably in his opposition to an Executive Director hire that lasted just a year. At a time when the financial viability of the SCCA was in doubt Vice-Chairman Ammen, with fellow hall of famer and Chairman Dave Morrell, alternated months running the National office in Denver. Knowing the Club needed a solid hire, Ammen played an instrumental role in recruiting Nick Craw – yet another Hall of Famer – to serve as Executive Director and lead to a long-term security of the Club.

“Ammen’s SCCA successes began long before his time on the Board of Governors, however. As a racer, Ammen and crew chief Gary Rutherford were stalwarts at Club Races across the country. With cars prepped by Rutherford, according to Ammen, no one had better cars. Ammen qualified for the Runoffs an impressive 20 consecutive years, sitting on pole in 1979 and 1984 in D Sports Racing and Formula Continental. Ammen was a podium finisher in 1977, 82, 84 and 85, the latter three at a time that competition was fierce in Formula Continental. Ammen was a 1980 Woolf Barnato Award winner. [Editor: the SCCA’s most prestigious award]

“Along with Rutherford, Ammen was joined at most events by his late wife, Judy, who was heavily involved in Flagging and Communications, and by his daughter, Julie. Even today, Ammen’s devotion to his family is evident, with Rutherford, Julia and his current wife, Eleanor, joining him here tonight. With Rutherford, the 60-plus year member of the New England Region traveled away from his home Region to Texas, California and Oregon to meet the best competition available. Ammen also served on the Competition Committee, as the NEDIV Licensing chairman, and on his Region’s board of directors, as well as a steward after his driving career was finished.”

Here are portions of Dave’s official obituary:

“Growing up in Hopedale, Massachusetts, David attended Andover Academy. He enlisted in the Navy and went to Yale University in the V12 Program, graduating after two years in 1946 with a degree in mechanical engineering. While at Yale, he founded the Yale Alley Cats, an a cappella singing group which remains active to this day. In 1960 David bought Insco Corporation, and developed it from a small machine shop into a company manufacturing precision gears and gear drive systems with his dear friend and racing partner Gary Rutherford, the company president.

“David was active in the Sports Car Club of America for over 30 years as a driver and race official. In 2019, he was inducted into their Hall of Fame. At other times in his life, he was an avid golfer, last playing in February, and also enjoyed sailing and boating. With his wife Eleanor, travel became a passion, highlighted by a European canal cruise and grand gathering at Highclere Castle.

“In lieu of flowers please send donations to Gorlin Syndrome Alliance, P.O. Box 4, Reading, PA 19607 or the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center Integrative Oncology Program, 41 Mall Road, Burlington, MA 01805. Please visit Dave’s online guest book.”

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BOB LAZIER APPARENTLY FELLED BY COVID-19

Sadly, we lost fellow member Bob Lazier this past week due to complications from Coronavirus. Bob’s energy on and off the track was dynamic, first as one of the key developers of Vail, Colo., and then on race tracks throughout North America. Successful in Formula B in the early ’70s, culminating with Rookie of the Year honors in the 1981 CART Series, Bob was always enthusiastic and supportive of the sport he loved so much.

Our deepest sympathies go out to the entire Lazier family. – Bobby Rahal, RRDC President

 

[Editor: Robin Miller wrote this remembrance of Bob Lazier for RACER.]

Bob Lazier, the racer with the perpetual smile who always seemed optimistic no matter the odds, has died at the age of 81.

The 1981 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and father of 1996 Indy victor Buddy Lazier was thought to have succumbed after being hospitalized and placed on a ventilator combating the coronavirus.

“What sad news,” said team owner and long-time friend Chip Ganassi. “I (went) skiing with Bob a few months ago at his place and we were up every morning at breakfast talking about everything and having a good time. He was such a great guy. Always upbeat.”

A native of Minneapolis, Lazier moved to Colorado as a young man and became a major building contractor in Vail, numbering among his many properties his pride and joy, the Tivoli Lodge.

But he was hooked on racing and competed in SCCA club racing before moving up to Super Vee and the Mini Indy series from 1977-’79 before trying Indy cars.

Bob Lazier was voted Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1981. [Indycar image]

He drove for Bob Fletcher in 1981, where he qualified 13th but lost an engine and wound up 19th in the race. Yet his quick adaption to Indy’s speeds and subsequent qualifying run earned him Rookie honors over Tom Bagley, Tony Bettenhausen, Michael Chandler, Scott Brayton and Bill Alsup.

He continued to run well, scoring fourth places at Watkins Glen and Mexico City, and finishing ninth in the ’81 CART standings.

The following May he returned to Indianapolis driving for the Wysards. But, on the opening day of qualifying, Gordon Smiley was killed in a devastating accident and 13-year-old Buddy Lazier begged his father to quit after watching the replays and becoming distraught.

Bob abided by his son’s wishes and walked away. But, ironically, he would become Buddy’s biggest fan as, just a few years later, his son took up open-wheel racing. Buddy would eventually conquer Indy in ’96, still healing from a broken back suffered in a wreck at Phoenix. Buddy was also the IRL champion in 2000.

Bob proudly sits between his sons – Jacques, left, and Buddy – at Indianapolis in 2014. [Dan R. Boyd Motorsport image]

Bob’s youngest son, Jaques, also embarked on a racing career and competed in the Indy Racing League. A seven-time starter at Indy, he scored one win at Chicagoland in 2001.

In 2013, Bob and Buddy formed Lazier Partners Racing, competing at Indianapolis through 2017 as a small budget, one-car team and making the show four times. – Robin Miller

The RRDC sends its sincere condolences to fellow members Buddy and Jacques and the entire Lazier family and cadre of friends who were frequent visitors to Tivoli Lodge.

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CHRIS POOK BIOGRAPHY + SAFEisFAST MAXING DOWNTIME PREP + BRIAN REDMAN INTERVIEW REPRISED

Author Gordon Kirby on his latest book: “In these trying times it is my pleasure to announce the publication of my latest Racemaker Press book. ‘Chris Pook and the History of the Long Beach GP’ is a handsome 320-page book with more than 180 photos and illustrations. It retails for $80 plus shipping and handling at our website www.racemaker.com.

“For a variety of reasons, it was a great pleasure to write this book. First of all, I’ve known Chris for 45 years and have enjoyed covering every one of the races in the streets of Long Beach since the opening Formula 5000 race in 1975. Long Beach has established itself as America’s most enduring and successful street race, sparking many other downtown racing events around the country. Very few of these races have survived, but Long Beach stands today as IndyCar’s second biggest event outside of the Indianapolis 500.

“The book tells the story of Chris Pook’s life as well as the history of the race. Pook was born and raised in England and inherited his drive and entrepreneurial spirit from his father who ran a variety of small businesses. Chris’s parents made sure he was properly educated at a series of private schools before attending the Sorbonne University in Paris.

“Chris emigrated to the United States in 1963 when he was 22 and soon started a successful travel agency in Long Beach. He eventually sold the business prior to starting yet another even more successful agency. In his younger years Chris had competed in some rallies in the UK and Europe and had always been a race fan. The idea of running a Grand Prix race in the streets of Long Beach occurred to him one day in the early seventies while watching the Monaco GP on TV.

“When Chris declared his intention of running a Grand Prix in downtown Long Beach many people thought he was crazy. But with the powerful support of racing legend Dan Gurney and other racing greats Pook proved his doubters wrong going on to build the most successful street race in American motor racing history. After a huge amount of work the first race took place in September of 1975 for Formula 5000 cars won by Brian Redman in Carl Haas and Jim Hall’s Lola-Chevy. Formula 1 arrived in Long Beach the following year and F1 cars raced there for nine years before rising costs compelled Pook to switch to CART and Indy cars in 1984.

“Dan Gurney emerges at various stages of the book as the race’s most ardent supporter. Dan stepped forward whenever necessary to help Chris put Long Beach on the map as the race spawned extensive redevelopment of the city’s coastal downtown area. Pook’s “crazy idea” turned into a model for bringing racing to the people and using the event to rebuild flagging urban communities.

“Chris tells many stories in the book about the trials and tribulations he faced on the road to making the race succeed. The book also covers his efforts through the nineties to help promote the Indy Lights and Toyota/Atlantic series as well as the Laguna Seca racetrack. Also detailed are Formula 1’s FISA/FOCA war in 1979-‘80 and the CART/IRL war twenty years later including the two hellacious years Pook spent trying to save the failing CART organization in 2002 and 2003. Chris tells his story very frankly in considerable detail, providing a rare look inside the business and politics of big-time automobile racing. Many people think car washing and car detailing are one and the same. But this is not the case. Detailed car washing goes beyond the normal car wash to make a vehicle look spotlessly clean both inside and outside. Unlike car washing, car detailing does not involve using an automated system to do the cleaning. Instead, it involves handwashing by very experienced car detailer.

“To order ‘Chris Pook and the History of the Long Beach GP’ please go to www.racemaker.com. We’re sure you will enjoy it.” – Gordon Kirby

 

HOW TO BE RACE READY WHEN THE GREEN FLAG DROPS FOR 2020

Fellow racers,

If you’re as itchy as I am to get back to the race track, here’s a way for you to use this downtime to be better prepared when that green flag finally drops.
 

