VIR - 1971 April  IMSA - Qualifying Report

Virginia International Raceway April 17-18, 1971

Durham Morning Herald Sunday April 18, 1971 - By CLIFF TURNER, Herald Sports Writer

Danville 300 Today
David Loring Wins 1st Heat In VIR Race

MILTON- David Loring says the smartest investment he ever made was in a Caldwell D9 Formula Ford.

He may be right.

The Concord, Mass., native roared to almost a five-car length victory in the first heat race held at Virginia International Raceway Saturday in the International 100 Sprint race. He averaged 80.675 over the three mile course.

The second heat will be held today, starting at 1:15 p.m. It will be a 50-lap test just as the Saturday duel was.

Loring, a top qualifier Saturday afternoon, didn't get the lead, however, until hot and fast Bill Scott ran off the track during the 14th lap. Scott, who built a seven-second lead over Loring in the first five laps, ran his Schmidts Royale into a ditch and it was several laps before anyone knew where he was.

Loring was able to indulge his interest in Formula cars when he received $20,000 from his grandfather's will.

"I HAD always watched other guys race and wanted to try it myself," he said brushing back his long hair, "but right then I didn't have the money to invest in it. "

Maybe now Loring, a 20-year-old youngster, will start collecting some dividends.

He has already started, but not in the United States.

Last year Loring was in Canada racing and took nearly every competitive battle he participated in. For his racing skills, and they are honed like a veteran driver at VIR, were good enough for him to be named Canadian Driver of the Year. He is the Ontario Regional Formula Ford Champion.

Nils Sanborn from Newtown, Pa., driving a Lola finished second to Loring in the 50-lap heat race.

Loring is hoping for a repeat performance today.

THE DANVILLE 300, the newly added IMSA GT series, will feature a contingent of Porsches, Austin Mini's, MGB--GT's, Corvettes , Fiats, Datsuns, and Opels.

During Saturday afternoon's practice runs, Corvettes were having difficulties with mechanical failures. Mel Shaw, one of the two Corvette entries in the 300 race, was one of them. Overheating was his problem. Dave Heinz is piloting the other Corvette.

A flood of Porsches poured into the paddocks during the late afternoon. They will make up the larger part of the starting field.

Peter Gregg, the VIR defending champion, made a good showing during his test runs and should be in the running for the top cut of the $12,500 purse. Gregg drives a Porsche 914-6, a OGT class, under 2.5 liters and in the grand touring class. Austin Minis also were strong competitors in the practice laps.

Jim Locke, who drives a Porsche 911S, said after the test runs: "I think the field can expect a lot of competition from Gregg. He's probably faster than any of the others, but it's a long race."

GREG FOLLOWED up with this comment: "It's a great course at VIR, but it's a tough 300 miles. We have got a good field." Gregg, hearing Locke make the comments about him and trying to be modest, said he felt Dave Heinz and his Corvette would be tough to beat. "The only way we can beat the larger cars will be in the turns."

With Corvettes carrying a lot of weight, the elusive and quick Porsches may be in front when the checkered flag falls.

Ron Stafford, a pre-race favorite, will not be entered in the Danville 300 GT series test. Stafford, dressed in mod apparel and stroking his clean-cut beard said: "I didn't have my car ready to compete in this event. I sure do regret it because I have been looking forward to this one for a long time." Stafford didn't elaborate but added he was looking for a sponsor to help share the burden of expenses. "But they're hard to come by." The Lake Lotawana, Mo., driver was to have piloted a Ford Boss 429.

The Danville 300 is expected to get underway at 2 p.m., immediately following the second heat of the VIR Sprints.