Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Report from 2009 SCCA Runoffs

2009 Runoff Report

by Don Knowles

The SCCA’s 46th running of the National Championship Runoffs moved to Road America this year.

Our first year at Road America was exciting, with over 600 competitors. In the showroom stock and touring classes, it seems like we had a record number of big time crashes, with several competitors going to the ICU and a number of cars totaled.

In several other classes, where drafting is important, it appears that the racers have not all determined the best way to proceed, with many attacks very early, making it possible for the leader to get away. Additionally, brakes are more important here than at recent Runoff tracks. Drivers will need new strategies put in place by next year if they want to contend for the win. The track has several much faster turns than the two prior last Runoff tracks (Mid Ohio and Heartland Park Topeka) and I expect all competitors will adjust to the new track by next year.

RRDC Members Competing:

The following members competed in the races this year:

Jim Dentici—GTL-1st
Nicki Coello—FC-1st
Don Knowles—T2-1st
Justin Pritchard-FC-2nd
Jim Goughary-GT2-3rd
Tom Schweitz-FF-3rd
Jim Downing-CSR-5th
Kent Prather-GTL-11th
John Fergus-S2-12th
Pete Peterson-GT3-DNF
Carl Jensen-GT1-DNF
Dave Weitzenhof-FC-DNF

Under the heading of proud parents, John Fergus’s son Corey started on the pole in S2 and finished 2nd, and Kent Prather’s son Jesse started 2nd in EP and finished 6th.

RRDC Member Dinner:

Tom Dehn, with his son Frank, Frank’s fiancée Kimberly Benson and her mom Susie, and with Jim and Toni Haynes, organized, orchestrated, and provided a wonderful dinner for us on Tuesday night. We had about 60 attendees and enjoyed the live music, festive decorations, open bar, and the finest Runoffs dinner ever held at the event. Tom persuaded a friend to fly in from California to roast seasoned chickens on a spectacular, hand made, open “twister”. Simply fantastic.

The event was held in the Briggs and Stratton Motorplex, which is centrally located in the infield and gives us a nice and weather proof place to socialize. We invited the SCCA board of directors, the SCCA national staff and the Road America staff to join us. RRDC member Jim Haynes, former Road America track owner and manager, recounted some history for us, as he celebrated the 50th anniversary of one of his early wins. The current track manager, George Bruggenthies, was also present and said a few words. The dinner was followed by 2 large cheesecakes for dessert, one topped with a great RRDC logo in icing. Our team truck driver, Bob Gorman, who is 79, said it was the first time since his wife died 17 years ago that he had found any cheesecake good enough to eat.

PRDA Awards:

RRDC member Oscar Koveleski was an original founder of the Polish Racing Drivers of America, back in 1970. This year, he created “Pole Awards” for RRDC members to present to the pole winners in their respective classes. The awards were designed to look like Academy Awards (“Oscars”). Many members followed through and the pictures will be posted on the PRDA website.

Mark Donohue Award:

For the 39th time, the RRDC has selected a recipient for the Mark Donohue Award. The award is given to “one driver in the annual SCCA National Championship Runoffs who RRDC members feel has stood head and shoulders above the crowd in terms of personal spirit and performance behind the wheel.”

For a number of years, the award has consisted of a glass table top to go on a wheel donated by a club member, the wheel having come from a significant race car and event from the prior year. We had the 2009 Mark Donohue Award on display at the member dinner. The wheel was donated by member Duncan Dayton, and had been driven by Scott Sharp and David Brabham on their Patron sponsored LMP 1 winning Acura during the 2008 race win at Lime Rock, the first overall race win for Patron Highcroft Racing and the first Acura win in ALMS. As is also a tradition, the wheel came complete with a little race incurred battle damage, which adds to the presentation and the significance of the wheel.

The award was won by Michael Varacins, who won the FV race by over 25 seconds, the largest margin of victory in FV since Dave Weitzenhof’s victory by 63.8 seconds in 1972. He was selected “not only because of his outstanding performance in dominating his race, but because of his determination, sportsmanship, competitiveness and humility, the traits which best exemplify the spirit of the multi-talented champion and road-racing legend for whom the award is named. Michael builds his own cars, working with his father and family, and also builds parts for other FV competitors. He may join us at the RRDC dinner at Daytona on the Wednesday night before the 24 Hours of Daytona. The award will be presented at the SCCA convention in Las Vegas in late January 2010.

Members in attendance:

John Fergus
Don Knowles
Jim Goughary
Nicki Coello
Dave Weitzenhof
Carl Jenson
Pete Peterson
Tommy Schweitz
Fred Clark
Tom Dehn
Jim Dentici
Jim Downing
Jim Haynes
John Heinricy

Upcoming events:

The RRDC will present a symposium at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Orlando, FL on Friday, December 12, from 9 am to noon aimed at helping drivers get off on the right foot in racing.

Here is a link to further information for the symposium:

The Club is also planning its annual dinner in conjunction with the 24 Hours of Daytona. The dinner will be held Wednesday night, January 27, 2010. More information will be forthcoming.