Max Verstappen in his best off-season form, longer this year. [F1.com/Red Bull Racing image]

Starting today, SAFEisFast will be presenting a new series called “Race Ready.” Each week we’ll release a playlist covering a different aspect of racing that every driver needs to master.

We’ll be starting with physical training tips from Pit Fit’s Jim Leo trainer of the top IndyCar drivers. Future playlists will cover chassis set up, engineering and race craft.
 
Hey, if you can’t be driving, you might as well be learning.
 
Watch the first playlist here: bit.ly/sif-fitness

Bobby Rahal
SAFEisFAST.com

 

RRDC LONG BEACH HONOREE INTERVIEWS ON LINE

Brian Redman was in his element. [SiF screen grab image]

One of the highlights of the Long Beach Grand Prix week is the annual RRDC Banquet sponsored by Firestone. The main attraction is always the Letterman-style interview with the year’s honoree conducted by RRDC President Bobby Rahal. The 2020 honoree Rick Mears would have been in the guest chair for the interview tomorrow night (April 16) had the celebration not fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic along with the LBGP. As a sample of just what members and guests will be missing Thursday evening, producer Tom Davey is providing this link to the YouTube interview with that great spinner of yarns Brian Redman from 2014. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll reprise other past LBGP banquet interviews from the Davey archive. Enjoy.

 

 

 

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SIR STIRLING MOSS DIES AT 90

We at the Road Racing Drivers Club are saddened by the passing of one of the most dynamic and iconic race-car drivers that have ever competed on race tracks around the world, Sir Stirling Moss. He was an honorary member of the RRDC since the 1960s and a good friend. Stirling was legendary in the sport, known for his ferocity on the race track, his many achievements in Formula 1 and sports-car endurance competition, and for his gentlemanly demeanor off the track. He will be missed. Our condolences go out to Lady Moss, whom we all know as Susie. – Bobby Rahal, RRDC President

Sir Stirling and Lady Susan [Jenny Goodall/Daily Mail image]

To many of us of a certain age, Stirling Moss was a hero. When I was putting together the Playboy/Escort Showroom Stock Endurance Series in late 1984, my phone daily was ringing off the hook with queries from competitors, suppliers and manufacturers. The most memorable of those calls started out, “Stirling Moss here. Innes Ireland and I are interested in your new racing series.” Momentarily stunned, I quickly figured it was one of my erstwhile friends pulling my leg: “Okay, who is this really?” Louder than before: “It’s Stirling bloody Moss!” He and Innes ran a Brumos Porsche 944S for the season and were tireless promoters of the series. Stirling and Susie became friends, just as the two became friends with so many RRDC members. Our heartfelt condolences to Lady Susan and the Moss family. We will all miss him. – Bill King, RRDC webmaster.

The following is Sir Stirling Moss’s online obituary by Douglas Martin for the New York Times, April 12 [Front page image from Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive, via Getty Images; other images from various online sources]:

In the 1950s, small boys wanted to be Stirling Moss, and so did men.

Boys saw him as the swashbuckling racecar driver whom many considered the best in the world. Men saw this and more: Moss made more than $1 million a year, more than any other driver, and was invariably surrounded by the jet-set beauties who followed the international racing circuit.

Moss died quietly on Sunday at his home in London as one of his sport’s great legends. He was 90 and had been ill for some time.

“It was one lap too many,” his wife, Susie, told The Associated Press. “He just closed his eyes.”

Moss in a 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza during the Ennstal-Classic rally in 2013. [Reuters image]

Moss was a modern-day St. George, upholding the honor of England by often driving English cars, even though German and Italian ones were superior. Polls showed he was as popular as the queen.

Moss said courage and stupidity were pretty much synonymous, and may have proved it in a succession of spectacular accidents: seven times his wheels came off, eight times his brakes failed. He was a racer, he insisted, not a driver.

“To race a car through a turn at maximum possible speed when there is a great lawn to all sides is difficult,” he said in an interview with The New York Times Magazine in 1961, “but to race a car at maximum speed through a turn when there is a brick wall on one side and a precipice on the other — ah, that’s an achievement!”

He raced for 14 years, won 212 of his 529 races in events that included Grand Prix, sports cars and long-distance rallying, in 107 different types of car.

He set the world land speed record on the salt flats of Utah in 1957. He won more than 40 percent of the races he entered, including 16 Grand Prix. For four consecutive years, 1955-58, he finished second in the world Grand Prix championship. And in each of the next three years, he placed third.

“If Moss had put reason before passion,” said Enzo Ferrari, “he would have been world champion many times.”

He was called the best driver never to win the ultimate crown.

Moss’s propensity for signing with second-line British teams at the height of his powers was a World Championship hurdle he couldn’t quite clear. Here he hustles a Vanwall in 1958, one of his four title runner-up efforts. [Bernard Cahier image]

He came closest in 1958, but testified on behalf of another driver, Mike Hawthorn, who was accused of an infraction in the Portugal Grand Prix. Hawthorn, as a result, was not disqualified. When the season ended, Hawthorn had 42 points, which are given for factors like fastest lap as well as finishing position. Moss — though he had four Grand Prix wins to Hawthorn’s one — finished second with 41 points.

Polls of other drivers invariably named Moss No. 1, but it was his brash, puckish persona that captivated the public. He only reluctantly wore the required helmet, always white, saying he preferred a cloth cap.

In 1955, he won the Italian Mille Miglia, a 992-mile road race, in 10 hours, beating the field by 31 minutes. In 1958, he gambled to win the Argentine Grand Prix by not changing his tires the entire 80 laps, despite their having a design life of 40 laps. In 1961, driving a four-cylinder Lotus, he fought off three eight-cylinder Ferraris to win the Monaco Grand Prix.

Moss’s record-breaking drive in the 1955 Mille Miglia was immortalized by his co-driver Denis Jenkinson in “The Racing Driver”. [Sports Car Digest image]

In 1960, Moss won the United States Grand Prix five months after breaking both legs and his back at a Grand Prix race in Belgium.

A sinewy 5-foot-7, he favored short sleeves so he could get a suntan in his open cockpit. His seemingly casual slouch as he pushed howling machines to their limits was his signature. And his language elevated his sport almost to poetry.

Motion, he said, was tranquillity. Why, he wondered, do people walk, since God gave them feet that fit automotive pedals?

If people watch racing to witness the point where courage converges with catastrophe, Moss defined it.

In 1962 at the Goodwood Circuit racetrack in England’s West Sussex County, a plume of fire shot from his Lotus 18/21 car. The crowd gasped. As Moss tried to pass Graham Hill, his car veered and slammed into an eight-foot-high earthen bank.

It took more than a half-hour to free Moss from the wreckage. His left eye and cheekbone were shattered, his left arm broken and his left leg broken in two places.

The crash that should have killed him. [Daily Mail image from Popperfoto/Getty Images]

An X-ray revealed a far worse injury, he didn’t even had the chance to call DWI traffic lawyers to help him recover. Garde Wilson Lawyers are traffic lawyers Melbourne with combined experience representing clients charged with driving offences, if you would like to be properly represented at Court then please call them.  The right side of his brain was detached from his skull. He was in a coma for 38 days, and paralyzed on one side of his body for six months. He remembered nothing of the disaster. He considered hypnosis to recover the memory, but a psychiatrist said that might cause the paralysis to return.

When he left the hospital, he took all 11 nurses who had treated him to dinner, followed by a trip to the theater. A year later, he returned to Goodwood and pushed a Lotus to 145 m.p.h. on a wet track. He realized he was no longer unconsciously making the right moves. He said he felt like he had lost his page in a book.

Though he believed he remained a better driver than all but 10 or 12 in the world, that was not good enough. He retired at 33.

Moss was more than his talent. He was a beautiful name, one that still connotes high style a half-century after his crash, evoking an era of blazers and cravats, of dance bands and cigarette holders. One legend had him driving hundreds of miles in a vain effort to introduce himself to Miss Italy the night before a big race. His 16 books cemented his legend.

So for a couple of generations, British traffic cops sneeringly asked speeding motorists, “Who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?” (Moss, who had been knighted, was once asked that question, and answered, “Sir Stirling, please.”)

Moss said a name like Bill Smith just would not have done. But what about Hamish, the old Scottish name his mother, Aileen, had proposed? His father, Alfred, deemed that ghastly. The compromise was Stirling, the name of a town near his mother’s family home.

Stirling Craufurd Moss was born in London on Sept. 17, 1929. Both his father and mother had raced cars, with his father having competed twice in the Indianapolis 500, finishing 16th in 1924, while studying dentistry in Indiana. Stirling grew up excelling at horsemanship, but said he gave it up because horses were hard to steer.

Accidents can occur to anybody, but traffic accidents can lead to severe injuries, and you’ll need to go online and find a lawyer blog where you can find legal representation and advice,

His passion was cars.

As a boy, Stirling was allowed to sit on his father’s lap and steer the family car. When he was 10 he begged for and received the present of a very old and dilapidated seven-horsepower Austin. He made his own private racing circuit on the family farm. At 18, he got his first driver’s license and bought into a Cooper 500 racing car, winning 11 of the first 15 races he entered.

