VIR - 1958 May - Pre-Race Press

Virginia International Raceway - May 3-4, 1958


Everywhere the sports car racing fan turns, he hears undying praise of Jaguars which compete on the American road racing scene, such as at Virginia International Raceway in the upcoming 1958 spring sprints, May 3-4.

But there is competition, judging from several things which happened at the Upper Marlboro Raceway in Maryland last week, the national event which precedes the VIR inaugural for this season.

The Jags were there, Walt Hansgen in the new Lister and Eddie Crawford in the powerful D-Jag. And it has to be reported that Hansgen won, which gives him the first two national SCCA events of the year, well on the road to repeating as national champion.

But Bark Henry, of Washington, was driving a 300S Maserati, a veteran racing car to be sure. He was given the best chance to catch the Jaguars, and that he did. Fact is, near the end of the race he passed Crawford in the D-Jag on a straightaway, something the experts thought impossible, and Henry took over second place. But it was only momentarily. He spun out and lost his position.

Henry and the 300S Maserati will be entered in the VIR spring sprints next week, and even though the Jaguars will be favored, the spectators will be watching.

----   Among the Virginia entries in the eight-race program which highlights the spring sprints on Sunday (practice and time trials all day Saturday, which prove popular with the died-in-the-wool racing fan) will be a newcomer to the track just east of Danville off Rt. 58. He is Dr. Bart Levenson, of Norfolk, who has been driving his Alfa Romeo in sports car races this year and who will be entered in the G-Production competition.

This is the class in which Templeton (Tony) Briggs of Charlottesville scored an exciting victory in the SCCA national championship race in 1957. Tony has competed at VIR but has had considerable tough luck in his outings.

Race headquarters will begin to show activity next Friday, being set up by the Danville Region SCCA, which sponsors the event, at, Hotel Danville. All registration will be done there, and Ed Kemm, the VIR president and race chairman, will have his headquarters at the hotel all week.

Advance tickets for the spring spectacle will be available at race headquarters starting Friday. With a break in the weather VIR officials are predicting a record crowd of 20,000 for the Sunday program which includes 5-1/2 hours of road racing, starting at 9:30 a. m.

----  Young David Cunningham, of New York, was involved in the big wreck at VIR last fall, taking the upper chicane too fast and having his big Ferrari Testa Rosa roll over the bank and bang broadside against a huge tree. He was rushed to the hospital but he had no serious injury.

He will be back, but in a brand new car this time. He's driving a Ferrari GT and it's dollars to doughnuts that the New Yorker will be practicing that tricky upper chicane to the limit on Saturday. In practice the drivers test the turns and top danger points to see just how fast they can push their cars without trouble. At race time this is too late.