Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Event Recap: Jefferson 500 Vintage Races @ Summit Point

I've been wanting to get to a vintage auto race for more years than I can remember. It was hard to make time for one while the all-consuming car show season was going and I was about shoulder deep in it. Time has passed, my priorities have relaxed off of shows and have moved onto career and family; but I say this and have probably been to more car events this year than the past two years combined ha. Let me get back to explaining my mild contradiction...I made time to get to a show with a few buddies, including one of my fellow ROTL (ghost)writers, a couple weekends ago. This event is called the Jefferson 500 and is put on by VRG, aka the Vintage Racers Group. To make this trip, we'd get up at the near-azcrack and caravan up to Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia.

This event takes place annually in May, this year between the 17th and 20th, and is a virtual marathon of events involving various classes, displacements and vintages. Now we didn't go hardcore and camp out or anything, but we drove up for Sunday's events which would include some very cool sht including Porsche class races, featuring 914's, 914-6's and 911's. We made great time winding through the mountain passes and arrived just in time to see the end of the aforementioned race around 10:30am. 

Classic open-wheel racing going down. Formula Vee's were in attendance.
For those of you who haven't been to Summit Point before, it's broken down into multiple areas addressing different track needs. The full size Summit Point Circuit is available for official race events held by major race series (e.g, ALMS, Grand-AM), the smaller Jefferson Circuit is available for Vintage and other enthusiast events, and lastly the Shenandoah Circuit is there primarily for club racing activities, automotive testing by media outlets and locally rooted tuners (e.g. Stasis Engineering). We were on the smallest of the tracks for this event, but it was the perfect size for the task at hand; it has a twisty technical section, a long straight and plenty of sweeping sections where passing is possible.

Meanest Pinto I've ever seen.
Pretty well sorted 968 on the way to the pit.
After watching the 2.5 Liter class get dominated by car #11 above, we made our way into the pit area where I was greeted by one of the purest sites I've ever seen. Drivers with their own cars, wrenching on them between races and sorting out faults from their last runs, and trailers from the 4-car enclosed units to 1-car open units. There were dedicated track cars from decades past, converted classic cars, and men and women of all ages (above 25), most of whom were talking and helping each other with repairs. THIS is the core of the car community and what draws so many of us to it beyond simple show and tell. I spoke to a few drivers that were there since Thursday competing in their respective track toys, and I must say I'm looking forward to joining them at some point. In the meantime though, I want to get to more races this year. When I do, I'll share.

The pit area was glorious.
This thing killed the unlimited race, and howled like a banshee.
The Zappa Racing' GT40 was a beauty.
But I liked their TVR Tuscan more. My lucky number on the side didn't hurt.

We had some satisfactory grub at the food hut and hit up the announcers tower to see the last race of the day. It had just about every car left thrown into a gumbo of similarly powered cars. Alpha Romeo's, Porsche 356's, 914's & early 911's, Triumphs, BMW 2002s, BMC Mini's, a pretty well documented 240Z amongst others; quite the send off for the afternoon. The vantage point we found was lovely and I went to work to snag a few action shots. We bombed back down to Maryland pretty soon after an up close inspection of a spectacular Shelby Daytona Coupe replica, that had been the pace car for the races that day. After watching a few Shelby interviews later on, it would appear this could be one of the several new old Daytona Coupes he commissioned, comprised of all original spare parts. Quite the classic looker. All in all 'twas a great afternoon.

The pre-album can be seen here.

1 comment:

  1. Nice litte post on the event. BTW, the black #11 is a Pinto.