Within two years, he was racing across Europe in numerous classes of cars. In 1953, he became a full-time driver on the Grand Prix circuit, the sport’s big league. His first Grand Prix vehicle was his own Maserati, not a machine from the respected Maserati stable.

In 1955, he joined the Mercedes-Benz team, led by his idol, Juan Manuel Fangio. That year, Moss became the first British driver to win the British Grand Prix, edging out Fangio by two-tenths of a second. For years, Moss asked Fangio if he had lost on purpose. Fangio kept saying no.

Classic Moss in the Mercedes-Benz W196. [Sports Car Digest image]

In 1956, Moss again drove a Maserati, followed by two years with the British Vanwall team. He won nine of 23 events. From 1959 to 1961, he drove two British makes, Cooper and Lotus, and won half of the 54 events he entered in his last year of racing.

Moss’s first two marriages ended in divorce. Besides his wife, Susie, he is survived by his son, Elliot; his daughter, Allison Bradley; and several grandchildren. His sister, Pat Moss Carlsson, one of the most successful female rally drivers of all time, died in 2008.

After his racing career, Moss made a tidy living selling his name and making personal appearances. “Basically, I’m an international prostitute,” he said. He made successful real estate investments and returned to the track for vintage car meets. He puttered around London on a motor scooter.

Moss, the ultimate pro, once observed that there are no professionals at dying — although he had practiced. He was sure he was “a goner” after his steering column snapped at over 160 m.p.h. in a race in Monza, Italy, in 1958.

As he staggered away from the wreckage, he thought, “Well, if this is hell, it’s not very hot, or if it’s heaven, why is it so dusty?”

Note: Sports Car Digest published a remembrance of Sir Stirling with a trove of wonderful photographs. Check it out.

 

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RRDC SHINES AT 2020 AMELIA ISLAND CONCOURS d’ELEGANCE

While the world was still in the early stages of making decisions as to how to contain the coronavirus outbreak, and despite concerns about losing attendees to these concerns, the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance successfully took place on March 6-8 at the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton hotel and its surrounds.

Thanks to the forward thinking of event maestro and RRDC member, Bill Warner, who made the decision to avoid competing with a golf tournament on the usual Concours weekend, the Concours was held a week earlier than in the past for this they use the best golf nets and other equipment found here which is great for this purpose. This turned out to be a fortuitous choice, as it allowed everyone to enjoy a magical weekend before other car and racing activities around the country (and world) were just beginning to be postponed and cancelled.

Roger Penske, Honoree of the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, stands before an array of many of his legendary race cars. [Amelia Island Concours image]

It was a magnificent occasion, joining two worlds in one venue – global motorsports with the glamorous world of collector cars. Renowned racing team owner (and RRDC member) Roger Penske was this year’s honoree. And, that was a tough get for Bill Warner, as the peripatetic Mr. Penske, known as “The Captain” to those who raced and worked for him, often turned down invitations to be honored. But, finally, the persistent Mr. Warner landed that elusive commitment. And, I personally believe that Penske did not regret any of the accolades he received during this 25th anniversary of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Wondering how to make aging skin tougher? If you want healthy skin that looks healthy, then you need to toughen up that skin with the proper skin care methods

Past honorees were recognized, and they included current and deceased RRDC members Phil Hill, Brian Redman, Hurley Haywood, Carroll Shelby, John Surtees, Derek Bell, David Hobbs, Jochen Mass, Emerson Fittipaldi, Johnny Rutherford, Jacky Ickx, Sam Posey, Bobby Rahal, Hans Stuck, Jim Hall, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney and Vic Elford.

Those in attendance were Redman, Haywood, Bell, Hobbs, Mass, Rutherford, Ickx and Rahal.

The weekend schedule was packed with fun doings for both fans and participants alike. The cars of Roger Penske and Team Penske were celebrated, along with the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows, the cars of Harley Earl, Porsche Firsts, the mid-engine Corvette Prototypes and the C8, as well as the cars of Scagliatti. Book signings, test drives in various manufacturer vehicles, the Sotheby’s auctions, a variety of exhibits, a silent auction, and other events helped raise funds for a number of charities, including Community Hospice and Palliative Care, Spina Bifida Association of Jacksonville, Shop with Cops, and the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society.

For the racing fans, two seminars were held, focusing on the history of Roger Penske himself and the winning teams he fielded in just about every racing series that ever existed in the “modern” era. At Friday’s “Penske Perfect: Effort Equals Results” seminar, RRDC members George Follmer, Rick Mears and John Mecom joined Penske, M.C. Ray Evernham and Rusty Wallace to discuss working with, for and against The Captain during his long and storied career. RRDC member Jim Hall did not make the seminar, but called in with his own tales of competing with and against the honoree.

On Saturday, the “Team Penske: The Early Years” seminar included Penske Racing team members from the past, covering Trans-Am, Can-Am, IndyCar, USAC, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and other races won, lost and/or dominated by the iconic Penske Racing (changed to Team Penske in recent years). Evernham was again the M.C., expertly interviewing (he does his homework) RRDC members Walt Czarnecki, Jay Signore and Judy Stropus, along with former team members Chuck Cantwell, Don Cox, Karl Kainhofer and John “Woody” Woodard. There was not enough time for all the stories to be told, but the ones related were memorable.

In other happenings during the weekend, RRDC member David Hobbs interviewed Penske at the McLaren Dinner of Champions, and Bill Warner did the same during the Mercedes-Benz gala dinner. Penske never ran out of stories to tell and was clearly in a festive mood as he revealed some never-before-told, behind-the-scene accounts of his life as a driver and team owner.

Did I mention it was magical?

Sunday’s Concours was a mind-blower. Just about every car raced by Penske Racing/Team Penske was on the field and the array of historic, charismatic and dynamic Concours cars on display was unsurpassed. Penske even drove up on the field in the Porsche 550 Spyder, his first Porsche race car, which he raced in the late ‘50s.

Information on the Concours winners and cars can be found at ameliaislandconcours.org.

Congratulations to Bill Warner and his entire staff of 640 volunteers for this outstanding event. – Judy Stropus and Aaron Murray. Images courtesy of Amelia Island Concours.

 

MORE FROM AMELIA ISLAND

For a gallery of photos we took, go to https://www.murraymediaandmarketing.com/2020-amelia-island-concours-delegance. For media: you are welcome to any of these photos for editorial use only. Please credit as indicated.

The RRDC was well represented at Amelia Island. Besides the obvious Bill Warner and Roger Penske, we came across the following folks in no particular order; if we missed you, we apologize:

Roger Bailey, Roger Penske, Rick Mears, Bruce Meyer, Tom McIntyre, Derek Bell, Hurley Haywood, Lyn St. James, Brian Redman, Bobby Rahal, David Hobbs, Peter Brock, Jim Busby, George Follmer, Jay Signore, Harley Cluxton, Murray Smith, Johnny Rutherford, Derek Daly, Tom Cotter, John Mecom, Bob Leitzinger, Luigi Chinetti Jr., John Gorsline, Bob Bailey, Walt Czarnecki, Pat Ryan, Mark Raffauf, Scott Pruett, Charlie Kemp, John Higgins, Pete Halsmer, Townsend Bell, Ross Bremer, Bruce Canepa, Miles Collier, Dave Cowart, Charles Mendez, Peter Cunningham, John Doonan, Rob Dyson, Jochen Mass, Alwin Springer, Jacky Ickx, Gerard Larrousse, Vic Skirmants and Judy Stropus

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RRDC LONG BEACH SHINDIG TO BE RESCHEDULED

The RRDC Evening with Rick Mears Presented by Firestone will be rescheduled, as will the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, both called due to the coronavirus outbreak.

2020 honoree Rick Mears. [Team Penske image]

The decision was made in response to a directive from the City of Long Beach prohibiting all gatherings of more than 250 people in the city until April 30, 2020. The directive also means we will need to postpone our RRDC Evening with Rick Mears Presented by Firestone originally slated for Thursday, April 16.

The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach issued a statement March 12 to the effect that discussions are being held with the various series promoters to determine the viability of postponing the event until later in the year.

If the Grand Prix is rescheduled, our intention is to hold the dinner on the corresponding Thursday prior to the race weekend. Contributions are always welcome to help support the RRDC’s young driver initiatives: SAFEisFAST and the Team USA Scholarship, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020. Updates will be posted here. 

Those who have already registered for the dinner will hear from me directly. For all other questions, please contact me at rrdc2@cox.net.

We hope to have more information in the near future. Thank you for your understanding and stay well.

Jeremy Shaw

Event Organizer

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DON SESSLAR 1927 – 2019

We recently learned of the passing of Don Sesslar on May 19, 2019, at age 91.

As a young man, Don fell in love with cars through his father. Following WWII, he began stock car racing which led to his meeting entrepreneur Cyrus Fulton who asked Don to be his sports car driver.

Over the next three decades, Sesslar drove Porsches and Mustangs, showing great success with Sunbeams, both Alpines and Tigers. He was influential in the design of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and held lap records there for many years. The fabled dead-of-winter races in Nassau, Bahamas during the late 1950s and early 60s put Don’s talent on display to a large audience, with overall wins in the 50-mile and 200-mile races there in 1958 in his Porsche 550 RS.

