Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival – Results and Photo Gallery

Story and photos by Dennis Gray

Lynn Park's 1964 Cobra 289The Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival took place the weekend of June 4-6, 2010, at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. A strong field of 375 vintage race cars competing in 13 groups took to the technical 2.52 mile road course located in the Sonoma Valley. Organized by General Racing, with veteran leadership coming from Steve and Doug Earle, the event formerly known as the Wine Country Classic put together a vast offering of both on and off-track activities.

On-track action saw historic racing cars that spanned each decade of the 20th Century, including Pre-War Sports and Racing Cars, Sports Racing Cars, Formula Cars, Historic Trans-Am, Historic Can-Am, IMSA GTP and FIA Mfg., GT and Grand National cars. Chris MacAllister of Indianapolis, Indiana won the Sonoma Historic Cup “The Phil Hill Trophy” for top overall performance and presentation, impressing the crowds with his factory orange 1971 McLaren M8F.

Set-up day for the Sonoma Historics was on Thursday, while by Friday morning the pits were loaded with cars, trailers, eighteen-wheelers and trucks. Walking through the pits exposes the high grade of the competitor’s race and street cars, so much so that Sports Car Digest will do a follow-up story on the impressive paddock. It was obvious the fans enjoyed not only watching the action but also experiencing the paddock where they could reach out and touch the cars.

All of the 13 race groups had a good number of entrants, with each competing for 12 laps and many hard fought battles on track. A fine mix of cars and personalities took part in the racing, including former BRE Racing and SCCA Trans Am Champion in the 2.5 Liter Class, John Morton. He tended to the driving duties of the 1958 Scarab Sports Racer that was originally campaigned by Lance Reventlow and Chuck Daigh, in addition to piloting a 1964 Sunbeam Tiger and Lotus 23 SR. Morton commented, “I have a real affection for the history of racing and at these vintage races.”

Not all the action took place at the track, as thirty lucky participants were selected to drive their cars the 15 miles from the track to downtown Sonoma on Saturday evening where a lap was taken around the town’s square before a “pit stop” at a local vineyard. Inside the gates, more than 700 people – including competitors, their friends, family and townspeople – exchanged their $30 tickets for a wine glass and access to food and drink samplings from more than 11 area wineries and just as many restaurants.

“We appreciate the great gatherings and social events because to me vintage racing is 1/3 the people, 1/3 the history and 1/3 the racing opportunity,” said Cameron Healy, who raced his 1953 Cooper Porsche and 1968 Porsche 908K here.

Announced at the end of the evening, the people’s choice award for favorite classic race car was Dick DeLuna’s 1917 Hall-Scott. The crowd pleaser, with its hand built all-aluminum body, put together with 1000 rivets and housing a bi-plane engine, sat high above the others on its oversized spoke wheels, gleaming in the setting sun.

The overriding impression of the inaugural Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival was one of a real upgrade in both the class of cars, and vendors, over previous Wine Country events. Add to this the largest number of spectators I’ve seen at an historic race at Infineon Raceway and it all bodes well looking ahead to future Sonoma Historics.

Looking forward, General Racing announced McLaren would be the event’s featured marque for the event’s second edition in 2011. The legendary name has graced the halls of motorsports since its famed founder Bruce McLaren of New Zealand founded the McLaren racing team in 1963.

“McLaren, like Ferrari and Porsche and other great names in motorsports, created the bloodlines that we worship today in historic automobile racing,” said General Racing’s President Steve Earle, who is the originator of the Wine Country Classic that preceded the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival for 24 years. “Choosing McLaren as our marque means we will pay special tribute to the name, the teams, and the cars that McLaren has produced in the past and will produce in the future, adding another dimension of enjoyment for both competitors and spectators.”

Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival Cars of Interest

1957 AC Aceca of Rob Fisher BE603
1957 Aceca Bristol Chassis #BE603 - Chassis BE603 is one of sixteen RHD drive cars built in 1957 and the only one known to be racing. The car was originally sold to a buyer in Venezuela, repatriated to the UK in 1989 and built into an endurance racer by AC racer Adrian Hall. Powered by a six-cylinder Bristol D2 motor with triple Solex carbs. BE603 competed in various UK races, most notably the Coys International Historic Festival at Silverstone in 1992 and 1993. It also competed in the 1992 La Carrera Panamericana race. Purchased by Bruce McCaw in 1994 and imported to his Seattle collection. During McCaw’s ownership the car participated in the Copperstate 1000. McCaw sold it in 2001 and the owner participated in the Monterey Historics, twice at the Quail, and the California Mille. Rob Fisher bought the car in January of this year. This is the second outing for the pairing.
AAR 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda
1970 Plymouth AAR 'Cuda Chassis 50211 - Currently raced by Andy Boone, this 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda was built by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers shop for the 1970 Trans-Am series and driven in period by Dan Gurney and Swede Savage. Chassis 50211 was first used as a photo model for Chrysler/Plymouth ads, then as the AAR pre-season test mule before going on to contest the full 1970 Trans-Am season. Gurney drove chassis number 50211 in the first two races of the season, with Savage driving the balance. The AAR Cuda was based on a production body, but acid dipped and fitted with numerous AAR titanium parts and a fiberglass hood to get this big car’s weight down. An aluminum NASCAR A833 close-ratio gearbox was used but the gearbox was iron coated to pass the SCCA’s magnet test. A Chrysler 340 was used as a power plant, however it was de-stroked to 303.8 CID and rated at 490hp. The small block MOPAR was fed by a single Holly four barrel and a rare Chrysler LD 340 aluminum intake. Goodyears mounted on Minilite rims combined with 12-inch discs with Lockeed calipers provide the traction and the stopping. Andy Boone bought the car in 2006 and often races it along side his ex-Gurney 1968 McLaren M6B McLeagle Can-Am car. The two cars make an impression, taking this writer back to the day when Gurney and Savage drove these cars.

Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival – Results and Photo Gallery

Group 1A (1963-1974 Grand National Cars)
1. David Hankin – 1968 Ford Torino, Redding, CA
2. Mark Mountanos – 1971 Pontiac Firebird, Ukiah, CA
3. Randy Peterson – 1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Sonoma, CA
4. Jim Hague – 1972 Ford Gran Torino, Santa Clara, CA
5. Scott Rubin – 1966 Ford Galaxie, Santa Clara, CA

Click for complete Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival 2010 – Race 1A Results

1968 Ford Torino of David Hankin
1968 Ford Torino of David Hankin finished 1st
Dan Radowicz in his 1959 Plymouth Savoy R
Dan Radowicz in his 1959 Plymouth Savoy R
1966 Ford Galaxie driven by Vic Edelbrock
1966 Ford Galaxie driven by Vic Edelbrock
1971 Pontiac Firebird of Mark Mountanos
1971 Pontiac Firebird of Mark Mountanos
Lance Smith in his 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle
Lance Smith in his 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle
1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Randy Peterson
1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Randy Peterson
1966 Ford Galaxie piloted by Scott Rubin
1966 Ford Galaxie piloted by Scott Rubin
Jim Hague's 1972 Ford Gran Torino leads Jim Koehler's 1963 Chevrolet Impala
Jim Hague's 1972 Ford Gran Torino leads Jim Koehler's 1963 Chevrolet Impala
Ken Epsman's 1964 Mercury Marauder
Ken Epsman's 1964 Mercury Marauder