U.S. Vintage Grand Prix – Sept. 9-12, 2010

Race Results

Entry List – By Name
Entry List – By Class

OPTIMA Batteries Sprint Series
Race Group 1
Race Group 2
Race Group 3
Race Group 4
Race Group 5
Race Group 6
Race Group 7
Race Group 8
Race Group 9
Race Group 10

Feature Races
All Alfa
Collier Cup
NY Governor’s Cup
Classic Enduro
Vintage Enduro

Race Review

Words for the Glen

Plenty of corks were popped as over 400 racecars rolled into Watkins Glen International (WGI) for the Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix (USVGP) this past September 10-12. Presented by Welliver McGuire, Inc., SVRA once again hosted what has simply become one of the country’s largest vintage auto racing gatherings.

Scheduled were the organization’s normal program (including a Pre-war/Allard group) of Optima Battery group sprint races, pair of Michael Stott-UBS endurance challenges, traditional, All-MG Collier Cup, and New York Governor’s Cup. As noted by Competition Director, Carl Jensen, “nearly 60 Alfas were also on hand this year” for the special feature All-Alfa Romeo shootout.

Complimented by three days of premier vintage road racing, the hamlet of Watkins Glen hosted the 18th Annual Grand Prix Festival sponsored by Chemung Canal Trust Company. As in the past, Friday’s main dilemma was choosing to enjoy either the blacktop action at WGI, or the GP festivities in Watkins Glen proper. I once again chose the latter. So leaving a full chorus of practice and qualifying sessions singing loudly at WGI, I traversed down the sandstone cliffs overlooking Watkins Glen village for a full day of celebrating the rebirth of post-World War II American road racing.

Starting with the reenactment of tech inspection at Smalley’s Garage (original home of tech), residing on Franklin Street, the inaugural 1948 street race’s straightaway, the all-day party would continue with a judged Concours d’Elegance; the festival’s time-honored historical dialogue entitled, “The Legends Speak;” “Drivers Walk of Fame inductions; and needless to say, plenty of vendors selling food, artwork and racing memorabilia.

USVGP Grand Marshall and special guest, EFR (Elliott Forbes- Robinson) was just one of the former Glen drivers selected into the class of 2010’s “Walk of Fame” this weekend. This honor is represented by a granite marker embedded in one of the town’s pedestrian walkways.

With the GP Festival and SVRA both honoring 100 years of the Alfa Romeo automobile, it was fitting that the Glen’s initial street battle was won by Frank Griswold’s 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B, a static beauty that posed for an up-close assessment.

Additionally, approximately 28 variants of Sidney Allard’s creations were also in full view throughout the day and weekend.

The day culminated with the roar of selected machinery entering Franklin Street for the crowd’s inspection before the ageless mechanicals accelerated for a couple of controlled “hot laps” around the original 6.6-mile street circuit. The entire road course was lined with cheering spectators circa 1948.

Beautiful late-summer weather welcomed everyone as Saturday began with more qualifying action on the blacktop, and the event’s first formal battle, the enduro for faster cars. Forty-five speedy battlewagons took the green flag, and podium regular, Travis Engen’s Audi R8 was first to see the checkered flag. Holding the lead for only several laps, the 1988 Argo JM19c of Baughman/Domeck, took second.

There was no rest for the weary as a gaggle of always highly contested qualifying races took to the asphalt. Finishing late in the day, the track was free for the Morris Garage (MG) warriors to engage in their 26th Collier Cup battle. Grabbing an early lead, Charles Guest’s MG Midget fell victim to Les Gonda’s powerful V8 for only a couple of laps before Charles reclaimed the lead and victory.

Following the MG gang’s yearly Collier protocol, the following trophies were handed out:

Jack Archibald T Cup: Mike Barstow (‘53 MGTD)
Bucher/Decker Cup: Todd Treffert (‘ 61 MGA)
Bill Glanville Cup: Charles Guest (’67 MG Midget)
Denver Cornett, Jr. Trophy: Charles Guest
Collier Cup(popular vote of his peers): Les Gonda (’72 MGB GT V8

Furthermore, the Alfa Romeo contingency had its own special trophy presentation commemorating 100 years of automobiles built by the Italian marque. As mentioned by Alfa Romeo and vintage racing aficionado driver, Peter Krause, “in addition to the racing varieties of the Alfa Romeo, there were also 115 street cars in attendance for various Alfa-related events, and 10 competition race cars that did not race.” As part of the Alfa jamboree, Krause now turn M.C., also handed out the following awards, and I might add, a few treasured bottles of Glenora wine and champagne to the following:

Peter Greenfield – Tazio Nuvolari Spirit Award for the Pre-War Alfa Romeo, poster car at the previous weekend’s event at Lime Rock Park. He lost a differential early during this weekend.
Jon Shirley – Bottle of Glenora Champagne in recognition for bringing three outstanding Pre-War Alfas, including Frank Griswold’s 8C2900B, the 1948 Watkins Glen GP inaugural winner.
Peter Giddings – Bottle of Chardonnay in recognition for his outstanding drive of the weekend in a Pre-War Alfa Grand Prix car, the Tipo B.
Sandy McNeil – The highly prestigious Bob Akin Spirit Award for 1950’s Alfa Romeos and recognizing her constant high level of performance, excellence in her Giulietta Sprint and driving such a rare Alfa Romeo Sprint Zagato.
Vince Vaccaro – Bottle of Champagne in recognition for presenting an outstanding Giulietta Spider Veloce race car, the first icon of Alfa’s competition success against Porsches, MGs and Triumphs.
Eliseo Carrillo – Bottle of Chardonnay in recognition for the outstanding drive of the weekend in a Fifties-era Alfa.
Jon Norman – Dick Davenport Spirit Award for GT Alfas from the Sixties and Seventies, in a car he has raced for 38 years and purchased from the drummer of the Grateful Dead! He won the Alfa Feature Race overall in front of Joey Colasacco in Laurence Aurianna’s TZ-1 and Eliseo Carrillo’s Giulietta.
Erik Wood – Bottle of Champagne in recognition for his outstanding drive in his GTV, winning the Group 8 Optima Batteries Sprint Race overall.
Peter Ragonetti – Bottle of Chardonnay in recognition for an excellent drive in his GTV and bringing his family (father Tom) and three Alfas with him from Colorado.
Jay Iliohan Tipo 33/3 – Horst Kwech Spirit Award for Sports Racing and Specialty Alfas. Jay has been racing with SVRA for over 20 years.
Joe Colasacco – Bottle of Champagne in recognition for his outstanding drive in the TZ-1 to win the Group 3 Saturday race overall.
Roman Tucker – Bottle of Chardonnay in recognition for his incredible support of the event and his presentation of two cars (Giulia Super TI and Duetto race cars) that our honored guest, two-time National Champion Pete Van der Vate, had not seen in forty years!
Our own, Kim Hoxie – Bottle of Champagne/event T-shirt in recognition for her unceasing efforts to help the Alfa group!
The Rita given to Bernardo Martinez, MD – The Alfa driver who most embodies the joy of victory in an Alfa. A true sportsman and gracious gentleman racer!
Sam Smith (member of the organizing committee and Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce pilot) – Presented with the Special SVRA Victory Lane Spirit Award.
Santo Spadaro (Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce) , Victory Lane Spirit Award for his outstanding drive in the Vintage Enduro, and his hounding of much more modern and bigger displacement cars..
Dave Durnan (Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce) – Victory Lane Spirit Award for his outstanding drive to finish third overall in the Group One Optima Batteries Sprint Race on Sunday.

Next up, the on-track U.S. Grand Prix Cocktail Party presented by HealthLink closed the very thrilling and packed day of vintage auto racing.

Luck would run out as clouds and occasional showers replaced the picturesque blue skies as the prolonged battle for slower cars began Sunday’s blacktop warfare. In the end, Arnie Black wheeled Bruce Parker’s Crossle 9S Sports Racer to victory. Subsequently, several Optima Battery sprint races also took the green before lunch.

Noteworthy, the Group 6 winner, Jack Busch (XKE), was presented with the Dick Mooney Memorial Trophy by Pam Mooney. As an SVRA regular, Dick Mooney was a familiar force driving his 1966 Corvette, a.k.a. “Blue.” Sadly, Dick passed away in 2007.

Kicking off post lunch, opening ceremonies yielded to the start of the New York Governor’s Cup slugfest. In what seemed on paper to be a big mismatch, Frank Beck’s 914 blasted to an explosive lead and victory over a group of racecars that included a Z28, GT40 and McLaren M1B, among others. The balance of formal races followed, including the All-Alfa battle won by Jon Norman’s GTV. Please check the SVRA website for the list of all winners and participants.

To be successful, you must be consistent and unique, and SVRA’s Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix (and Grand Festival) presented by Welliver McGuire, Inc., is just that. Not only does the gathering race back in time each year with an array of wonderful vintage machinery and bathe you in road racing’s history along the way, but does it all in the perfect arena, the hollowed grounds that reintroduced the sport back to America in 1948, Watkins Glen.
Atlanta or Bust! See you for our grand finale and SVRA’s 30th anniversary celebration at Road Atlanta.