Fielding a new Porsche 718 RSK the next year, Sesslar and the splendid Bob Holbert, co-drove to a class win and fourth overall finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Later that year, Don earned SCCA’s highest award in Club racing, the President’s Cup at Marlboro and claimed the SCCA’s F Modified National Championship in the RSK. He won his second National title in 1964 with his F Production Sunbeam Alpine. He held racing licenses from both SCCA and NASCAR.

We extend our sincere condolences to Don’s very close family and many friends.

Don Sesslar celebrates his 90th birthday with family and friends at Mid-Ohio. [Sesslar family collection]

Sesslar treats his wife and crew to a victory lap in his Championship-winning Sunbeam Alpine at his beloved Mid-Ohio. [Sesslar family collection]

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25TH ANNUAL AMELIA ISLAND CONCOURS d’ELEGANCE THIS WEEKEND

Bill Warner’s iconic Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance celebrates its 25th Anniversary this weekend on the Georgia barrier island. Casual elegance marks this storied event celebrating the automobile and those who have dedicated large portions of their lives and fortunes to the motoring experience.

This year’s honoree is The Captain – Roger S. Penske – who has advanced the industry both on and off the racetrack perhaps more than any other. The cars of Harley Earl are featured.

If you are a car lover just like we are, we recommend to click here to find the best of hanford used car dealerships!

 

 

 

 

Rick Mears is the honoree at the Annual RRDC Celebration at Long Beach. Check out our earlier story for details:

DATE: Thursday, April 16, 2020

TIME: 6:00 p.m. Cocktails     7:15 p.m. Dinner

PLACE: Hilton Hotel, 701 West Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90831

 

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NEW SAFEisFAST VIDEO – MAXIMIZE YOUR RACING LUCK

Why is it that some drivers always seem to get all the good luck – and others always get the bad? Is there really something called “Racing Luck” or do you make your own luck? 

To answer that question we’ve turned to an elite group of champion racers who have experienced both: IndyCar Team Owner Chip Ganassi, Team Penske President Tim Cindric along with three Indy-500 winners Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay. 

They have some very interesting thoughts about racing luck – and how you can beat the odds.

Best of luck,

Bobby Rahal
SAFEisFAST.com

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SPEED SECRETS HEAD COACH ROSS BENTLEY IS LATEST SiF ASK A PRO

Ross Bentley, performance coach, author, and former racing driver, is the latest online driving instructor for SAFEisFAST.com.

Bentley is the author of a series of books called ‘Speed Secrets’ which focuses on racing technique and strategy through coaching. 

 

A former driver in the CART IndyCar series in the 1990s, he became one of only seven Canadian drivers to race in the series before making a switch to sportscar racing.
 
In 2003 he won the 24 hours of Daytona after coming first in his class and went on to set up Bentley Performance Systems, drawing on his racing experience to help individuals, teams, and organizations.

He regularly writes about these topics in his ‘Speed Secrets Weekly’ newsletter which is released every Tuesday, and has previously written for Road&Track and RaceTech magazine.

He says that one of the most essential thing when you start learning to drive is who you learn with, if you have driving lessons with a professional and someone that has patience can really make a difference when you are out on the streets. Be responsible not only with yourself but with the pedestrians and other drivers.

Send your questions to Ross Bentley here.

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AN EVENING WITH RICK MEARS AT LONG BEACH; PETER ARGETSINGER PASSES; NEW SiF PROMOTIONAL TRAILER; McALLISTER, LONG JOIN MONTEREY MRSC

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 every word of it.

Although he didn’t make the show in his first go-round at Indianapolis, Rick caught the eye of Roger Penske who later 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, 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, even as he has continued signing ever more hats and tee shirts “Rick Mears – Thanks.”

I hope you’ll join me at the RRDC dinner for our turn to say “Thank you – Rick Mears.”

 

BOBBY RAHAL, RRDC President

 

Outdoor cocktails, with some of Rick’s most famous race cars on display, will commence at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner 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.

RSVP to Jeremy Shaw at rrdc2@cox.net, then complete the attached form and mail, 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.

Click Here for dinner registration form.

All proceeds go toward the RRDC’s young driver initiatives: safeisfast.com, teamusascholarship.org

 

PETER ARGETSINGER – 1950-2020

Peter Argetsinger in 1980, the year he won the British Kentagon Formula Ford Championship. [Image from the Randy Barnett Collection/IMRRC]

Peter Argetsinger died Thursday, Feb. 6, at his home in Watkins Glen after a fight against cancer. He was 69. As the son of Cameron and Jean Argetsinger, who were the founders and organizers of the first races in Watkins Glen, motorsport was an important part of Peter’s life from early on. As an international racing champion, a respected driving coach and International Motor Racing Research Center Governing Council member, Argetsinger is being remembered across the motorsports industry for his talents and joy in the sport. See his RRDC bio for details of his stellar racing career.

Argetsinger is survived by Sjoukje Schipstra, his beloved wife of 45 years, and his children Kimberley Argetsinger of New York City and J.C.G. Argetsinger of Los Angeles. The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. on Feb. 14 at the Vedder-Scott-Zinger Funeral Home, 122 N. Genesee St., Montour Falls, New York. A funeral mass will be conducted at St. Mary’s of The Lake Church, 905 N. Decatur St., Watkins Glen, on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 11 a.m.

 

 

 

NEW SAFEisFAST TRAILER

Tom Davey introduced the latest SAFEisFAST promotional trailer at the RRDC’s Daytona Dinner last month. “What It Takes to Be a Great Racing Driver” features 16 of the top racers and team owners – past and present – in history. From the newest kids – Kyle Kirkwood, Colton Herta; to champions at the top of their game – Scott  Dixon, Fernando Alonso, Juan Pablo Montoya; to legends – Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Roger Penske; the message is the same – skill, dedication, brains. Enjoy.

 

CHRIS McALLISTER AND PATRICK LONG JOIN MONTEREY MOTORSPORTS REUNION SELECTION COMMITTEE

Five new members have been chosen to join the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Selection Committee, including RRDC members Chris McAllister and Patrick Long.

  • McAllister has competed in the Historic/Reunion event since the early 1990s. He races internationally in historic Formula 1; has served as a group steward at Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunions; and is on the Board of Directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
  • Long is a longtime Porsche factory race driver; has won at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring; is regular at the Rolex Reunion across multiple classes. He also has served on the last two Porsche Rennsport Reunion selection committees.

The 12-person committee is charged with researching and evaluating all RMMR entry requests to ensure that every car meets the highest level of provenance, authenticity and period correctness in order to be accepted for the Reunion’s Aug. 13-16 races.

Other RRDC members on the Reunion Selection Committee are Bruce Canepa, Murray Smith and Bill Warner.

 

 

 

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JOHN ANDRETTI PASSES AT 56

This morning, January 30, John Andretti lost his lengthy battle with colon cancer. The son of Mario’s twin brother Aldo and first cousin to Michael and Jeff, John was 56. Andretti Autosport issued this statement:

“It is with the heaviest of hearts we share that John Andretti has today lost his battle with cancer. John was a loving husband and father, a devoted son and a trusted cousin. He was a philanthropist, an advocate for the sport, a dedicated teammate, a driven competitor and most importantly a dear friend.

“Through Race4Riley, John spent decades dedicating his time and fundraising attention to Riley Hospital for Children. When first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017, John vowed to fight back and use his voice to help spread the word of prevention and early detection. He fought hard and stole back days the disease vowed to take away. He helped countless others undergo proper screening, and in doing so, saved lives.

“We will forever carry with us John’s genuine spirit of helping others first and himself second. Our prayers today are with Nancy, Jarett, Olivia and Amelia, with our entire family, and with fans worldwide.

“We urge all our followers to, please, #CheckIt4Andretti.”

John Andretti with his uncle Mario at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where John was advocating for colonoscopy screening and early detection for colon cancer prevention. [Doug McSchooler image, The Indianapolis Star]

John Andretti raced anything with four wheels and did it successfully, winning in CART IndyCars, IMSA GTP sports cars and NASCAR Cup Series stock cars. He ran Top Fuel drag cars in Australia and with the NHRA. An RRDC member since ’89, John Andretti was truly one of the good guys. The RRDC extends its sincere condolences to Nancy his wife, their three children and the entire Andretti family who have set up a tribute page honoring John.

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ROB DYSON WINS RRDC’S 2019 BOB AKIN AWARD

Rob Dyson, retired American sports-car racing driver and owner of Dyson Racing, was named the 2019 recipient of the RRDC Bob Akin Award. He was presented the award at the annual Road Racing Drivers Club members’ dinner on January 22, prior to the running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season opener of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Bob Akin 1936-2002

Each recipient of this honor, considered the top award 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 in a racing accident in 2002, go to website to see the legal investigation made for this case.

In case that you get a serious brain dead from a truck accident you can contact this law firm to help you recover.

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.

Dyson, 73, began competing in amateur SCCA competition in 1974 and in 1981 won the Sports Car Club of America’s GT2 national championship.

