2018 SVRA Heacock Classic Gold Cup @ VIR

The Heacock Classic Gold Cup event (September 21-23) marked the final race of SVRA’s east coast season, and penultimate event leading into the season ending National Championships at COTA in November. Earlier in the week it was suspected that Virginia would be in the path of hurricane Florence. Eventually, after making landfall in North Carolina, it’s path proceeded south, then off to the west. Having avoided that potential disaster, the show went on as planned. And oh what a show it was!

The event boasted a roster of race activities that would be hard to beat anywhere. Top billing went to the American Racing Legends Charity Pro-Am Feature Race. It listed a star-studded cast of racing greats: Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte, Greg Biffle, Al Unser Jr., Ward Burton, Ron Hornaday, Mike Skinner, Wally Dallenbach, Boris Said, Willy T. Ribbs, Ron Fellows, Dorsey Schroeder, Max Papis, Jeb Burton, Todd Bodine, Johnny Benson, Jack Sprague, Steve Park, and Ray Evernham. Chevrolet Corvair served as the featured marque for the Heacock Classic Gold Cup. The weekend delivered the largest collection of racing Corvairs ever assembled. The schedule also included races for the Trans-Am Series, International GT, Mazda Miata Heritage Cup, Vintage Motorcycles, along with the full array of racing groups in the SVRA paddock. And to top it off, the Hagerty Show & Shine at The Gallery was a delightful display of beautifully presented automobiles of all kinds.

It was great fun, and one of the best vintage/historic events I’ve ever attended. Enjoy the photos… TJ

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My first time seeing racing motorcycles…they were amazing!

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NASCAR legend Bill Elliott meeting with fans at the American Racing Legends Charity Pro-Am autograph session.

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Trans-Am – Lawrence Loshak made a bold statement by leading from start to finish, tightening his chase for the TA championship with leader Ernie Francis Jr. heading into the final races of the season.

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International GT – Mark Sandridge, sitting on the grid in his Porsche GT3 Cup 3.8.

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Chevrolet Corvair served as the featured marque for the 2018 Heacock Classic Gold Cup.

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VIR and SVRA…a combination that’s hard to beat!

Time to take a break and reflect a bit…it has been two weeks since the SVRA Heacock Classic Gold Cup at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). In my opinion, one of the best vintage events I’ve ever attended…one of the hottest too. Since then I’ve been sorting my photographs and working on the race review. But first, here are some of the moments I captured, as I would walk through the paddock, one of my favorite things to do. The SVRA paddock is filled with a wonderful group of characters. They come to race, have fun, and pursue their passion. There will be more photos from the event coming up soon. But for now, enjoy these selections! TJ

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Dick Leehr (#35) in his beautiful Gold Leaf liveried 1969 Lotus 61.

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A stable of Protoform FV’s…and Mickey Mouse too!

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Tom Atlas (#14), getting ready to climb in his 1960 Lola Formula Junior and test the morning wet conditions.

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On the grid with David Nicholas (#76A, 1960 MG A).

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Joe Blacker (#29, 1969 Brabham BT29) discussing pre-race strategy.

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Harry McPherson (#6, 1968 Ford GT40 MK1) and a crewman hoping the rain will stay away.

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Another memorable weekend at Watkins Glen is now in the books…

Having just retired from the “9-to-5 job”, after 28 years, it was indeed a pleasure to attend the 2018 U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, strictly as a spectator. My son (Eric) and I made the most of our weekend together at my favorite track, Watkins Glen International. It’s located just outside the Village of Watkins Glen, situated up on a hill with a spectacular view of Seneca Lake. The Finger Lakes region of upstate New York is simply beautiful. Here are a few photographs from our trip. iPhone pics only…I left the camera at home. Enjoy!

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This one caught my eye…one of the highlights from the track infield car show. 1930 Ford Speedster (IndyStyle).

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Watkins Glen Grand Prix – Driver Walk of Fame – Village of Watkins Glen, New York. Peter Revson was one of my favorite drivers from childhood.

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Here are two very significant cars from the original races through the streets of Watkins Glen, on display at the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC). The floor signs say: William C. Spear took the last checkered flag on the original Watkins Glen 6.6 mile road course in the Queen Catherine Cup on September 20, 1952, behind the wheel of this 1952 O.S.C.A MT-4 #1121 (on the left). “Poison Lil”, Maserati V8RI, #4504 built in 1936. Driven by George Weaver, led the first ever competitive lap at Watkins Glen in the 1948 “Junior Prix” (on the right).

