Most of the racing I report on is done a quarter mile at a time, be it boats or cars. But, I really enjoy all forms of racing, so when I looked at my schedule of events and saw that I had an open weekend, I decided to check out the HSR race at Auto Club Speedway. The road course consists of portions of the big oval and infield road course. I had attended one of these races a few years ago when the Shelby American Club ran in conjunction with this event. I figured why not spend some time checking out the vintage race cars from the past. When I saw that one of my favorite road racing classes ever run, Can Am racers were the featured class, I thought about some of those great racers who raced in that series who are no longer with us, from the first champion in 1966, John Surtees, Peter Revson, Dennis Hulme, Mark Donohue, Bruce Mclaren, Swede Savage along with those still with us, Roger Penske, Brian Redman & George Follmer and countless others who are now in the history books forever!
Friday got off to a very bad start for myself as I had my Oldsmobile Aurora break down at the 57 and I 10 merge point .... with the serpentine belt breaking, causing me to lose all my voltage from my alt. and power steering. I man-handled my car off the freeway at the first exit , Fairplex drive. I know the area so I made a right turn into the McDonalds that is there and called the mechanic who had just installed my new A/C compressor a couple of days before. I opened the hood and saw that the belt was broken and wrapped around the pulleys. After talking with the mechanic I called triple AAA to come get my car and was going to have it towed back home to Long Beach. The lady from AAA gave me the name of the towing company that one of the local racers owns and a automotive shop by that same name. I got him on the phone and he explained to me that he does not own that part of the business, but it is on the same property that his shop is at, so I asked if he could get me back on the road" ? He said it was no trouble and that he would get one of his best guys on it once I got to his shop, Sanders Automotive in San Dimas Ca.
Kevin Houmard took a look at the problem and figured out why the belt broke. He found a pulley that was frozen up and would not spin. Well it looked like an easy fix, but of course it turns out to be a four hour job and requires a little extra muscle to get it apart and back together. Cool.... after a great lunch ( Kevin buys the shop lunch every Friday) and included myself and a friend who made the mistake of coming with me out to the track. I called the media person to let her know that I will be making it out to Auto Club Speedway after all, as I had called her at 8.30 A.M. to let her know that it did not look like I would make it out to track at all.
Hmm, after paying my bill I was back on the road and on my way to the track again. 15 minutes later we rolled thru the gate and parked under the suites in the shade by the media room. We tried to check in but everyone in the media room had gone home. We watched the last four hours of practice and walked around the garage area. We took a few hundred photographs and climbed back into the car for the ride home on the freeway. The car pool lanes on all the freeways were pretty good and I got to cruise at 80 to 85 mph most of the way home.
Saturday I took a friend who used to cover the LBGP for years, but had not picked up a camera in years. We got an early start and made it out to Fontana to get some breakfast and then out to the race track. We walked the race course and we each went in different directions after I gave him one of my Canon digital cameras. I gave him a brief idea on how to set the stops and shutter speeds etc. We met for lunch and walked around the garage area and around 2.00 P.M. we drove home.
There was plenty of interesting cars to look at as the cars from the past, such as March‚s, Lolas, McLarens and IRL and Cart racers, along with other race cars, fantastic BMWs, Datsun 510 sedans, Shelby Mustangs and other "one of kind" race cars from the past were being raced. They were not sitting in some guys museum that never gets seen let alone raced.
I got to meet some interesting guys and gals, one being a Long Beach Judge who was racing a one-off Can Am Shelby Ford racer that was purchased from Carroll Shelby as a Tub and powered by a Shelby constructed 427 ford block and heads built at Shelbys Torrance Ca. manufacturing plant. It was the only Ford powered Can Am racer as all the rest, be it a Lola, March, & McLaren, were all Chevrolet powered. Tom Mallory had three different racers, 1 Formula 5000 from the 1st LBGP race, 1 McLaren Can Am # 74 and a GTP built in Santa Ana Ca. at American Legend Dan Gurney’s place. Ed Pink builds all of Toms race engines for the vast collection of historic race cars he owns.
I did not go on Sunday. I decided since it was going to be over 100 degrees, I would just stay at home in Long Beach and kick by the pool and relax. I had a fantastic time going to this event and am already looking forward to doing it again ... hopefully without the car trouble !
Below you will find how they broke down the racers into the classes of each group.
8th Annual So. Cal. Sports Car Festival at Auto Club Speedway. Historic race cars from the 1960's 70's 80's 90's
Group 1: Hardison/ Downey Small Bore Production + Early S/R
Group 2: Digital 2 Vision Printing Formula Ford Pacific Challenge
Group 3: William Lyon Homes Porsche 2.0 ltr. & exhibition
Group 4: Collins Racing Service Formula Ford Challenge Group 5: Victory Lane Magazine Can Am featured race!
Group 6: Brecht BMW Medium Bore + 2.5 Sedan
Group 7: Symbolic Motor Cars Boss Super Cup
Group 8: QMC Cranes & Service Big Bore Production Cars