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IMSA on a Budget—Part 1, The Baby Grand

While the illustrious history of IMSA is littered with great cars and great drivers, it’s easy to forget that the series also catered to young, up-and-coming drivers, racing on a budget, in much less “exotic” machinery. What follows is the first of a two-part tale of these fascinating IMSA undercards, from the new book “IMSA 1969–1989: The inside story of how John Bishop built the world’s greatest sports car racing series” by Mitch Bishop & Mark Raffauf. 

IMSA RS—Racing for the Little Guy

The starting field for the first IMSA RS/Baby Grand race at Daytona in January 1972. IMSA Collection/International Motor Racing Research Center

A Charlotte race in May 1971 marked the beginning of the IMSA Baby Grand series. Only twelve cars showed up, but the concept proved to be a winner. The series was geared to take advantage of the boom in subcompacts being sold in the United States and a wide range of cars were eligible: Ford Pinto, Dodge Colt, AMC Gremlin, and Chevy Vega, among others.

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