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Virginia International Raceway History 1957-74
Col. George Franklin: "I can recall one incident at Virginia International Raceway which caused great excitement. The back straight is quite long with a sharp right hander at the end, a short straight and a sharp descending left turn, downhill to a right hander onto the front straight. I over cooked it going into the turn and continued off the track sideways toward a steep embankment. Rather than go over rolling I spun the car around and went over backward, ending up in a ravine about half way down the hill. I had kept the engine running and was able to take off down the ravine through thick bushes filled with berries, back onto the track (maintaining my position!) and finishing the race. My car and I were covered with the red juice from the berries and the corner workers, my crew and the spectators all looked very concerned - they thought that I was covered with blood. It was hilarious when I pulled into the pits."
Carl Zorowski's versatile Spitfire:
* Someone once drove a Formula Vee car under a horse.???
* A TR-3 went off course heading for a worker station. One worker grabbed a tree limb and pulled his legs up as the TR-3 passed underneath.
Two Tall Tales from Glen Hawes - any confirmation??
Sign at Timing & Scoring in 1970's - "These are the souls that time men's tries" - from Karl Zorowski
In the early 60's some people staying at the Danville Inn decided to go laundry cart racing about 2 AM. The rules were that you had to keep your head down so you couldn't see where you were going as you went down a big hill and into the street. The local constabulary took a dim view of this and hauled a number of participants off to the pokey. Col. Paul Rembold showed up later and managed to convince the lawmen that the boys were just having some fun and that it would be real hard to put on a race the next day without any drivers (like that Roger Penske fellow, for instance). - From Watts Hill, Jr.
IT WAS ANNOUNCED HERE TODAY THAT BIG BORE RACING WILL RETURN TO VIR. BILL FRANCE, THE RECENTLY ELECTED HEAD OF THE SCCA TOLD REPORTERS HERE THAT NASCAR AND SCCA WILL RUN TWO Trans-Ams, A CAN-AM AND TWO GN RACES AT THE TRACK THIS YEAR.
THE ENTRY FIELD FOR THE Trans-Am RACES INCLUDE MARK DONOHUE, RONNIE KAPLAN, PARNELLI JONES, GEORGE FOLLMER, BUD MOORE, SAM POSEY AND THE INTERNATIONALLY FAMOUS TEAM OF JIM JEFFRIES AND LEWIS GUNTER IN A BMW SEDAN.
THE CAN-AM RACE WILL FEATURE SUCH STARS AS BRUCE MCLAREN, DENNY HULME, PETER REVSON, JACK BRABHAM, SAM POSEY AND MARIO ANDRETTI. DR. PAUL FLEMING IS EXPECTED TO APPEAR DRIVING THE REVOLUTIONARY WANKEL-FIAT.
IN THE GRAND NATIONAL AREA, SUCH WELL KNOWN PERSONALITIES AS RICHARD PETTY, CHARLIE GLOTZBACH, PETE HAMILTON, TINY LUND, WENDELL SCOTT, PERCY FLOWERS, BOBBY ISAAC, WHIT DIGGETT AND ROGER McBLIVIT ARE ALREADY ON THE ENTRY LIST. AMOS JOHNSON AND ROGER PENSKE HAVE TEAMED UP AND ARE EXPECTED TO DEBUT THEIR NEW ZL-1 MINI. GUNTER AND JEFFRIES ENGINEERING (GJE INC.) ARE EXPECTED TO CLEAN HOUSE IN THEIR MGB POWERED CONCRETE TRUCK.
THE DAYTONA RUNOFFS (NOVEMBER 31 - 35, 1969), MOVED THIS YEAR TO VIR, SINCE MOST DRIVERS FAVOR THIS BEAUTIFUL 3.2 MILE PARAGON OF ROAD RACING. THE HOWMET TURBINE CAR IS MAKING A SPECIAL APPEARANCE FOR THE EVENT AND LEWIS GUNTER HAS BEEN ASKED TO CO-DRIVE. GUNTER WAS NOT AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT, BUT RELIABLE SOURCES SAY THAT HE WAS SEEN ON THE BACK STRETCH PICKING GRAPES.
PORSCHE HAS COMMITTED TWO FACTORY 917'S AND SMOKEY YUNICK HAS VOWED TO GET HIS CAMARO PAST TECH. ART ARFONS MAILED IN HIS ENTRY FEE, BUT WAS REJECTED AS THE STEWARDS OF THE MEETING THOUGHT THE CAR COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS A LEGAL SPORTS CAR. THE STEWARDS OF THE MEETING ARE JIM JEFFRIES, LEWIS GUNTER, ORVAL COX AND GEORGE TRASK. GUNTER'S VOTE, THAT OLD GRAPE PICKER, WAS THE ONLY FAVORABLE ONE, SINCE HE IS NEVER KNOWN TO "NIT-PICK".
