VIR - 1972 April  IMSA - Pre-Race Press

Virginia International Raceway April 15-16, 1972

Racing Fans Create "Country" Weekends

Myrtle Beach Journal March 16, 1972 - By BILL HENNECY Staff Writer

When was the last time you enjoyed a weekend in the country? It seems the day of large gatherings of people at rock festivals is over. The legal gatherings of the masses outdoors are now confined to the Carolina Cup, to infields of stock car races, and to a few campgrounds that accept individuals rather than those traveling in the self-contained campers.

It is still possible though, to get out in the country and enjoy the first green of spring and fellowship of a few thousand others. The other folks will be camping out, whooping it up, singing, and in general having a great time. Where? Just beyond the North Carolina-Virginia border near Milton, N.C., in what's left of an old southern plantation minus plantation house. The fields and fences remain and hills abound on the property that also has a creek and pond. The unique feature of the estate is the 3.25-mile ribbon of asphalt winding and snaking around the property to form V.I.R.

The name of the described tract of land is Virginia International Raceway, or V.I.R., as it is affectionately called by the many who welcome spring in "Ole Virginny." Not many have heard or even know of V.I.R. other than the North Carolina -Virginia college crowd and the racers of sports cars who desire to try the tricky curves and hills in quest of victory.

The road course has felt the racing tires counted on many cars streak across its surface. Roger Penske, Dan Gurney, Richard Petty, Mark Donohue. Parnelli Jones, and the late Curtis Turner have taken the green flag at V.I.R. in hopes of taking a checkered one a few hours later.

Last year IMSA staged their inaugural Danville 300 and V.I.R. Sprints. This year International Motor Sport Association will sanction the annual spring races again. Scheduled for April 15th and 16th will be three different kinds of competition and it all will be close.

The first type of competition on tap will be the International 100 cars. The I-100 machine is in reality a Formula Ford open-wheeled single seater car that is the little brother to the more exotic Formula One Grand Prix racers. The Formula Fords will attain speeds of approximately 135 miles per hour along the long back straightway at V.I.R. The cars in this category will run tightly bunched to produce exciting action for the spectator, during a 50 mile event.

The second type of racing will be the IMSA Baby Grands, actually mini Grand National machines: Vegas, Pintos, Toyotas, and Datsuns will be running wheel to wheel in a race of 100 miles in length.

The main event, and the third kind of competition, will be the Three-Hour GT Race, and the autos competing will be Corvettes. Porches, Camaros, 240-Zs, Mustangs, and others. The Gran Touring cars will be turning fantastic speeds with drivers like Peter Gregg, Dave Heinz, and Jim Fitzgerald.

V.I.R. can be some experience whether used as a backdrop for a weekend in the country or for walking around the cou rse taking in the action from various vantage points.

Tickets purchased are for the weekend and are priced between $6.00 and $10.00. Depending on whether you would like to visit the paddock to see the cars close-up or view them as they speed by on the course determines admission price.

Get your friends together and pack the camping gear. Place all the equipment in the car, drop by the ice machine, ice down the beverages, and head for Milton, N.C. With a little assistance from the weather man your weekend should be a memorable experience.