He began racing professionally in IMSA GTO and the SCCA Trans-Am Series in 1982. Over the course of 21 seasons as a professional driver Dyson drove in 92 races, scoring four overall race wins (including the 1997 Rolex 24 at Daytona) and a total of 18 podium finishes. He was the 1998 RRDC Phil Hill Award recipient.

Dyson continued to compete episodically in professional racing through 2007 and today remains active driving his collection of vintage Indy cars in a variety of demonstration events.  

He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation, a privately-owned international holding company. 

A longtime friend of Bob Akin’s, Dyson was presented the Bob Akin Award by his son Bobby Akin (right), Judy Stropus and Bobby Rahal. [Brian Cleary image]

“All past winners of this award have been deserving,” said Akin. “However, even if you rounded them all up you would likely not have the parallels that Rob Dyson has with my father.

“Both hail from the Hudson Valley of New York. Both had the responsibility of running a family business and were driven to succeed. That drive to succeed delayed their racing careers. Both ran successful racing teams often competing against each other in Porsche 962s.

“Rob began racing in 1974 and won an SCCA National Championship. He began racing on a professional level in 1982, drove in 92 races, earning 18 podiums, the highlight being a win here at the Rolex 24.

“Oh, and one last parallel: our winner also has a son who races, Chris. He’s a lot more serious than I, and, like me, calls his dad his best friend.”

“He and I were such great friends,” said Dyson of Bob Akin, “that we would get together often. We had an expression while we were running both against one another but kind of with one another: we wanted to keep the prize money on the East side of the Hudson River. And whenever either one of us did well, either in Daytona, Sebring, or any other race, we were pleased when one of us got into the prize money and we would often have lunch afterwards. And, if he did better than I did, he bought, and if I did better than he did, I bought. So, that’s the way we worked.”

On the significance of receiving this award, Dyson said, “It ignites a lot of great memories related to my racing career but even more great memories of my good friend Bob Akin. And the spirit and comradeship that we had as competitors and as friends during our lives on and off the race track.

Rob Dyson holds the 2011 Daytona Finale hardware, flanked by James Weaver (left) and Butch Leitzinger. [Motorsport.com image]

“The only thing I’m sorry about is that he’s not here today so that I could give him the Rob Dyson Award. Thank you so much.”

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

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JACK ROUSH EARNS RRDC’S 2019 PHIL AWARD

Jack Roush – racer and team owner, former Ford engineer, college physics teacher, and current CEO of a number of engineering-related companies – was honored by the RRDC with the 2019 Phil Hill Award. The 2018 award recipient, RRDC President Bobby Rahal, made the presentation at the annual RRDC members’ dinner on January 22 prior to the running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season opener of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Phil Hill, 1927-2008 [Image by ©Al Satterwhite]

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, someone who always made sure to use the best VW Auto services in order to make sure his cars would be in great condition

Born in Covington, Ky., in 1942, Jack Ernest Roush was always interested in finding out what made things tick. He received his mathematics degree with a minor in physics from Berea College in 1964 and moved to Detroit to work for Ford Motor Company that same year. He went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Scientific Mathematics from Eastern Michigan University in 1970.

He’s the founder of Roush Racing and Roush Performance Engineering. Prior to entering NASCAR competition, Roush had competed and won championships in various drag racing and sports-car racing series since the mid-1960s, including the NHRA, SCCA Trans-Am Series, IMSA GT Championship, and the 24 Hours of Daytona. The racing business was originally a small branch of co-owner Roush’s successful automotive engineering and road-racing equipment business based in Livonia, Mich.

For over 50 years Roush has been committed to winning on and off the track, having won 32 championships and more than 400 races in drag racing, sports car and stock car racing. In 2007, Roush Racing and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) announced the formation of Roush Fenway Racing, one of NASCAR’s premier racing teams, with championships earned in NASCAR’s top three divisions.

Roush also heads up Roush Industries, Inc. which employs more than 1,800 people and operates facilities in five states, as well as in Mexico and Great Britain.  Although primarily known for providing engineering, management and prototype services to the transportation industry, Roush has developed a significant role in providing engineering and manufacturing for the electronics, sports equipment, aviation and motorsports industries.

Jack Roush receives the RRDC’s Phil Hill Award from President Bobby Rahal, last year’s recipient. [Brian Cleary image]

“Jack Roush wears many different hats,” said M.C. Leigh Diffey, TV commentator and RRDC member. “CEO of Roush Racing, Roush Industries, Roush Performance, among many others. 

“In the ’80s and early ’90s when Roush Racing really kicked into gear with successful runs in SCCA’s Trans-Am series and IMSA Camel GT, the team earned 24 national championships, 12 manufacturers’ championships, and 119 road racing victories. Incredible.

“Roush Racing has also claimed 10 consecutive class victories in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. And, by the way, those 10 class championships still rank as the highest in Rolex 24 history. That record still stands.

“Since Jack Roush entered NASCAR competition, he has had 325 Cup series’ victories and is the winningest race team in NASCAR history.”

Diffey then conducted a spirited Q&A session with Roush, covering nearly every aspect of Roush’s achievements and his interaction with many of the drivers who raced for him, including Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd, Lyn St. James, Scott Pruett, Tommy Kendall, Willy T. Ribbs, Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and many more.

“I think recently there have been some expectations that I’m about ready to retire,” said Roush. “My son Jack is here with me. He’s got two boys that are go-kart racing right now, my daughter Susan is still winning championships drag racing and her daughter is driving some too. So we Roushes are going to be around for a long time.

“I really appreciate this award because of the legacy and all the understanding of what Phil Hill did to promote road racing in the United States. He demonstrated to the Europeans he could win over there as well as here and is one of the first to do that. I am very proud to receive this award in his name.”

When asked if there was one driver he wish had raced for him, he answered, “Yes, Bobby Rahal,” to which Rahal responded, “Jack, there’s still time.”

One of Jack Roush’s many hats. [Charlotte Observer image]

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

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BRODERICK BAUGUESS IS 2019 MARK DONOHUE AWARD WINNER

Broderick Bauguess, of Laurinburg, N.C., was named the 49th recipient 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 amateur Sports Car Club of America National Championship Runoffs®. It is voted on by RRDC members attending the Runoffs and/or viewing them live on the Internet, so people who are interested in watching this championship and do bets on it since many people like to gamble, other options to do this is using games as judi roulette online which is great for this.

In his first attempt to win the Runoffs, 22-year-old Bauguess qualified second behind defending champion Marshall Mast at the 56th SCCA® National Championship Runoffs® then drove his No. 133 Morehead Speedworks BMW SpecE46 to the T3 class title on Oct. 12, 2019, at the 3.27-mile Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. He and Mast exchanged the lead six different times, each vying for fastest lap, with Bauguess ending up the victor, setting a track record of 2:05.354 seconds in the 15-lap, caution-free race and nosing out Mast by .396 of a second.

This is what it looked like up front for 15 laps with either Bauguess (No. 133) or Mast (No. 31) on point. The six lead changes at start/finish were about half of the actual number. [Mark Weber image]

Bauguess immediately picked up his dad Allen to take him on the victory lap. “Our racing relationship is special,” said the younger Bauguess. “We are a team. Sharing these moments with my dad are things I will never forget. Some of the greatest memories at the track are just sitting in a fold-out chair in a quiet paddock while grilling some chicken wings and sharing a beer with my dad.

Brodrick Bauguess holds one of the trophies he earned by winning the T3 SCCA National Championship at VIR. [Rick Corwin image]

“After the victory lap, we looked at each other and just said, ‘we did it.’ He has sacrificed more for me than any person should. He is my biggest inspiration.”

The elder Bauguess helped Broderick achieve his dream after seeing his first IMSA race at VIR. He earned his competition license at age 15. “My parents didn’t like go-karts because there wasn’t a cage or safety belts,” said Broderick, “but my dad had been racing with my grandmother (Dorothy Bauguess), who raced with the SCCA in the late ’60s and ’70s, so he knew there were clubs that we could join. So, at 14, I joined N.A.S.A. and got my competition license.”

As for his race for the championship, “I was just focused forward trying to make the fastest and cleanest lap I possibly could,” he said. “I just had to make sure to not get excited and miss a shift or do anything that would take it from me. After the flag fell the only word I could say was, ‘YES!'”

Mark Donohue and the RRDC have always been on Bauguess’s radar. “I am a huge fan of the SAFEisFAST videos,” he said. “Being able to listen to some of the best drivers in the world and get their insight on driving technique, managing racing careers and, my personal favorite, the mental game, is invaluable.

“I don’t have the budget to work with professional coaches so being able to listen and learn from pros through these videos is extremely valuable,” he said, adding, “Receiving this award means so much to me because Mark was famous for understanding what it really meant to be part of a race team. Racing isn’t all about the driver, it’s about the people you work and race with to achieve your goals. I’m honored to receive this award because ours was a true team effort.”

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 Broderick not only for his outstanding drive to win, but for his passion for the sport he’s embraced and for being so cool under pressure.”

Bauguess was presented the award at the annual RRDC members’ dinner in Daytona Beach, Fla., on January 22, 2020.