THE ARRC PROMISES AT LEAST 50 ENTRIES THIS YEAR WITH SOME LATE ENTRIES EXPECTED. IT HAS BEEN ESTIMATED THAT AT LEAST 25,000 SPECTATORS WILL BE ON HAND FOR THE RACE, WHICH IS THE ANTICLIMAX FOR ALL THE HARD WORKING, SWEATING, LITTLE SLEEPING, BLEARY EYED, SPEED CRAZED, WORD SLINGING GENTLEMEN OF SPORTS CARS.
PAUL REMBOLD HAS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED AT A DANVILLE VA. PRESS CONFERENCE THAT THE VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY WILL BE SUBSTANTIALLY REVAMPED FOR THE 70-71 SEASON. PLANS INCLUDE A 58 DEGREE BANK AT THE FAMOUS OAK TREE TURN, AND A NEW PAVED EN-TRANCE WAY INTO TRACK FROM THE HIGHWAY. THE PLANS CALL FOR A COMPLETE REPAVING OF: THE TRACK SURFACE WITH THE PIT LANE WIDENED TO 160 FEET. INDIVIDUAL CAR SHELTERS ARE PLANNED FOR THE PIT. REMBOLD ANNOUNCED THAT AN OBSERVATION TOWER 100 FEET HIGH WILL BE BUILT AT THE END OF THE BACK STRAIGHT WHICH WILL ALLOW THE COURSE MARSHALL TO HAVE AN IMPROVED VIEW OF THE TRACK. ADDITIONS TO SPECTATOR HILL INCLUDE A 40 SEAT BATHROOM AND AN INDOOR-OUTDOOR TAVERN. A STAFF OF PHYSICIANS IS ALSO TO BE INCLUDED ON THE HILL. THE PADDOCK WILL BE ENLARGED AND THE INFIELD LAKE MOVED ABOUT 300 YARDS SOUTHWEST
DUE TO THE RECENT ANNOUNCEMENT THAT TWO TRANS-AM AND ONE CAN-AM RACE WILL BE RUN AT THE TRACK NEXT SEASON, A NEW 100,000 SEAT GRANDSTAND IS ALSO TO OF BUILT ACROSS FROM THE PAGODA.
REMBOLD, CONSIDERED THE "GRANDADDY" OF RACING AT VIR, ALSO STATED THE PLANS FOR A NEW PAGODA TO BE BUILT AT THE TRACK. THE COST, ACCORDING TO REMBOLD, WILL EXCEED $500,000. THE NEW PAGODA WILL BE A GLASSED-IN , HEATED, AIR-CONDITIONED STRUCTURE FEATURING A NEW $60,000 TIMING AND SCORING ROOM OCCUPYING THE ENTIRE THIRD FLOOR OF THE FOUR STORY STRUCTURE* THIS NEW PAGODA IS EXPECTED TO RIVAL THE GOODYEAR TOWER AT DAYTONA.
THE FIRST FLOOR WILL CONSIST OF A RESTAURANT AND BATHROOM AREA FOR CREW AND RACE PERSONNEL. THE SECOND FLOOR WILL BE DEVOTED TO COMMUNICATIONS, WHICH WILL INCLUDE THE NEW AT&T TELEPHONE SYSTEM FROM EACH FLAG STATION TO THE PAGODA. THE THIRD FLOOR WILL BE FOR THE USE OF THE TIMING AND SCORING PERSONNEL. A 100 CAR ELECTRONIC TIMER WILL BE INSTALLED ALONG WITH THE BATHROOM. THE FOURTH FLOOR WILL BE A PRESS AREA . FOUR HIGH SPEED ELEVATORS WILL SERVE THE BUILDING.
REMBOLD, LOVED AND RESPECTED BY ALL MEMBERS OF THE SCCA, THE MAIN USERS OF THE TRACK, WILL PERSONALLY BE ON HAND FOR THE DEDICATION OF THE TRACK AT THE FIRST RACE OF THE SEASON, A $1,000,000 TRANS-AM EVENT. VIR, THE MOST LOVED AND RESPECTED TRACK IN THE U.S. IS EXPECTED TO BE EVEN BETTER DUE To REMBOLD'S GENEROSITY
THE HIGH-LIGHT OF THE MEETING WAS THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF A NEW RACE CLUB. THIS CLUB WILL BE A PRIVATE CLUB OF EXCLUSIVE RACER-ONLY MEMBERSHIP. MEMBERS WILL BE SERVED HOT DELICIOUS MEALS, WITH THEIR CHOICE OF AFTER-DINNER LIQUERS AND CIGARS. THE CLUB STRUCTURE WILL BE LOCATED AT THE SITE OF HOG-PEN TURN AND WILL CONSIST OF THE MAIN SHED PLUS A NEW CONCRETE UNDERGROUND GARAGE. FEATURES INCLUDE HOT AND COLD RUNNING WATER, A COMPLETELY FURNISHED 60 SUITE MOTEL AND WHIRLPOOL BATHS FOR THOSE WHO STRAIN THEIR BACK RACING. A TERRACE, WITH HOT AND COLD RUNNING BEER, WILL BE LOCATED AT THE SECOND FLOOR. A SUN DECK, FOR THE USE OF FEMALE COMPANIONS, WILL BE ON THE THIRD FLOOR. A SAUNA IS ALSO PLANNED FOR RACE GUESTS WHO LIKE TO ROUGH IT. REMBOLD, THE FINANCIER OF THE ENTIRE OPERATION, IS EXPECTED TO BE ELECTED PRESIDENT!
EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS IS AN ON THE SPOT REPORT OF THE BEER BUST HELD AFTER THE OCTOBER 25-26 NATIONAL. As PER USUAL THIS WAS HELD LATE SATURDAY AFTERNOON. OUR FEARLESS REPORTER IS ROGER McBLIVIT.
ALL THE MAJOR PRODUCERS WERE ENTERED IN THE V-I-R NATIONAL BEER BUST ON OCTOBER 25. SCHLITZ BEAT OUT "BUD" IN A VERY HOTLY CONTESTED FINISH. HONORABLE MENTION WAS GIVEN TO MILLER,
ROLLING ROCK, BLUE RIBBON AND COUNTRY CLUB. THE MAJOR EVENT WAS A "CHUG-A-LUG" CONTEST BETWEEN LEWIS GUNTER AND JIM JEFFRIES WITH DINY FLEMING AS REFEREE.A HAPPER CROWD HAVE NEVIR BEEN SEEN AT VIR. I PERSONABLY HAS TESTED ALL OF THE BERS AT LEAST ONCED AND I%& WOULD LIK TOSAY THAT THEY WAS ALL GOODER 'N FIRE. WEELL, IFIND THAT I MUS NOW RETIRE TO THE ?5033AC568 FOR A QUIKKKKK 10*664 CWITTKL OFF Y THE BENZ OF SOMER ... *ASWHY I H E L B DIM BEG BUTHERD SOMESL FILCH WONDER BOY. LOVE BGU(O*)~ /?!!11111!!
THE SCCA NATIONAL HELD AT V-I-R ON OCTOBER 25-26 WAS UNDOUBTEDLY THE BEST RACE HELD THERE IN MANY YEARS. THERE WERE 320 ENTRIES REGISTERED BY SATURDAY WITH MORE CARS EXPECTED DURING THE DAY. A PAYING CROWD OF OVER 30,000 SCREAMING SPECTATORS LEVELED SPECTATOR HILL ON SATURDAY BUT DUE TO QUICK ACTION BY PAUL REMBOLD THE HILL WAS BACK IN PLACE FOR SUNDAY'S ACTIVITIES. HE USED EMPTY BEER CANS AND WRECKED CARS.
IN THE G&H PRODUCTION RACE SUNDAY, OVER 100 ENTRIES CLUTTERED THE TRACK. JOHN FINGER AND WHIT DIGGETT HAD IT OUT DURING THE RACE, LAPPING THE REST OF THE FIELD 13 TIMES IN THE 15 LAPS. WHITNEY WAS PROTESTED AND DECLARED ILLEGAL WHEN IT WAS FOUND THAT HE WAS OPEL POWERED. WHITNEY'S PIT CREW, BUNNY DIGGETT, AMOS JOHNSON, AND CHUCK BERRY, PUT HIS MIDGET ENGINE BACK IN AND SENT WHIT ON HIS WAY. PAUL FLEMING WAS A CLOSE THIRD IN HIS RAPID FIAT SPYDER UNTIL HE STOPPED TO DELIVER A BABY ON SPECTATOR HILL.
IN THE INTEREST OF TIME, FORMULA A,B,C,F AND VEE WERE ALL RUN TOGETHER IN SUNDAY'S RACE. THIS WAS HIGHLIGHTED BY THE FACT THAT JOHN GUNN'S FORMULA A LAPPED THE LAST FORMULA VEE BEFORE IT GOT OFF THE STARTING GRID. STEVE DURST AND JOHN HOOD GAVE GUNN A HARD TIME BUT HE WON, FOLLOWED BY HARRY "GRAHAM HILL" INGLE IN A FORMULA VEE. IN A PHOTO FINISH (PHOTOS SUPPLIED BY ROGER BLANCHARD), ROGER CHASTAIN EDGED OUT FRED OPERT'S FB.
NEXT, IN D,E,F PRODUCTION AND C SEDAN WE HAD SUCH FAVORITES AS JIM FITZGERALD, BOB SHARP, BOB KROKUS, JERRY TRUITT, KEN SLAGLE, AND FANNY HILL.
EDITORS NOTE: THIS ARTICLE WILL REMAIN UNFINISHED AS A MEMORIAL TO THE AUTHOR WHO WAS RUN OVER WHILE COVERING THE THIRD RACE. HE WAS STANDING ON THE TRACK, TAKING A HEAD-ON PICTURE OF AN UNIDENTIFIED CAR , WITH WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS A TELEPHOTO LENS. UNFORTUNATELY, HE HAD FORGOTTEN TO PUT THE LENS ON THE CAMERA.
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