VIR - 1957 August - Race Report - Newspaper Column

Virginia International Raceway - August 3-4, 1957

Washington Daily News 8/6/57

Rallye Round Manhattan (sports car dealer & team owner ad) by Joe Herson

SO, THERE WE WERE, driving thru Milton. N. C., on our way to the new Virginia International Raceway, a race course set in the beautiful Virginia hills near Danville. It didn't take more than 30 seconds to get thru the thriving Milton, and then on to the course via some of the fuzziest dirt roads that I have ever seen.

THE VIR course is the nicest race course that I have ever seen. The roadway itself is smooth and offers a tremendous challenge to driver and car. The facilities for drivers, pit crews, officials, and spectators are very fine. For example: there was a Barnum and Bailey type tent set-up for the dispensing of foodstuffs, everything from steak to watermelon was available. Maybe the locals weren't. oriented properly, but they sure were nice to us in every respect. Seemed like they really WANTED us. I guess when they get used to us, it won't be the same. (All right. so I'm nasty.)

THE RACES ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY were terrific. We were all a little afraid that the drivers would push too hard on this very fast track, but we found that the first few times around the 3.8-mile course gave one and all a deep respect for the need of self-control with the loud pedal.

JIM ROBINSON DROVE VERY beautifully in both of his races an Sunday after having considerable heat problems in practice. Jim was first in C production in his first race after swapping the lead several times with Constantine's very fast Aston-Martin Coupe with new disc brakes. In the feature race, Robby was second to the Aston after spinning in the wet.

STEVE SPITLER DROVE very smoothly in his first race in the Jag XK-SS, but his one boo-boo at the end of the pit straight kept him from finishing in the silver department. DICK THOMPSON had a right busy and rewarding weekend. In addition to winning both of the big production car races overall and adding to his national point total in class B, he drove our new Porsche Carrera Coupe, running modified on Saturday and took a third in Class FS behind two potent Porsche RS Spyders. In the feature 50-mile race with the same car, in a heavy downpour, he drove to a sensational third overall and third in class. This was in front of another RS Spyder and a whole flock of potent Class G modified cars, and with a car that will be production within a very short time.

THE FEATURE RACE ON SUNDAY was a 20-lap, 70-mile affair that was tremendously exciting. Carroll Shelby's big red 4.5 V-8 Maserati exploded away from the starting line as Jesse Coleman dropped the green flag and was never headed. But right behind were the two Cunningham D Jags with Hansgen and Wallace up. Further back in the pack was Dick Thompson in Manhattan's XK-SS. Dick moved steadily, passed O'Shea in the Mercedes 300 SLS and Lyeth in the 4.5 Ferrari. The two D Jags were fighting for second and third position, much to the distress of Momo, who knew that they were keeping each other occupied while Shelby moved further ahead. Wallace finally headed Hansgen only to spin at the end of the pit straight and lose a lot of ground. The finish saw Shelby well out in front, Hansgen and Wallace. second and third in the D's and Dick in fourth overall with the XK-SS. More talk on Thursday . . . I'm tired. (Too tired to talk????)

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