April 1963 VIR Race report
(thanks to Jack Stokes)

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VIR - by Henry Manney King (AKA Bill King)

From the Capital City Sports Car Club "Check-Point" May 1963 Newsletter      I

Hard work and good organization are bywords in running a good race, and the N.C. Region of SCCA ran a good race at VIR April 27,28. For this, their first national event, the Region made many minor improvements in facilities (not toilet facilities, I'm sorry to say) that made operations smoother. A barbed wire maze at the pagoda helped keep down congestion and trapped a few drunks Saturday night. Underbrush was cleared away and a small forest fire burned off the weeds, a couple of weeks back. The shoulders of the road were widened in places giving the drivers a few extra inches which the liberally took, raising clouds of dust in the fresh dirt. A new communications system was installed on poles that were surprisingly not demolished by wildly spinning Corvettes.

The field was very interesting and oh so fast. Penske and Cunningham were among those absent, but Team Meisterbrauser came through with two Chevy-powered bombs, a Scarab and a Chapparal. Besides the usual assortment of cars there were two AC‑Cobras, a 250 GT Ferrari, a 300‑SL, a couple of Abarth 1000's, an assortment of Juniors and F‑III's, two Lotus 23's, and a super light Corvette. Specials included Ferret Dictator, Apache, Merlyn Mk IV, Mongoose, Bosch Sp., Zink-Petite, and two Bobsy's.

Saturday was devoted to practice and time trials. Everyone was impressed with the speed of the Cobras, the Scarab, and the Chapparal. Racing is aometimes a cruel mistress though. Charles Weaver on his vacation brought his Porsche all the way from Denver only to flip on his second practice lap, scrunching the machine and his left arm.

Saturday was devoted to practice. Good weather continued Sunday, and after a short practice session we all settled down for a full day of racing. The first three races were 45 minute affairs followed by an hour and a half go for the N.C. Challenge Cup.

The first race (FP, GP, HP, HM) turned into a real battle between Jack Crusoe's Alfa and Art Riley's surprising P-1800. The lead switched several times with the Alfa finally taking the checkered flag. Pete Van Der Vate fought off an MGA and slipped the Sebring Sprite into 4th overall, easily taking GP. The Saab-engined Bobsy took Ill., the first of two class wins for that team.

The second race of the morning (CP, DP, EP) was won in a walk by Paul Richard's Abarth 1000 keeping Duncan Black's Daimler a distant second. Bob Tullius, last year's National EP Champion took his TR-4 to first in DP. And reminisce, friends, an XK-120 took 4th overall, 3rd in class.

After lunch the Juniors and III's challenged the G modifieds, with a Junior taking the cookies. Charlie Hayes had settled down to a sure second overall when the leading Lotus 22 of John Henderson spun into the woods at Oak Tree 3 laps from the finish. The Elva then scooted home ahead of Chuck Dietrich's Bobsy and the Lolas of Art Tweedale and Doc Wyllie. J.W. Gadwa's Cooper XI took F III, and then  ran out of gas on the victory lap.

At 3:30, the stage was set for  the first run at the N.C. Challenge Cup. The cup was not necessarily to go to the overall winner, but to the car that held the largest lead in its class. The field was loaded with brutal machinery from A & B Prod. and C, D, E, & F Mod. Don Divine, running his first national race, had the Scarab on the pole. Interest was heightened by the Chapparal being started scratch, having failed to qualify Saturday after a minor bunny chasing incident in the downhill chicane. Divine took quick charge fighting off Skip Barber's Lotus 23 and Bob Johnson's Cobra. Harry Hever took about 10 laps to move the Chapparal into 4th place and about 10 more to get by the Cobra and Lotus. He then set out after the Scarab which had slowed slightly because of overheating brakes. The infernal bad luck of the Cobras inserted itself quickly as Bob Holbert (driving his first race in a Cobra) pitted on the third lap with a loose hose connection. With first in class sewed up Johnson's Cobra blew a tire at the end of the pit straight. His crew changed the tire in 10 seconds, but failed to tell him that the blown tube was wrapped up in his front suspension. Johnson smelled the burning rubber and thinking his disc was warped and scraping the tire, pitted again on the next lap. By this time he has lost his class lead to Dick Thompson. To everyone's surprise the Corvettes stayed in the reasonable vicinity of the track with the notable exception of Francis Dominianni who left the track innumerable times, led a parade of 3 Corvettes through station G, neatly spun in front of the Scarab at the Oak Tree, and was leaving a stench around the track that several watering eyes identified as nitro. Well, Hever couldn't catch Divine, Johnson  couldn't catch Thompson, the Lotus took third, and that was that. Don Yenko's old, old Corvette walked away with BP and Don took the first N.C. Challenge Cup home with him.

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