The other trophy Bauguess picked up was the Mark Donohue Award. Here he’s flanked by selection committee chair Calvin Stewart (left) and RRDC President Bobby Rahal. [Brian Cleary image]

Every year, the RRDC Mark Donohue trophy is an engraved glass top (above) mounted atop a special, racing-experienced wheel, provided by an RRDC member. This year’s wheel was donated by Zak Brown, Chief Executive of McLaren Racing. The trophy consists of the front wheel rim built for the McLaren MP4-24 used during the 2009 Formula One season. The McLaren drivers for that season were the reigning world champion at the time, Lewis Hamilton, and Heikki Kovalainen. During that year the team earned 71 world championship points leading to a third-place finish in the constructors’ world championship.

Past and present Mark Donohue Award winners (from the left): Calvin Stewart, Eric Prill, Broderick Bauguess, Peter Shadowen and Kevin Fandozzi. [Brian Cleary image]

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TOM YEAGER – 1936-2019

Tom Yeager, 83, of Marion, OH and Naples, FL passed away Dec. 28, 2019 at Avow Hospice in Naples.

In 1965 Tom received the first customer Ford Mustang GT 350R and competed as an original team driver for Shelby American. And the first car he used he bought on a nj used cars and succeeded on many competitions with it.His successful year included a victory at the June Sprints and an invitation to the SCCA Runoffs at Daytona International Speedway, where he finished a respectable sixth in B-Production.

In ‘66 Yeager and Bob Johnson teamed for the inaugural Trans Am season in a Mustang and won the Manufacturer’s Championship for Ford. He became an RRDC member in ‘81.

Both of Yeager’s Mustangs are still competing in vintage racing today.

After a respite of more than 20 years, Tom was dragged to a vintage race in ‘93 and was bitten by the racing bug again. For the next 20 years he and wife Scottie competed in several vintage race organizations in Lotus, Spice and Chevron sports racers. In ‘96 Tom was awarded the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s Driver of the Year award voted on by former recipients.

Tom leaves behind his wife, Scottie, five children, 2 step children and 9 grandchildren.

Scottie sent us Tom’s obituary containing this excerpt published from Jan. 8 to Jan. 11 in the Naples (FL) Daily News:

“Memorial donations may be made to The Mark Donohue Foundation Inc., c/o John Fergus II, VP Treasurer, 8377 Green Meadows Dr. N, Lewis Center, OH 43035 or to Avow Hospice, Naples, FL.”

 

 

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BOB VARSHA BATTLING CANCER

According to a report on RACER.com, motor racing broadcaster Bob Varsha has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of prostate cancer that will require intensive chemotherapy over the coming months. With an immediate need to step away from racing and focus on defeating cancer, the veteran of ESPN, NBC, SPEED, and Fox Sports has been unable to work and is not expected to be in a position to travel or resume his career until June, at the earliest.

The New Yorker has been a mainstay in the sport for decades as the American voice of Formula 1, IMSA, IndyCar, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, FIA World Endurance Championship, Formula E, and more since the 1980s. Long regarded as one of the finest talents in the industry, Varsha has groomed legions of co-hosts, color analysts, and pit lane reporters who’ve gone on the greater success as a result of learning at his side.

Varsha has been a member of the RRDC since 2010.

A GoFundMe page has been established to help support Varsha and his family while undergoing treatment. Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/supporting-bob-varsha039s-prostate-cancer-fight.

 

 

 

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HORST KWECH PASSES; ANNUAL DAYTONA MEMBERS DINNER

HORST KWECH – 1937-2019

Horst Kwech, an RRDC member since 1976, passed away Dec. 30 at age 82 according to the following edited notice in Vintage Motorsport.

Shortly after his birth in Vienna, Austria, in ‘37 Kwech’s mother emigrated to Australia where he grew up. In the fifties, he began sports car racing with an Austin-Healey 100/4 for Leaton Motors. Kwech showed his mechanical engineering talent early building a custom sports car, the RM Spyder, with a Holden engine, which he later sold to finance his ’61 journey to the U.S. at age 24.

Kwech won his first outing in a Shelby Mustang – the 1968 Mission Bell 250 at Riverside.

A mechanic’s job at Knauz Continental Motors in Lake Forest, IL, soon led to racing opportunities, first driving another tube frame sports racer of his own design. Later in an Alfa Romeo Giulia, he won the ‘65 SCCA Central Division B Sedan championship.

The following year, Knauz Motors acquired a factory-prepared Alfa Romeo GTA with which Kwech and teammate Gaston Andrey claimed the Trans-Am Under 2.5 Liter Manufacturers Championship and Kwech used to win the SCCA BS championship at the Riverside Runoffs.

Over the next decade, Kwech would become one of America’s most celebrated GT racers, forming (with Ron Neal and Bill Knauz) and racing for the Alfa Romeo performance parts company Ausca; testing and racing for Carroll Shelby and winning the ’68 Riverside Trans-Am in a Shelby-prepared Mustang; winning the ’70 U2.5L Trans-Am Championship driving Herb Wetanson’s Alfa GTA; racing a Lola T-300 in the ’72 L&M Continental Formula 5000 Championship; and, in ’74, co-founding DeKon Engineering with Lee Dykstra (which built the highly regarded Chevy Monza, successful in both IMSA Camel GT and Australian Supercar racing over the next several years).

Kwech is the only driver to have won a Trans-Am race in both the Over and Under 2-liter divisions. He also held 17 patents as a design engineer.

The RRDC sends heartfelt condolences to Kwech’s family and many friends in the Chicago area and around the world.

Kwech in recent years. [Michael Keyser image]

 

 

INVITATION AND REMINDER – DAYTONA ANNUAL RRDC MEMBERS’ DINNER

Thanks to the organizational skills of RRDC member Lisa Noble, the RRDC will hold its annual members’ dinner Wednesday, Jan. 22nd at the Daytona 500 Club in advance of the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona. This dinner has grown tremendously in the last few years, attracting nearly 300 members and guests.

It’s become the perfect venue for members and their guests to bench race, meet and greet the latest crop of members, and enjoy an evening filled with camaraderie, nostalgia and awards presentations.

The featured award of the evening will be the 27th Phil Hill Award (for rendering outstanding service to road racing), which will be presented to Jack Roush.

Also, the 19th Bob Akin Award and the 49th RRDC Mark Donohue Award will be presented. 

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. 

Please click here for the dinner reservation form. Please make your reservations and send in your check by January 17, 2020, as seats will be filling quickly.

Please also note that seating will be open this year.

Event details are below. If you have any other questions, please contact Lisa Noble at noblerace@aol.com.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Thank you,

Bobby Rahal

President

 

 

 

 

 

ANNUAL DINNER DETAILS:

WHAT:

RRDC annual members’ dinner (click here for reservation form)

 

WHERE:

Daytona 500 Club (infield) – NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE

Daytona International Speedway

1801 W. International Speedway Blvd.

Daytona Beach, Fla. 32114

 

WHEN: 

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 – in advance of the Rolex 24 At Daytona

5:00 p.m. cocktails

6:15 p.m. RRDC member photo

6:30 p.m. dinner

 

INVITEES: 

All RRDC members in good standing and personal guests ONLY. 

Please make sure you’ve paid your 2019 dues!

Here’s the link to the 2020 dues invoice, if you’d like to include a dues payment with your dinner reservation:

RRDC 2020 Dues Invoice

 

DRESS: 

Business casual

 

COST:

$100 per person, payable by check in advance; or

$120 at the door – cash or check only; no credit cards please

Tables of 10 are available for $1000 each

 

PARKING and TRACK ENTRY:

* Please enter at Gate 40 off Williamson Blvd. Security/guest services will have a list with your name on it. 

* Let them know that you are attending the ANNUAL RRDC DINNER IN DAYTONA 500 CLUB. 

* There will be directional signage to lot 2A and parking staff to assist you. 

The 500 Club is in the infield tower building located at Victory Circle. 

 

EVENT PASSES:

As in the past, Chip Wile of Daytona International Speedway has kindly offered weekend passes to RRDC members for the Rolex 24. These are available to members who have paid their dues and are attending the dinner. Please respond to this email with your request for passes or contact Judy Stropus at jstropus@earthlink.net.

 

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RACING SAFETY PIONEER BILL SIMPSON PASSES

BILL SIMPSON – 1940-2019

Bill Simpson, renowned racing safety pioneer, passed away Monday, Dec. 16, in Indianapolis due to complications from a massive stroke on Friday. He was 79.

Robin Miller eulogized the man on Racer.com:

“He made safety part of the racing vernacular, but lived his life on the edge. He started in drag racing and spread his knowledge to IndyCar, NASCAR and Formula 1. He pissed people off hourly, yet shared a drink with them before the sun went down.

“He set himself on fire to prove a point, and saved countless lives with his innovations. He took a sucker punch from NASCAR, and retaliated with a haymaker in court. He drove in the Indianapolis 500, yet was much more successful out of the car. He was an orphan that embraced fatherhood, although he wasn’t that great of a husband.

“E.J. “Bill” Simpson was a pioneer in motorsports safety, a self-made millionaire and a stubborn character that answered to no-one.”