Looking forward to seeing you at one of our future events.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Gurney Eagle F5000 car returns to Glen

By Ron Levanduski • • Staff Writer Star-Gazette • September 12, 2009

WATKINS GLEN -- Tony Adamowicz never dreamed he'd be racing the same Gurney Eagle today that he won the Continental Formula 5000 Championship with in 1969.

The only American to win a Formula 5000 title in an American-made car did that last year at Watkins Glen International to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the class.

The car had been in storage for 37 years until Doug Magnon purchased it and began restoring it in 2006 at his Riverside (Calif.) International Automotive Museum.

"I never thought in a million years that I would one day be back in this car," Adamowicz said. "We are very pleased to be able to take this project over and bring it back and show people a little bit about the car. It's a championship car and it deserves to be out there."

The historic car, from the top open-wheel road race series of its time, is one of nearly 400 vintage cars taking part in the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at the Glen.

Drivers took part in qualifying and six-lap qualifying races on the Glen's 3.4-mile Grand Prix configuration on Saturday.

The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association-sanctioned event closes out the 2009 season here with 15 vintage races today starting at 8:30 a.m. Among them are four featured races, including a Formula 5000 race at 3 p.m.

Adamowicz, who also won three IMSA GT titles and a Trans-Am championship, retired from professional racing 20 years ago. At 68, the Port Henry, N.Y., native, who now lives in Costa Mesa, Calif., is happy to be back competing in vintage racing. He won his FA-class qualifying race at the Glen.

"It's an honor to be back in the Eagle and it feels good to win again," Adamowicz said. "Forty years later, this is a handful to drive. I don't really remember it that way back then but I was much younger then and a lot braver."

The annual New York Governor's Cup race, which begins at 1:30 p.m., will be an open invitational event with the top 60 cars from five different race groups participating. A Centennial Jubilee race, celebrating 100 years of the featured marque -- the British Morgan -- starts at 2:30 p.m. The 25th anniversary of the first Collier Cup race for MG cars takes the green flag at 11:30 a.m.

Lyn St. James, the events featured guest, spoke during a Fan Forum and signed autographs on Saturday. The former sports car race winner and Indianapolis 500 competitor will return to do both again today.

Another of the significant cars on hand is a 1971 McLaren M8F that Peter Revson won the Can-Am Championship with in 1971. It's only one of three factory cars that were built and was featured during McLaren's 40th Anniversary Can-Am celebration at its base of operations in Livonia, Mich. in July. The M8F was restored last year and is making its first appearance here in more than five years.

"It's a huge a privilege and we are proud to be here and very delighted to show it off to everybody," said Scott Hughes, of Sunset, S.C., who owns and drives the car.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

1975 Jerobee RC Car Sells For $285

Recently on eBay a 1975 Jerobee RC car, similar to the real car owned by Oscar Koveleski and driven by Tony Adamowicz, sold for $285. The car was in it's original packaging and showed little use. Here is some of the description by the owner:

Up for sale is this 1975 Jerobee Commando RC car in its original box. I recieved this as a 15th birthday present back in Aug of 1975 when i was living in New Jersey at the time. Due to the bad winter weather and pot holes in the street Ii only used the Jerobee car a few times then it was put in the basement and forgotten about 'til just recently. I also was just learning how to drive real cars at the time so i really didn't have time for the Jerobee.

Anyway, my brother was cleaning out the basement recently so he could sell the house when he discovered the Jerobee car hidden under some boxes and some other stuff that had accumulated over the years. I live in florida now and totally forgot about this Jerobee car. My brother then shipped the Jerobee car down to me in Florida and I was amazed at the condition of the car as well as the original box the car came in after all these years of sitting in the basement gathering dust.

It's in mint condition with all of the paper work inside the box such as drivers manual, Jerobee brochures, parts price lists, ect.

When I first got the car as a birthday present I went down to a hobby shop which was a few blocks away from where i lived and bought a extra body as well as extra parts thinking that i was going to keep and use the jerobee car for a long time which didn't happen.

I have not tested the radio or the engine to see if they work however i pulled on the starter cord a few times and it pulls as if it were brand new with no kinks or binds whatsoever. As I mentioned earlier i have a extra red Dodge Challenger body as well as a assortment of Jerobee parts that are brand new in there packages. The body that is on the car now is a orange McLaren body with all body pieces in place and in mint condition such as drivers head, roll bar, windshield,a nd engine pipes. This is a complete package for the serious collector and I hope it will go to a new home.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Keselowski's Continues Short-Track Prowess with Top-Five Finish

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 11, 2009) – Brad Keselowski led one time for 70 laps in the No. 88 Lipton Chevrolet en route to a fourth-place finish Friday night in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway. It was Keselowski’s fifth consecutive top-five finish, and it keeps him solidly in third place in the championship standings.

Carl Edwards won the race, his fourth victory this season. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch followed in second and third, with Keselowski and David Reutimann rounding out the top five.

Start – 5th / Finish – 4th / Laps Led – 70 / Points – 165 / Point Standings – 3rd

Starting fifth, Keselowski raced his way to third and used quick pit work during the Lipton team’s first stop to take the lead on lap 42. Keselowski would not relinquish the top spot until lap 112 during a green-flag run. The 70 laps led were Keselowski’s second-highest total this season, 41 laps shy of the 121 he led in a winning effort at Iowa Speedway.

