Virginia International Raceway April 17-18, 1971
May 1971 "Thiokol Record Braker" newsletter
Danville, Virginia, April 17- The Danville 300 and VIR Sprints marked the introduction of Thiokol Chemical Corporation's recently announced 1971 racing program and of Thiokol disc brake pads to the racing fraternity. Thiokol is a major supplier of disc brake pads to the original equipment market in Detroit and has recently entered the automotive aftermarket with new replacement pads.
In February, Bill Scott, 1970 Formula Vee World Champion, tested two of Thiokol's brake compounds at Daytona International Speedway. Since then, Scott has done additional testing at his driving school at Summit Point Speedway in West Virginia.
"I have now driven on three brake pad compounds manufactured by Thiokol Chemical Corporation. All have excellent braking characteristics; however, their two standard compounds for the OEM are better suited for Formula 100 racing. The third is a high performance compound developed initially for use in State Police vehicles and would undoubtedly be better suited for IMSA's new GT Series cars," Scott commented.
During the 1971 season, Thiokol will sponsor Bill Scott's Formula 100 and Super Vee cars and also sponsor his driving school in Summit Point. In addition, Thiokol has posted unrestricted championship point funds of $2,000 each for IMSA's International 100 GT Series (under 2.5 liters) and the over 2.5 liter GT Series.
Bill had two cars at Danville for the VIR Sprints, two 50 mile preliminary races for International 100 class formula cars. The primary car driven by Scott was the Schmidt's-Royale Special and the second was the Royale Formula Ford used in Scott's racing school at Summit Point, West Virginia.
In preliminary and qualifying laps, Scott's car did extremely well, handily winning the pole position for the first 50 mile sprint. However, he did experience some minor problems which might well have contributed to the eventual outcome.
Bill took the lead immediately from Nils Sanborn, the number two qualifier. For the next nine laps, he expanded that lead by two seconds per lap. Then, with a seventeen second lead, a piston broke forcing Scott out of the race.
In the meantime, David Loring, a 20-year-old from Concord, Massachusetts, passed Sanborn to become winner in his Caldwell-Ford. Loring, who became Canada's Driver of the Year in 1970, took advantage of IMSA's policy which allows qualified drivers over 18 to compete.
Terry Baxter, driving an older Royale Formula Ford used at Bill Scott Racing School, started the first race further back in the pack in tenth position. A multi-car spinout at the beginning of VIR's downhill "S's" forced Baxter off into the grass. However, he was able to return to the track and able to work his way forward from last place in the thirty-four car field, back to tenth.
Mishaps sidelined both Scott cars for the second Sprint and again, David Loring brought his Caldwell-Ford across the finish line, a double winner by a hefty margin. Nils Sanborn was again second.
The main event of the weekend, the Danville 300, saw a pair of FIA Grand Touring machines stage an exciting duet for first place. The Jacksonville team of Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood emerged victorious in their Porsche 914-6 over Tampa's Dave Heinz driving solo in his Corvette. It was a classic David and Goliath contest. The nimble 2-liter Porsche was able to go the 300 mile distance with only one fuel stop. The 7-liter Corvette pitted twice for gas and a tire change.
Heinz underestimated the physical demands imposed by Virginia International Raceway's twisting 3.2 mile circuit. A minor off-course excursion late in the race cost him the use of his clutch, and he eased home one lap down on the leader. Ralph Meaney and Steve Behr of Sherburn, Mass. were 3rd in another Porsche 914-6. The top three cars and several others in the race were fresh from this year's Sebring 12-hour event.
Twenty-four starters took the green flag in this inaugural event in IMSA's new GT Series for International Touring and Grand Touring cars and IMSA "Baby Grand" sedans.
Other class winners were Bob Hennig of Richmond in a Javelin; Amos Johnson and Roger Mandeville, Raleigh, N. C., in an Opel; Byron Morris and Clint Abernathy, Raleigh, N. C., in a BMW 2002; and George Alderman, Wilmington, Del., in a Datsun 510.
Next event in the IMSA GT Series was the Carter Hall GT Trophy Race at Talladega, Ala., May 15. The full 4-mile road circuit at the Alabama International Motor Speedway was used for this 200-miIe event. A supporting race for International 100 cars was also run on that date. A similar weekend is planned for May 22-23 in Charlotte, N. C. with the running of the Piedmont 3 Hour GT Series Race and the Charlotte Challenge, two IMSA Championship races for International 100 class cars.