Simpson’s entry into the safety equipment business was the result of breaking both arms in a drag racing crash in the late 1950s at age 18. Despite the broken limbs, he designed and developed the first purpose-built drag racing parachute systems which he was soon marketing as Simpson Drag Chutes. He handmade the earliest chutes himself in a garage with a rented sewing machine. His first customer was Don Garlits.

If you are going to race make sure that your dimple die set has been changed recently, because you can race well with a car with parts that are not working properly. 

A colorful character with a penchant for stirring up controversy, Simpson was at heart a racer, first in drag racing and then road racing in SoCal, both sports cars and formula cars. He graduated to the Indy Car circuit in 1968, making 52 starts over the next nine years with 11 top-ten finishes and a career best sixth in the 1970 Milwaukee 200. His only career start in the Indy 500 netted a 13th place finish in 1974.

All hair and mustache, Simpson first showed up at Indy in 1970. {IMS image]

One of Simpson’s early contributions to Indy Car racing was mentoring SoCal off-road racer, Rick Mears. Simpson put Mears in a car for the 1976 Ontario 500, the future 4-time Indy 500 winner’s first career Indy Car start.

Simpson was often in the hot seat. [SSP image]

Simpson Performance Products was the result of a restless mind and a determination to design, develop and produce safety products and systems to enhance driver survivability in a demonstrably dangerous sport. It was Simpson who first produced a driver’s suit made of Nomex. The flamboyant entrepreneur would don a Simpson suit and set himself on fire. It was an effective demonstration on product reliability. He’s most recently been immersed in improving football helmets.

Simpson’s multiple contributions to motorsports safety have yielded a host of accolades and honors, including induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2003, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 2014 and honorary membership in the Road Racing Drivers Club in 2017.

Simpson was a fan favorite at autograph sessions at Indy in May. [IMS image]

He authored two books:  Racing Safely, Living Dangerously and its sequel, Through the Fire.

Simpson has been a regular at Indianapolis Motor Speedway each May for veterans’ activities, often in the company of his great friend Chip Ganassi. Simpson was a guest of Team Ganassi at many recent Indy Car races and was an enthusiastic supporter of the IMS Museum.

Simpson is survived by a son. He also was an animal enthusiast whose menagerie included his beloved dog, Maia, camels and other pets. A celebration of his life is being planned for next May a the IMS Museum, details pending.

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HANSGEN AND WEITZENHOFS INTO SCCA HALL OF FAME

SCCA HALL OF FAME TO INDUCT THREE RRDC MEMBERS

 

Three RRDC alumni are among the inductees into the 2020 Class of the SCCA® Hall of Fame: Walt Hansgen and Dave and Sherrie Weitzenhof.

 

The Hall of Fame Awards Banquet takes place Saturday, January 18 and serves as the capstone of the three-day SCCA National Convention at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

 

Of the 101 members now in the SCCA® Hall of Fame, 40 are RRDC members, past and present. Here are the HoF citations for the RRDC members being inducted in 2020:

 

Walt Hansgen – posthumust induction

 

A member of the Northern New Jersey Region since joining SCCA in 1951, Walt Hansgen’s influence and impact in American and European sports car racing was immense. As a competitor, Hansgen achieved much. He was a four-time SCCA “C” Modified National Champion, a three-time recipient of SCCA’s President’s Cup, and competed at world-class endurance events, NASCAR Grand National races, and a couple Grands Prix. Hansgen was also named the New York Times “Best Driver of the Year” and Sports Illustrated “U.S. Sports Car Driver of the Year.”

 

Hansgen’s successful racing career aside, he was a very active member of the Northern New Jersey Region where he held the Regional Executive position. One of the first professional racers that started driving with a sign and drive vw car and practiced for competitions with it. On a National level, he served on the Competition Board and worked diligently to improve the Club’s road racing program, safety standards and competition rules. Additionally, Hansgen conducted racecourse safety inspections, making recommendations for circuit improvements to benefit drivers, crew and spectators alike – standards that are still in use today.

 

[Hansgen was an early president of the RRDC. He succumbed to injuries suffered in a testing crash at LeMans in April 1966 at age 46.]

  

  

Dave and Sherrie Weitzenhof

 

Sherrie and Dave on vacation in Puerto Rico. [Weitzenhof collection]

Dave Weitzenhof’s record over more than 50 years of SCCA road racing demonstrates his skill as both a driver and technician. Overall, he has seven SCCA National Championships and was presented with the Road Racing Drivers’ Club Mark Donohue Award in 1972, as well as the 1977 SCCA President’s Cup trophy. But as Dave himself admits, none of that would’ve been possible without the help of his wife, Sherrie Weitzenhof, who has been by his side and an instrumental part of the “team” throughout half a century of racing. The fact that Sherrie is officially recognized as a “Friend of the Road Racing Drivers’ Club” proves that point. Furthermore, Sherrie supported the SCCA NeOhio Region by organizing many events, including the successful and long running Competition Clinic, and she chaired the NeOhio Hall of Fame committee.

 

To his credit, Dave earned four SCCA Runoffs wins in the highly competitive Formula Ford class, as well as a pair of Formula Continental Runoffs victories and a Formula Vee SCCA National Championship. Beyond that, he has won far too many SCCA races to count. Outside the car, Dave was an accomplished engineer with Bridgestone/Firestone and has numerous patents to his name. Throughout his involvement in SCCA racing, Dave openly shared insights on car setup and vehicle dynamics, as well as his tire expertise with fellow racers. Some of that know-how was deployed while serving as a test driver for development of the Sports Renault program, which evolved to become Spec Racer Ford — one of SCCA’s most popular car classes in road racing.

 

Dave Weitzenhof in the original Zink Z10 at the 50th Anniversary FF celebration at Road America. [ComicOzzie Autosport Photography image]

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SAFEisFAST – TUNING SHOCK/DAMPERS FOR SPEED

We split this very technical instructional block into two segments: how racing shocks/dampers work (the hard part) and dialing the package in with on-track testing (the fun part).

In Part 1, we had you sit in the classroom for a short tutorial featuring four IndyCar engineers: Craig Hampson (Dale Coyne), Julian Robertson (Ganassi), Jeremy Milless (Andretti) and Mike Talbot (RLL). Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay added driver’s perspective.

For Part 2, we headed out to the track with our group of IndyCar drivers and engineers as they take you through the methods their teams use to test shocks – and how they learn to all speak the same language. A few additional drivers are included in this segment: Sebastien Bourdais, Takuma Sato, Santino Ferrucci, Jack Harvey and Kyle Kirkwood.

Graham Rahal testing at Mid-Ohio.

 

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GANASSI HONORED, DAYTONA DINNER, DIFFEY-HOBBS-MATCHETT SHOW, ARIE LUYENDYK GUEST INSTRUCTOR, JORDAN TAYLOR TO CORVETTE

CHIP GANASSI TO BE HONORED WITH EXHIBIT AT PETERSEN MUSEUM

Longtime NTT IndyCar Series team owner Chip Ganassi, whose career includes driving Indy cars, will be honored beginning next month with an exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, click to check for Nashville international show.

The exhibit titled “Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success – 30th Anniversary Tribute” will present significant vehicles, trophies and more items that exemplify the success of Ganassi’s race teams. Ganassi will formally be honored April 15, 2020 at the Petersen’s Annual Racers Night before the Long Beach Grand Prix.

Chip at Indy. [IMS image]

Located in the Charles Nearburg Family Gallery, the 10 key vehicles on display will include the 1983 Patrick Wildcat MK9B raced by Ganassi to his best finish in the Indianapolis 500; the Lexus-powered 2006 Riley MK XI raced by Scott Dixon at the Rolex 24 At Daytona; the 2010 Dallara IR-05 driven to victory by Dario Franchitti in the Indianapolis 500; the 2016 Ford GT that finished first at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LM GTE Pro category 50 years after Ford’s iconic first-, second- and third-place victories in 1966; and the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Kurt Busch in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

A fixture in the auto racing industry for more than 30 years, Ganassi is considered one of the most successful and innovative team owners the sport has ever seen. Following a strong career as a driver, Ganassi created his own one-car INDYCAR team in 1990. The team’s track record includes 19 championships and over 220 victories. It is the only team to win the Indianapolis 500 (four times), the Brickyard 400, the Rolex 24 At Daytona (eight times), the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ganassi flanked by Jamie McMurray (left) who won both the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in 2010 and Dario Franchitti who won the Indy 500 in between – all for Chip Ganassi Racing. The team added the Daytona 24 to its win list the following January. [IMS image]

Adding to the prestige, it is also the only team to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona three times consecutively and the only team to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 in one 12-month span.

“Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success – 30th Anniversary Tribute” will run through January 31, 2021. The museum will host a ticketed preview and opening reception Dec. 13. To learn more about the Petersen Automotive Museum, visit www.Petersen.org.

 

DIFFEY, HOBBS AND MATCHETT COMING TO CHARLOTTE

A Night at The Races is a fun and informative wrap up of the year’s F1 season featuring America’s favorite commentator team: Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett. These three sports TV veterans will bring their renowned sense of humor and insight to the Booth Theatre at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Uptown Charlotte, Monday evening, Dec 2nd. This two-hour, entertaining show is multi-media, motorsport-must that treats you to behind the scenes footage and stories that these gents tell like nobody else.

