VIR July 1966 Trans-Am Race Report
from SCCA Sports Car Magazine

Trans Am VIR 400 - by Gordon Warren

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Uphill at VIR; Durst-Schall Barracuda; Sellers/Mercer Renault; Feistman-Norburn Mustang.
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The winning Yeager/Johnson Mustang gets Bonner Sams' high-board checker.

        The N.C. Region and VIR are in the heart of NASCAR land, and after all, these sedans are miniature stockers, right? So, why not invite some of the NASCAR "hot shoes" to our little stock car race on a sports car road course? (Ho, ho) "Be sure your little friends keep out of the way." (Snicker) So it was that Dave Pearson, NASCAR points leader; "old pro" Curtis Turner; national folk hero, Richard Petty; and NASCAR's only Negro driver, Wendell Scott showed up at VIR Sunday morning to see what it was all about-shifting gears at the right time, mostly.
        Pete Feistman waded around to put the Norburn/Feistman Mustang on the pole with a 2:37.2. Allan Moffat completed the first row with a 2:40.2 in the Lotus Cortina to give you some idea of how it was. Times ranged all the way down to 3:23.4 for the 36 entries.
        Sunday morning dawned clear, by George, and the NASCAR drivers went out to find their way around the track (surprise). Everyone made it except for Dave Pearson, who assassinated Brock Yate's Dart at Station 3. It was only a foretaste of things to come.
        The flag dropped at 11:43 a.m. and Feistman, with Petty and Yeager up from the
second row, started off on the greatest 5 hour 18 minute 36 second sprint race ever seen. Petty was running in 2nd until lap 5, when he went in the boonies at Station 3. He finally dug out of the mud in 21st place, romped back to 10th in 5 laps, but splashed back into the weeds at Station 3 on the 13th lap, and that was it for the Barracuda. Meanwhile, Feistman had turned the first lap with a 2:38 from the standing start and pulled out a 4 second lead on the rest of the pack. Dick Thompson moved his Mustang into third behind the Johnson/Yeager Mustang, then handed over to Wendell Scott, who made it around to Station 3-since renamed NASCAR Bend-before breaking the front suspension while trying to negotiate a ditch.
        The under 2-liter chaps were having a ball too, but with eleven GTAs against four Cortinas, the end result was easily predicted. Moffat went out of contention when he wiped out the phone pole at Station 10 in the uphill chicanes, and another Cortina did a head stand at the same spot. The GardnerAttwood Cortina did the best, actually leading the race for three laps because of pit stops.
        The Mustang was running like a train and it looked like a shoo-in. On lap 73, however, the whole complexion of the race changed. Norburn brought the Mustang in with the temp. on the peg and much time was lost trying to add coolant. (You can lead a horse to water, but . . . ) Bob Johnson took over the lead with time in hand, but Feistman came charging back. Pit stops became the story and the Johnson crew was just a shade faster. Feistman wouldn't admit defeat and at the end of the race had worked to within 9 seconds of Johnson in an effort that had the troops standing on their heads.
        So at the end of 124 laps, or 400.52 miles, the racing was just as close as it had been at the start. Tom Yeager and Bob Johnson parlayed experience into a well deserved victory to become the Trans-Am Over 2-liter point leaders, while Horst Kweck and Gus Andrey did the same in Under 2 with a 3rd overall, three laps behind. Oh yes, the best NASCAR showing was by Curtis Turner, who shared some of the load with Peter Lake, overcoming flat tires, minor prangs, and a seven cylinder engine, to finish a solid last place among the walking wounded.

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Sellers-Mercer Renault and Beuter-Murphy BMC-Cooper S.
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Winning drivers: I to r, Pete Feistman pointing at dandruff; Horst Kwech saying "prunes"; Gus Andrey asking for a refill; Bob Johnson hypnotized by sweep-second hand.