VIR - 1957 October Pre-Race Report

Virginia International Raceway - October 26-27, 1957

Danville Bee 10/24/57

National Titles To Be Decided At VIR on Sunday
Other Champions To Compete For Top Sports Car Trophy,

With the 1957 season drawing to a close, a half-dozen national championships will be at stake in the VIR Grand Prix events on the new course near Milton in nearly six hours of Sports Cars racing on Sunday, starting at 10 a. m.

Five of the drivers to perform here already have salted away titles for the year in their respective classes, but they will be vieing for the most coveted honor of all - The President's Cup, to be awarded the winner of Sunday's two and one-half hour featured finale.

Walter Hansgen of Westfield, N. J., who has amassed 7,600 points this year to monopolize the C Sports classification, has been installed as the man to beat for the President's Cup. He'll again be at the wheel of a Briggs Cunningham D Jaguar. In the VIR Inaugural, Hansgen came in second to Carroll Shelby's 4.5-liter Maserati. But Shelby cracked up recently on the coast and will not compete here this time.

Since the featured race Sunday will cover some 200 miles, anything can happen and the leader will have to be seeking to go all the way without a stop or spin out.

Hansgen's main opposition may come from Paul O'Shea in the beautiful Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster (D Sports), Rich Lyeth in a C Sports Ferrari, J. E. Rose in a B-Sports Corvette, and Dr. Richard Thompson - "Mr. Corvette."

The drivers compete for the honor, national standings and trophies, rather than silver. The ratings are based on points given in championship events: 1,000 for first place, 800 for second, 600 for third, 400 for fourth and 200 for fifth.

Those who already have clinched national titles for the year in their classes are: Hansgen with 7,600 In C Sports, O'Shea with 8,200 In D Sports, Thompson with 7,600 In B Production, Frank Baptista of Hyattsville, Mid., with a grand total of 8,400 points in his G Sports Lotus, and Lt.Col. Robert Kuhn of Fairborn, Ohio, in his D Production AC Bristol.

The field is wide open in the other classifications and the very first race of the day (45 minutes for F and G Production and G Sports) may produce a real scramble. Class G Production is topped by three Alfa-Romeo drivers: Templeton Briggs with 5,400 points, Ed Hugus with 5,000 points and Bob Grossman with 4,200. Porsche pilots top F Production: Lake Underwood with 4,000 points. Fred Barrette with 3,400 and Dick Nash with 3,200.

In G Sports, Baptista is followed by two other Lotus drivers M. R. J. Wyllie with 5,200 points and Robert Weiler with 4,000.

In this first race, all three classes will be running at the same time - three races in one with the Alfas, Porsches and Loti competing separately.

The second race, starting at 11 o'clock and lasting one hour will be for D and E Production classes The D Production field is headed by an Austin Healey trio in close competition: Col. Fred Moore with 4,200 points, Warren Cox with 4,000 points and Major Gil Geitner with 2,800. Col Kuhn's pursuers In E Production, also driving AC Bristols, are Harry Carter with 3,000 points and Dick McGuire with 2,000.

The third race, from 12:30 p.m. until 2, will include B and C Production and F Sports. Dick Thompson's top competition in B Production comes from Corvette pilots Bark Henry with 3,200 points and Jim Jeffords with 1,800. The drivers, makes, and points topping C Production are: Harry Carter, Mercedes, 3,000; George Constantine, Aston-Martin, 2,800 and Robert Rubin Jag XK120M 2,200.

The keenest competition of all is among three Porche Spyder pilots in Class F Sport:Charlie Wallace with 5,800 points, Bob Holbert and Lake Underwood, both with 5,000 points.

Class E Sports, which will compete with all other sports classes in the cup race starting at 2:30 p. in., is headed by a pair of Ferrari drivers, Gaston Andrey with 3,600 and E. P Lunken with 3,000.

The President's Cup and other trophies will be presented at the Pagoda immediately after the last race ending at 5 p.m.


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