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Watkins Glen State Park. Spectacular!

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A trip to Watkins Glen would never be complete without a stop (or two) at the famous Tavern Room in Seneca Lodge. The atmosphere is amazing. Quite a few racing greats have tipped a few here after their exploits on the track. Cheers!

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Vintage Cars at Vintage Mid-Ohio

The SportsCar Vintage Racing Association made their yearly stop in the heartland of Ohio for the SVRA Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, held on the weekend of June 22-24, 2018. Preparing for a weekend photo-shoot with weather conditions expected to range from soaking rain to sunny conditions is always challenging, so the easy decision was bring everything…from umbrella and rain gear to sunscreen and sunglasses. Thank goodness I did, because I needed it all.

SVRA put on a wonderful show, as always. Since returning from the track I’ve sorted the photos and now it’s time to knock out the race coverage article for the SVRA Quarterly. I’ll post that piece at a later date, but for now enjoy these selected photos. TJ 2018

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Bill Schwacke (1955 Chevrolet Corvette #55) with his fellow Group 1, 3, and 4 competitors in the Carousel.

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Frank Marcum/Jeff Rocco (1966 Ford GT350 #314)

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David Hale/Rex Gunning (1985 Lola T598 #30) and Jeff Mitchell (1974 Porsche 911 #73)

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David Zavetsky (1959 Devin-Healey 3000 Spl. #159) and John Schrecker (1964 Porsche 356 #777)

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Steven Lisa (1964 Ford Galaxie #21)

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Back where they belong….

When I heard the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series added the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to its 2018 racing schedule (May 4-6, 2018), I knew I had to be there. For years there’s been a noticeable void in the Mid-Ohio schedule. The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) last raced at Mid-Ohio in 2012, and the Grand-Am Series last race there in 2013. When the two racing bodies merged for the 2014 season, Mid-Ohio was unfortunately the ‘odd-man-out’. Existing ALMS/Grand-Am contracts with various race tracks, the need to limit the first season schedule, and other considerations played a part in Mid-Ohio’s exclusion. But the fans made their views known, and it was only a matter of time. Finally, this was the year that top-level professional sports car racing made its return! The fans responded enthusiastically showing-up in huge numbers. It was the ultimate validation. “IMSA belongs at Mid-Ohio!”

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Joao Barbosa (helmet art), driver of the Mustang Sampling Racing – Cadillac DPi (#5).

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Pre-race conversation between Pipo Derani, driver of the Tequila Patron ESM – Nissan DPi (#22), and Fox Sports pit-reporter Justin Bell.

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Corvette Racing – Chevrolet Corvette C7.R (#3), driven by Jan Magnussen and Antonia Garcia.

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After a short hiatus, I’m back….

My 2018 racing season began in grand style. In February I found myself relaxing on a quiet beach near St. Augustine drinking coffee before going down to Daytona for my first ever Daytona 500. It was a weekend with family and friends, and strictly a spectator event for me. No cameras were taken, only the iPhone and a cooler full of beer. Overall, I was extremely impressed with the event. It had everything including a surprise finish with Austin Dillon taking the #3 back to Victory Lane…amazing! We’ve decided this will definitely be a yearly event… TJ

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TJ and cousin Don (right) ready for 500 miles. 

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This has to be the most peaceful and tranquil race day morning I’ve ever experienced. Sunrise in St. Augustine, Florida.

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MoMA Masterpiece

Our 2017 holiday trip to New York City was highlighted with a stop at my favorite museum…the Museum of Modern Art – MoMA. Along with visiting the masterworks of artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Monet, Pollack, and Warhol, I always make time to visit the exquisite design by John Barnard. (Formula 1 Racing Car (641/2) 1990 – Ferrari S.p.A., Maranello, Italy)

I’ve followed motor racing all my life. I don’t get caught up too much with the nuts and bolts aspect of racing. The draw for me since I was a kid has been the aesthetic beauty of the cars. The sound, the smell, the sport and skill of driving all play a part too. But it’s “the look” that is the main draw for me. It’s only fitting that this work of art is so proudly and prominently on display. It’s a Masterpiece!

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John Barnard’s masterpiece, Ferrari Formula 1 Racing Car 641/2 (1990), can be seen on the wall in the MoMA Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Lobby.

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