While the trio are no longer covering Formula One together on TV, this show is the only place you can see them all together again and it continues to be popular wherever they take it around the United States.

Tickets – $65 and Meet & Greet tickets are also are available (limited opportunity remain)

 

RRDC ANNUAL DAYTONA MEMBERS’ DINNER JANUARY 22

WHERE:

Daytona 500 Club (infield of Daytona Int’l Speedway)

1801 W. International Speedway Blvd.

Daytona Beach, Fla. 32114

WHEN:

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 – in advance of the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona

5:00 p.m. cocktails

7:00 p.m. dinner

WHAT:

Bob Akin, Phil Hill and Mark Donohue awards will be presented

DRESS:

Business Casual

INVITEES: 

All RRDC members and personal guests ONLY

COST:

$100 per person by check payable in advance; or $120 at the door. 

No credit cards, please.

Tables of 10 are available at $1000.

Note: We are returning to the Daytona 500 Club at Daytona Int’l Speedway for the 2020 RRDC dinner.

For information, contact Lisa Noble, at noblerace@aol.com

 

 

ARIE LUYENDYK JOINING O’CONNELL AND LAW FOR INAUGURAL PERFORMANCE TRACK DAY

Arie Luyendyk

The first ever Performance Track Day event with Johnny O’Connell and Darren Law will commence December 8th, and Motorsports Hall of Famer Arie Luyendyk will join the two sports car veterans for the debut program. Performance Track Day participants will take their own cars on track at Apex Motor Club and under the guidance of O’Connell, Law, and Luyendyk take their driving skills to new levels, fully experiencing the capabilities of their vehicles.

“I’m looking forward to work with Johnny and Darren at the newly built Apex Motor Club,” said Luyendyk. “The great drivers they are, Johnny and Darren have been so successful in racing and to work with them will be inspiring and fun.” I sated getting into cars when I got my first car on a kia dealership new jersey and started to modify it so I could use it in the local races they made years ago.

Future track days will have other guest coaches with vast motorsport experience, similar to Luyendyk’s one-off appearance.

 

WAYNE TAYLOR CONGRATULATES SON ON LANDING CORVETTE RIDE

Jordan Taylor.

“I want to congratulate Jordan on being named a factory driver for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing. As a father, I can’t express how proud I am to have both my sons in factory rides and, even though they are no longer with Wayne Taylor Racing, I can only wish them well.”

Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe have joined WTR for the 2020 10-race IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Kamui Kobayashi paired with Jordan’s 2019 co-driver Renger van der Zande in the team’s Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.Rs. Jordan’s brother Ricky joined Roger Penske’s Acura squad last season in the WeatherTech series and is again teamed with Dane Cameron, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya for 2020.

 

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PENSKE TO ACQUIRE ALL THINGS INDY (WITH UPDATES); TEAM USA SCHOLARSHIP’S HUFFAKER ON PODIUM AT SILVERSTONE

The official announcement on Nov. 4 read as follows: “The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company announced today that it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. Penske Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Penske Corporation, will acquire all Hulman & Company principal operating assets, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and IMS Productions. The transaction will close following receipt of applicable government approvals and other standard conditions.”

RRDone deal: Roger Penske (left) and Tony George. [IMS image]The blockbuster transaction has been in the works for several months according to Tony George, Hulman & Company chairman, who said his company had made the initial approach. Details will be released as they are finalized. Check RACER.com for updates: Penske aiming to elevate IMS; George had reached limits; Penske on conflict of interest. Plus Robin Miller interviews RP.

The seven weeks that changed racing – an insightful editorial by RRDC member and RACER founder Paul Pfanner – sums up the impact of recent events.

TEAM USA SCHOLARSHIP SUCCESSFULLY WRAPS UP U.K. ADVENTURE AT SILVERSTONE

A thrilling weekend of action at the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone ended with Team USA Scholarship driver Scott Huffaker finishing a fighting third in the Grand Final from an original entry of over 100 Formula Ford cars.

Scott Huffaker scored a podium finish in the Walter Hayes Trophy final. [Team USA Scholarship image]

Huffaker, 19, from Menlo Park, Calif., also backed up his Heat race win from yesterday with another victory in this morning’s Semi-Final round. Teammate Josh Green, 16, from Mount Kisco, N.Y., wasn’t quite so fortunate. After posting the fastest lap time of all in qualifying on Saturday, Green worked his way from seventh on the grid to third in the same Semi-Final before tangling with veteran Oliver White (Medina JL17) at Copse Corner with five laps remaining.

A late change of regulations meant that today began with both Team USA Scholarship drivers drawn together in the first of two 12-lap Semi Final races, with Huffaker lining up second and Green on the inside of row four.

Oliver White (Medina), who started on pole position by virtue of posting the fastest lap during yesterday’s four Heat races, maintained his lead at the start, albeit with a huge pack of snarling Formula Ford cars in his wake. A bold overtaking maneuver at Brooklands on the opening lap saw Huffaker slip through into the lead, which he narrowly maintained throughout.

Green (above) moved up two positions on the opening lap, then found a way past Ivor McCullough (Van Diemen) for fourth on lap four, at which point seven cars had formed a small breakaway group. Unfortunately, a coming-together with White at Copse Corner while disputing third place on lap eight forced Green to the sidelines.

Huffaker, meanwhile, kept his cool at the front. He briefly lost the lead to Matt Cowley (Van Diemen) on the run to Copse on the final lap but regained the advantage at Becketts and then held off a a brave around-the-outside move by Luke Cooper (Swift) at Luffield to take the checkered flag just 0.164-second ahead of the Englishman.

“On the first lap, I was right on Ollie and he went to the outside,” related Huffaker. “I initially wasn’t going to go to the inside but he broke really early and I thought, well if you are going to give me it, I just kind of forced him out wide and then I controlled the pace. I saw that Matt was really quick and he was putting a lot of pressure on me. On the last lap, he got ahead of me going into Turn One (Copse) and we were side by side. I got a little bit loose on the inside (at Becketts) and we had some contact. Unfortunately, he got the worse end of the stick but that’s just how it went. I just defended on the last lap and was able to bring home the win. It was good.”

The second Semi Final was interrupted by a pair of Safety Car periods before Irishman Jordan Dempsey (Spectrum) drove past Englishman Rory Smith (Van Diemen) at the final corner, Woodcote, to snatch the victory by just 0.014-second over Cooper.

The morning gloom and cold had been replaced by bright sunshine prior to the start of the Grand Final, with Huffaker once again lining up on the outside of the front row. He immediately slotted into second behind Dempsey, and was chased by Smith and Cooper before the red flags flew after four laps following a couple of separate on-track incidents.

The race was restarted for a 10-lap duration. Dempsey once again took off into the lead and was never seriously threatened en route to a dominant victory for Kevin Mills Racing.

Cliff Dempsey teammates execute a solid restart. [Team USA Scholarship image]

Huffaker steadfastly clung onto second place, under intense pressure from Smith, who eventually faded back to 10th, Cooper, who slipped to ninth by the finish, Jack Wolfenden, who showed impressive pace in his Firman, and the Spectrum of two-time and defending champion Michael Moyers, who had gradually worked his way back into contention following an incident in his Heat race on Saturday.

Moyers slipped ahead of Huffaker on lap six, only for the American to repay the favor with a breathtaking pass under braking for Brooklands next time around. Huffaker’s Cliff Dempsey Racing teammate, Ireland’s Jonathan Browne (Ray GR18), also moved into a challenging position despite starting the Final from 11th.

A thrilling battle for second saw Huffaker briefly fall to fourth with a couple of laps remaining, but he repassed Browne on the final lap at Becketts to finish with a well-deserved podium result, less than 0.2-second behind Moyers.

“The race was good and the experience has just been amazing,” said Huffaker. “To come here and get the podium is huge for me. I wanted the win but we won the Heat and the Semi. I had to start on the bad side (of the grid) where it was damp. Luckily, I ended up holding my position but it took me a while to get into my rhythm and the race was so short with the red flag and everything. I think that is where I kind of lost out today. We had the pace and I really wanted the win but I got to battle with Moyers and Jonathan which was a great battle. I made a good pass on Moyers and then Jonathan there at the end. We snagged a podium so that’s great. I need to say a big thank-you to my mechanic Matt (McComish), the entire Cliff Dempsey Racing team and everyone who makes the Team USA Scholarship possible.”

Green was disappointed not to make the Final but will still travel home to the United States with memories to last a lifetime.

“It was a really good weekend and we had tons of pace,” said Green. “I qualified on the overall pole of the 105 cars that were here, which was awesome. The Heat race was really good racing. The Semi was going well. I started eighth and was passing for third and just ended up having contact with another driver and I won’t blame anyone. The Final was great to watch. Scott and Jonathan [Browne] both did amazing jobs in the Final. It was really, really impressive. I can’t thank enough the Team USA Scholarship, Jeremy Shaw and Cliff Dempsey Racing as well. It has been a truly amazing experience and it wouldn’t have been possible without all of them.”

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, Mazda, Catalina Furniture, Robertson Racing, Lucas Oil School of Racing, PitFit Training, RaceCraft1, Sparco USA, RACER Magazine, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic and Manifest Group.

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