Racing steadily in the top-five, Keselowski’s crew used pit stops on lap 127 and 230 to continue working on the car’s handling, while performing fast enough pit work to gain a position each time. Keselowski took the final restart in fifth place on lap 230. He made quick work of David Reutimann for fourth, and spent the last 14 laps chasing down Busch for third. He came within a car length, but couldn’t make the pass. Keselowski took the checkers in fourth place.

The finish in Richmond was Keselowski’s 16th top-five and 21st top-10 of the season. It was also his fifth consecutive top-five. With the laps led at Richmond, Keselowski has now led in 13 of 27 races this season, or just under half, for 302 laps. Keselowski continues to excel on short tracks with one win and five top-five finishes on the last five short track races, with an average finish of 3.2.

Picture and story from


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

PRDA 5000th Member To Speak At Watkins Glen "Legends Speak'

Watkins Glen, Sept. 11th, 2009

Leo Mehl (5000th PRDA Member) first visited Watkins Glen early in his career as a Goodyear Race Tire Engineer working on Carroll Shelby’s Cobras, and as boss of the Formula 1 Team in the Era of Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Jackie Stewart, Denny Hulme, Graham Hill, and Mario Andretti.

As General Manager of Goodyear’s Worldwide Racing Program from 1974-1996, he has visited Watkins Glen on many other occasions throughout the years, overseeing tire performance of Sports Cars, F5000, NASCAR, and Indianapolis-type cars.

Mehl joined Goodyear as a tire compounder in 1959 and moved into the racing department in 1963 when Goodyear began to look at a bigger involvement in the sport. He played an important role in developing the tires with which Goodyear won the Indianapolis 500 that year and later that year was posted to Goodyear's European headquarters in Wolverhampton and was made head of European Racing, replacing Fred Gamble. In October 1971 he became chief engineer of all Goodyear Racing activities and three years later took over as Director of Racing. His final promotion was to be head of all Goodyear competition activities in 1979. He retired from Goodyear in 1996 and became executive director of the Indy Racing League and a vice-president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He remained in that role until the end of 1999 when he retired from the sport.

Lyn St. James and others are also scheduled to speak.

For more information, see



[Vegas, Nevada: September 17th, 2009] The Silver State Classic Challenge is an International Open Road Event, Recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records.

Michael Joseph, of Corning, NY, will enter his 1969 Buick Electra GSX, dubbed “Faithful Pursuit” in the annual 90 mile rally. The 1000+ HP Twin-Turbo Buick was displayed in Las Vegas at the Tuskegee Airmen’s National Convention in August. It was specially built to achieve speeds approaching 200 mph. Formula Drift driver, Tony Brakohiapa, will pilot the big Buick land speedster which was financed, conceived, and driven mostly by persons of African descent.

One run will be dedicated to the late Tuskegee Airman Roger “Bill” Terry, who confided in Michael of his own ambition for Land Speed with a LaSalle based car. There was no sponsorship for Blacks after WWII, Bill told Michael.

The 194.9mph target honors the Tuskegee Airmen who won the United States Air Force’s First Fighter Gunnery Meet in 1949. Michael noted “The Buick is an unusual entry, amidst the Corvettes and Ferraris and other exotic sports cars racing against a clock. By competing we hope to inspire Black youth to pursue careers in technology.”

WHEN: 17 – 20 September 2009 WHERE: Silver State Classic Challenge, Ely, Nevada CONTACT: Steven or Gail Waldman, (702) 451-1513, (702) 631-6166,


Monday, September 7, 2009


At Atlanta the top-three remained the same for much of the race -- Harvick, Busch, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., and thatís just the way they finished. Late in the race, Earnhardt Jr. tried a fuel mileage strategy - while most pitted with 10 -15 laps to go for a splash of fuel and a couple of tires, Earnhardt Jr., teammate Brad Keselowski, and Carl Edwards opted to conserve fuel and stay out. They were quickly caught up. "I guess it was the right call, "Said Dale Jr. "We just didn't have enough at the end to hold them off. I tried to get going when they were coming." Keselowski finished in the fourth position, the only non-Sprint Cup regular to post a top-five finish.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Earnhardt's advice helped Keselowski join Penske

Brad Keselowski will admit, it was the hardest decision he's ever had to make. But having the blessing of Dale Earnhardt Jr. made it a little easier.

Keselowski, the sought-after NASCAR phenom who won a Sprint Cup race at Talladega earlier this season in a part-time car, has signed a multi-year contract to compete for Penske Racing, beginning in 2010.

The deal puts Keselowski in Roger Penske's No. 12 Sprint Cup car, where he will replace current driver David Stremme, as well as in a new, full-time Nationwide Series ride where he will compete as a teammate to Justin Allgaier.

"I want to be the guy that comes to Penske Racing and gets them their first NASCAR championship. I want to be that guy," Keselowski said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. "For everything that's been accomplished here, that's the one thing that's missing, and I want to be the guy that gets it done."

Visit for the full story.