That was probably the best VARAC Vintage Festival ever. It certainly was the best I have attended. More MGs on track than I have ever seen and many of them racing hard. Nick Pratt in a Midget beat all the ‘B’s and twin cam A’s to take the overall win. A real upset. But he can really drive. A TD finished 7th I think. Well over 50 cars started. Other races had over 60 cars and that sure makes for one busy track!
One fault with many Vintage events is that many drivers more cruise than race. Given the value of some of the cars that may be forgiven a bit. At this year’s event there were more really racing than usual and many others at least driving hard. There still were a few that really should just go to lapping days and not clutter up the track.
VARAC does not seem to attract many high end cars with Jack Boxstom’s Aston and Mk1 Chapparal being exceptions. The Mk 1 was not actually designed or built by Jim Hall but by Troutman and Barnes. The oldest cars were 1946 MG TC’s so there were no pre war cars racing.
Mike (MG) Adams had a disastrous weekend with the car never running right after the long haul from Regina with his beautifully restored ex Al Pease supercharged MGB. However, Al himself was present as was Gary Magwood who also raced a B among many other cars back in the day. Al of course also raced a Lola 5000 car and a F1 Eagle. It was good to see both after many years. Other people from my era I saw and talked to included Colin King, Walt MacKay, Bill Bolvenizer, Doug Durrell, Ralf Frisken, Richard Poxon, John Greenwood and Gord Green.
In the G70 class on Sat., Diane Dale showed her skill as after a long duel she beat other 240 Z’s and cars that had definetely more top speed but couldn’t handle her in the corners. That was very apparent down through two and into three.
Gary Grant and I spent quite a bit of time together and I must say his wife sure can put up a good meal. Certainly a lot of wine flowed. It seems the Western contingent and Gary Magwood may have imbibed a bit as well as apparently a discussion of Gary sneaking a drive in a Hawke FF got pretty serious. In the light of Sunday morning saner thoughts prevailed. Just the same I think ol’ Gary would have been pretty darned fast.
Changing topics there has been a lot of discussion recently over fires and generally reponse to incidents. The most publized was the Simona De Silvestro incident where the Indy Car Safety team looked like idiots. The hose on the first responding truck kinked and the pump was not strong enough to force it straight. Then they ran around in circles. One professional fireman pointed out the IC trucks have their hoses are mounted under the front bumper. Any fire rig in use by fire depts. that has a front mounted hose mounts them on top of the bumper on a swivel. A rethink may be in order here. Robin Miller also pointed out there was a track crash/rescue truck on the corner but that IC would not deploy it. A very questionable decision.
At the Glen another fire occurred and a car basically burned out as the driver could not locate a fire station or fire/rescue vehicle on track and tried to get back to the pits.That fire ended up being put out by crew members not track personnel.
It now seems at many tracks the marshals cannot go over the wall until the entire field in under the control of a safety car. The same thing seems to apply to the dispatching of fire/rescue vehicles. Now I am from an era when the marshals/trucks responded immediately and situations were covered by usually just a local yellow. I can appreciate that that was not really safe. However, sooner or later, a driver is going to die or be badly burned if rescue has to wait until the field is completely under the control of a pace car. Not so much on an oval but on road courses, especially long ones. Maybe once a track is under full course yellow, workers and vehicles should respond. Drivers know they cannot pass and that the field will not be turned loose until everyone has caught up. The oval situation is different I will admit.
There have also been some rather silly ideas put forth for road courses. One was marshals be equipped with either motor scooters or bicycles. Can you imagine a marshal trying to hoist either over a wall plus tire wall and then riding to an incident carrying a 20lb extinguisher? They do not weigh 20 lbs but more like 60. Also in case you have not noticed many volunteer marshals are not exactly spring chickens.
I did notice at the VARAC race that there were extra extiguishers spaced out around corners so marshals could grab one as they neared an incident. I know we used to do that. I do not pretend to have all the answers but I do believe that safety/rescue needs to be re-examined by many organizations.
The Princess aka Stompin’ Danica ran in the Nationwide race at New Hampshire yesterday. She started 25th and quicky worked her way backwards. I missed most of the race as I was watching the G20 mess in Toronto a lot of the time and every time I switched over to the race seemed to get a commercial.
However she got spun out by Morgan Sheppard and went a lap down. As usual she blamed Morgan although every report I have seen put most of the blame on her. She even asked her crew if Morgan was going to be black flagged!!!!. If NAPCAR did that for every spin out there would be a heck of a lot of parked cars! Now Morgan is in the twilight of his career and has never been noted as a particularly rough driver. But no driver in that series is going to put up with blocking that Danica is well known for and Morgan was driving those taxi cabs when Ms. Patrick was in diapers. After going a lap down she drove a stirring race according to ESPN and only lost another 4 laps. But she did beat one or two other running cars. I will say she drove hard and well in Indy Car at Iowa, although again clearly using blocking at times.
Pirelli has been chosen as the tire supplier in F1 for the next few years There have been several people bemoaning this and saying Pirelli produced poor tires last time they were in F1 and that their rally tires were junk. My attitude is as long as they are safe who cares. So they are slower, maybe. It will be the same for everyone. The rules re compounds for the year (4) and use apparently will remain as current. I will have more to say on other F1 rule changes in another article but enough for now. I will just say that I think one new idea is absolutely ludicrous.