Virginia International Raceway - October 26-27, 1957
The Bee: Danville, Va., Saturday, October 26, 1957
They were "burning the rubber" at the Virginia International Raceway east of Danville today as the nation's top sports car drivers vied for starting positions in tomorrow's Grand Prix races. Practice runs were underway at noontime and the drivers engaged in time trials later in the afternoon for a full day of racing, starting at 10 a.m. tomorrow.
The runs at VIR today followed safety inspections held at the airport this morning. Nearly 100 cars were lined up for the competitions.
Racing fans were casting anxious eyes skyward today, hoping that rains win hold off for the second national event at the track near Milton.
A check at the course indicated all in readiness. Steps have been taken to correct flaws which popped up in the inaugural event. While the overall attendance may not equal the two-day event several weeks ago, arrangements have been made for thousands to flood the area.
Racing fans speculated that Carroll Shelby's record will be broken in the four events tomorrow, climaxed by the two and one-half hour feature race for the President's Cup.
This event was inaugurated by President Eisenhower In 1954 and the trophy has been returned to competition by the Sports Car Club of America this year. The cup itself will be officially presented at the White House on Tuesday of next week.
Shelby, the tall Texan who was seriously injured in a wreck in California last month, set a race record of 78.3 miles per hour for VIR in the inaugural races in August. His Maserati was pushed by Walt Hansgen of New Jersey, driving one of the white D-Jaguars of Briggs Cunningham, and it is Hansgen who has inherited the favorite's role for the big event Sunday that is expected to better 200 miles.
Hansgen, as a matter of fact, set the qualifying record in August but his D-Jaguar stalled momentarily on the first part of the big race, and Shelby zoomed by to take the lead which he never relinquished. However, Hansgen will still have Charlie Wallace of Chevy Chase, Md., to battle for the big cup which is insured by VIR at $3,000.
In addition to the President's Cup, national championships will be at stake in tomorrow's races. While five of the drivers have clinched titles for the year, seven other classifications are wide open. In each race tomorrow, 1,000 points will be awarded the winner, with 800 for second place, 600 for third, 400 for fourth and 200 for fifth.
While attention will focus on Hansgen, Dr. Richard Thompson, Paul O'Shea, Frank Baptista, and Robert Kuhn as national leaders, the competition may be even more spirited in the classes in which titles may be decided.
Wallace will be seeking to protect his lead in Class F Sports where the Porsches lead the field. He is being pressed by Bob Holbert and Lake Underwood. Competition also is keen In G Production where Templeton Briggs holds a narrow lead over Ed Hugus and Bob Grossman. Other events likewise are close.
Fans will be arriving early at the track tomorrow since the first race will get underway at 10 o'clock and last for 45 minutes. A one-hour race starting at 11 o'clock will be followed by a 90-minute affair at 12:30. The long featured event will open at 2:30 and the President's Cup will be presented the winner shortly after 5 o'clock.
Please send me e-mail with any additional info on this or any other VIR race